Environmental law is a critical, evolving, and often complex area with hidden traps for even the best intentioned. Given the rising concerns surrounding global climate change and sustainable energy, and pressure on companies to fulfill environmental stewardship standards for shareholders and supply chain vendors, environmental law is at the forefront of public and corporate concern.
At the intersection of law, science, and public policy, environmental law requires multiple factors to be considered when facing litigation, compliance issues, or corporate transactions. Enforcement of environmental laws by regulatory agencies continues to rise, regulations and guidance are issued at a head-spinning rate, and the regulated community finds every acquisition, divestiture, business, or building expansion under intense scrutiny to verify and ensure compliance and to control risk.
Our attorneys regularly publish Taft Environmental Newsletters, examining and highlighting developments in this ever-changing area of law.
Taft’s Environmental attorneys provide developers, manufacturers, distributors, lenders, buyers, sellers, borrowers, entrepreneurs, and municipalities with focused and practical approaches to the complexities of environmental challenges. Providing common sense and cost-effective solutions is the special value we bring to help our clients. Our practice spans civil and criminal law, environmental insurance, toxic tort suits, real estate, compliance and permitting, mergers and acquisitions, brownfield transactions and financing, sustainability, defense of occupational exposure claims, and administrative proceedings. We also advise clients on a multitude of today’s evolving legal and regulatory challenges including green energy and oil and gas.
Our relationships with our clients are longstanding and deep, enabling us to anticipate our clients’ needs and efficiently manage and resolve environmental challenges associated with their business.
We have served our clients’ environmental legal needs in nearly every state across the U.S., and are often called upon to assist with cross-border and international legal issues. We strive to provide our clients with strategic and tactical options to manage risk without breaking the bank, whether it is quickly reacting to a sudden or unexpected environmental problem or negotiating favorable terms in consent agreements and permits to allow business to return to normal.
We also serve on committees and working groups that are critical in the drafting of important legislation related to environmental liability, incentives for brownfield redevelopment, and solid waste regulations. Our deep knowledge and experience with environmental issues help shape the laws that affect our clients and their businesses.
Our team provides nationally recognized litigation, counseling, and dispute resolution services to clients regulated by the alphabet soup of local, state, and federal environmental laws (e.g., CAA, CWA, CERCLA, EPCRA, FIFRA, RCRA, TSCA), as well as emerging issues. Recognitions include Chambers USA, Best Lawyers in America®, Super Lawyers, multiple Trial Lawyer of the Year awards, and Leading Business Lawyers-Environmental. Put simply, we know our clients’ businesses and use that knowledge to develop common sense solutions to allow our clients to focus on their core business.
- Brownfield and Site Development
- Class Action, Derivative, and Multi-Party Litigation
- Commercial Litigation
- Crisis Management
- Environmental Litigation
- Environmental Regulatory
- Environmental Transactional Services
- Mergers and Acquisitions
- PFAS (Per-and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances)
- Workplace Safety and Health
Ranked National Tier 1 by U.S. News – Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms” for Environmental Law
(2017 - present)
The Right to Clean Water
A cattle farmer, the EPA and 70,000 individuals in West Virginia and Ohio took action against chemical giant DuPont for releasing a dangerous pollutant into the water and environment. Taft’s environmental and litigation lawyers championed the residents’ rights to safe, clean drinking water for over 17 years.
- Tried in federal Multi-District Litigation the largest bodily injury case involving per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in drinking water that resulted in a total settlement payout of $672 million in favor of firm clients and is recognized around the country as one of the leading law firms relating to this family of so-called emerging contaminants.
- Assisted with airport main runway expansion through a Superfund site, including leading negotiations with federal and state agencies as to environmental issues involving a rail line relocation.
- Represented various real estate developers in establishing landowner liability protection for contaminated property involving commercial, industrial, and residential projects.
- Negotiated Consent Agreements and Final Orders with USEPA and state environmental agencies for alleged FIFRA pesticide violations, RCRA hazardous waste violations, RCRA corrective action requirements, Clean Air Act Risk Management Planning violations, Clean Water Act violations, and with OSHA for Process Safety Management violations.
- Counseled clients regarding preventative self-auditing practices for multi-media compliance: air, waste, water, chemical handling, and occupational safety and health.
- Served as national environmental counsel since 1988 for one of the largest distributors of agricultural chemicals.
- Counsel clients and defend enforcement cases involving asbestos and lead paint.
- Assist clients in recovering costs from insurance companies for a multitude of contaminated properties, including industrial, commercial, and residential sites.
- Defended manufacturing clients in toxic tort and class action litigation, including excluding plaintiff medical and causation experts.
- Negotiate agreements and reimbursement for sharing of data under FIFRA for registration of pesticides.
- Assist closely held family companies with efforts to ensure that environmental liabilities are not a burden for heirs.
- Defended electric utilities in lawsuits related to coal combustion residuals (CCR).
- Assisted clients in negotiating CERCLA (Superfund) settlements with the Department of Justice, USEPA, and state agencies, including natural resource trustees.
- Litigated private cost-recovery and contamination cases under federal (CERCLA) law and under purchase and sale agreements.
- Counsel clients regarding measures to improve the attractiveness of environmentally impaired companies being sold and also representing buyers by obtaining favorable indemnity and insurance protection against latent environmental liabilities.
- Successfully tried to judgment/verdict civil and criminal environmental enforcement claims brought by regulatory agencies against firm clients that were alleged to have violated various hazardous waste laws and regulations.
- Successfully assisted client in negotiating Consent Decrees and remedial agreements for former wood preserving plants in Alabama, Florida, and Kentucky.
- Served as lead counsel for real estate developer in multimillion-dollar dispute with major manufacturer over purchase of contaminated property.
- Achieved a very favorable settlement for United States v Rapanos defendant, following the landmark wetlands decision, keeping client’s property developable and client out of prison.
- Led environmental due diligence in complex $1.3 billion multi-state, multi-site acquisition.
- Assisted client in obtaining a seven-figure brownfield reimbursement following a municipal denial of client’s request.
- Helped draft Michigan’s Coal Ash legislation and re-draft Michigan’s Brownfield Tax Increment Financing Law.