Adams and Reese provides full-scale environmental representation to both public and private sector entities. We deliver the kind of business-oriented, practical advice our clients need, when they need it. We provide top-notch counsel for regulatory and advisory needs, and when disputes arise, clients say they value our ability to quickly assess the situation and work with them to find an efficient resolution, whether it be an aggressive strategy to defeat a claim outright, or to minimize damages with creative alternative tactics.
The team also works in an advisory capacity in transactional matters with environmental components and in relation to legislative drafting and government relations advice. We assist with drafting environmental components of real estate purchase and sale agreements, wetlands mitigation, remediation agreements, and consulting contracts, as well as with Phase I and Phase II site assessments.
We have assisted clients with developing proactive measures to minimize environmental liability exposure, including audit programs, inventories, contingency plans for agency inspections, due diligence and compliance checklists, permit modifications, and environmental management systems.
Consider these examples of recent work experience:
- We assisted a leading real estate development and management organization with the environmental review for a development project spanning four city blocks. Out of 57 parcels, 54 included at least some evidence of contamination. Oversaw the Phase II investigations and assisted the client in the completion of the state's voluntary cleanup program to limit liability and to satisfy investors, lenders, and the municipality project owner.
- The Adams and Reese Environmental Team represented a leading producer of dairy products in a dispute with a local government over odor issues. We successfully prevented the local government from issuing regulations that would have put the manufacturer out of business and helped to convince the local government's counsel that the manufacturer was not the main source of the odor about which they were complaining.
- Assisted an industrial real estate investor in the Southeastern United States with negotiating the $10 million purchase of a contaminated, shuttered manufacturing facility on behalf of the purchaser.
The environmental team at Adams and Reese includes notable practitioners with significant regulatory experience, including a former Secretary of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, a Deputy Secretary in charge of environmental regulatory matters at one of the largest state programs in the nation, and a former member of the Alabama Oil & Gas Board. The relationships and knowledge of these regulatory agencies that our team possesses is of significant value to clients navigating regulatory challenges. In addition, we have a well-regarded environmental litigation practice (including attorneys recognized in Chambers USA) which is able to assist clients in environmental citizen suits, Superfund cost recovery litigation, and complex commercial and multi-jurisdictional toxic tort matters.
The environmental team at Adams and Reese has represented clients in the forestry, transportation, maritime, energy, real estate development, manufacturing, and construction industries, among others. Our areas of expertise include:
Environmental Regulatory: Our team counsels clients on compliance with all applicable federal, state, and local energy and environmental regulations, including advice on the preparation and filing of permit applications, and handling of contested and uncontested regulatory matters before regulatory bodies. We have significant experience with the EPA, state DEQs, the Army Corps of Engineers, OSHA, the Department of Agriculture, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, and the United States Forest Service, among others, as well as multiple state agencies and affiliates.
Environmental Enforcement Defense: We routinely represent clients in defending against enforcement actions, both administrative actions brought by federal, state and local government agencies and environmental citizen suits. We have significant experience negotiating consent agreements with regulatory agencies.
Toxic Tort Litigation: We represent clients in complex and multi-party litigation, where a case may involve hundreds of plaintiffs in multiple jurisdictions. Our team has served as national counsel for leading petrochemical, pharmaceutical and agricultural chemical companies. We have handled litigation arising out of explosions, accidents, and environmental contamination, among others.
Transactions: The team engages extensively in advising on all environmental aspects of corporate and real estate transactions, including Phase I and Phase II site assessments and agency records to identify potential environmental liabilities. The team assists with drafting and negotiating environmental components of purchase and sale agreements and commercial leases, environmental indemnities, remediation agreements, access agreements and consulting service contracts.
Permitting: We work with clients to secure permits covering air emissions, wastewater and stormwater discharge, wetland permits, and waste generation and disposal (including hazardous waste). When necessary, we are skilled at handling permit challenges before state and regulatory agencies.
Remediation: We work with land owners and prospective purchasers of brownfields, including hazardous and solid waste sites, and sites with underground contamination. We assist clients in investigations, compliance with state-approved clean-up plans, and other issues related to responsibility for the contamination. We assist sellers who agree to clean up property post-closing, and we assist buyers who purchased property subject to a post-closing remediation agreement.
- Obtaining dredge and fill permits (wetland permits) for some of the largest developments and developers in the nation.
- Represented two individuals in Florida and Canada in the lease and subsequent $7.5 million purchase of a contaminated manufacturing facility, shifting responsibility for the property remediation under a state voluntary cleanup program to the seller and requiring indemnification from the seller for any future contamination for which the seller was responsible.
- Represented a large-scale home builder in Alabama in an environmental enforcement matter with the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM). Successfully decreased the monetary fine and prevented ADEM from terminating all of the client's construction stormwater permits and issuing stop work orders affecting seven large subdivision projects.
- Defended an individual and private landowner in Alabama in an administrative enforcement action with the ADEM and in a related dispute with a neighbor regarding stormwater runoff and pond sedimentation. Our team successfully avoided a lawsuit from the neighbor while assisting the client in avoiding further enforcement actions.
- Defended the interests of a multinational industrial and manufacturing conglomerate in connection with a legacy property contamination lawsuit requesting cleanup and damages as a result of alleged contamination by oil and gas production on the property.
- Served as lead counsel in class certification and trial, and negotiated settlement on behalf of an agrochemical company in a class action alleging DDT property contamination and personal injury.
- Successfully defeated class certification at the District Court Level (affirmed on appeal) on behalf of multiple oil and gas defendants facing damage claims resulting from alleged exposure to naturally occurring radioactive material (NORM).
- Represented the domestic subsidiary of a publicly-traded foreign entity in connection with its purchase of a refinery in Texas for total consideration in excess of $200 Million, which included advice on environmental issues, labor issues and pipeline supply and delivery issues.
- Represented one of the largest energy infrastructure companies in North America in a response to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality's action seeking recovery of clean-up costs in connection with a Superfund site in Texas.
- Represented the primary responsible parties in a cost recovery action against additional contributors to a wastewater treatment Superfund site.
- Represented a wetlands mitigation bank in analyzing and successfully resolving contract disputes involving force majeure clauses in negotiations for a Florida land contract.
- Represented a real estate development company in negotiations for the purchase of a contaminated commercial property from the U.S. Government Services Administration, along with the remediation of the property.
- Represented an individual in the appeal of an administrative enforcement order against the client alleging that the client was maintaining an unauthorized dump. Successfully settled the appeal with the state agency with no monetary penalty, and the agency agreed to pay for the cleanup of the client's property.