Overview

In today’s business world, businesses, institutions and municipalities strive to establish policies of environmental responsibility and energy use that comply with complex federal, state and local laws and regulations.

With a thorough understanding of laws and regulations in this area, Bond attorneys provide clients with practical, business-oriented advice based on existing and anticipated legal requirements, and actual regulatory practice.

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Ensuring compliance with state and federal air quality laws and regulations is a challenge for any facility. In fact, air quality requirements can be so complex that a frequent compliance error we see involves a facility not knowing that a particular requirement is applicable. Whether your facility is subject to only limited air quality requirements, or to multiple and overlapping (or seemingly conflicting) air quality requirements, our environmental attorneys will help resolve your air quality compliance and enforcement concerns.

Compliance Counseling

  • In terms of compliance, our environmental attorneys provide one-stop shopping. We can help you determine what air quality requirements apply to your facility, devise strategies to help assure compliance, and negotiate permit terms and conditions with state and federal regulators to ensure that your facility complies with the law and has sufficient operational flexibility. We can evaluate the applicability of air quality programs that can apply to a new facility or facility expansion, such as Title V permitting and New Source Review, provide a common-sense understanding of air pollution regulations and regulatory interpretations, and even assist with the creation and use of emission reduction credits (ERCs). After your compliance is established, we will work with you to prepare checklists and protocols to help assure future compliance with air quality regulatory requirements.

Enforcement Counseling

  • Enforcement for air quality violations has been increasing in recent years. It goes without saying, but the best way to avoid enforcement is to ensure compliance in the first place. However, if an enforcement proceeding occurs, our environmental attorneys stand ready to help you resolve the matter so you can get back to business. We will explain the enforcement process clearly, help you understand potential penalties and liabilities, develop defenses and/or settlement strategies, and work to achieve a resolution of the enforcement proceeding that works best for you.

Virtually every facility does something that will require compliance with the state and/or federal asbestos regulations. For example, in New York merely drilling a hole into a wall may be all that is required to have an asbestos project subject to the State's Department of Labor regulations.

Asbestos-containing materials are subject to multiple regulatory programs, and our environmental attorneys can help you evaluate whether compliance with federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) or Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) asbestos regulations is necessary, and also help you evaluate any state regulation of asbestos projects. These requirements are frequently overlooked, but we are ready to help you establish compliance programs to carry out asbestos projects, and to resolve difficulties that can arise when an asbestos project is mismanaged.

There is increasing focus on the need for environmental due diligence in business transactions, including the purchase, sale or lease of buildings and real property, the purchase or sale of an existing business or business assets, and lending transactions, to name a few. Our environmental attorneys will manage the environmental due diligence process to help make your business or real estate transactions go smoothly.

If environmental liabilities are discovered after a business or real estate transaction has closed, regulatory authorities typically look to the current owner or operator to address those liabilities. When this happens, the terms of the transactional documents, negotiated many months or even years earlier, will establish the parties' rights and responsibilities concerning liabilities. In recognition of this fact, our environmental attorneys will arrange for and review the results of an environmental site assessment, and examine environmental records and compliance information to assess compliance with environmental laws and regulations. We will then draft environmental provisions to be included in your transactional documents, in an effort to avoid surprises later on. In addition, if environmental insurance can be of use in your proposed transaction, we can help to evaluate insurance opportunities that may be appropriate.

We understand that your business and real estate transactions are an important part of your business. We make your transaction an important part of our business too, and will work to "get the deal done" on the terms that are right for you.

Our attorneys know that environmental auditing, involving an assessment of a facility's compliance with federal, state and local environmental laws and regulations, is an important management tool. Unfortunately, many facilities fail to perform compliance audits until after an enforcement action has occurred, resulting in the imposition of significant penalties and possible increased regulatory scrutiny.

The purpose of an audit is to determine whether a facility complies with applicable laws and regulations before a regulatory agency alleges violations or conducts an investigation at your facility. Our environmental attorneys have the capability and experience to successfully guide your staff through the audit process, whether you are considering a thorough "multimedia" audit, or a more limited audit of one or more environmental programs. We will help you make decisions regarding legal issues that arise during performance of an audit, such as the possibility that environmental violations will be identified, the potential applicability of legal privileges, the proper drafting of audit findings, and implementation of corrective action. In some cases, a facility can obtain significant advantages by voluntarily disclosing violations identified during an audit, and our attorneys have managed such disclosures for clients with great success.

Let our environmental attorneys show you how they can help you to undertake a successful audit, and minimize liabilities as a result.

Click here to view Bond's Environmental Compliance Audit.

Most industrial, institutional and municipal facilities have an inventory of hazardous or toxic chemicals on site. Industrial facilities frequently manufacture, process or use such chemicals on a routine basis, often in large quantities. The presence of these chemicals can lead to liabilities, and often serve as a focal point for regulatory inspections. Simply stated, failing to understand your compliance obligations with respect to the chemicals your facility manufactures, processes or uses, can be a costly mistake.

Fortunately, our environmental attorneys can help you evaluate your compliance with laws and regulations relating to hazardous and toxic chemicals, including requirements arising under the federal Emergency Planning and Community Right-To-Know Act (EPCRA) and state right-to-know laws. Whether your concern relates to developing a plan to ensure that chemical reporting and release notification requirements are met, or you have been served with a notice of violation and potential penalties, we are available to help. Our environmental attorneys routinely evaluate our clients' compliance with right-to-know requirements, and help to devise strategies to ensure future compliance. We are familiar with requirements such as inventory reporting, toxic chemical release (Form R) reporting, and notification requirements, and can also help respond to unanticipated environmental releases of chemicals. In the event of enforcement by a regulatory agency, we will be on your side to resolve the matter expeditiously, and have negotiated numerous consent agreements and settlements regarding compliance with right-to-know laws.

The energy industry is complex and always in transition. The dynamic nature of the industry means that companies and institutions are continually facing challenges related to the purchase and sale of energy. Our environmental and energy practice helps Bond clients to successfully resolve these challenges, whether related to electricity, natural gas, petroleum or steam. Our clients represent a diverse cross-section of energy producers and consumers, and include power generators, transmission and distribution companies, pipelines, hydroelectric operators, petroleum refiners and marketers, developers, colleges and universities, hospitals and manufacturers.

Bond has a long history of practicing energy law, and you will see immediately how the experience of our energy attorneys can benefit your company or institution. Experience is useful, but our environmental and energy practice will help you most by looking ahead and staying at the forefront of the industry. Right now, our attorneys are actively engaged in the siting of power plants and transmission facilities, evaluation of alternative uses for cogeneration plants, negotiation of power purchase and sales agreements, and the sale of properties involving power production facilities. The attorneys in Bond's environmental and energy practice stay apprised of developments in the energy industry through our professional associations, including membership in the Independent Power Producers of New York and the Business Council of New York State Energy Committee. Moreover, you will benefit from our excellent reputation with the agencies that regulate energy generation and consumption in New York State, including the New York State Department of Public Service, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and New York State Energy Research and Development Authority.

With respect to wind projects, our environmental attorneys have worked on projects throughout New York State, including Lackawanna, Cortland, Steuben, Herkimer and Ontario Counties. In permitting the projects, they have faced local citizen opposition involving claims such as nuisance, property devaluation, noise, visual impacts and health effects claimed to be attributable to "wind turbine syndrome", and they have very strong relationships with wind industry consultants and experts also experienced in these issues.

You should also be aware that our environmental and energy practice does more than practice traditional energy law. In fact, we represent energy companies in matters involving state and federal environmental laws, labor and employment law, real property tax assessments, transactional matters such as purchase and sale of real property and facilities, project finance, governmental relations, construction law and general litigation.

Our clients build projects that require federal, state or local approvals for permits or funding. These projects include warehouses, recreation centers, airport facilities, solid waste facilities and power generating sources. Frequently, these projects can trigger the need to prepare detailed environmental impact assessments under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) or under state environmental laws, like New York State's Environmental Quality Review Acts (SEQRA). These assessments evaluate whether potentially significant adverse environmental impacts will be caused by a project and, if so, how to mitigate them, if possible. Because a project can sometimes encounter public or agency opposition, we are mindful of the need for the assessment to stand up to a legal challenge, if one is asserted. We guide our clients in determining the appropriate scope of an impact assessment, in documenting potential adverse project impacts, and in developing mitigation strategies - all with the objective of resolving environmental concerns and obtaining the necessary approvals.

Virtually every business or institution generates hazardous waste. Our environmental attorneys know that compliance with the hazardous waste regulations can only be assured through a three-step process:

  • First, identify the hazardous wastes generated;
  • Second, determine the regulatory requirements that apply to the hazardous wastes; and
  • Third, implement a compliance program.

We have the ability to assist you in determining what materials are subject to hazardous waste regulation, and just as important, what materials are not. Once the hazardous wastes are identified, we will work with you to identify the regulatory requirements that apply and the exemptions that may be available, and how to most efficiently and economically establish a program to assure compliance. Whether you have an established hazardous waste compliance program or are just starting, we can help.

Our clients develop new industrial, commercial, institutional and residential facilities and expand existing facilities. These projects generally require permits and approvals from local boards and often require additional permits or approvals from state and federal agencies including a state's Department of Environmental Conservation, a state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Our attorneys guide our clients through the approval process by reviewing the project, determining the necessary permits and approvals, completing the necessary applications, navigating through the review process and representing our clients before local boards and state and federal agencies. We also have extensive experience with federal and state environmental impact assessments that are required to be undertaken before project approvals may be issued. Our objective is to make sure our clients obtain the necessary permits quickly and cost effectively.

The Marcellus Shale is a black shale formation located beneath parts of West Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York. Although geologists have known about the presence of gas in the Marcellus Shale for many years, improvements in horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing have only recently made recovering that gas economically viable.

It is estimated that the Marcellus Shale contains between 168 and 516 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, making the Marcellus Shale one of the largest gas reserves in the world. In addition, the Marcellus Shale is found in close proximity to high demand gas markets. Thus, the presence of natural gas in the Marcellus Shale in New York offers potential opportunities, as well as challenges, for gas companies, landowners, municipalities and our economy.

Bond has helped numerous clients to resolve legal issues related to oil and gas exploration in New York, beginning long before the recent widespread interest in the Marcellus Shale. We know how meet the challenges presented by the extraction of this natural resource. Our attorneys have extensive experience in the areas of permitting, oil and gas leasing, pipelines, the formation of spacing units, compulsory integration, eminent domain, gas storage, zoning and planning, real property tax assessment, plugging and abandonment, water withdrawals and waste disposal.

Our experience handling numerous matters involving the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation's Division of Mineral Resources, NYSDEC's Central Office and its regional offices has given us a unique understanding of NYSDEC, its rules and its personnel. We also have experience representing clients before the New York State Public Service Commission for the approval of gas-related infrastructure including transmission and gas distribution pipelines.

Our attorneys guide clients through the approval process by reviewing the project documentation for completeness, determining the necessary permits and approvals, completing the required application forms, navigating through the impact review process to create a full record, and representing our clients before local boards and state and federal agencies.

Our public sector clients develop, operate and expand significant solid waste management, water supply and wastewater facilities, public infrastructure and transportation facilities.  These projects can require permits and approvals from local boards (rezone, site plan, subdivision, special permit) and often require additional permits or approvals from state and federal agencies.

Many of our clients are surprised to learn of the scope of regulations applicable to pesticides. Federal and state regulations apply to pesticides, and the regulations affect manufacturers, distributors and users. Manufacturers must register their products, distributors must assure that the products are registered, and users must comply with label instructions and other regulatory requirements. In New York State, for example, these requirements are complicated by a registration requirement that is more stringent than the federal and by a requirement that virtually all applications of pesticides be conducted by or under the direct supervision of a certified applicator. Whether you are a manufacturer or distributor, or a user of pesticide products, you must be aware of and comply with the requirements of federal and state regulations to avoid potentially significant liability. Our environmental lawyers have worked in all areas of pesticide regulation and are prepared to assist you in achieving compliance and to defend in the event of enforcement.

Our environmental lawyers have worked with clients on a range of state and federal radiation safety regulations. The need to implement a radiation safety program can seem like a daunting task, but our environmental lawyers have broad experience to simplify the effort. Whether your radiation safety need encompasses source registration or radiation safety training, or arises from the state Department of Labor rules for industrial and commercial facilities, or the state Department of Health rules for healthcare and academic facilities, we can help with your compliance efforts.

Knowing when to call your state's environmental agency, like New York's Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) or the National Response Center (NRC) to report a spill is not always an easy judgment to make. That's why clients call our environmental lawyers when spills occur. For example, at least four laws and four sets of regulations govern whether an oil spill must be reported. Releases of certain hazardous substances to air or land must be reported to the NRC under CERCLA if the amount released exceeds a threshold amount in a 24-hour period. In contrast, state release regulations may have lower threshold amounts for some hazardous substances and there is no time limit on the calculation of the amount released. Despite this confusing scheme, the penalties for failing to report a spill are severe - potentially as high as $25,000 for one incident involving petroleum. Our environmental lawyers are always on call to assist you in deciding whether you have to report a spill and what to do to mitigate the environmental impacts of a spill.

Bond has considerable experience in counseling industrial, institutional and municipal clients regarding solid waste matters, including those related to siting, compliance obligations, and enforcement matters arising under New York State and federal laws and regulations.

In recent and past transactions, Bond has provided environmental counsel to municipalities and municipal authorities in connection with the proposed siting of major facilities, including, but not limited to, landfills and wastewater treatment facilities. Bond’s environmental attorneys have acted as counsel for the Development Authority of the North Country and Saratoga County in their successful siting of solid waste disposal facilities. We served as counsel to the Oneida-Herkimer Solid Waste Management Authority and Waste Management of New York in their siting of landfill facilities in Oneida and Orleans Counties, respectively. We also served as counsel in the proposal to establish a public-private partnership between the City of Amsterdam Industrial Development Agency and Amsterdam Materials Recycling (a subsidiary of U.W. Marx Construction Corp.) to build a construction and demolition landfill in the Amsterdam Industrial Park. We continue to serve the Development Authority of the North Country.

Included among the solid waste matters that Bond has managed are the following:

  • Landfill permitting, preparation of landfill permit applications and State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) compliance and review of environmental impact statements;
  • Projects involving methane gas conversion to power;
  • Siting of transfer stations and intermodal facilities;
  • Negotiations with private haulers for waste disposal at municipal landfills;
  • Privatization of landfill operations;
  • Wetland and air permits necessary for landfill construction and operation;
  • Preparation of comments and replies to recommended decisions to DEC Commissioner on landfill permits;
  • Counsel relating to intervenor requests for reclassification of wetlands and potential impacts on landfill projects;
  • Enforcement matters regarding compliance with landfill operations;
  • Interaction with governmental authorities on creative solutions for disposal of difficult-to-place wastes;
  • Defense of Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) citizen suit relating to waste generation and claims of imminent and substantial endangerment;
  • Counsel for landfill applicants (private and municipal) with respect to legislative and adjudicatory hearings;
  • Counsel in Article 78 proceedings relating to landfill and municipal issues;
  • Litigation on behalf of private applicants against permitting authorities;
  • Applications to town board and local authorities;
  • Counseling municipal and private corporations on the siting and permitting of Construction and Demolition Debris (C&D) Landfill sites; and
  • Counseling of private companies with respect to Land Application Facilities and Composting Facilities.

Our environmental lawyers have represented clients in federal Superfund (CERCLA) matters in a variety of contexts. We are experienced in the representation of Potentially Responsible Parties (PRPs) under the federal Superfund at both National Priorities List (NPL) sites and non-NPL sites, and have negotiated administrative orders on consent and judicial consent decrees. Likewise, we are able to counsel you regarding the planning and implementation of remedial investigations and feasibility studies, and the prosecution and defense of cost recovery and contribution actions.

Our representation is not limited to the federal Superfund. We have extensive experience in the negotiation and implementation of administrative orders on consent under the state inactive hazardous waste site remedial program (ECL Article 27, Title 13, and 6 NYCRR Part 375), and voluntary clean-up agreements.

The Toxic Substances Control Act is a diverse and far-reaching statute that gives the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) broad authority to regulate, require testing, recordkeeping and reporting related to virtually all chemicals produced or imported into the United States. Although probably the most familiar regulations issued under TSCA concern polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), many other regulatory requirements can apply to manufacturers, processors and distributors of chemical substances, including requirements related to Premanufacture Notification, Health and Safety Data Reporting Rules and Chemical Information Rules. Many facilities find TSCA compliance requirements to be particularly complex, and are unaware that the regulatory program can affect virtually every business. The complexity causes TSCA requirements to frequently be overlooked. Your facility should be aware that EPA imposes significant penalties when it uncovers instances of noncompliance. To help you avoid this circumstance, rely on the experience of our environmental lawyers to guide you in your efforts to TSCA compliance.

In many states, water quality is one of the most mature regulatory programs, and also one of the most complex. Whether you discharge process or sanitary wastewater, or only stormwater, our environmental attorneys can explain in clear terms the requirements that may apply, and the exemptions that are available. Certain water quality rules apply to industry sectors, for example, electroplating and dairy products processing operations, and discharges from these operations to sanitary sewers, and in some cases, water bodies, must meet established limits. EPA's stormwater program applies not only to discharges associated with industrial activity, but also to construction. We know the rules, can provide compliance advice, and assist in the permit process. If an enforcement proceeding is brought by EPA or DEC, we understand that the relationship between the facility and the government is an ongoing one, and that you must emerge from the proceeding with the ability to stay in business and operate in compliance. We have successfully defended clients in these matters, while leaving the relationship intact.

Wetlands regulations on both the state and federal levels present our clients with interesting challenges on a wide variety of projects ranging from residential development to mining activities to siting a solid waste disposal facility. These challenges result from dual regulation on both the state and federal levels; the continuing changes to the regulations on the federal level; and the progression of land itself from dry areas to wetlands. Our attorneys help our clients in obtaining the necessary wetlands permits by assisting them with the preparation of the necessary applications, development of any necessary mitigation or minimization strategies, and representation before state environmental agencies and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Our goal is to ensure that our clients obtain the necessary permits quickly and cost effectively.

State environmental agencies and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers sometimes bring enforcement proceedings for violations of wetlands regulations. If an enforcement proceeding occurs, our environmental attorneys are ready to help you resolve the matter. We will explain the enforcement process, help you understand potential penalties and liabilities, and work to achieve a resolution of the enforcement proceeding that works best for you.