environmental


The Firm has a vibrant environmental practice led by Andy Stephenson, who has 25 years of experience in all facets of New York and Federal environmental laws and regulations.


Practice Group Leader: J. Andrew Stephenson


Overview

Mr. Stephenson is skilled in handling transactional environmental matters and matters that involve litigation or dispute resolution (whether involving governmental entities or third parties).    

The Firm’s environmental practice covers both real estate and non-real estate matters.  

Real Estate Matters

While not every real estate transaction has environmental issues, when such issues do arise, the Firm has in-depth expertise and experience in identifying and resolving thorny environmental issues in real estate matters.  The Firm’s approach to every real estate environmental concern is to assess the issues quickly and propose solutions to our clients that will work.  The skills offered by our environmental practice include:

  • Risk avoidance/minimization—conducting and managing environmental due diligence reviews, advising on and procuring environmental insurance and advising on compliance with property transfer obligations (ISRA/CTA) in support of real estate transactions.

  • Negotiations—negotiating and drafting client-protective environmental provisions in a variety of real estate transaction documents (including purchase and sale agreements, leases, indemnification/release agreements, and site access agreements). 

  • Site Remediation—advising on and resolving contaminated real property issues (brownfields, (E) designations, underground storage tanks, asbestos, mold, indoor air).

  • Operations—advising on compliance with on-site chemical/petroleum use, storage and disposal requirements, waste-water treatment/discharge/disposal and air emission control/permitting requirements. 

  • Litigation and enforcement actions—designing effective defense and prosecution of cost recovery actions and a variety of other statutory and contractual environmental law claims arising in real estate matters and transactions.

The experience and expertise of the Firm’s environmental practice has been an integral component of our Pure Play in Real Estate Law—successfully and efficiently resolving complicated environmental issues that arise in real estate transactions for a diverse client base.

Beyond Real Estate

Environmental law is constantly evolving and the successful resolution of any environmental matter requires knowledge of and experience with the complexities of a wide body of treaties, conventions, statutes, regulations and common law. Our Environmental Practice Group has the knowledge and experience to tackle complex environmental issues in a cost-effective and efficient manner. Our attorneys blend their knowledge of environmental laws and experience with regulatory agencies with insight and creativity to assist our clients in transactional, regulatory and litigation matters. 

Our Environmental Practice Group routinely advises and represents our clients in all areas of environmental law, including:

  • Affirmative and defensive litigation (Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, CERCLA)

  • Government enforcement actions (administrative and court proceedings) and investigations

  • Contaminated property and industrial facility acquisition and divestiture

  • Risk transfer and avoidance mechanisms, such as environmental insurance, corporate structure and liability transfers

  • Derivative liabilities of parent corporations and other related organizations, shareholders and successors

  • Indemnification and remediation agreements

  • Environmental issues in a bankruptcy context

  • Lender liability

  • Climate change and sustainability

  • Transfer statute compliance (ISRA, CTA)

  • Spill response and reporting

  • Contaminated site investigation and remediation

  • Brownfields development

  • Facility permitting (air, water, wetlands, hazardous and solid waste, storage facilities)

  • Environmental impact review (NEPA, SEQRA, CEQR)

  • Regulatory compliance (reporting, agency inquiry responses, regulatory agreements)

  • Strategies for minimizing compliance costs

Our Environmental Practice Group brings a client-focused, problem-solving approach to every engagement, which is why clients turn to our environmental attorneys with their most challenging environmental issues. 

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