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Environmental Enforcement Defense

Brands and business operations can suffer when facing an environmental enforcement action from the government.

With attorneys on our team who previously held senior government positions in environmental administration, enforcement, and policy, we provide strategic approaches to avoiding or resolving administrative and judicial (civil and criminal) environmental enforcement actions. Our team of nearly 20 attorneys dedicated exclusively to practicing environmental law routinely defends clients in high-stakes enforcement actions.

When litigation cannot be avoided, we negotiate favorable terms and outcomes on behalf of our clients, always with their business goals in mind. We know that a mishandled response may cause delays in reaching strategic goals and impact a client’s reputation and standing in their communities.

We have represented clients in matters relating to all major environmental statutes including the Clean Air Act (CAA), Clean Water Act (CWA), Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA), Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), and Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA).


  • Represent producer of turf and crop treatments in enforcement action brought by US EPA for alleged FIFRA violations, accusing unregistered or misbranded pesticides on hundreds of occasions over several years. The matter was settled with favorable terms for our client.
  • Represent manufacturer in Ohio in connection with federal CAA enforcement action alleging multiple violations at one of its facilities. The alleged violations relate to New Source Performance Standards, the Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) provisions of the state’s State Implementation Plan (SIP), and the facility’s Title V operating permit and Permit to Install.
  • Represented manufacturer in West Virginia in connection with federal CWA enforcement action alleging multiple violations at its facility-related to failure to adequately sample and report discharges in accordance with its discharge permit.
  • Represent manufacturer in West Virginia in connection with a state enforcement action related to allegations of improper materials storage in violation of its Title V operating permit.
  • Successfully defended operator of several coal-fired power plants in Illinois in enforcement action filed in federal district court alleging violations of NSR, the Illinois Opacity Standards, and Title V of the CAA. Nine of the 10 claims were dismissed by the court early on. When appealed, dismissal was unanimously affirmed and a petition for rehearing was denied by the US Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit. The client settled the remaining claims.
  • Successfully defended operator of a coal-fired power plant in Pennsylvania from New Source Review (NSR) enforcement action. The district court dismissed the action, and the US Court of Appeals, Third Circuit, unanimously affirmed the dismissal.
  • Defended former pottery manufacturer in federal enforcement action seeking cost recovery in connection with the response actions to address contamination at a former manufacturing facility in West Virginia. The litigation resulted in a settlement.  
  • Represent client engaged in the Lower Passaic River Restoration Project and related federal litigation. This is one of the most complex and potentially costly Superfund sites in the country, where remediation costs are estimated to exceed $1 billion.
  • Represent clients in defense of enforcement actions brought by US EPA alleging violations of mobile source provisions of the CAA related to after-market tampering.
  • Represented client in the medical services industry in defense of US EPA enforcement action alleging numerous violations of the Risk Management Program provisions of the CAA.
  • Represented an Illinois-based public utility in defense of state enforcement action alleging violations of the Illinois Natural Areas Protection Act, the Illinois Environmental Protection Act, and the company’s Water Pollution Control Permit. Resolved on favorable terms.
  • Represent Illinois-based chemical company in defending enforcement action brought by the US EPA for wide-ranging claims under the CAA, including claims alleging violations of the Nonattainment New Source Review provisions, and associated regulations under the Illinois State Implementation Plan (SIP), construction permit conditions of the SIP, Title V Permit conditions, performance standards for Volatile Organic Compounds from Synthetic Organic Chemical Manufacturing Industry, the Illinois Emissions Reduction Market System, and the Illinois Air Emissions Reporting. The matter was resolved following the negotiation of a consent decree between the company, the US DOJ, and the US EPA.

Awards & Honors

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  • Chambers USA
    • Energy & Natural Resource, Illinois (2012-2021)
    • Environment, Illinois (2012-2021)
  • U.S. News – Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms” – National Tier 1
    • Energy Law (2013-2022)
    • Litigation – Environmental (2012-2015 and 2019-2022)
  • U.S. News – Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms” – Metropolitan Tier 1
    • Energy Law, Chicago (2013-2022)
    • Energy Law, Washington, D.C. (2014-2021)
    • Environmental Law, Chicago (2012-2022)
    • Litigation – Environmental, Chicago (2012-2022)

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