Environmental Litigation & Enforcement

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.

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Cozen O’Connor is a renown trial firm with decades of experience in environmental litigation and enforcement. We handle complex disputes and successfully litigate industry-defining cases. Whether defending a novel permit, responding to a government investigation, or seeking a high-value recovery, Cozen O’Connor is efficient, responsive, strategic, and tenacious.

The team has deep collective governmental experience that it leverages in every engagement. Our roster boasts several former senior enforcement attorneys with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), including the  former Regional Counsel for the Mid-Atlantic Region, and is chaired by the former Special Assistant to the EPA’s Director of Civil Enforcement. Having worked on both sides of the table, Cozen O’Connor attorneys understand agency processes, constraints, and priorities.

Cozen O’Connor’s Environmental Litigation team represents clients in matters concerning all major federal and state environmental laws: 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, among others.

Administrative Litigation

Attorneys litigate state and federal permit appeals, agency enforcement actions, and administrative rule challenges before the EPA, state environmental protection agencies, environmental hearing boards, and in other sophisticated administrative forums.

Civil Enforcement Defense

Cozen O’Connor guides client through government investigations, conducts internal investigations, and performs comprehensive audits, all with an eye toward achieving compliance and limiting exposure. Our experienced trial lawyers also defend clients in high-stakes state and federal civil actions with potential liability in the millions of dollars.

Private Party & Citizen Suit Litigation

The firm represents plaintiffs and defendants in cost recovery actions and in personal injury and property damage claims. We also handle the increasing amount of litigation brought by citizens or environmental advocacy groups seeking damages and injunctive relief for alleged environmental violations that regulators failed to enforce.

Appellate Litigation

Our team has extensive appellate capabilities and is often engaged to respond to lower court decisions in environmental litigation. Our attorneys are also adept at Natural Gas Act litigation in which the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals typically has original jurisdiction.

Experience

Publications

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.

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).

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.

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.

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).

In The News

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.

138 Cozen O’Connor Attorneys Named to the Best Lawyers in America

August 28, 2019

Best Lawyers selected 138 Cozen O’Connor lawyers from 21 of the firm’s national offices for inclusion in the 2020 edition of The Best Lawyers in America.

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.

Sixty-Two Cozen O’Connor Lawyers Named to the Best Lawyers in America

August 15, 2016

Sixty-two Cozen O’Connor lawyers from 13 of the firm’s national offices have been selected for inclusion in the 2017 edition of The Best Lawyers in America.

Contacts

Peter J. Fontaine

Chair, Environmental

pfontaine@cozen.com

(215) 665-2723

James F. Van Orden

Member

jvanorden@cozen.com

(215) 665-4625

Alison Lecker

Member

alecker@cozen.com

(215) 665-6904

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