Donald D. Cooper

Donald D. Cooper practices in the areas of environmental law, construction law and land use law. Don has published articles in numerous professional journals and is a frequent speaker at environmental law conferences. He also is a Registered Professional Civil Engineer in Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

What do you focus on?

I have a broad-based environmental and land use law practice. In the past several years, I have been active on energy transmission and generation projects including utility scale solar facilities and permitting and zoning for three major electric transmission projects. Energy facilities located on brownfields are projects I am particularly interested in, and I have had success in permitting and managing risk on them.

I have an active litigation practice focusing on land development issues including construction disputes, zoning matters and environmental litigation. My construction practice includes advising construction firms and contractors, as well as owners and developers on construction contract issues. I have been a witness on zoning issues before utility regulatory authorities and regularly represent clients in zoning disputes at the municipal level and in court. My environmental litigation experience includes hazardous waste litigation, both for plaintiffs and for the defense. I have defended clients in every major superfund landfill case in New England including defending numerous clients in the Beede Waste Oil site superfund case. 

I have permitted numerous commercial developments and am experienced in environmental policy act reviews, Clean Water Act, wastewater discharge, Clean Air Act, waterways, wetlands, storm water and hazardous waste permit issues. I regularly assist clients with environmental assessments, audits and opinions regarding potential development and business and real estate transactions. I provide advice to commercial and industrial clients regarding compliance with environmental laws and assistance in obtaining environmental permits. I have obtained environmental insurance policies for many properties, including specially negotiated insurance products for environmental liability and remediation cost cap coverage. I have negotiated and obtained covenants not to sue from the Massachusetts Attorney General’s office for redeveloped brownfield sites.

What do you see on the horizon?

Since suitable and available land for the development of sustainable energy sources is often near population centers and is also a brownfield, environmental, permitting and zoning issues are coming to the forefront in this industry. A similar trend is occurring for commercial and residential development due to governments providing incentives for “smart” development near mass transit facilities and in already densely occupied districts.

Hebrew SeniorLife receives financing for expansion of affordable community near Boston

Seniors Housing Business | March 03, 2022

This article on client Hebrew SeniorLife closing financing to build 45 new units of affordable senior housing in metro Boston mentions NP for advising on the project. Boston Affordable Housing & Real Estate partner Jeff Sacks led the NP team, which also included Community Development Finance partner Forrest Milder, and AHRE senior counsel Don Cooper, counsel Karla Chaffee, associate Ali Sisson, and paralegal Vienna Kim, all of the Boston office.

Wetlands enforcement action timely years after violation

Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly | September 10, 2021

This article covers a Supreme Judicial Court ruling that an enforcement action brought by the Northern Conservation Commission over an asserted Wetlands Protection Act violation occurring decades ago, under previous owners, was still timely. Boston Affordable Housing & Real Estate senior counsel Don Cooper, who filed an amicus brief on behalf of the Massachusetts Association of Conservation Commissions, is quoted on the significance of the ruling in answering a long-standing question about the timeline for enforcement.


Donald D. Cooper

Senior Counsel


Phone: 617-345-6077

Fax: 866-368-6629

Boston College Law School, J.D., cum laude

Cornell University, M.S., Environmental Engineering

University of Delaware, B.S., Civil Engineering


Donald was selected, through a peer-review survey, for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America® 2022 in the fields of Environmental Law and Litigation—Environmental. Donald has been listed in Best Lawyers since 2007.

Don has been recognized for exceptional standing in the legal community in Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business 2019 for Environment (Massachusetts). He has also been recognized in Chambers in previous years.

Don has received an AV Preeminent® Peer Review RatingTM from Martindale Hubbell®, the highest possible rating for ethics and legal ability.

Don has been recognized as a “New England Super Lawyer” in Energy and Environmental based on a peer-review survey by Boston Magazine (2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008). Don was also honored as one of “Boston’s Top Lawyers” by the Boston Globe in July 2008.


Don is general counsel to the Massachusetts Licensed Site Professional Association, and is chairman of the Andover, Massachusetts Conservation Commission. He is on the Board of Directors of the Massachusetts Association of Conservation Commissions and serves of the Finance and Advocacy Committees. He was on the Board of Directors of the Massachusetts Audubon Society from 2009 – 2019 and is currently an honorary board and council member serving on the Investment, Real Estate and Administration and Finance Committees. Don is also past co-chairman of the Associated Industries of Massachusetts’ Hazardous Waste Cleanup Committee. From 1993 to 2005 he was an appointee to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection’s Waste Site Cleanup Advisory Committee.

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