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Jeffrey R. Porter

Member / Chair, Environmental Law Practice

[email protected]

+1.617.348.1711

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With over three decades of litigation and transactional experience, Jeff is widely recognized as one of the top environmental lawyers in the country. Clients seek him out to solve complex environmental law challenges.

Some of the largest global companies rely on Jeff’s insights and strategic guidance. Clients praise him as “the top environmental attorney you will find in Boston” and say his “judgment on sensitive political issues is invaluable.” Jeff is ranked Band 1 by Chambers USA which says “Jeff has deep knowledge of environmental law and marries current knowledge with an understanding of the political and policy environment.”

Jeff is Chair of the firm’s Environmental Law Practice. He is a Fellow of the American College of Environmental Lawyers and a Massachusetts Environmental Trustee.  He was the Chairman of Boston Harbor Now, a member of the MassDevelopment Board of Directors, and the Chair of The Nature Conservancy’s Trustee Council, having previously served as the Chair and Vice-Chair of The Nature Conservancy in Massachusetts.

Jeff advised the Massachusetts Legislature’s Committee on Natural Resources and Agriculture during the drafting of the Brownfield legislation that has spurred the beneficial redevelopment of underutilized former industrial sites across the Commonwealth.

Education

  • Cornell University (JD)
  • Bates College (BA)

Experience

  • Obtaining what may be the largest private party Superfund response cost recovery in Massachusetts history after filing a motion for summary judgment of the responsible party’s liability
  • Representing General Electric in permitting and development of new waterfront global headquarters including interactions with city and state
  • Representing a resort developer in connection with environmental and legal issues relating to the remediation and redevelopment of its waterfront site
  • Representing owner of former urban rail yard in connection with its remediation and planned redevelopment, including interactions with the rail operator
  • Representing a pharmaceutical manufacturer in connection with the acquisition of a portion of a former military base for the construction of a large-scale biologics manufacturing facility
  • Obtaining a dismissal of contamination-related property damage claims made by the owner of an industrial property against its long-time tenant
  • Successfully defending a client against a claim that it was responsible for contamination of a municipal water supply

Recognition & Awards

  • Best Lawyers in America: Environmental Law, Litigation (2006 – 2021)
  • Chambers USA: Massachusetts (Band 1) – Environment (2004 – 2021)  
  • Included on the Massachusetts Super Lawyers: Environmental list (2004 – 2020)
  • Recognized as a 2021 Lawdragon 500 Leading Environmental & Energy Lawyer
  • Acquisition International Legal Award, US Environmental Law Firm of the Year (2011 – 2016)
  • Acquisition International Global Excellence Awards, Most Outstanding Environmental Lawyer – Boston (2018)
  • Who’s Who in American Law
  • Who’s Who in the World
  • Who’s Who in America
  • Guide to the World’s Leading Environmental Lawyers
  • The International Who’s Who of Environmental Lawyers
  • Phi Beta Kappa
  • Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent

Involvement

  • Fellow, American College of Environmental Lawyers
  • Trustee, Massachusetts Environmental Trust
  • Member, Bureau of Waste Site Clean Up Advisory Committee, Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection
  • Former Board Chair, Boston Harbor Now
  • Former Member, Board of Directors, MassDevelopment
  • Former Chair, Trustee Council, The Nature Conservancy (and former Chair, Massachusetts Chapter)
  • Former Board Member, Boston Harbor Island Alliance (past Vice-Chair and Treasurer)
  • Member, American Bar Association
  • Member, Massachusetts Bar Association
  • Member, Boston Bar Association

Recent Insights

News & Press

Events

Viewpoints

Environmental Viewpoint Image

Read Our Insights on Clean Water Act Issues

July 1, 2021 | Blog | By Jeff Porter

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Read Our Insights on PFAS Issues

July 1, 2021 | Blog | By Jeff Porter

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Webinar Recording: PFAS, PFAS All Around: What's Next?

May 21, 2021 | Webinar | By Jeff Porter

In this webinar, Mintz and GZA explain why people are so concerned about PFAS, referred to as “forever chemicals,” when and how you should look for them, what actions you should consider taking if you find them, and the implications of all of this for real estate transactions.
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The United States Supreme Court’s decision in Maui v. Hawaii Wildlife Fund leaves anyone with responsibility for a discharge to groundwater wondering whether that discharge is prohibited by the federal Clean Water Act. Guidance issued by EPA at the very end of the Trump administration offers no real assistance.
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The United States Supreme Court’s April 23 decision in County of Maui v. Hawai’i Wildlife Fund (https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/19pdf/18-260_i4dk.pdf) proves that legislating is best done by the Congress, not the Courts. The Court’s decision also tells us that the era of judicial deference to EPA that began in the mid-1980s seems to be coming to an end.
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SCOTUS Says Two Wrongs Don't Make a Right for Dusky Gopher Frog

November 29, 2018 | Blog | By Jeff Porter

You don’t see a unanimous decision of the United States Supreme Court very often, especially in an environmental case, but that’s what happened this week when the Court held that for an area to be “critical habitat” of an endangered species, it first had to be habitat.
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I’ve been an environmental lawyer for thirty years. That’s how long the jurisdictional reach of the Federal Clean Water Act has been unsettled. Sometime in the next few months the newly more Conservative United States Supreme Court will decide whether to grant either of two petitions to review diametrically opposed Federal Appeals Court answers to the question of whether the Clean Water Act applies to discharges to groundwater, one very important facet of the three decade old question already considered by the Supreme Court three times.
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News & Press

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An article published by Inside EPA quoted Mintz Member and Chair of the firm’s Environmental Law Practice Jeff Porter on a recent ruling in Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) v. ExxonMobil, which highlights a growing concern over whether courts or EPA has the most authority in administering highly technical aspects of the Clean Water Act (CWA).
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In an article published by Bloomberg Law, Mintz Member Jeff Porter commented on the oral argument before the U.S. Supreme Court in Guam v. United States. The Supreme Court will determine whether a 2004 Clean Water Act settlement between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Guam will prevent Guam from seeking from the U.S. Navy contribution toward the cost of cleaning up a former Navy dump in Guam under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act, also known as the Superfund statute.
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In a Boston.com and Globe.com article, Mintz Member Jeff Porter was quoted extensively on the significance of a recent Massachusetts Superior Court decision invalidating Boston’s Downtown Municipal Harbor Plan. Mr. Porter suggested that the Government’s need to respond to the ruling could be an opportunity for a 21st century refreshing of the Commonwealth’s 20th century coastal development rules, adding “it’s probably the most significant waterfront decision in 15 or 20 years.”
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In an article published by the Boston Business Journal, Mintz Member Jeff Porter was consulted regarding the legal consequences of a recent Massachusetts Superior Court ruling invalidating Boston’s Downtown Municipal Harbor Plan.
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Mintz Member and Chair of the firm's Environmental Law Practice Jeffrey R. Porter was quoted in an article published by Inside EPA on the likely impact of a recent decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in United States v. Lucero, which overturned a conviction for an alleged Clean Water Act (CWA) violation, noting that he believes the ruling “could reduce criminal prosecutions of CWA violations,” among other observations.
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Mintz Member and Chair of the firm’s Environmental Law Practice Jeffrey R. Porter was quoted in article published by Inside EPA on a potential increase in Clean Water Act (CWA) citizen suits in the wake of County of Maui v. Hawaii Wildlife Fund and how the Biden administration may issue new guidance on the landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling.
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An article published by Inside EPA quoted remarks made by Mintz Member and Chair of the firm’s Environmental Law Practice Jeffrey R. Porter during a recent Mintz webinar on the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Maui v. Hawaii Wildlife Fund and increased uncertainty over the reach of the federal Clean Water Act despite guidance issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) at the very end of the Trump administration. The webinar recording is available here.
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In an article published by Bloomberg Law, Mintz Member and Chair of the firm’s Environmental Law Practice Jeffrey R. Porter criticized draft guidance from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) clarifying permitting requirements for pollution discharges into federal waters, which was issued in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s April ruling in Country of Maui v. Hawaii Wildlife Fund. 
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Mintz Member and Chair of the firm’s Environmental Law Practice Jeffrey R. Porter was quoted in E&E News on the potential impact of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ)’s Superfund memo for companies working on environmental cleanups.
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Mintz Member and Chair of the firm’s Environmental Law Practice Jeffrey R. Porter authored an article published by the American College of Environmental Lawyers on Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey Bossert Clark’s recent edict decreeing that the federal government will not make the same Clean Water Act claims as a state unless there is a good reason to do so.
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Mintz Member and Chair of the firm’s Environmental Law Practice Jeffrey R. Porter was quoted in an article published by Law360 on the U.S. Department of Justice’s July 27 memo that formalized the federal government’s policy of staying out of state civil enforcement matters under the Clean Water Act.
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Mintz Member and Chair of the firm’s Environmental Law Practice Jeffrey R. Porter was quoted in an article published by Law360 on President Trump’s judicial picks and their potential influence on environmental case law and future litigation.
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In an article published by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly, Mintz Member and Chair of the firm’s Environmental Law Practice Jeffrey R. Porter was quoted extensively on the U.S. Supreme Court’s April 23 decision in County of Maui, Hawaii v. Hawaii Wildlife Fund, which ruled that the Clean Water Act regulates certain discharges of pollutants flowing through groundwater to the ocean or other navigable waters.
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Mintz Member and Chair of the firm’s Environmental Law Practice Jeffrey R. Porter authored a Law360 expert analysis article on the U.S. Supreme Court’s April 23 decision in County of Maui, Hawaii v. Hawaii Wildlife Fund.
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An article published by Law360 reported that Mintz successfully defended the Wychmere Beach Club, a small Massachusetts resort property, in a lawsuit brought by the Conservation Law Foundation alleging that the Beach Club’s wastewater treatment facility needs a federal permit under the Clean Water Act in addition to the state permit it already has under the Massachusetts Clean Waters Act because the treated effluent from the wastewater treatment facility percolates through soil to groundwater that is connected to Wychmere Harbor. In the ruling, U.S. District Judge William Young agreed that the Beach Club’s discharges were not covered by the federal law.

The Mintz team representing the Wychmere Beach Club includes Mintz Member and Chair of the firm's Environmental Law Practice Jeffrey R. Porter, and Co-Chairs of the firm's Appellate Practice Andrew N. Nathanson (Special Counsel) and Emily Kanstroom Musgrave (Member).
Mintz Member and Chair of the Environmental Law practice Jeff Porter was quoted in a duo of articles published by Law360 that examined the biggest environmental law rulings in 2019 so far and environmental policy to watch through the end of the year.


In a July 12 article, Mr. Porter discussed one of the biggest environment-related regulations to watch in the second half of 2019.

In particular, he commented on the EPA’s new narrower definition of "waters of the U.S." under the Clean Water Act, which is expected to be finalized by December. “Just as the Obama rule was challenged in court by various states and industry groups, the Trump rule will face its own legal battles,” Mr. Porter said.

In a July 8 article, Mr. Porter discussed one of the most significant rulings in environmental law during the first half of 2019.

In particular, he commented on the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling to limit courts' ability to defer to federal agencies' interpretations of their own regulations. “With their newfound leeway, judges could begin to wade more deeply into controversial and science-heavy issues like climate change and water quality disputes,” Mr. Porter said.
This Law360 “Expert Analysis” column, authored by Mintz Member and Chair of the Environmental Practice Jeff Porter, notes that amid the ongoing chaos of competing Clean Water Act judicial decisions and agency actions, it is clear that Congress should have taken necessary action.
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Mintz partner and Massachusetts lawyer Julie Korostoff is one of 49 attorneys recognized as “Leaders in Their Fields” by the 2018 Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business guide. Chambers named Korostoff a “Recognized Practitioner” in Technology.
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Best Lawyers named 85 Mintz attorneys to its 2018 list of The Best Lawyers in America. In addition, Mintz attorneys Matthew J. Gardella and Samuel M. Tony Starr were named “Lawyer of the Year” in their respective practice areas.
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Jeff Porter, Chair of Mintz’s Environmental Law Section, is quoted in a Boston Business Journal article discussing Massachusetts Governor Baker’s new greenhouse gas regulations and the role played by energy industry.
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Jeffrey R. Porter, Chair of the Environmental Law Practice at Mintz, has been elected to Boston Harbor Now’s Board of Trustees. As a Trustee, Mr. Porter will bring his three decades of experience at the intersection of law, business, and the environment.
Mintz attorneys represented GE in the acquisition and permitting of GE Innovation Point, GE’s new corporate headquarters. The acquisition marks a major milestone for GE, which in January 2016 announced its decision to move to Boston.
Jeff Porter, Member and Chair of Mintz’s Environmental Law Section, is quoted in a Bloomberg BNA Daily Environment Report feature article on the hazardous waste recycling case involving the American Petroleum Institute and the EPA.
Jeffrey R. Porter, Chair of the Environmental Law Practice at Mintz, is one of sixteen lawyers elected a Fellow of the American College of Environmental Lawyers.
Fifty-three Mintz attorneys have been named Massachusetts Super Lawyers for 2016 and thirty-one have been named Massachusetts Rising Stars. The findings will be published in the November 2016 issue of Boston Magazine and in a stand-alone magazine, New England Super Lawyers. 
Best Lawyers named 73 Mintz attorneys to its 2017 list of The Best Lawyers in America. Mintz attorneys selected for inclusion in this year’s list span 44 practice areas. 
Firm’s National Healthcare Practice, NY Corporate/M&A and Litigation: General Commercial Among Newest Rankings
The 2015 Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business guide names 52 Mintz, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C.  attorneys as “Leaders in Their Fields.”

Events

May
20
2021
Webinar Reference Image
Speaker
Jan
24
2018

Working Port: A 21st-Century Harbor Event

Boston Harbor Now

Boston, MA