Our attorneys work with clients across the country in regard to regulations of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and state equivalents that reflect those rulings, particularly in the Southeast, with the Alabama Department of Environmental Management and Tennessee Department of Environmental Compliance. We have worked with regulators for years, sometimes on opposite sides of the table in negotiating consent orders, and sometimes on the same side, working collaboratively to bring new industries to Southeastern communities. In this area, we handle permitting, compliance issues, and related administrative proceedings regarding notices of violation.
Among the environmental regulations that affect our clients most directly are those related to the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, and Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) involving Superfund matters. Given the strict and retroactive nature of CERCLA liability, we educate clients about the unique challenges that defenses pose to work through the process in the most cost-efficient way possible. For matters involving a large Superfund site with numerous different entities, we work toward arrangements among the various contributors with regard to long-term fiscal responsibility. We are prepared for issues that may resurface decades later, requiring further advice and responses on subsequent negotiations.
Our work also includes dealing with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Endangered Species Act, and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which governs wetlands or navigable waterways in terms of construction projects. Our involvement regarding development extends to a state’s oil and gas board and, in Alabama, the Surface Mining Commission. If an environmental issue turns into a criminal prosecution, our experience extends to criminal cases that can arise in conjunction with compliance.
Bradley’s coordinated litigation team guides clients whenever any environmental problems end up in the court system. Our attorneys represent all types of industrial facilities, manufacturers, real estate companies and developers, mining companies, oil and gas companies, financial institutions, and others that face myriad legal threats and challenges.
We assist with a full range of matters, from common law issues and nuisance claims of factory pollution to alleged violations of various clean air and clean water acts. Our representation with regard to Superfund issues overlaps with our government enforcement and investigations practice. Some matters pertain to manufacturing facilities and related exposure to chemicals, such as toxic tort, class action suits, and multidistrict legislation. In our defense of two clients involved in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, we handled multiple lawsuits in several jurisdictions that ultimately were combined in multidistrict litigation.
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Our attorneys routinely conduct environmental assessments related to property transactions. We perform due diligence activities on mergers and acquisitions, environmental indemnities, and real estate transactions, for both the buyer and seller. On the seller’s side, such as for a bankruptcy or reorganization, our attorneys identify all environmental issues, including those relating to the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) and schedules of notices of violations to provide to potential purchasers. On the purchase side, we advise our clients regarding these factors and develop warranties to protect purchasers from environmental indemnities.