Environmental Law

Environmental laws have significant financial and long-range implications for municipalities, businesses, and property owners. Given this reality, sophisticated legal representation is essential. When you need skilled attorneys with the necessary experience to respond effectively to environmental issues, you can turn to Stafford Rosenbaum.

A Wealth of Experience

Our Environmental Law attorneys have a wealth of experience with both federal and state environmental laws and related issues, including:

  • Wastewater permitting and Clean Water Act issues
  • Wastewater utility issues including sewer service areas and facility planning
  • Wetlands issues
  • Water rights issues for landowners including lake property issues
  • Shoreland, floodplain, and wetland zoning
  • Non-metallic mining operations
  • High capacity wells and public water supply issues
  • Stormwater management and stormwater utilities
  • Great Lakes Compact issues
  • Environmental due diligence
  • Environmental insurance coverage
  • Real estate development/Brownfields and contaminated land remediation
  • Superfund/CERCLA/Spill Laws
  • Air emissions and permits/Clean Air Act and asbestos
  • Hazardous waste/RCRA

Environmental law often requires creative problem solving and an evaluation of options before agencies, the courts, and the legislature. We have worked with agency staff to resolve permit issues, and as registered lobbyists we regularly serve on advisory committees to develop or modify regulations. When necessary, we challenge or defend clients in the courts at all levels.

Measurable Results

We have represented over 100 municipalities as general or special counsel in environmental and land use matters in addition to representing businesses, trade associations, and individual landowners. Some of our attorneys’ successes:

  • Serving as counsel on regulatory and legislative policy issues for Municipal Environmental Group Wastewater Division, an association of approximately 95 municipalities with wastewater treatment plants
  • Successfully negotiating agency rules establishing water quality standards for phosphorus (NR 217) that allow for watershed-based and cost-effective wastewater treatment options
  • Successfully working with two trade associations to draft and lobby for reforms to the navigable waters permitting provisions in Wis. Stat. ch. 30 (2003 Wis. Act 118)
  • Successfully establishing stormwater utilities and developing intergovernmental agreements to address regional water issues
  • Representing municipalities in the Fox River PCB superfund cleanup, the largest such site in the country, successfully obtaining settlements or limiting liability for those municipalities
  • Serving as counsel in federal court for statewide trade associations and landowners challenging the EPA’s granting of Clean Water Act authority to Indian Tribes, which resulted in withdrawal of the approvals and recovery of attorneys’ fees following disclosure of fraud by EPA officials
  • Effectively defending an estate against a potential six-figure claim for environmental contamination of a commercial property formerly owned by the decedent, convincing the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources not to name the estate as a responsible party, obtaining insurance coverage, and negotiating a favorable settlement with the insurer and claimants
  • Successfully defending a corporate client against an FAA administrative enforcement action seeking a substantial fine for an allegedly improper shipment of hazardous materials via commercial air express carrier, successfully negotiating a substantial reduction in the penalty sought by applying the FAA “penalty matrix” to the specific facts of the case
  • Successfully overturning a consent decree on behalf of a large manufacturing company between a municipality and the EPA that would have left the manufacturing company responsible for most of the $10 million cost to clean up a landfill
  • Obtaining through mediation a six-figure contribution for the purchaser of contaminated real estate from the seller of that property, while also finding innovative means to clean up the property, resulting in a further reduction in cost to the property owner