Environmental Regulatory & Due Diligence

Featured Publication:

Choosing Safe & Effective Disinfection in the Post-COVID-19-World

Cozen O’Connor’s Environmental Practice partnered with Aramark to provide owners and operators of commercial and institutional facilities with insight into the important differences in SARS-CoV-2 disinfection methods for interior spaces. The practical, fact-based whitepaper, “Choosing Safe & Effective Disinfection in the Post-COVID-19-World” offers information to help better inform owners and operators on considerations for the selection of appropriate cleaning and disinfecting methods to ensure hard, impervious surfaces within interior spaces are safely and effectively disinfected.


Most businesses in the United States are subject to a complex web of federal and state environmental laws. Cozen O’Connor is a leading adviser on the application and interpretation of those laws.

The Environmental Regulatory & Due Diligence team is well versed in all major federal and state environmental laws, including the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, CERCLA and SARA, Endangered Species Act, Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), Toxic Substances Control Act, and the Safe Drinking Water Act. It also includes attorneys with detailed knowledge of regulatory sub-areas, including New Source Review, National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants, Outer-Continental Shelf Air Regulations, and the Solid Waste Disposal Act.

Cozen O’Connor’s ability to help clients interpret and comply with these statutes is greatly enhanced by having former environmental regulators in our ranks, a number of whom were involved in writing current provisions. The team is led by the former Special Assistant to the EPA’s Director of Civil Enforcement who helped draft regulations implementing amendments to the Clean Air Act. It also includes the former Regional Counsel for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Mid-Atlantic region and former National Director of the Offices of Pesticides Programs.

To provide relevant, actionable advice, regulatory attorneys must understand the underlying business as well as they understand the environmental laws; Cozen O’Connor immerses itself in client operations, financials, and industry dynamics, and tailors all guidance accordingly.

Regulatory Counselling

The firm works closely with corporate clients to establish their responsibilities under federal and state environmental statutes and design compliance regimes. We conduct comprehensive on-site assessments and audits, make recommendations, and assist in implementation.

Permit Approvals

The firm helps clients navigate the process of obtaining permits and authorizations from federal and state agencies, including permits for New Source Review, Freshwater Wetlands, Outer Continental Shelf Sources, National Pollutant Discharge Elimination, Underground Storage Tank Closures, New Jersey Pinelands Commission, and others.

Due Diligence

Our team conducts comprehensive due diligence to support a wide range of corporate and real estate transactions, particularly in the utilities, energy, industrial, commercial, and maritime industries. Assistance may include: Phase I and Phase II reports, compliance reviews and audits, inspections, resolution of areas of noncompliance, environmental liability analysis, environmental liability allocation, environmental insurance review, and transferring necessary permits or authorizations.



EPA Signals Enforcement Direction Shifts

May 17, 2021

Marcia Mulkey and James Van Orden discuss the EPA's memo to the national and regional enforcement managers that signals clear and specific enforcement policy expectations in the stressed communities and environmental justice context.

Businesses Using PFAS Chemicals Now Subject to TRI Reporting and Greater Scrutiny

December 01, 2020

Pete Fontaine and Marcia Mulkey discuss the EPA's Toxic Release Inventory reports required for 172 PFOS and PFOA compounds.

New Jersey’s First in the Nation State Environmental Justice Law [Alert]

October 22, 2020

Amorie Hummel, Evan Preminger, Michael Connolly, and Greg Eisenstark discuss the New Jersey law that is the first in the nation to require mandatory permit denials under state law for new facilities and to expressly allow the imposition of conditions on renewal and expansion permits for existing facilities based on environmental justice concerns alone.

Is EPA’s Emergency Approval of Long-lasting Disinfectant a Game Changer? [Alert]

August 31, 2020

Marcia Mulkey and Evan Preminger discuss the EPA's emergency exemption to the state of Texas to permit the use of a chemical disinfectant product that claims to effectively kill viruses on surfaces for up to seven days after application.

Choosing Safe & Effective Disinfection in the Post-COVID-19-World

June 01, 2020

Pete Fontaine partnered with Aramark to provide owners and operators of commercial and institutional facilities with insight into the important differences in SARS-CoV-2 disinfection methods for interior spaces.

Environmental Compliance During the COVID-19 Pandemic [Alert]

April 15, 2020

Pete Fontaine, Marcia Mulkey, and Amorie Hummel discuss how various state and federal orders are impacting the environmental industry.

PFAS in California — Impact of the 2020 Defense Authorization Act [Alert]

February 10, 2020

Peter Fontaine and Marcia Mulkey discuss California’s active involvement in the emerging PFAS challenges and how extensive reporting requirements will result in rapid expansion of information.

Philadelphia Non-Residential Buildings Required to Boost Energy Efficiency Under New Law [Alert]

January 09, 2020

James Van Orden and Matthew Robbins discuss what commercial building owners need to know about the Building Energy Performance Policy bill signed into law by Mayor Kenny.

Congress Passes Federal PFAS Legislation in Defense Authorization Act [Alert]

December 19, 2019

Pete Fontaine and Marcia Mulkey discuss the 2020 Defense Authorization Act, which will speed investigations and cleanups of military facilities contaminated with per- and poly-fluorinated compounds.

EPA Issues New CERCLA Guidance on Liability Protections for Current/Potential Impacted Site Owners [Alert]

September 09, 2019

If you’re back to work navigating the complexities of cleaning up a brownfields site, you’re in luck. The EPA issued an update to “Enforcement Discretion Guidance” for enforcement personnel as it relates to liability protections under the 2002 Brownfields Amendments to the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA).

States Ratcheting Down on PFAS Compounds, Moving Ahead of Federal Government [Alert]

July 31, 2019

Marcia Mulkey and Peter J. Fontaine discuss New Hampshire's drinking water maximum contaminant levels (MCLs) for PFOS and PFOA, which will go into effect October 1, 2019.

PFAS and Public Water Supply in Pennsylvania: Challenges & Opportunities [Alert]

May 20, 2019

Peter Fontaine, Michael Klein, and Marcia Mulkey discuss the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection's tracking approximately 19 sites with known contamination with PFOA and PFOS and its PFAS sampling plan, targeting 300 public water supplies with elevated potential for contamination and testing for six PFAS compounds

D.C. Circuit Upholds Strict One-Year Deadline for State Waivers of Water Quality Certifications [Alert]

January 30, 2019

Amorie Hummel discusses the decision in Hoopa Valley Tribe v. FERC and why those with Section 401 permits lingering should consider whether the agency’s review has been waived or whether a discussion with the state agency regarding the one-year timeline may be beneficial for the project.

Failure to Report Uplift Payments, Capacity Sales, Corrective Action Taken Highlight FERC EQR Audit [Utility, Environmental & Energy Alert]

October 25, 2016

Robert Fallon and Mark Lazaroff discuss FERC's recent audit of a company participating in numerous wholesale power markets and highlight errors that can occur with electronic quarterly reports, as well as the actions suggested by FERC and taken by the company to prevent such errors in the future.

FERC NOPR Seeks Connected Entity Data from Virtual Traders and Financial Transmission Rights Holders [Utility, Environmental & Energy Alert]

August 25, 2016

Robert Fallon discusses FERC’s second attempt to gather information on the entities connected to market participants — so-called Connected Entity information.

EPA, Pa. DEP Take Aim at Oil and Gas Industry Methane Emissions [The Legal Intelligencer]

July 25, 2016

George Bibikos and Mark Lazaroff discuss new EPA and PA Department of Environmental Protection regulations intended to reduce emissions in the energy industry.

Supreme Court Opens Door to Increased Role for State Courts and State Regulators in the Energy Sector

April 21, 2015

The Supreme Court today allowed the states a greater role in regulating the energy sector.

Historic U.S.-China Agreement to Cut Greenhouse Gas Emissions [Utility, Environmental & Energy Alert]

November 12, 2014

In a surprise announcement last evening from Beijing, President Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping committed to ambitious cuts in carbon emissions over the next 15 years with the hope of preventing catastrophic global warming. The joint announcement calls for the United States, by 2025, to reduce carbon emissions by 26-28 percent below 2005 levels and for China to reduce net carbon emissions starting in 2030 or earlier and to increase the overall share of non-fossil fuels in primary energy consumption to around 20 percent by 2030.

Preventing Hazardous Material Catastrophes In A Changing World [Webcast]

June 17, 2014

Cozen O'Connor's Energy Environmental & Public Utility Group convenes a symposium of national experts in Philadelphia to discuss emerging issues surrounding catastrophic releases of hazardous materials.

Supreme Court Issues Landmark Clean Air Act Ruling, Revives Cross-State Air Pollution Rule

April 30, 2014

On April 29, 2014, in a very significant 6-2 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed EPA’s Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR or the Rule), overturning a 2012 D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals decision invalidating the Rule. The decision in EPA v. EME Homer City Generation, L.P. is a major victory for downwind states adversely impacted by power plant emissions originating in upwind states. For example, a substantial portion of air pollution in New Jersey comes from major emitting facilities in upwind states.

White House Initiative to Tackle Methane Emissions: New Regulations, Funding Opportunities Expected [Utility, Environmental & Energy Alert]

March 31, 2014

On March 28, the White House announced a set of new policy initiatives to reduce emissions of methane, a greenhouse gas (GHG) 20 times more powerful than carbon dioxide. The Climate Action Plan—Strategy to Reduce Methane Emissions (Methane Plan) outlines the administration’s plans for new regulations, voluntary efforts and measurement technology to reduce and track methane emissions.

Seller’s Invocation of Force Majeure Under NAESB Contract Rejected by NJ Appellate Division [Utility, Environmental & Energy Alert]

March 03, 2014

In a case of first impression that interpreted the force majeure provisions of an industry contract form promulgated by the North American Energy Standards Board (NAESB), Cozen O’Connor prevailed on behalf of plaintiff when, on January 9, 2014, the New Jersey Appellate Division affirmed the trial court’s ruling in Hess Corporation v. Eni Petroleum U.S. LLC, et al., No. A-3464-12T4 (A.D., January 9, 2014).

U.S. District Court Holds that Federal Clean Air Act Preempts Pennsylvania State Law Common Law Tort Claims [Energy, Environmental and Utilities Alert]

November 05, 2012

U.S. District Court Holds that Federal Clean Air Act Preempts Pennsylvania State Law Common Law Tort Claims - Energy, Environmental and Utilities Alert - On October 12, 2012, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania issued an opinion and order in Kristie Bell v. Cheswick Generating Station, GenOn Power Midwest, L.P., No. 2:12-cv-929, holding that state law nuisance claims are preempted by the federal Clean Air Act (CAA).

Ninth Circuit Rejects Global Warming Nuisance Claim: Native Village of Kivalina v. ExxonMobil Corp [Energy, Environmental and Utilities Alert]

October 10, 2012

Ninth Circuit Rejects Global Warming Nuisance Claim: Native Village of Kivalina v. ExxonMobil Corp - Energy, Environmental and Utilities Alert - On September 21, 2012, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a District Court decision dismissing the claims of the Native Village of Kivalina and the City of Kivalina (collectively Kivalina) asserting that some of the largest
energy companies in the United States(collectively Energy Producers) were responsible for coastal erosion caused by
greenhouse gas emissions and resulting global warming.

D.C. Circuit Upholds EPA Greenhouse Gas Regulations [Energy, Environmental and Utilities Alert]

July 19, 2012

D.C. Circuit Upholds EPA Greenhouse Gas Regulations - Energy, Environmental and Utilities Alert - On June 26, 2012, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit upheld a suite of U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) actions related to the regulation of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions under the federal Clean Air Act (CAA).

Pennsylvania's Building Code Advisory Commission Votes to Reject 2012 International Construction Code, Extend Code Evaluation Cycle to Six Years [Real Estate Alert!]

March 12, 2012

Pennsylvania's Building Code Advisory Commission Votes to Reject 2012 International Construction Code, Extend Code Evaluation Cycle to Six Years - Real Estate Alert! - According to the Department of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, residential and commercial buildings will account for 73.2 percent of total electricity consumption and 40.1 percent of the nation's total energy consumption in 2011, with approximately half of those totals attributable to commercial buildings alone

News Concerning Recent Developments in Energy and Environmental Law [Energy, Environmental and Utilities Alert!]

October 07, 2011

News Concerning Recent Developments in Energy and Environmental Law - Energy, Environmental and Utilities Alert! - We are pleased to present the latest edition of the Energy, Environmental and Utilities Alert. We hope you find this information beneficial and informative

Use Acid Waters for Fracking [Patriot News]

August 30, 2011

Use Acid Waters for Fracking - Patriot News - Pennsylvania's 200-year history of coal mining has left a legacy of polluted waterways that remains one of the state's greatest environmental challenges. More than 250,000 abandoned surface mines, many containing acidic water-filled pits, scar Pennsylvania's landscape. Acidic drainage from these abandoned mines-called acid mine drainage or AMD -often has a pH below 5.0, which leaches heavy metals from surrounding...

Comments on United States Environmental Protection Agency Proposed Rulemaking to [The Federal Register]

November 27, 2009

Comments on United States Environmental Protection Agency Proposed Rulemaking to - The Federal Register - The stated purpose of the proposed Light-Duty Vehicle Greenhouse Gas Emission Standards
and Corporate Average Fuel Economy Standards (the “Rule”) is to address the urgent and
closely intertwined challenges of energy independence and security and global warming by
increasing the fuel economy of the nation’s light duty vehicle fleet. Vehicle electrification
technology, including plug-in hybrid electric...

Climate Change: The Future Is Upon Us [The Metropolitan Corporate Counsel]

April 01, 2008

Climate Change: The Future Is Upon Us - The Metropolitan Corporate Counsel - The Editor interviews Peter J. Fontaine, Co-Chair, Climate Change Practice Area, Cozen O’Connor.

Editor: Mr. Fontaine, would you tell us something about your professional experience?

Fontaine: I’ve been an environmental lawyer since 1990. I graduated from George Washington University School of Law that year and accepted an honors position at the EPA, where I worked in
the enforcement program until 1995.

Events & Seminars

Past Events

PFAS Sampling 101; Phytoremediation at HC-Impacted Site

February 06, 2020 - Burlingame, CA

My Forrest Gump Career in Administrative Adjudications

November 13, 2019 - Philadelphia, PA

The Changing PFAS Landscape

May 30, 2019 - Needham, MA

Health Law 2019

December 05, 2018 - Philadelphia, PA

DVGBC PA / NJ Sustainability Symposium 2013

March 12, 2013 - Philadelphia, PA

An Inside Look at the Michael Mann Case

October 22, 2012 - Webinar

U.S.-Israel Clean Tech Conference

November 09, 2010 - Philadelphia, PA

The Risks and Opportunities of Climate Change

June 17, 2008 - Philadelphia, PA

In The News

Biden’s Clean Energy Push Has Wind Industry Thinking Big

February 10, 2021

James Van Orden was quoted in Law360 on the implications of the Biden administration’s executive order, which doubles offshore wind power generation in U.S. federal waters by 2030.

Environmental Lawyer Serves Clients at the Intersection

January 01, 2021

Peter Fontaine, chair of Cozen O'Connor's Environmental Practice, was interviewed by Of Counsel to discuss the practice, his career, most significant cases, and his likes and dislikes about the legal profession.

Cozen O’Connor Gets “A” Grade on the 2020 Law Firm Climate Change Scorecard

October 06, 2020

To receive an A grade, Cozen O’Connor met the criteria for an A grade in either litigation, transactions, or lobbying and has no lobbying nor transactional work on behalf of the fossil fuel industry and no cases exacerbating climate change.

Evan J. Preminger to Join Cozen O’Connor and Cozen O’Connor Public Strategies from New York Governor’s Office

February 06, 2020

Preminger will reside in the firm’s midtown Manhattan office where he will be the Director of New York Environmental Matter for Cozen O'Connor Public Strategies and will advise on environment-related matters as an associate in the firm’s Utility, Environmental & Energy Practice.

Nine Cozen O’Connor Attorneys Recognized as 2020 Southern California Super Lawyers

January 15, 2020

Super Lawyers has named nine Cozen O'Connor attorneys to its 2020 Southern California Super Lawyers.

Cozen O’Connor Recognized As a Best Law Firm in 24 Practice Areas Nationwide, 106 Practice Areas Regionally

November 05, 2019

The U.S. News – Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms” rankings are based on a rigorous evaluation process that includes the collection of client and lawyer evaluations and peer review from leading attorneys in their field.

Cozen O’Connor Welcomes Former EPA Senior Counsel Marcia Mulkey to its Utility, Environmental & Energy Practice

December 03, 2018

Mulkey will provide guidance on federal environmental regulation, compliance, and enforcement.

Fifty-four Cozen O’Connor Attorneys Named 2018 Pennsylvania Super Lawyers and Rising Stars

June 12, 2018

Super Lawyers has named 54 Cozen O'Connor attorneys to its 2018 Pennsylvania Super Lawyers and Rising Stars lists.

Cozen O’Connor Elects 19 Associates to Membership

April 09, 2018

Cozen O’Connor has elected 19 associates to membership in the firm. The management committee appointed this qualified group of attorneys to membership based on demonstrated professionalism, leadership, dedication, and loyalty to Cozen O’Connor.

2018 U.S. News & World Report – Best Lawyers "Best Law Firms" Ranks Cozen O’Connor

February 01, 2018

In the 2018 U.S. News - Best Lawyers® "Best Law Firms, Cozen O’Connor is ranked nationally in 17 practice areas and regionally in 64 practice areas.

Cozen O'Connor ranked in 2017 U.S. News & World Report – Best Lawyers "Best Law Firms"

November 23, 2016

Firms included in the 2017 "Best Law Firms" list are recognized for professional excellence with persistently impressive ratings from clients and peers.


Peter J. Fontaine

Chair, Environmental


(215) 665-2723

James F. Van Orden



(215) 665-4625

Alison Lecker



(215) 665-6904


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