Harris Beach has decades of experience providing counsel to private and municipal clients on evolving federal, state and local environmental statutes, rules and regulations. We advise public and private entities on environmental review processes to meet regulatory compliance requirements. We represent clients in administrative enforcement proceedings and in private environmental litigation.
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- Assisting clients in the development, review and implementation of audits designed to self-correct deficiencies and meet compliance with environmental regulations of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC)
- Representing purchasers and sellers of properties with environmental concerns with due diligence and crafting agreements to ensure that environmental concerns are appropriately addressed and the parties are protected from potential liability
Environmental Regulatory Compliance
- Counseling clients on strategies, including compliance with environmental regulations to ensure compliance at the local, state and federal level that directly impact commercial and industrial operations associated with all environmental media
- Advising on the permits necessary under local, state and/or federal law to embark on new development in potentially sensitive environmental areas or brownfield sites
Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG)
- Our attorneys support clients with cross-functional teams dedicated to integrating aspects of ESG into core business strategies, governance, and risk-management. In addition to helping our clients understand, prepare for, and comply with emerging regulations, we also help our clients realize the benefits created in the marketplace by a bespoke approach to ESG.
Health and Safety Issues
- Counseling on compliance with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) regulations and other federal and state regulations and programs that concern health and safety matters
- Assisting public and private sector clients in interpreting regulations associated with asbestos containing material (ACM), including required permitting and disclosures during renovation or construction on buildings and structures containing or potentially containing ACM under federal and New York law
- Addressing required notifications to regulatory agencies when ACM is disturbed, and working with clients on performing required testing and clean up of ACM when such disturbances have occurred
Land Use and Zoning
- Assisting in permitting matters before the DEC, the New York Office of Parks Recreation and Historic Preservation, the EPA, the United States Army Corps of Engineers, the New York State Department of Labor, and other state and federal regulatory agencies
- Representing various companies in the energy and power transmission sectors, and providing counsel to facilitate their navigation of environmental and land use regulatory processes in order to secure state and federal authorizations necessary for these companies to develop expanded delivery capabilities
- Negotiating with local, state and federal regulators concerning permit conditions and, where necessary, representing clients in administrative hearings and litigation on such matters
PFAS (Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances)
- Assisting in the environmental zoning and land use review processes required under the New York State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA), the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the New York City Environmental Quality Review Act (CEQR) and the New York Uniform Land Use Review Procedures (ULURP)
- Counseling on compliance with the various local, state and federal laws and regulations in order for projects to receive approvals, including as needed completion of simultaneous environmental reviews under state and federal law
- Assisting public and private entities in responding to EPA and DEC claims seeking criminal penalties, including successfully settling numerous matters
Representing Municipalities and Private Parties in Environmental Enforcement Actions
- Defending enforcement actions initiated by the EPA and the DEC and other regulatory agencies in local, state and federal courts and administrative tribunals
- Representing clients in civil and criminal cases prosecuted under federal law, including the Clean Water Act (CWA), the Clean Air Act (CAA), the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA), the Solid Waste Disposal Act, known as the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), and applicable regulations as well as under New York State law, including the Environmental Conservation Law (ECL) and the New York Navigation Law
- Developing defense strategies in responding to criminal enforcement proceedings and criminal investigations
Zoning and Development
- Counseling private and public sector clients in each phase of the development of projects requiring environmental review and land use approval, including working with local municipalities to obtain the necessary zoning approvals and required SEQRA and NEPA reviews
- Litigating cases under New York’s CPLR Article 78 concerning zoning matters
- Assisting clients in site acquisition, whether by negotiated purchase or government assisted condemnation
- Assisting in financing for projects, which may include conventional construction and permanent mortgage loans or lease financing
- Negotiating agreements with architects, general contractors and construction managers
- Negotiating leases
- Representation of Trammell Crow in securing all of the zoning, SEQRA and public finance approvals and benefits for the construction of a 4.0 million square foot regional warehouse distribution facility, the largest of its kind in the Northeast region, in the Town of Clay, County of Onondaga.
- del Lago Resort & Casino, a $425 million casino in Tyre, New York; land use and zoning counsel.
- Pittsford Canalside v. Village of Pittsford et al. 14-5753 2014 WL 6389972 (N.Y.Sup.): Decision and Order dated October, 2014: Co-lead counsel in a significant land use litigation brought by a developer client that successfully challenged municipal resolutions as invalid that rescinded previous project approvals under the New York State Environmental Quality Review Act. This decision was affirmed by the Appellate Division Fourth Department by Decision and Order dated March 18, 2016 which also modified the trial court’s decision and order concerning other matters.
- Pittsford Canalside Properties, LLC v. Village of Pittsford, 137 AD3d 1566 (4th Dept. 2016); successfully obtained annulment of rescission of negative declaration pursuant to New York State Environmental Quality Review Act.
- Women’s Voices for the Earth Inc. et al v. Procter & Gamble Manufacturing Co et al reported at 29 Misc. 3d 358 (New York County Supreme Court). Lead counsel for one of the respondent/defendants in a special proceeding initiated by environmental advocacy groups seeking an order requiring manufacturers and distributors to disclose additional product information, and was successful in obtaining dismissal of the proceeding.
- Belosky v. Town Board of the Town of Horseheads (Supreme Court, Chemung County 2014); successfully obtained dismissal of complaint against municipal defendants concerning challenge to Planned Unit Development zoning amendments and negative declaration issued pursuant to New York State Environmental Quality Review Act.
- Assisted national solar energy developer by conducting transactional environmental due diligence reviews for numerous project sites, including obtaining NYS Department of Environmental Conservation authorization to proceed with development of a site listed on the New York State Superfund Site List.
- Represented an Erie County Local Development Corporation in a multimillion dollar brownfield site acquisition and remediation project to transform a component part of the former historical Bethlehem Steel Corporation facility located in Lackawanna, New York.
- Provided Brownfield and SEQRA counsel for the Canandaigua North Shore Project, a significant multi-use lakefront development.
- Provided Brownfields, SEQRA, and zoning services to client for re-development of 100-year old manufacturing facility located in Buffalo, New York as a mixed-use project.
- Assisted City of Yonkers IDA in Brownfields redevelopment of the former Austin Avenue landfill.
- Represented a developer in a mixed-use project along the banks of the New York State Canal System.
- Directed environmental regulatory audit for major health care institution, followed by development of remedial actions necessary to return the institution to compliance, without assessment of penalties.
- Oversee SEQRA compliance for large downstate medical institution’s major expansion at two locations.
- Obtained multiple contested land use approvals and DEC permits and authorizations for upgrades to Fortune 250 company’s interstate natural gas pipeline.
- Assisted in the redevelopment of waterfront properties throughout New York state.
- Counseled in regulatory compliance matters concerning a food production company that changed its operational infrastructure, including how it manages permitted discharges to air and water.
- Represented clients in several regional wind farm projects.
- Assisted Fortune 500 transportation company in a major regional transportation project.