The strength of the firm’s practice in these areas is based primarily upon our attorneys’ extensive experience with a broad scope of regulatory programs in both government and private practice. In addition to corporations of all sizes, sole proprietorships and individuals, our clients include boards and departments of municipal corporations as they plan and construct major public infrastructure projects.
Regulatory Permitting and Land Use
A core area of our Environmental Law Department is regulatory permitting for the construction and operation of a wide array of projects. We work closely with clients and their technical consultants to obtain timely permit approvals from federal, state and local agencies for electricity generating and transmission facilities; natural gas pipelines and storage facilities; water and sewer projects; solid waste management facilities; industrial, manufacturing and commercial facilities; and hotel and residential projects of all sizes.
Our attorneys are among the region’s leading authorities on regulations and policies currently being used in Massachusetts to implement permit-related programs such as the National Environmental Policy Act and the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act; the Clean Air Act (state and federal); the Solid Waste Management Act; the Clean Water Act; the Wetlands Protection Act; and the Rivers Protection Act.
The firm also guides clients through land use permitting at the local level including zoning, site plan review, subdivision planning and approval, and compliance with public health and wetlands performance standards.
As special municipal counsel, we have worked closely with the departments of several cities and towns to obtain necessary permits and approvals for large-scale projects such as landfill closures and post-closure development projects; water and sewer projects; and electric generating facility projects.
Resolution of Contaminated Site Liabilities
Another core area of our environmental practice is resolution of contaminated site liabilities that are identified in the course of site development, property or stock transfers, and financing transactions.
The clean-up of contaminated sites in Massachusetts is conducted primarily under M.G.L. Chapter 21E and, after more than 35 years of first-hand involvement with the evolution of this program (including recent Brownfields Redevelopment Initiatives), the firm’s attorneys assist clients to achieve prompt and cost-effective remedies that limit historic and future liabilities while promoting productive land use.
Many of our clients are key participants in the transportation, disposal and reuse of soils excavated from major private and public construction projects, such as the Central Artery/Tunnel Project in Boston. Our attorneys have also assisted a large number of clients in response to claims for contribution or reimbursement from private parties, and in responding to Requests for Information and defending against Notices of Responsibility issued by state and federal agencies on multi-party site investigations.
Resolution of Compliance and Enforcement Matters
A third key area entails resolution of compliance and enforcement matters involving federal, state and local agencies.
When aggressive defense is appropriate, our attorneys pursue fair, just and timely outcomes. Often the resolution of compliance issues is integral to the client’s objectives for permitting new or modified facilities. With a clear understanding of the objectives set by government agencies, our attorneys are successful in complying within the timelines for new construction permitting.
In these cases, we develop a comprehensive strategy of fact-finding and negotiate consent orders or decrees that fairly establish the appropriate corrective measures and future compliance expected of the client. Working closely with clients and their consultants, our firm has also been able to utilize self-evaluation and environmental audit mechanisms available under state and federal policies in order to develop voluntary compliance programs that reduce the risk of lengthy and expensive civil or criminal enforcement and penalty proceedings.
Our attorneys have served in government – local, state and federal – learning how regulatory agencies set priorities and gaining an understanding of approaches that will be most effective in pursuing each client’s goals for timely resolution of permit applications or compliance and enforcement disputes.
In private practice, our attorneys have had multiple experiences with most major and minor regulatory programs at all government levels. This extensive knowledge is key to the firm’s ability to assist clients cost-effectively with environmental and land use matters.
The diversity of experience we offer covers the spectrum from the most complex construction permits to the seemingly routine approvals for waste management. By building a team with clients and their consultants, we aim to add our legal skills, regulatory knowledge, and strategic advice to achieve successful outcomes for our clients, on time and within budget.