Gilchrist & Rutter has a firm command of the complex and challenging issues you may encounter involving environmental regulation compliance, enforcement or litigation.  Whether you need assistance in cleanup of contaminated property, regulatory compliance counseling, environmental site assessment, or environmental issues in purchase, sale, leasing or financing transactions, we are your advocates. 

Our Expertise

Operational compliance with federal, state and local environmental laws and regulations governing:

  • Possession, storage, use and handling of hazardous substances and associated permitting, reporting or exemptions;
  • Generation, storage, treatment, recycling and disposal of hazardous waste;
  • Permit by Rule, special permits or exemptions for generators of hazardous waste or emission of pollutants and for hazardous waste treatment, storage or disposal facilities.
  • Manifesting and transportation of hazardous waste.
  • Generator fees and taxes.
  • Environmental audits of facility compliance with operational requirements.
  • Reporting duties regarding hazardous substance releases into the environment.
  • California’s Proposition 65, Asbestos Notification Law and other notice or warning duties.
  • Storm water regulation and associated fees or taxes.

Environmental site assessments (all phases) for contaminants in soil, soil vapor and groundwater.

Reporting duties regarding hazardous substance releases into the environment.

Transaction-triggered disclosure duties.

Site investigation, cleanup, remediation or other environmental response action with respect to, or in connection with, matters such as:

  • Underground and above ground storage tanks.
  • Asbestos in buildings.
  • Vapor intrusion into buildings.
  • Dry cleaners, service stations, agricultural and industrial operations (past or present).
  • Hazardous substances and mold.
  • Emergency response to hazardous substance releases, for example caused by fire or earthquake.
  • Development of Brownfields property.
  • Federal Superfund sites and PRP groups, and dealing with U.S. EPA, OSHA.
  • Sites under state or local regulatory jurisdiction, and dealing with Cal/EPA, DTSC, SWRCB, RWQCB, AQMD, Cal/OSHA and County or City Fire Departments and Public Health Agencies or CUPAs.
  • Sites under joint federal and state jurisdiction.
  • Industrial, commercial or residential property.

Hiring of environmental consultants and contractors, including scope of work and negotiation of terms and conditions and insurance coverage requirements, endorsements and additional insured status.

Establishing attorney-client confidentiality and work product privileges regarding communications with, and work product of, environmental consultants.

Review of environmental work plans.

Oversight of the work of consultants and contractors.

Review of environmental assessment and closure reports.

Managing the process with environmental consultants, contractors and regulatory agencies.

New environmental insurance policies and endorsements (e.g., Pollution Legal Liability, Contractor’s Pollution Liability).

Claims under old liability policies or under new environmental insurance policies.

Environmental liability and exemptions for lenders and fiduciaries.

Environmental provisions in loan agreements and security instruments.

Separate, unsecured hazardous materials indemnity agreements in favor of lenders.

Partial exemption from limitations on lender recourse under California debtor protection laws, with respect to environmentally impaired real property.

Defense of governmental investigations, notices, orders, enforcement and penalty actions under federal, state, regional or local environmental or occupational health and safety laws and regulations.

Petitions for exhaustion of administrative remedies prior to judicial review.

Prosecution, defense and resolution of environmental claims for cost recovery or property damage due to hazardous substance contamination, including related insurance claims and coverage disputes.

Environmental liability of business entities and personal liability of owners or managers.

Bankruptcy and environmental liability.

Environmental liability of shareholders of dissolved corporations.

Negotiation and preparation of agreements with governmental agencies, such as:

  • Regulatory oversight and cost recovery agreements, including Voluntary Cleanup Agreements.
  • Agency review and approval of work plans, reports and closure reports.
  • Site designation for jurisdiction as between overlapping regulatory agencies.
  • Prospective purchaser agreements and covenants not to sue.
  • California Land Reuse and Revitalization Act (CLRRA) Agreements.
  • Deed restrictions and institutional controls.
  • No further action determinations and closure certifications.
  • Settlement of fines and penalty actions.
  • Consent decrees.
  • Administrative orders on consent.

Negotiation and preparation of environmental agreements between or among private parties, such as:

  • Environmental representations, warranties, covenants, releases, indemnities and other allocation of environmental risk and liability in purchase and sale agreements, leases, loan agreements and financing instruments.
  • Settlement agreements of environmental claims.
  • Potentially Responsible Party (PRP) Participation Agreements.
  • Access agreements for environmental investigation or response action.
  • Remediation easement agreements.
  • Environmental insurance.

Energy efficiency laws, regulations and best practices (e.g., California’s Title 24).

Cap and trade of air emission allowances and other regulations in response to climate change.

“Green” remediation.

We also endeavor to keep abreast of proposed changes in environmental laws and regulations. This is difficult but can help clients to anticipate changes.

The Environmental Team

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