“Every good environmental lawyer knows the law. Our clients know that’s where we start, not where we finish.”
Jeff Porter, Chair

Environmental Law

Figuring out which environmental laws apply to your project or business can be difficult, and implementing cost-effective and efficient solutions can be even more challenging. Experienced environmental attorneys who know the lay of the land can alert you to potential regulatory and permitting roadblocks and help you avoid unneces­sary delays and costs.

When counseling you, we draw upon decades of experience with environmental legal issues and comprehensive services to our clients — from project planning and permitting to representing clients in cutting-edge litigation. Our attorneys can help you bring your plans to life. We often succeed where those with less experience would not. We stay on top of what regulatory developments are ahead, so we can advise you on compliance strategies to help you prevent liability while you contribute to a safer and more sustainable environment.

Quick Facts

  • Nationwide environmental transactional practice known for cost-effectively managing property transfer, remediation, and financing
  • Frequent consultants to regulators and trade associations on cutting-edge issues
  • Senior lawyers include two former general counsel of government agencies
  • Attorneys helped draft Massachusetts Brownfield legislation
  • Environmental permitting for recent infrastructure projects involving more than $1 billion in capital investments
  • Recent litigation includes amicus position largely adopted by US Supreme Court in CERCLA litigation
  • Demonstrated ability to efficiently and effectively prosecute environmental cleanup cost recovery cases with favorable results

Areas of Focus

  • Brownfield remediation and redevelopment
    • Represent sellers, purchasers, and redevelopers of environmentally impacted properties, including negotiations with federal, state, and local authorities regarding site cleanup
    • Work with state regulatory agencies to minimize deed restrictions, rationalize post-remediation conditions, and secure Brownfields tax credits
  • Cleanup cost recovery
    • Represent clients in negotiations concerning remedy selection and implementation issues and allocations among potentially responsible parties (PRPs)
    • Use in-depth knowledge of case law and leading experts to facilitate resolutions and identify opportunities to make new law, when necessary, at the trial and appellate levels
  • Enforcement defense
    • Assist clients during agency and grand jury investigations 
    • Conduct internal investigations 
    • Conduct litigation risk assessments 
    • Defend collateral administrative proceedings, including government contract suspension/debarment proceedings
    • Defend corporate officers and  individuals against allegations of criminal liability
    • Defend enforcement actions in federal and state court 
    • Handle appellate matters  
    • Handle enforcement issues that arise during settlement implementation
    • Negotiate consent decrees, plea agreements, and other settlement agreements 

  • Regulatory compliance and permitting
    • Hazardous waste and toxic substance management and control
    • Air quality control
    • Surface water, groundwater, and storm water discharges
    • Emissions reporting
    • Underground storage tank compliance
    • Groundwater withdrawals

  • State and federal Superfund / RCRA representation
    • Select and cost-effectively manage technical consultants and experts
    • Ensure agency / client compliance with applicable regulations, policies, and guidance
    • Secure approvals, minimize post-remediation restrictions, and conditions
    • Coordinate and manage relationships with stakeholders
    • Work with PRP groups, including chairing such groups and handling internal and external negotiations

  • Transactional representation
    • Advise clients on environmental and natural resource issues in commercial transactions
    • Identify and assess environmental concerns, and structure corporate and real estate transactions to address potential environmental liability
    • Represent clients in lending, asset purchases, project development, and mergers and acquisitions
    • Work with clients and rating agencies on environmental disclosure

Rankings & Recognitions

  • Acquisition International Legal Award for Environmental Law (2011, 2012, 2013)
  • Practice ranked in Chambers USA every year
    • 3 Environmental Law attorneys listed
  • Environmental law attorneys ranked in the following:
    • Best Lawyers in America
    • Guide to the World’s Leading Environmental Lawyers
    • Which Lawyer? Yearbook
Case Study: Mintz Levin Simplifies GE Headquarters Development

We represented our longtime client GE in the acquisition and permitting of the GE Headquarters Campus on Fort Point Channel in Boston. Less than one year after GE’s decision to move to Boston, GE had all of the approvals necessary to begin rehabilitating two historic brick buildings that will be part of the Campus and the construction of an iconic 12 story third new building is expected to begin in April, 2017.

This extraordinary pace is a testament to the deep experience brought to bear by lawyers from Mintz Levin’s Environmental, Real Estate, and Construction Law Practices and our colleagues at ML Strategies designing and implementing a plan to acquire the GE Headquarters Campus and the necessary easements from abutters, and to obtain the many state and local approvals required including a license under the Massachusetts Public Waterfront Act.

The permitting plan included obtaining a Phase I Waiver to allow the expedited rehabilitation of the historic buildings within 10 months of GE’s decision to move to Boston, a Single Environmental Impact Report submitted in less than a year,  and approval by the Boston Planning & Development Agency in 10 months.

Case Study: Defense in Federal Allegations of Hazardous Waste Disposal

We defended GE against an allegation by the United States that GE arranged for the disposal of hazardous substances at the Fletcher’s Paint Works and Storage Facility Superfund Site in Milford, New Hampshire. This representation included participation in the submittal of an amicus brief in Burlington Northern v. United States. The US Supreme Court largely adopted GE’s position in holding that arrangement for disposal as defined in CERCLA section 107 requires proof of an intention to dispose of hazardous substances. Mintz Levin is also representing GE in connection with its compliance with a Unilateral Administrative Order issued to GE requiring the design and construction of the remedial action selected for Operable Unit 1 of the Fletcher’s Paint Works Site.

Representative Experience

  • Represent General Electric (GE) in connection with the administrative proceedings that will result in the selection of a response to the PCBs remaining in the Housatonic River.
  • Leading the effort to permit Northeast Utilities’ Greater Springfield Reliability Project and other improvements to the high-voltage electric transmission system serving New England.
  • Represent a railyard owner in the negotiation of a comprehensive agreement with an operator, the investigation of site conditions, and future cleanup and reuse.
  • Represent CVS in its environmental matters, including assessing remediation costs and allocating liability among sellers, landlords, and other third parties, as well as managing property remediation through state regulatory programs.
  • Engaged by CVS to formulate its due diligence program, including preparing due diligence requirements; selecting, interviewing, and training consultants; and developing and negotiating a master consulting services agreement.

Representative Clients

  • Cargill
  • Colony Realty Partners
  • CVS Health Corporation
  • General Electric Company
  • GenOn Energy Holdings
  • Gillette (Procter & Gamble)
  • Harvard University
  • New Generation Energy
  • Northeast Utilities Systems
  • Spectra Energy Corp.