Environmental Litigation and Counseling

The firm’s lawyers have successfully litigated citizen-suit and agency enforcement actions under RCRA, CERCLA and state law, including those brought in connection with former manufactured gas plant sites, refineries, pipelines and power plants.   The firm also regularly counsels energy clients on the full range of environmental and OSHA compliance issues.  We have significant experience advising clients on environmental matters arising from the redevelopment of brownfields as sites for renewable generation.

Representative matters include:

  • Handling the environmental aspects of an ownership transfer for a waste energy facility, including the transfer of permits, negotiation of an indemnity agreement and evaluation of documents to be turned over to the new owner.
  • Representing an energy company in negotiations with government agencies and providing legal counseling on environmental and energy issues for development of a natural gas pipeline.
  • Representing and counseling a petroleum refinery regarding significant onsite construction and modification of their operations, including securing New Source Review permits and operating permits.  We also represented this petroleum refinery regarding release reporting for a variety of leaks and spills.
  • Advising a natural gas public utility regarding release reporting for hazardous material emissions from their natural gas storage fields.
  • Representing a petroleum company subject to governmental civil enforcement relating to brine and oil discharges to waterways from the production wells.
  • Counseling an energy company regarding noise emissions from a natural gas-fired peaking unit with significant citizen complaints.
  • Representation of Exelon Corporation in regard to environmental issues concerning the siting and construction of a proposed large-scale solar power plant.
  • Advising on the siting and permitting of a landfill (which included a waste-to-energy system) in west central Illinois, including developing an annexation agreement, preparing and presenting a siting hearing, defending the siting vote before the Illinois Pollution Control Board and the Illinois Appellate Court, and pursuing and obtaining all necessary permits from the Illinois EPA.
  • Performing environmental due diligence for electrical utility selling electrical transmission assets and related properties.
  • Representation of a major interstate natural gas pipeline company in the remediation of PCB contamination at more than 70 natural gas compressor stations located in 12 states and six USEPA regions.  We represented the company in negotiations with the USEPA resulting in comprehensive AOC that governed remediation of the compressor stations in four of the regions, covering eight states, over a 10-year period.  We also represented this company in negotiations with the state agencies in the remaining two USEPA regions to resolve the remediation of the stations in the states in these Regions.  We acted as coordinating counsel to coordinate and manage the lawyers the company retained in various states to defend it in state enforcement actions with respect to the PCB contamination.
  • Representation of an oil refinery that was the site of the first brownfields redevelopment project in the state.  We worked with company personnel, former site owners and regulators to allow the purchase, remediation and reopening of the oil refinery in an economically depressed area.  Issues successfully addressed included RCRA closure considerations, CAA permit issues and CWA discharge limitations.
  • Negotiating a resolution of complex regulatory matters before the US EPA and a state agency to allow the start-up of a former petroleum refinery.  The manufacture of reformulated gasoline required construction of new equipment and a means to manage new wastes.  Regulatory matters dealt with permitting, legal interpretations and variances arising under the statutory requirements of applicable federal and state laws.
  • Providing legal advice for management of the cleanup of more than a dozen former MGP sites.
  • Represented Veolia North America in OSHA matters relating to several areas within the energy services sector, including waste-to-energy, fuels blending and wastewater treatment and cleaning work at petroleum refineries.
  • For a coal company that operates underground and surface mining operations in Illinois, we have managed environmental compliance work, valuation of coal assets, Mine Safety & Health Administration incidents and compliance, environmental enforcement and litigation, and post-closing transactional disputes.
  • Represented a diversified services company in a number of environmental regulatory and energy-related matters related to the company’s active, ongoing operations. We have counseled the company on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, participated in the corporation’s annual energy summit, worked to develop energy-related metrics, and addressed climate change considerations arising in the context of ongoing operations and acquisitions. Currently, we are working with the client on GHG emissions, new federal vendor programs, and consideration of possible GHG emission reporting and disclosure.
  • Represented a North American energy company with significant oil and gas pipeline interests in matters associated with interstate pipeline compliance, chemical releases and other environmental compliance concerns.
  • Advised on OSHA enforcement and compliance with regard to Exelon operating facilities, including nuclear facility.
  • Advised a natural gas utility on environmental matters such as PCB and mercury-related issues, the management of materials excavated during utility operations and environmental facility audits.
  • Advised a natural gas utility with respect to former manufactured gas plant (MGP) sites and included citizen suit and cost recovery litigation and defense of agency enforcement actions under RCRA, CERCLA and state law. We also provided legal advice regarding the clients’ participation in rate proceedings before the Illinois Commerce Commission to recover costs incurred in connection with the investigation and remediation of former MGP sites; represented the utilities in connection with property transactions involving former MGP sites; and provided counseling with respect to environmental financial reporting and disclosure obligations pertaining to former MGP sites.
  • Advised a natural gas distribution utility on other environmental matters such as PCB and mercury-related issues, the management of materials excavated during utility operations and environmental facility audits.
  • Representing Commonwealth Edison and Exelon in defense of litigation brought in US District Court of the Northern District of Illinois by the City of Evanston alleging RCRA and state and local claims concerning alleged off-site contamination from a former MGP site.
  • Defending claims that a pipeline purchased from Chevron in 1994 is a source of $60 million environmental cleanup costs incurred by Chevron.  In U.S. Dist. Ct. Maryland.
  • Handled state court environmental enforcement and cost recovery case for cleanup of refinery property in Hartford, Illinois.
  • Representing Commonwealth Edison in USEPA enforcement action against ComEd concerning asbestos contamination of ComEd-owned property adjacent to former Johns Manville manufacturing plant in Waukegan, Illinois.
  • Advised regarding compliance with federal Renewable Fuels Standard for terminal operations.
  • Merger due diligence, which included environmental due diligence at more than 70 facilities located throughout the United States for companies involved in the discovery and production of oil and natural gas, including the movement, treatment and disposal of “fracking” water generated as part of the production of oil and natural gas, as well as collection and recycling services for oily waste products.
  • Represented Exelon in its evaluation and assessment of post-deal environmental liabilities following Exelon’s sale of an entity to another company and worked with Exelon to manage these environmental liabilities.
  • Environmental transition issues related to an M&A matter when Exelon acquired a wind power company and needed to evaluate environmental liabilities and particularly, toxic tort issues and related exposure.