Navigators in the maze of regulatory requirements.

Over the past 40 years, environmental regulation — and corporate responsibility for maintaining high environmental standards — have grown exponentially. While businesses strive to adhere to requirements that sustain a healthy environment, some issues are beyond control, and liability for environmental infractions can be disastrous to businesses, as well as the environment.

Our environmental lawyers and regulatory advisors provide the sophisticated and knowledgeable legal support required by the regulated community. Our multi-disciplinary Environmental Group includes former state regulatory attorneys, intellectual property attorneys and litigators with many decades of experience defending clients in a wide variety of environmental, occupational health and safety, toxic tort litigation and natural resources issues.

Our attorneys help clients avoid environmental pitfalls and turn environmental problems into business opportunities. We work closely with clients to develop strategies that are legally sound, cost-sensitive and consistent with their business goals.

From permitting the "green field" development of electrical power generating plants to litigating the responsibility for abandoned waste sites, our lawyers identify issues and develop creative, practical solutions without unnecessary costs or confrontation. Our attorneys are actively engaged in advising clients in the emerging Marcellus Shale gas play in the Appalachian Basin on all aspects of permitting, due diligence and enforcement. We frequently negotiate important settlements that attain client goals and minimize exposure, while avoiding litigation. If confrontation cannot be avoided, however, our lawyers are prepared to litigate in any forum.

Buchanan provides environmental law counseling and litigation services in the following primary areas:
  • General environmental regulatory counseling
  • Environmental and land use litigation
  • Real estate and corporate transactions
  • Renewable energy

General Environmental Regulatory Counseling

Collectively, our environmental attorneys have handled hundreds of cases before administrative tribunals and other state and federal regulatory agencies. Our regulatory counseling focuses on four broad environmental areas: solid waste, air, water and mineral resources.

    Solid Waste — We provide advice and counsel to public and private companies regarding regulatory compliance and permitting of hazardous, residual, and municipal waste treatment, storage and disposal facilities, including related administrative or judicial proceedings. Our environmental litigators also represent clients in defense of government enforcement proceedings and in defense of permit actions by regulatory agencies from third-party challenges.

    Air — We provide advice and assistance in air quality plan approval and permitting issues, including RACT determinations, Title V permits and New Source Review. We also assist clients with the preparation of comments and challenges to SIP revisions, the defense of enforcement actions and the defense of permit actions by regulatory agencies and challenges by third parties.

    Water — Our attorneys provide advice and assistance concerning all types of water permits, including NPDES and wastewater treatment permits, and pretreatment permits issued by Publicly Owned Treatment Works. They also defend clients against citizens' suits, as well as enforcement proceedings by both federal and state regulatory agencies relating to surface and groundwater discharges and stormwater wetlands and encroachment matters.
    Mining — With a deep client base in the coal and minerals industry, our environmental attorneys frequently provide advice and counsel regarding permitting and enforcement of federal and state statutes, including Pennsylvania's Coal and Non-Coal Surface Mining Acts, as well as the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act and the Occupational Safety and Health Act. We also assist clients in addressing issues such as acid mine and post-mining drainage, including the legal responsibility for and treatment of mine discharges. In addition, our attorneys have experience with bonding, reclamation and other closure issues associated with mining activities.

Environmental and Land Use Litigation

We routinely represent clients in civil and criminal environmental and land use litigation matters in both federal and state courts, as well as contested administrative law matters. This experience includes the representation of clients in CERCLA (Superfund matters including river sediment cases) and state and federal enforcement matters, natural resources damages claims, as well as in OSHA and toxic tort defense matters. Our attorneys have litigated land use issues involving local regulation of environmentally sensitive facilities, including, but not limited to, oil terminals, shopping centers and sewage sludge disposal facilities. In Delaware, our attorneys have been involved in several matters concerning Delaware's unique Coastal Zone Act, as well as other administrative and litigation matters involving Delaware's environmental statutes and regulations.

Real Estate and Corporate Transactions

In conjunction with attorneys in our Corporate and Real Estate Practice Groups, our environmental attorneys provide support for transactions involving industrial businesses and their real estate interests, as well as transactions involving the development of environmentally sensitive facilities. Our attorneys counsel and help clients navigate the increasingly complex environmental regulations associated with real estate transactions, including conducting due diligence and providing advice related to zoning and land use restrictions applicable to the siting of new facilities or the expansion of existing facilities. We also represent clients in eminent domain and administrative proceedings related to regulatory takings, and in the negotiation of No Further Action Letters and Prospective Purchaser Agreements (PPAs) with the EPA and state Brownfield agencies.

In Pennsylvania and New Jersey, the Environmental Law Practice Group has assisted clients in numerous matters in obtaining liability protection under Pennsylvania's Land Recycling and Environmental Cleanup and Liability Protection Act (Act 2) program and the New Jersey Industrial Site Recovery Act. Our environmental attorneys also represent developers and land owners in real estate transactions involving complex Brownfield sites that required extensive remediation and possible environmental insurance for third party claims. This representation included negotiating agreements with the Pennsylvania and New Jersey DEPs for liability relief along with EPA comfort letters and prospective purchaser agreements.

Renewable Energy

We provide strategic, transactional, corporate and legal advice to the renewable energy sector. Our attorneys and government relations professionals have worked for years with the federal and state regulatory agencies that govern these large and growing markets, and our knowledge of environmental law is extensive.

In addition to serving the broad legal needs of traditional electric, solar, wind, water, natural gas telecommunications and wireless clients, we've worked with companies in many different industries on transactional matters, energy efficiency, deregulation and more. Our firm is positioned to provide a comprehensive array of services to the renewable industry — no matter how quickly it may change. Our ever-current knowledge of the legal and regulatory environment in both state and federal matters means we understand your challenges and requirements.