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Environmental

Sustainable solutions for even the most pressing matters.

Our environmental team provides a breadth of legal and business advisory services to a broad range of clients, from heavy industrial operations and automotive manufacturers to health care systems, real estate developers, and government entities. Among other things, we represent clients in litigation and other dispute proceedings, civil and criminal enforcement actions, prosecute administrative appeals of agency actions, conduct audits and internal investigations, advise on crisis response situations, counsel on complex regulatory matters, and help clients execute real estate and corporate transactions.

It is also of special significance that several members of our team hold advanced STEM degrees and hail from the very industries they now represent. Our technical sophistication, coupled with our deep knowledge of regulatory nuance and process, gives our clients an uncommon advantage in solving even the most urgent and demanding environmental challenges.

Practice Area Contact

Kevin N. McMurray Profile Image
Kevin N. McMurray

Practice Group Leader

Cincinnati, OH

How We Help Clients

Compliance Counseling

Our team helps clients navigate the complex maze of federal, state and local environmental regulations. We provide informed guidance on environmental compliance strategies, permitting and reporting requirements, risk management considerations, audits and other dealings with regulatory authorities. We work closely with heavy industrial operations, such as electric utilities, iron and steel manufacturers, automobile manufacturing, petroleum refiners, chemical producers and many other industrial manufacturing operations, to develop disciplined and cost-effective environmental management programs.

Due to our breadth of experience in virtually all environmental regulatory programs—air, water, solid and hazardous waste, toxic substances, chemical management (including PFAS and other emerging chemicals), endangered species, underground storage tanks, Right-to-Know reporting and others—clients turn to us when faced with difficult environmental situations. We offer high-level insights that help our clients proactively achieve and maintain compliance or lead them to the effective resolution of issues should they arise.

Capabilities include:

  • Advising on and negotiating permit terms and conditions that can realistically be achieved and afford maximum operational flexibility over the life of the permit.
  • Assisting with environmental reporting obligations.
  • Advising on regulatory requirements and strategies for achieving and maintaining compliance.
  • Developing and implementing environmental management programs.
  • Tracking administrative rulemaking activities and participating in notice, comment and public hearing opportunities to voice key stakeholder perspectives and inform the rulemaking process.
  • Commenting on and challenging legislative and rulemaking actions.
  • Assisting with structuring and performing EH&S audits, including issues involved with planning, conducting, and distributing audits, maintaining confidentiality and asserting legal privileges, evaluating the potential benefits and drawbacks of voluntary disclosures to regulatory agencies under state and federal “audit policy” and “self-disclosure” programs, and negotiating resolutions with federal and state agencies for voluntarily disclosed violations.
  • Advising on matters involving product stewardship and emerging chemicals, including assessing current and anticipated regulatory obligations, preparing and responding to product surveys, and strategies to manage potential implications of environmental laws and regulations on business transactions and structuring solutions that seek to maximize opportunities and minimize legal exposure.

Transactional Support

There are often many environmental considerations to address and contingencies to account for in most business transactions, particularly those involving industrial operations, land acquisition, construction, and real estate development projects. Our team keenly understands the legal, business and technical aspects unique to such projects. We help buyers, sellers, lessors, lessees, lenders, developers and others involved in real estate and corporate transactions assess potential environmental liabilities and risks, craft ways to minimize their legal exposure, and shift or appropriately allocate risks and costs between multiple parties. Whether it is a simple disposition or a billion-dollar, multi-site acquisition, we understand the risk continuum and are experienced with the strategies and tactics to close the deal.

Capabilities include:

  • Overseeing Phase I ESA, Phase II ESA and other site assessments that evaluate the environmental condition of property.
  • Analyzing the implications of environmental laws and regulations on business transactions and structuring solutions that seek to maximize opportunities and minimize legal exposure.
  • Negotiating agreements for complex real estate and corporate transactions.
  • Performing and/or managing environmental due diligence, including facility or corporate-wide compliance audits and compliance plan development.
  • Providing support in environmental permit transfers and obtaining required environmental approvals and authorizations that may be required for certain types of operations like waste treatment disposal facilities.
  • Evaluating and negotiating insurance options to minimize environmental risk.
  • Counseling clients on options to manage environmental risks, including due diligence, contractual protections, environmental insurance, and/or voluntary cleanup programs.
  • Structuring “brownfields” transactions and financing.
  • Advising on post-closing obligations and strategies for minimizing environmental risks.

Litigation & Dispute Resolution

Our team offers substantial trial and dispute resolution experience defending clients in administrative, civil and criminal enforcement actions, as well as environmental citizen suits and environmental claims in federal and state court. We also handle appeals of unilateral government orders and unfavorable permit decisions or denials. Our goal is to help clients avoid litigation through effective risk management. When legal action is unavoidable, we integrate our industry and legal knowledge and trial experience to resolve environmental disputes on terms favorable to our clients.

Capabilities include:

  • Defending challenged permits and appealing permits with unfavorable terms.
  • Defending government civil and criminal enforcement actions, citizen suits and toxic tort claims in federal and state court.
  • Defending alleged regulatory violations, which may include the negotiation of administrative or civil settlement agreements or defending clients during trial.
  • Defending and appealing unilateral government orders, administrative enforcement actions and penalty assessments.
  • Prosecution and defense of environmental liability claims, including contaminated properties and natural resource damage claims.
  • Counseling clients in connection with environmental agency inspections and responding to agency information requests.

Environmental Cleanup & Remediation

The redevelopment of properties contaminated by historic releases of hazardous materials and other substances presents serious potential environmental and financial risks to owners, buyers, sellers, lenders, and prospective tenants. We understand these risks and have significant experience in helping find practical and cost-effective solutions to managing them. We work with industries, developers, lenders, local governments and others to evaluate and implement strategies for the investigation and remediation of contaminated properties, including assessing and implementing strategies under state and federal brownfield programs that enable liabilities to be addressed and impacted properties to be returned to beneficial use.

Capabilities include:

  • Advising and managing all aspects of the investigation and cleanup from the engagement of the environmental consultant to obtaining a no further action or covenant not to sue from the state or federal agency.
  • Evaluating eligibility and merits of participating in state and federal voluntary cleanup or brownfield programs.
  • Assisting in the assessment and remediation of properties under voluntary cleanup programs and under administrative or civil orders.
  • Negotiation of environmental covenants, deed restrictions, engineering controls and other land use controls.
  • Advising on and obtaining financial incentives from federal, state and local governments for the assessment and remediation of brownfield properties, including grants, loans, and tax credits.
  • Representing clients in the recovery of assessment and remediation costs from other responsible parties.

Crisis Response & Internal Investigations

Our environmental team can help provide oversight and structure to preparing for, responding to and recovering from an environmental accident or incident. We have considerable experience in advising clients in the time-critical hours and days following the incident and in working with environmental agencies during the response. Our team has also worked with clients in conducting root-cause assessments and internal investigations to identify and address issues that may have caused or contributed to an emergency.

Capabilities include:

  • Helping clients prepare for incidents and emergencies, including the development of incident response plans, conducting employee training, and assisting in selecting and contracting with emergency response contractors.
  • Helping clients in the immediate response and communications with federal, state, and local agencies, including reporting to agencies, managing communications/interactions with regulatory agencies, and advising on initial response/abatement activities and evidence preservation.
  • Helping clients in the aftermath of the incident, including conducting internal investigations to determine root causes, reviewing and evaluating operational documents, practices, and conducting interviews, responding to government investigations and follow-up reporting, and defending against government enforcement and/or third-party claims, and negotiating final closure of incidents.

Recognition

 

“This broad practice [Frost Brown Todd’s Environmental Group – Cincinnati] continues to grow, with a recent hire adding further air expertise to its formidable capabilities in water, utilities and mining. The firm is especially active in defending enforcement actions by state and federal environmental protection agencies, while the ongoing shale oil and gas boom has brought in much waste-water work. The group also advises on the environmental aspects of real estate and corporate transactions.”

~ Chambers USA® (Ranked Band 1)

 

“[Frost Brown Todd’s Environmental Group – Kentucky] has long been recognized for its prowess in the sector. The team has leading expertise in the energy and environmental spaces, undertaking litigation, regulatory matters and related real estate and corporate transactional issues. The department acts for clients from a range of industries, including manufacturers, utilities, municipalities and real estate developers. The group also comes highly recommended for its expertise in the mining sector. Sources say: ‘I feel comfortable recommending this extremely impressive environmental team frequently.’”

~ Chambers USA® (Ranked Band 1)

Industry-Focused Support

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