Areas of Service
We offer pragmatic and strategic counsel that businesses need to navigate challenges posed by the interplay of environmental law and public policy by the federal government, state and local jurisdictions.
Our professionals have decades of experience working in and with the legislative and executive branches, including shaping policy and major rule-makings that directly impact our clients businesses. We are uniquely qualified to ensure that our clients receive the best substantive and political resources in working to promote and defend their public policy interests.
A robust environment, health and safety program is an essential building block to any sustainable business enterprise. Environmental accidents or unsafe working conditions can pose enormous risks and liabilities putting entire work forces and operations at risk, including potential civil and criminal prosecution.
Our lawyers have extensive experience working with clients to evaluate and custom build compliance programs, including training, best practices, auditing, performance metrics, and managing compliance data, to ensure that such programs are well designed and implemented to consistently produce high level results. And when EPA or OSHA shows up on your doorstep – whether as part of a routine or surprise inspection – our lawyers are prepared to rapidly respond to advise and defend you in any subsequent enforcement action. You can reach us 24/7 to address your compliance concerns at:
E&W Compliance Hotline (202) 664-9297
Our professionals at Earth & Law Strategies LLC have conducted hundreds of investigations to root out misconduct, staving off regulatory enforcement, limiting civil monetary fines and criminal actions, and informing an entity’s legal options and strategies, including voluntary self-disclosures. While every investigation is unique, they all must be timely, thorough, accurate, fair, objective and credible.
Whether conducting forensic investigations for a site cleanup or interviewing witnesses to assess potential employee wrongdoing, successfully pursuing a claim or protecting our client’s business reputation depends upon a well designed and thorough investigation. Our lawyers routinely work with highly trained and seasoned private investigators deployed through Earth & Water Strategies.
Whether you are a project sponsor, lender, or investor considering a major capital project, such as a desalination plant, a wastewater treatment plant, or a renewable energy project, you need strategic counsel on the legal issues facing you and the array of options, and finance alternatives available to you; and the various risks and rewards associated with each option. Our professionals are internationally recognized experts in project finance. They – literally – wrote the book(s) on environmental finance. They have published over 40 articles and have years of experience in working with lenders, investors, sponsors, and governments, from the local to the national level, to identify the best options available to meet clients’ growth and business needs.
We are experienced in all types and variations of environmental permitting, assisting our clients at every stage of the permitting process, from development and issuance to public comment and compliance.
Our experience has informed our approaches and strategies on developing defensible permits and favorable conditions, without which can lead to liabilities and litigation. Our primary goal is to ensure your permits keep your operations running smoothly, cost-effectively and in compliance with all applicable law.
Contaminated and Distressed Properties
Our multi-disciplinary team has extensive experience at assessing environmental liabilities associated with property transactions, and transforming those liabilities into assets through greenfields, brownfields or greyfields redevelopment.
And we have experience in negotiating cleanup settlements and litigating the recovery of cleanup costs associated with some of the nation’s most contaminated properties.
Whether you are in the business of installing pipelines or restoring streams, every project with a physical footprint on the environment – rural or urban – has the potential to impact fauna and flora, including federally or state protected species. The potential presence of threatened and endangered species or critical habitat near your project site has the potential to cause significant delays in permitting and project schedules, and potentially shut you down. Increasingly, prevalent aquatic and terrestrial species, such as freshwater mussels and bat species, are wreaking havoc on project development and permit issuance and renewals. Our professionals have the experience to help you navigate the complex regulatory maze associated with compliance with the Endangered Species Act. The legal risks of running afoul of the ESA are significant. Our lawyers work closely with field biologists and regulators to help our clients secure the requisite authorizations and negotiate common sense solutions, including incidental take permits, habitat conservation plans or “safe harbor” agreements.
Water is the critical link to almost everything in work and play, whether used for drinking purposes, conservation, recreation, energy production, or agricultural needs.
At Earth & Water Law our professionals have extensive experience in the water sector and helping our clients understand the law and business of water. Whether it’s helping you better understand an EPA policy or regulation, assist with a permit or infrastructure funding or needs, collaborate with key stakeholders including environmental groups, or defend a business decision, we are available to help you resolve your legal challenges as well as forecast opportunities that influence your production and business decisions.
As drought and water scarcity continue to rise in frequency and duration, companies and decision-makers need forward thinking advisors who can help them anticipate potential pitfalls and liabilities and sort through the myriad of regulations not just to avoid the bad decisions, but to make right decisions. At Earth & Water Law, we are adept at working with both the C-suite and operations, providing strategic advice on matters that not only can impact a company’s compliance record and financial success, but public reputation and social license to operate.
With over 50 percent of the nation’s waters still impaired and not meeting state water quality standards, regulators are under increasing pressure to accelerate the pace of restoration. This means the development of more total maximum daily loads under the Clean Water Act, resulting in more stringent standards and permit limits. Proactive efforts early in the watershed planning efforts, from data collection to technical modeling, are critical to influencing the regulatory process in a positive fashion. With enormous costs being borne by regulated entities from federal unfunded mandates, greater flexibility and more cost-effective compliance may be achievable through the strategic deployment of watershed planning, watershed-based permitting, water quality trading, integrated municipal storm water and wastewater management and planning.
The management of water, possibly our most vital resource, continues to evolve. Sustainable water supply planning is gaining attention and businesses, municipalities and governments are seeking sustainable and cost effective sources of water. Regulatory agencies are expanding the scope of their authority, creating consequences that affect everyone. Local decisions pertaining to water supply and allocation, in some cases, can be dictated by arcane legal constructs dating back to the 18th Century. But increasingly states and local governments are actively adopting more stringent requirements seeking to balance competing demands by multiple users with environmental needs for wetlands, stream flows, water quality, and fish and wildlife. As communities seek to develop other sources of water supplies, such as reservoirs, desalination plants, or water transfers, the regulatory and legal risks to such projects are on the rise.
Wetland Mitigation and Stream Restoration
At Earth & Water Law we pride ourselves in working with clients that are passionate about restoring and creating ecological habitats, such as streams and wetlands that are a critical link between the water and land. Whether seeking a Section 404 Corps of Engineer permit, creating a regional mitigation bank, reviewing a contract, seeking compensatory mitigation credits for your construction project, or an enforcement action we can help you find the right solution to fit your unique circumstances.
Water Quality Trading
As more and more impaired waters come under the auspices of the U.S. EPA and stringent federal regulatory mandates, communities are in greater need of flexible and cost-effective approaches to meet these demands, balanced with local job creation and economic growth. At Earth & Water, we have decades of experience establishing and implementing water quality trading programs at the national, regional and state-level. Our experience as former federal and state water regulators and practitioners enables us to strategically advise our clients on the opportunities and risks associated with these markets. Toward this end, we work closely with our clients – industrial, municipal, agricultural, and environmental – to identify the options and map out strategies to fix large watershed-scale problems. Our unparalleled successes in these emerging markets stems from our decades of on-the-ground work, understanding the key players and diverse perspectives, and fostering relationships and credibility.