Environmental law has become increasingly complex over the last 40 years since the passage of the National Environmental Policy Act and the Clean Air Act and now includes regulations at the local, state, federal and international levels. Businesses are required to meet the changing regulatory demands and also respond to legal challenges or environmental events as they arise. Phelps Dunbar’s environmental practice is equipped to handle the full array of environmental issues faced by businesses, including both counseling and litigation. The diverse skills and knowledge of the lawyers in our group allow us to respond quickly and efficiently.
Our environmental attorneys counsel clients regarding federal, state and local environmental laws and regulations. Additionally, we work closely with as well as appear before state and federal regulatory agencies. We handle the environmental aspects of commercial transactions and have managed substantial litigation in federal and state courts, involving a broad range of environmental issues.
We work closely with experts in various disciplines including toxicology, hydrology, geology, wetlands, land use, biology and chemistry. Our attorneys also routinely work with consultants regarding pollution control and permitting issues involving water pollution, hazardous and solid wastes, air pollution and radiation.
Our firm represents clients in a variety of industry areas, including public bulk liquid storage and handling, railroad transportation, railcar manufacturing and service, petrochemical manufacturing, pulp and paper, waste management, petroleum refining, oil and gas exploration and production, oil field and environmental remediation equipment, marine transportation, fuel storage, real estate, banking, interstate pipelines, renewable energy and environmental consulting.
In our regulatory practice, we counsel clients and work with regulators and experts regarding permitting issues, compliance orders, penalties and environmental assessments. We also assist clients in preparing comments to proposed federal rule making and state administrative regulations, as well as in challenging federal and state rule making.
In commercial transactions, our environmental attorneys prepare transaction documents (such as indemnity and hold harmless provisions, representations and warranties, and environmental opinions of counsel) to allocate known and potential environmental risks. We also counsel clients (buyers, sellers, and financial institutions) on environmental due diligence issues in real estate transactions, with a focus on maximizing available defenses to potential liabilities. Our commercial transaction work also includes related issues, such as counseling clients and experts regarding site assessments and investigations, insurance, and interactions with regulatory agencies.
In addition to handling toxic tort litigation, our environmental attorneys regularly defend clients in administrative and judicial forums involving environmental law issues. The following are recent examples:
While our environmental attorneys reside in the firm's offices in Baton Rouge, Jackson, Tampa, and New Orleans, the firm's state of the art technology enables the lawyers throughout the firm to coordinate and communicate while handling matters in other locales.