Environmental

We use our deep experience and integrated legal, scientific and engineering knowledge across all environmental media to move our client’s objectives forward by anticipating, minimizing and developing practical solutions for business and regulatory risks.

Our approach

Our nationally recognized environmental team helps clients spot and avoid present and potential environmental issues before they become big problems.

Whether you’re encountering serious environmental compliance issues, trying to protect yourself from acquiring environmental liabilities in a merger or acquisition or facing toxic tort or property damage litigation—we’re on the ground to guide you.

From regulatory counsel to transactions and litigation, we forge strategic and practical approaches that maximize opportunities and minimize risk. We join forces with our clients to understand their business drivers, predict future hurdles and move their business forward.

We offer our clients a highly qualified in-house team of environmental engineers and scientists. With every technically complex permitting, remediation and regulatory compliance issue, we go the extra mile for our clients.

We always have been and always will be pioneers in environmental law both in the U.S. and internationally.

We work with

  • Industrial firms
  • Manufacturers
  • Energy companies
  • Financial institutions
  • Municipalities
  • Hospitals and medical centers
  • Universities
  • Electric, gas and water utilities
  • Nonprofits
  • Individuals
  • Developers
  • Technology companies
  • Waste management companies

Recent experience

  • Represented Seneca Meadows, Inc., New York State’s largest landfill, in the successful environmental permitting of a major landfill expansion in Central New York that involved DEC, EPA, the Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the municipality. Four state permits, four local permits, a federal permit and an Endangered Species Act consultation were required in order for the expansion to be constructed. The state and federal wetland permits were especially controversial because of the significant wetland acreage impacted by the 181-acre landfill expansion.
  • Represented PG&E National Energy Group as the first merchant electric generating facility to undergo all aspects of the complicated environmental review under Article X of the Public Service Law in New York. Our services included providing legal counsel regarding NEPA and NHPA as part of obtaining permits from the Army Corps of Engineers for this highly controversial project and the successful defense of a NEPA and NHPA challenge to the Army Corps of Engineers Permit.
  • Represent Covanta Energy Corporation with respect to environmental issues at its energy- from-waste facilities across the United States.
  • Represent a leading car rental company as national environmental counsel handling environmental transactional, regulatory, contractual, petroleum bulk storage issues and related claims.
  • Leading an investor-owned utility through one of the very first power plant demolition processes. We are representing the client in the planning, permitting, environmental review, investigation, commercial RFP and technical specification development process for the planned demolition of two former coal-fired power plants situated in urban and suburban areas.
  • Represented Nuclear Fuel Services in successfully resolving a RCRA enforcement action brought by EPA Region 4.
  • Represented Tioga County Industrial Development Agency in the development of the Lounsberry Industrial Park, including preparation of environmental impact statement, for use of this site as a regional distribution facility for Best Buy Stores. This project also included a grant from the federal government, and as a result, we were involved in preparing the appropriate documentation to demonstrate that the IDA had complied with NEPA in its administration of the grant funds.
  • Represented Seneca Meadows, Inc. in seeking a mining permit in defeating 18 of 19 issues proposed for adjudication by environmental groups. Successfully handled three-day adjudicatory hearing on PM 2.5 emissions, the one issue that was tried.
  • Represented a client as lead environmental counsel regarding Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act and its applicability to federal funding from HUD for a low-income elderly project in a historic building in Wilmington, Delaware. Represented client through contentious Section 106 proceeding and creation of a Memorandum of Agreement.
  • Represented Cornell University in negotiating renewal and modification of a Clean Water Act discharge permit.
  • Serve as lead environmental counsel for environmental compliance, remediation and auditing of manufacturing facilities across the U.S. and as counsel on multiple federal and state Superfund matters.
  • Represent a Government of Puerto Rico entity in the context of the assertion of liability against it by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for cleanup projects at Superfund properties owned or formerly owned by the client that are contaminated with hazardous waste as a result of the operations of current and former tenants of the client’s.

DC Circ. Panel Backs NY In Suit Over Pipeline Permit Delay

Law360 | June 23, 2017

In this article about Millennium Pipeline Co.'s suit against New York environmental regulators, Washington, D.C. energy and environment partner Elizabeth Whittle is mentioned for representing CPV Valley Inc., a company that is building an energy facility that would receive natural gas from Millennium’s pipeline.

Trump turmoil tempers law firm business forecasts

New York Law Journal | May 22, 2017

Albany energy and environmental partner Rich Cogen provides commentary in this article about how political developments under the Trump administration have affected the legal industry and certain practice areas.

Fifty shades of greywater—How to use recycled water at your vineyard

Wines & Vines | January 01, 2017

San Francisco energy and environmental associate Alison Torbitt authored this article about how California winemakers can incorporate recycled water into their vineyards.

Recent Water-related Cases That May Impact NPDES/SPDES Dischargers

ClearWaters | December 21, 2016

A discussion of five cases that might impact wastewater permitting regulations for holders of SPDES permits, written by Rochester senior environmental health engineer Libby Ford, San Francisco Energy and Environmental associate Alison Torbitt, and Albany counsel Peter Trimarchi.

Power co. wants DC Circ. to force action on NY pipeline

Law360 | December 15, 2016

This article highlights the latest development in a case involving New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s delayed approval of a permit to start building a natural gas pipeline, which impacts upstate New York power plant developer CPV Valley LLC’s facility operations. Washington DC Energy and Environmental partner Elizabeth Whittle is noted as representing CPV Valley LLC.

What To Know About NY's New Cooling Tower Regulations

Law360 | July 29, 2016

This guest column authored by Rochester energy and environmental partner Jean McCreary and Rochester senior environmental health engineer Libby Ford focuses on final cooling tower regulations put into place by the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) to protect against legionella and other bacteria.

Calling All Breweries: Is Your Wastewater In Order?

Law360 | July 11, 2016

Rochester senior environmental health engineer Libby Ford and San Francisco Energy & Environmental associate Alison Torbitt co-authored this column discussing the EPA’s national standards for industrial wastewater discharged to local publicly owned treatment works and how they affect breweries.

Allianz and Partners Mint ‘Game Changing' Wind Hedge

Power Finance and Risk | May 10, 2016

New York City Energy & Environmental partner Ellen Friedman is quoted in this article regarding Allianz Risk Transfer’s novel 10-year hedge product that will fund wind projects against the risk of intermittent wind resources.

EPA's aggressive environmental agenda gets boost

Buffalo Business First | April 25, 2016

Partner and leader of the firm’s Energy & Environmental practice Scott Turner is quoted in this feature story that discusses the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s agenda moving forward.

Judge dismisses clay mine appeal

Finger Lakes Times | March 13, 2016

Rochester Energy & Environmental associate Amy Reichhart is mentioned as counsel for Seneca Meadows Landfill in this article about the recent appeal decision in favor of her client.

Green Sale Expands Investor Base, Says N.Y. MTA Official

The Bond Buyer | February 22, 2016

This article on New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority inaugural green bond issuance notes Nixon Peabody as co-bond counsel.

Nixon Peabody hires energy partner in New York

Project Finance & Infrastructure Journal | February 09, 2016

The following coverage highlights the arrival of New York City Energy & Environmental partner Ernie Chung.

7 Firms Guide NTE Energy's $645M Natural Gas Plant Deal

Law360 | October 02, 2015

New York City Energy & Environmental partner Ellen Friedman is noted as counsel for NTE Ohio which has successfully closed $645 million in project financing for construction and operation of its Middletown Energy Center.

What to do when the California Air Resources Board comes knocking

The Lumber Log | September 01, 2015

San Francisco Energy & Environmental associate Alison Torbitt authored this column discussing keeping mobile equipment in compliance with the California Air Resources Board (ARB) requirements.

Drought in Calif. is Changing the Real Estate Landscape

Law360 | July 23, 2015

San Francisco Real Estate associate Ian O’Banion and San Francisco Energy & Environmental associate Alison Torbitt authored this column discussing how California’s historic drought conditions are impacting the real estate industry.

LNG Facilities Outside NYC? Not So Fast

Law360 | February 12, 2015

Albany Energy & Environmental partner Ruth Leistensnider and Albany Energy & Environmental counsel Pete Trimarchi co-authored this column discussing New York State Department of Environmental Conservation guidelines creating a regulatory program allowing the construction and operation of new liquefied natural gas facilities in the state.

Protecting Affordable Housing Parties Against the Big, Bad Environmental Liability Monster

Affordable Housing Finance | January 29, 2015

San Francisco Energy & Environmental associate Alison Torbitt authored this column discussing environmental due diligence in deals including low-income housing and new markets tax credits.

EPA Coal Ash Rules May Hasten Power Plant Closures

Law360 | January 08, 2015

Rochester Partner and leader of the firm’s Energy and Environmental practices Scott Turner and senior environmental health engineer Libby Ford authored this article discussing the Environmental Protection Agency’s comprehensive set of requirements for the “safe” disposal of coal combustion residuals.

Profile - BASF Because…

BASF Bulletin | December 01, 2014

The Bar Association of San Francisco featured Energy & Environmental associate Alison Torbitt in this profile opportunity.

Out of Gas

Long Island Business News | October 22, 2014

Long Island Energy & Environmental counsel Jesse Hiney is quoted in this feature story discussing possible future uses of local properties that once housed gas stations.

Contacts

Scott M. Turner

Partner
Practice Group Leader, Energy & Environment

sturner@nixonpeabody.com

Phone: 585-263-1612

Ruth H. Silman

Partner
Office Managing Partner, Boston

rsilman@nixonpeabody.com

Phone: 617-345-6062

Amy L. Reichhart

Associate

areichhart@nixonpeabody.com

Phone: 585-263-1322

Alison B. Torbitt

Associate
LEED® AP BD&C

atorbitt@nixonpeabody.com

Phone: 415-984-5008

  • Ranked as Tier 1 in Rochester and Albany, NY, by U.S. News/Best Lawyers 2017 for Environmental Law
  • Ranked as Tier 2 in nationally and in Boston by U.S. News/Best Lawyers 2017 for Environmental Law
  • Three of our attorneys have received recognition as “Lawyer of the Year” for Environmental Law by Best Lawyers
  • Recognized by Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business in New York and Massachusetts for Environmental Law
  • Additionally, several members have been ranked by Best Lawyers or Super Lawyers.
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