Climate Change & Environmental Law | White & Case
Climate Change & Environmental Law

Environment & Climate Change

We handle some of the world’s largest and most sophisticated matters requiring the resolution of complex environmental issues. As environmental risks and regulations become increasingly global, our integrated practices around the world are a strategic asset for our clients. We are well-equipped to assemble international teams of experienced environmental lawyers on matters anywhere in the world, whether handling cross-border transactions with assets in several jurisdictions or advising global clients on the environmental regulations relevant to their operations. The team handles a complete range of environmental litigation and environmental issues arising in transactions around the globe. 

Clients value our understanding of regulatory standards and the ever-changing landscape, making our Firm a market leader in environmental law.  We offer well-grounded legal advice and counsel in connection with compliance issues, corporate and financial transactions, and disputes concerning environmental requirements and potential environmental damages.

We cover all aspects of environmental law, including:

  • Environmental litigation and enforcement
  • Environmental due diligence and transactional advice
  • Environmental compliance and regulatory advice
  • European Union (EU) environmental legislation and the legislative process
  • Environmental legislation and lobbying (globally)
  • Climate change, renewable energy and clean technology
  • Environmental advice on infrastructure and project development and finance
  • International trade and the environment

As part of our practice, we assist clients in responding to the full range of legal and business issues raised by global climate change. Our lawyers have successfully represented clients regarding greenhouse gas emissions, renewable energy and clean technology issues in matters across a wide variety of areas.

The global nature of our environmental practice and the constant communication among its members allows us to exchange experiences from our different jurisdictions with regard to green markets, international or cross-border environmental liability, and other matters with an international or comparative law relevance, giving us a distinct advantage over local environmental firms.

 

AWARDS

"This is an excellent firm with depth of service, but also it provides the whole range of legal services from the regulatory advice through to the administrative or [litigation matters]."
Chambers Europe 2014

"Renowned for its outstanding environmental litigation practice, acting on a broad range of matters…"
Chambers USA 2014

"Group of attorneys who 'exhibit the highest qualities you could possibly want for environmental issues, including associated litigation'"
The Legal 500 – United States 2014

Highly recommended firm in environmental and planning law
JUVE German Commercial Law Firms 2014

First Tier—Environmental Law, United States
US News & World Report—Best Lawyers/Best Law Firms 2014

Pfizer Inc., ongoing
Our New York team acts as environmental transactional counsel to Pfizer Inc. as it seeks to divest manufacturing, warehouse, research and development, office and laboratory facilities throughout the world. The team also represents Pfizer in regulatory matters and Superfund litigation, including in the Atlantic Resources Superfund litigation and Passaic River Superfund litigation.

First Solar, ongoing
Advise First Solar, a US-based solar panels manufacturer, on an on-going basis on a range of environmental issues at EU level as well as at a national level in several countries around the globe. Our advice for this company requires a deep knowledge of climate change legislation and a clear understanding of EU and national environmental and energy strategies in this field. We have been dealing with all aspects of environmental regulations relevant to manufacturing the product, putting it on the market and then its treatment as waste and other issues related to recycling.

Florida Crystals Corp., and Okeelanta Corp., ongoing
Represented Florida Crystals Corp., and its subsidiaries in relation to the development of major civil works projects to restore the Florida Everglades. Congress authorized the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan, an US$8 billion civil works plan framework to restore the South Florida ecosystem while providing for the other water-related needs of the region. The Firm represents Florida Crystals in regard to the ongoing administrative process, and, in particular, legal compliance with civil works and environmental statutes. Among the issues raised in this process are disputes over water rights, endangered species, water quality impacts to the Everglades, and government acquisition of tens of thousands of acres of agricultural land.

Hess Corporation, 2014
Acted as environmental counsel to Hess Corporation in connection with Hess' divestiture of its East Coast terminal network to Buckeye Partners LP for US$850 million. This transaction involved 20 large bulk oil storage terminals located along the US Atlantic coast and in St. Lucia, and Hess' recently closed refinery in New Jersey. We coordinated the sell-side environmental due diligence, managed the environmental aspects of the auction process, and negotiated the purchase agreement and related environmental agreements.

City of Dania Beach, Florida, 2014
Represented the City of Dania Beach with regard to the City's challenges to the expansion of the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. The US$800 million airport expansion plan will significantly expand the airport with a lengthened commercial jet runway, but will expose more than 1000 homes to "incompatible" noise levels. After years of litigation, and five separate lawsuits related to the expansion, the City and the airport's owner, Broward County, reached a public settlement which resolved all outstanding issues. This settlement ends one of the most significant long-term environmental controversies in Florida, and has been recognized for its innovative approach.

Fortis, Inc., 2014
Represented Fortis, Inc., Canada's largest investor-owned gas and electric distribution utility, in its US$4.3 billion acquisition of UNS Energy Corporation. This environmentally complex transaction involved a due diligence assessment and transfer of 10 power generation facilities. We assessed and advised on the potential impact on these facilities by emissions control requirements associated with greenhouse gas regulation, the Clean Air Act's provisions and other environmental regulations. We also advised on pending federal litigation impacts concerning the acquired entities' emissions control mandates. Finally, we provided strategic guidance on impacts from Cooling Water Intake Structure rules under the Clean Water Act and the management of coal combustion residuals, and soil and groundwater contamination. 

Daimler, 2013
We advised Mercedes Benz France before the French Conseil d'Etat. The dispute concerned an order of the French government preventing the registration of several of the car maker's models. Daimler and Mercedes Benz France were accused by the French Government and the EU Commission of not complying with EU environmental rules which impose a progressive reduction of the use in cars of the R134a air-conditioning refrigerant on the grounds that it contains a highly potent global warming gas. 

R.E. Jacobs Group, 2012
Represented R.E. Jacobs Group, one of the nation's largest developers of shopping centers, in a dispute regarding the impact of a development. Environmental groups contended that the wetlands permit issued for the project violated the Endangered Species Act, the Clean Water Act (CWA), and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The district court judge rejected the plaintiffs' Endangered Species Act claim, but concluded that the regulatory agency should have prepared an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) instead of an Environmental Assessment (EA), and had not sufficiently considered different site configurations. Both sides appealed the district judge's decision and in 2012 the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the District Court's CWA and NEPA rulings, allowing the development to proceed.

European Trade Association
Advising one of the largest and most influential EU trade associations on certain aspects of the EU ETS Directive. We provided a comprehensive analysis of the EU environmental, trade and competition law implications of the treatment of emissions from certain production processes and invoked a broad range of detailed legal arguments which were successful in achieving key amendments to the text.

Baltic Sea Pipeline
Advising Nord Stream in all legal aspects of the Nord Stream Project, a gas pipeline which will transport gas from the gas field Yuzhno-Russkoye (Russia) through the Baltic Sea to Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania (Germany). In particular we advised on environmental law including national and international permit procedures, project financing and the EPC contract. The Nord Stream Project is a joint project of Gazprom, Wintershall AG and E.ON Ruhrgas and required close cooperation between our offices in Moscow, Stockholm, Helsinki, London and Germany.

Asian Government
Advising an Asian Government on the progress of the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) Phase III legislation through the EU institutions with a particular focus on linkage of the EU ETS with other Kyoto Protocol systems. Our representation included organizing and accompanying the client on a fact-finding mission to a European Economic Area (EEA) country to meet officials running the ETS and visits to Carbon Capture Storage projects.

Environment & Climate Change
About

We handle some of the world’s largest and most sophisticated matters requiring the resolution of complex environmental issues. As environmental risks and regulations become increasingly global, our integrated practices around the world are a strategic asset for our clients. We are well-equipped to assemble international teams of experienced environmental lawyers on matters anywhere in the world, whether handling cross-border transactions with assets in several jurisdictions or advising global clients on the environmental regulations relevant to their operations. The team handles a complete range of environmental litigation and environmental issues arising in transactions around the globe. 

Clients value our understanding of regulatory standards and the ever-changing landscape, making our Firm a market leader in environmental law.  We offer well-grounded legal advice and counsel in connection with compliance issues, corporate and financial transactions, and disputes concerning environmental requirements and potential environmental damages.

We cover all aspects of environmental law, including:

  • Environmental litigation and enforcement
  • Environmental due diligence and transactional advice
  • Environmental compliance and regulatory advice
  • European Union (EU) environmental legislation and the legislative process
  • Environmental legislation and lobbying (globally)
  • Climate change, renewable energy and clean technology
  • Environmental advice on infrastructure and project development and finance
  • International trade and the environment

As part of our practice, we assist clients in responding to the full range of legal and business issues raised by global climate change. Our lawyers have successfully represented clients regarding greenhouse gas emissions, renewable energy and clean technology issues in matters across a wide variety of areas.

The global nature of our environmental practice and the constant communication among its members allows us to exchange experiences from our different jurisdictions with regard to green markets, international or cross-border environmental liability, and other matters with an international or comparative law relevance, giving us a distinct advantage over local environmental firms.

 

AWARDS

"This is an excellent firm with depth of service, but also it provides the whole range of legal services from the regulatory advice through to the administrative or [litigation matters]."
Chambers Europe 2014

"Renowned for its outstanding environmental litigation practice, acting on a broad range of matters…"
Chambers USA 2014

"Group of attorneys who 'exhibit the highest qualities you could possibly want for environmental issues, including associated litigation'"
The Legal 500 – United States 2014

Highly recommended firm in environmental and planning law
JUVE German Commercial Law Firms 2014

First Tier—Environmental Law, United States
US News & World Report—Best Lawyers/Best Law Firms 2014

Experience

Pfizer Inc., ongoing
Our New York team acts as environmental transactional counsel to Pfizer Inc. as it seeks to divest manufacturing, warehouse, research and development, office and laboratory facilities throughout the world. The team also represents Pfizer in regulatory matters and Superfund litigation, including in the Atlantic Resources Superfund litigation and Passaic River Superfund litigation.

First Solar, ongoing
Advise First Solar, a US-based solar panels manufacturer, on an on-going basis on a range of environmental issues at EU level as well as at a national level in several countries around the globe. Our advice for this company requires a deep knowledge of climate change legislation and a clear understanding of EU and national environmental and energy strategies in this field. We have been dealing with all aspects of environmental regulations relevant to manufacturing the product, putting it on the market and then its treatment as waste and other issues related to recycling.

Florida Crystals Corp., and Okeelanta Corp., ongoing
Represented Florida Crystals Corp., and its subsidiaries in relation to the development of major civil works projects to restore the Florida Everglades. Congress authorized the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan, an US$8 billion civil works plan framework to restore the South Florida ecosystem while providing for the other water-related needs of the region. The Firm represents Florida Crystals in regard to the ongoing administrative process, and, in particular, legal compliance with civil works and environmental statutes. Among the issues raised in this process are disputes over water rights, endangered species, water quality impacts to the Everglades, and government acquisition of tens of thousands of acres of agricultural land.

Hess Corporation, 2014
Acted as environmental counsel to Hess Corporation in connection with Hess' divestiture of its East Coast terminal network to Buckeye Partners LP for US$850 million. This transaction involved 20 large bulk oil storage terminals located along the US Atlantic coast and in St. Lucia, and Hess' recently closed refinery in New Jersey. We coordinated the sell-side environmental due diligence, managed the environmental aspects of the auction process, and negotiated the purchase agreement and related environmental agreements.

City of Dania Beach, Florida, 2014
Represented the City of Dania Beach with regard to the City's challenges to the expansion of the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. The US$800 million airport expansion plan will significantly expand the airport with a lengthened commercial jet runway, but will expose more than 1000 homes to "incompatible" noise levels. After years of litigation, and five separate lawsuits related to the expansion, the City and the airport's owner, Broward County, reached a public settlement which resolved all outstanding issues. This settlement ends one of the most significant long-term environmental controversies in Florida, and has been recognized for its innovative approach.

Fortis, Inc., 2014
Represented Fortis, Inc., Canada's largest investor-owned gas and electric distribution utility, in its US$4.3 billion acquisition of UNS Energy Corporation. This environmentally complex transaction involved a due diligence assessment and transfer of 10 power generation facilities. We assessed and advised on the potential impact on these facilities by emissions control requirements associated with greenhouse gas regulation, the Clean Air Act's provisions and other environmental regulations. We also advised on pending federal litigation impacts concerning the acquired entities' emissions control mandates. Finally, we provided strategic guidance on impacts from Cooling Water Intake Structure rules under the Clean Water Act and the management of coal combustion residuals, and soil and groundwater contamination. 

Daimler, 2013
We advised Mercedes Benz France before the French Conseil d'Etat. The dispute concerned an order of the French government preventing the registration of several of the car maker's models. Daimler and Mercedes Benz France were accused by the French Government and the EU Commission of not complying with EU environmental rules which impose a progressive reduction of the use in cars of the R134a air-conditioning refrigerant on the grounds that it contains a highly potent global warming gas. 

R.E. Jacobs Group, 2012
Represented R.E. Jacobs Group, one of the nation's largest developers of shopping centers, in a dispute regarding the impact of a development. Environmental groups contended that the wetlands permit issued for the project violated the Endangered Species Act, the Clean Water Act (CWA), and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The district court judge rejected the plaintiffs' Endangered Species Act claim, but concluded that the regulatory agency should have prepared an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) instead of an Environmental Assessment (EA), and had not sufficiently considered different site configurations. Both sides appealed the district judge's decision and in 2012 the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the District Court's CWA and NEPA rulings, allowing the development to proceed.

European Trade Association
Advising one of the largest and most influential EU trade associations on certain aspects of the EU ETS Directive. We provided a comprehensive analysis of the EU environmental, trade and competition law implications of the treatment of emissions from certain production processes and invoked a broad range of detailed legal arguments which were successful in achieving key amendments to the text.

Baltic Sea Pipeline
Advising Nord Stream in all legal aspects of the Nord Stream Project, a gas pipeline which will transport gas from the gas field Yuzhno-Russkoye (Russia) through the Baltic Sea to Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania (Germany). In particular we advised on environmental law including national and international permit procedures, project financing and the EPC contract. The Nord Stream Project is a joint project of Gazprom, Wintershall AG and E.ON Ruhrgas and required close cooperation between our offices in Moscow, Stockholm, Helsinki, London and Germany.

Asian Government
Advising an Asian Government on the progress of the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) Phase III legislation through the EU institutions with a particular focus on linkage of the EU ETS with other Kyoto Protocol systems. Our representation included organizing and accompanying the client on a fact-finding mission to a European Economic Area (EEA) country to meet officials running the ETS and visits to Carbon Capture Storage projects.