Dykema’s environmental lawyers have substantial experience helping clients—ranging from individual facilities to multiparty representation—address remediation liability. This includes experience negotiating settlements with agencies and private parties under both federal and state laws, as well as within the context of CERCLA and state law equivalents covering hazardous substance releases. Our longstanding and extensive work for such major companies as British Petroleum, Chrysler, Dana, Delphi, Eaton, Federal-Mogul, Ford, General Motors, Meritor, Northrop Grumman, Robert Bosch Corporation, Sears, Shell, TRW Automotive and Valero, has provided our team with industry-leading knowledge of remedial options and strategies for both cost- and result-effective outcomes.
A “Go-To” Firm for Multiparty Representation
For more than 25 years, Dykema’s environmental lawyers have established themselves as a “go-to” team for multiparty representations at large cleanup sites. Our specific experience includes sites with large numbers of potentially responsible parties (PRPs) with differing site nexuses; significant orphan shares; incomplete records; local activist groups; difficult technical arguments on appropriate and necessary remedial work; and natural resource damage issues (including the settlement major natural resource damage claims involving rivers, groundwater, wetlands, wildlife and parkland).
Moreover, our clients benefit from our intimate understanding of the agencies’ policies and approaches to negotiating remedial actions and settlement agreements. We have led negotiations with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and state agencies regarding the appropriate remedial actions to be taken; negotiated specific terms of the settlement agreements both with the agencies and between the settling PRPs; and managed the administration of the PRP group’s activities, including negotiation of contracts, alternate water supply arrangements, access agreements, easements and restrictive covenants. We have specific experience with negotiations of many agency settlement agreements including EE/CA and RI/FS Administrative Orders on Consent (AOCs) and Remedial Design/Remedial Action consent decrees.
Benefiting from a Forward Thinking Approach
Dykema’s environmental lawyers use inventive strategies to handle site remediation issues. Our experience brings deep and broad industry knowledge of remedial options and strategies. Moreover, we are sensitive to project efficiencies, both in the context of cost and matter resolution. These key tenants of our practice are critically important to our clients—particularly those involved in the growing area of off-site migration of contamination and related third-party claims involving lead, volatile organic compounds and vapor intrusion issues.
By innovatively addressing remediation issues, Dykema lawyers have been able to collect a number of “firsts” in the design and implementation of result-effective outcomes. As an example, we have conceived buyout structures by which PRPs resolve all liability at both federal and state cleanup sites, including the first ever total PRP buyout settlements in Illinois. We also facilitated U.S. EPA’s novel issuance of unilateral administrative orders to non-settling parties which required the parties to pursue a good faith resolution of their remediation liability with Dykema’s client group. We helped secure 40% federal government funding for orphan shares involved in a large-scale river sediment remediation project. These and our other experiences firmly position Dykema as a leader in the area of site remediation.
Dykema’s lawyers and government policy professionals have:
- Obtained approval from the U.S. EPA for the disposal of spoils from a highway construction project as part of landfill cap work and working with the State of Michigan and local communities to enact groundwater prohibition ordinances.
- Lead the negotiation of favorable terms for several clients, including: agency agreement to limit the required actions to investigation until PRPs are able to attach a cost estimate to the site work; recognition of orphan shares; obtaining mixed funding; dealing with funding from agency special accounts; and dealing with complicated bankruptcy, tax and access issues.
- Drafted and managed numerous, complex multiparty contracts for site remedial work, covering multimillion dollar design, construction and operation/maintenance efforts.
- Worked with multiple municipalities on site redevelopment, institutional controls (such as groundwater restriction ordinances and water system installations) and long term operation and maintenance responsibility that have allowed PRPs to conclude site obligations once the remedial construction is completed.
- Organized a consortium of community, state and federal stakeholders to agree upon a substantial government-funded remedy that affords productive reuse of land impacted by PCB wastes.