Environmental issues can arise in any sector of business and the attorneys at OGC Solutions® | Santomassimo Davis LLP offer a full range of environmental and real estate due diligence services to meet any client’s transactional, regulatory, and litigation needs – from Fortune 500 corporations to small businesses and public entities. We are well-versed in the spectrum of environmental regulations – from hazardous waste to air and water quality. Our extensive experience with federal law and state laws in New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and beyond, allow us to counsel our clients on smart solutions to successfully navigate a wide range of sometimes-complicated environmental issues.
REAL ESTATE TRANSACTIONS
Environmental risks and potential liability can arise when selling, buying, leasing or financing real estate – whether commercial, industrial or residential. We advise clients on the environmental laws applicable to their transactions and provide guidance on avoiding, minimizing, or managing risk and liability. We coordinate due diligence and environmental site assessments under ISRA and other laws to ensure compliance and to provide the client with an accurate picture of the environmental condition of the subject real estate in order to make informed and risk-based decisions.
Business transactions, such as the negotiation of sales or purchases of stock or assets and mergers and acquisitions, frequently involve environmental issues. Our attorneys have extensive experience structuring transactions, and coordinating due diligence, to best manage the client’s potential environmental risks and liabilities.
REAL ESTATE DEVELOPMENT
We assist our clients in the development of commercial, industrial and residential properties, including such properties that are contaminated by hazardous substances and wastes, by obtaining funding, tax incentives and other benefits under the Brownfields laws and other federal and state programs. We also help clients obtain permits to develop in or near environmentally sensitive areas, including freshwater and coastal wetlands, waterfront or coastal areas, streams, flood plains, the New Jersey Highlands, the Hackensack Meadowlands, the Pinelands and areas subject to riparian claims by the state.
ENVIRONMENTAL REMEDIATION AND COST RECOVERY
Environmental cleanups must be performed according to the guidelines set forth in state and federal laws, including: the New Jersey Spill Act, the New Jersey Industrial Site Recovery Act (ISRA), the New Jersey Site Remediation Reform Act (SRRA), the New York Navigation Law (Oil Spill Act), the Pennsylvania Environmental Remediation Standards Act, as well as the Federal hazardous waste and superfund laws (CERCLA and RCRA) and various underground storage tank laws. We assist clients in adhering to these regulations, and in helping them to recover, or avoid spending, significant remediation costs. Our attorneys provide guidance to clients on, and assist in pursuing, available grant and loan programs under federal and state government programs, including state and local Brownfield Cleanup programs, as well as investigating the availability of insurance funds. We also investigate and seek contributions from other potentially responsible parties (PRPs).
ENVIRONMENTAL LITIGATION & CRISIS MANAGEMENT
Despite clients’ best intentions and efforts to avoid litigation, litigation sometimes arises out of environmental issues relating to real estate or business disputes and environmental clean-ups. When litigation cannot be avoided, our attorneys regularly partner with other professionals – such as hydrogeologists, chemists, consultants, engineers and geologists – to develop the best case and successfully prosecute and defend against environmental claims on behalf of current and former landowners, business owners, tenants, and operators in both private party claims and governmental cost recovery litigation.
Additionally, events such as fires, explosions, major chemical releases, or weather events can cause significant environmental damage, personal injuries and sometimes deaths, and have considerable adverse business impacts on companies, both financially and reputationally. Such events also can subject companies not only to significant tort, remedial and natural resource recovery liabilities and obligations, but increasingly to major civil and criminal enforcement and penalties as well. Our attorneys are well-versed in responding to and managing environmental, toxic tort and similar crisis events and can quickly mobilize and leverage the firm’s extensive substantive experience to support a client’s initial response as well as strategize and execute their long-term investigation, litigation and rebuilding efforts.
For clients looking to proactively manage environmental compliance and risk, our attorneys provide assistance and guidance on proper compliance, permitting, and registrations for all of a client’s environmental needs, including those concerning underground storage tanks, the acquisition of water and air pollution control permits, the management of solid and hazardous waste, compliance with OSHA and other worker and community right-to-know laws. We also work with clients whose business activities directly impact the environment, including manufacturing facilities, gasoline service stations, automotive dealerships, dry cleaners, composting and recycling facilities, and transfer stations.