Cox, Castle & Nicholson has broad experience assisting clients in assessing and ensuring their compliance with environmental laws and regulations.
Soil And Groundwater Contamination
We have decades of experience negotiating with the State of California Regional Water Quality Control Boards, the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC), the federal and state Environmental Protection Agency, and numerous other federal, state, county, municipal, and local agencies in regard to addressing releases of hazardous substances to soil and groundwater, whether occurring at our client's site or migrating from off-site contamination sources. We are adept problem-solvers with respect to the most efficient methods for addressing environmental and human health risks posed by residual contamination, whether through the performance of further remediation or through mitigation (e.g., engineering controls such as soil vapor barriers or institutional controls such as reasonable deed restrictions). With respect to contamination sourced off-site, we have a high success rate for compelling off-site owners and operators to remediate the effects of migrating contamination, indemnify our clients for liability arising from the presence of the contamination, and avoiding inhibiting our clients' development of their properties.
Solid And Hazardous Waste Regulation Compliance
We have substantial expertise in the siting and permitting of solid and hazardous waste treatment, storage, and disposal (TSD) facilities under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) and related state laws. We also have extensive experience in helping clients restructure site development activities in order to avoid implicating hazardous waste disposal-related requirements under RCRA and state law. Our expertise includes defending civil penalty actions for alleged violations of permit requirements and of state and federal hazardous waste control laws, advising clients on a wide variety of complex waste characterization issues (such as the RCRA status of materials that are recycled or reused), advising clients who conduct hazardous material audits, and facilitating real estate development contiguous to inactive landfills.
Water Quality Regulation
We have handled numerous matters arising under the Clean Water Act, the Porter-Cologne Water Quality Act, and other water quality laws and advise clients in connection with permitting requirements under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES), pretreatment requirements, and stormwater regulations. Additionally, we frequently represent clients in administrative proceedings relating to waste discharge requirements for groundwater extraction and reclamation systems, and hearings before the Regional Water Quality Control Boards and the State Water Resources Control Board.
Air Quality Regulation
Our extensive experience with air quality issues encompasses both the federal Clean Air Act and state and local air quality laws and includes legislative and regulatory services, compliance counseling, and enforcement proceedings. We often represent clients in hearings to establish emissions limitations, assist in obtaining air quality permits, and provide advice on new-source review, emissions trading, and toxic air contaminant issues. We also defend clients in the context of Notices of Violation and other enforcement or civil penalty actions alleging violations of air quality regulations.
Proposition 65 And The Connelly Act
We are experienced at helping clients comply with hazardous substances notification requirements under California’s Proposition 65 and with asbestos-related requirements imposed under the Connelly Act. We have successfully counseled landowners, property managers, tenants, manufacturers, and retailers. We have also provided valuable legal counseling to prospective purchasers in regard to the post-acquisition compliance requirements that will apply.
Occupational Safety And Health Administration (OSHA) Regulation
Our clients often have concerns about issues implicating OSHA regulations. We are frequently consulted concerning obligations under the OSHA Hazard Communication Standard and the Asbestos Standard for General Industry. Our attorneys work with clients affected by OSHA rules on workplace health standards and have handled a variety of OSHA compliance and enforcement proceedings.
Safer Consumer Product Alternatives
Through its Green Chemistry Initiative, DTSC is developing regulations that will require manufacturers of specified products to undergo extensive analysis regarding the feasibility of removing chemicals from their products or using alternative chemicals in their place. Our attorneys are well-versed on the draft regulations, and ongoing discussions with DTSC regarding further revisions to the draft regulations, and are prepared to guide clients through the arcane and extensive compliance process that will be required by DTSC.
Environmental Criminal Matters
Because federal and state authorities increasingly are turning to criminal sanctions as an enforcement tool, many clients seek our advice concerning the avoidance of criminal penalties in business operations, including pitfalls presented by the California Corporate Criminal Liability Act.
Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plans (SWPPPs)
In light of the California Regional Water Quality Control Board's ability to impose significant penalties for minor violations (even those pertaining solely to documentation requirements), our clients seek advice on the most effective ways of complying with SWPPP requirements. We have also successfully negotiated substantial reductions in the assessed penalties.
California Land Reuse And Revitalization Act (CLRRA)
We have drafted and negotiated the majority of the CLRRA Agreements, providing our clients with essential immunities against liability for environmental contamination, concurrently with counseling clients on the requirements for exercising appropriate care and avoiding forfeiture of the exemption.
The Polanco Redevelopment Act provides municipalities with powerful tools for facilitating brownfield redevelopment. We have counseled numerous municipalities through site acquisition and subsequent cleanup and redevelopment processes, providing essential counseling with respect to obtaining and preserving immunities against environmental liability as provided pursuant to the Polanco Act.
Prospective Purchaser Agreements (PPAs) And Covenants Not To Sue
PPAs and covenants not to sue can provide developers with substantial protection from a range of environmental liabilities, thereby providing the comfort necessary for site acquisition to proceed. We have negotiated hundreds of PPAs and covenants not to sue on behalf of dozens of developers and prospective purchasers.