Environmental Compliance, Litigation & Contamination

Regulatory, Enforcement & Toxic Torts

ZAG-S&W’s U.S. lawyers provide clients with an integrated service in connection with the demands to comply with federal and state environmental laws. These include matters involving wastewater discharge, air emissions, climate change, wetlands, waterfront development, health and safety, hazardous waste, hazardous materials transport and zoning.

We also help clients to secure environmental permits, including operating and construction permits. We have advised clients on environmental reporting and notification requirements, assisted with the voluntary disclosure of potential violations pursuant to the federal audit and self-disclosure policy and negotiated settlements of statutory penalties.

Our lawyers have also successfully defended clients against governmental enforcement actions, natural resource damage claims and toxic tort suits alleging injury from environmental contamination or exposure to hazardous materials.

Real Estate & Contaminated Property

The firm represents clients in matters concerning contaminated property across the United States, including all facets of remediation and corrective action under CERCLA, RCRA, analogous state statutes, and voluntary cleanup and brownfield programs.

We have also developed site-wide and off-site corrective action plans for facilities in numerous industries, many involving innovative uses of EPA’s Area of Concern and Corrective Action Management Unit policies.

We endeavor to reduce our clients’ financial exposure by aggressively pursuing other potentially responsible parties, available insurance, and contractual indemnities. When necessary, we also litigate issues involving compliance with legal requirements and the determination and allocation of liabilities. Our lawyers also act as counsel to Potentially Responsible Parties (PRP) performing cleanups and pursuing actions for third-party contribution.

In connection with real estate transactions, we collaborate with environmental consultants to evaluate the risks associated with environmental contamination, which are critically important to property valuation, site remediation and development planning. We are also well-versed in the available insurance, fixed-price remediation and liability buyout solutions available to mitigate the risk of remediation cost overruns.

Natural Resources & Land Use

We provide strategic advice and counseling on mining operations and other land uses affecting wetlands, protected species, national forests and parkland, surface water, aquifers and other sensitive environmental resources.

We have advised clients on the impact of legislation, such as the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act, and other mine reclamation matters, where land that has been mined for natural resources is restored to its natural or a usable state.

Our lawyers have successfully obtained permits – and defended against permit challenges – for facilities subject to regulation under the National Environmental Protection Act, Endangered Species Act, Federal Land Policy and Management Act, National Forest Management Act, Clean Water Act, Rivers and Harbors Act, National Historic Preservation Act and comparable state statutes. On behalf of our clients, we have also challenged federal action under many of these same laws.

  • Advised clients on various compliance issues under the federal Clean Air Act and State Implementation Plans
  • Represented a coal company in negotiations with state agency to address environmental impacts from legacy mining operations
  • Represented a real estate developer in connection with indemnity dispute regarding costs to address legacy site contamination
  • Negotiated a substantially reduced settlement payment by auto parts manufacturer to resolve environmental cost recovery litigation with EPA and private entities by demonstrating remedy selected and performed by the agency was based on faulty conceptual site model

Key Contacts