Environment & Climate Change
We handle some of the world's largest and most sophisticated matters requiring the resolution of complex environmental issues. 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 local environmental regulations relevant to their operations.
Clients value our understanding of the ever-changing environmental regulatory landscape, making our Firm a market leader in environmental law. We offer well-grounded legal advice and counsel in connection with compliance issues, transactions, and disputes concerning environmental requirements and potential environmental damages. Our practice advises on a gamut of environmental laws from local remediation programs to national environmental policy regulations to international climate change treaties.
We cover all aspects of environmental law, including:
- Environmental litigation and enforcement
- Environmental due diligence and transactional advice
- Environmental compliance and regulatory advice
- International environmental law
- Climate change
- Remediation and development of contaminated properties
- Environmental impact assessment and approval of energy, infrastructure, resource and development projects
- Equator Principles, and World Bank, OECD and IFC environmental standards
- International trade and the environment
- Environmental management systems
- Environmental treaties and multilateral environmental agreements
- REACH, WEEE, RoHS and other EU product safety and environmental regulations
- Environmental insurance
- Environmental disclosure and reporting
- Financing projects that have positive environmental or climate benefits
Our team handles some of the world’s most sophisticated transactions that require the resolution of exceptionally complex environmental issues. We are the 'go-to' firm for clients engaging in environmentally-sensitive M&A transactions. We have the ability to provide advice on a wide range of environmentally-complex transactions from modest investments and leases to large, multi-national, and multi-billion dollar acquisitions and divestitures. In transactions, we identify and assess potential environmental liabilities and manage responsibility for known and potential environmental risks. Our team is one of the most experienced environmental teams in advising buyers, sellers, lenders, underwriters, and developers in mergers, acquisitions, divestitures, financings, project development, securities offerings, bankruptcies, real estate transactions, and governmental cleanup programs. Our practice coordinates environmental site assessments, audits, and permit transfers; structures transactions to minimize environmental risk, including via the procurement of insurance; and drafts and negotiates the critical environmental provisions of transaction documents. After deals close, we work with clients to pursue the post-closing resolution of issues identified in the course of due diligence.
While we advise on multi-billion dollar deals, we also represent an exceptionally large range of corporations, investors, developers, lenders, and sovereign governments in transactions of all sizes involving environmentally-complex matters that require careful environmental analysis and advocacy. While we work on deals with dollar values in the billions, we take special pride in our success in also handling matters that are smaller in terms of dollar value, but which often involve the most complex environmental issues and the most difficult negotiations.
Our team handles cutting-edge international environmental law issues, including climate change work. We offer clients a market-leading climate change practice. We advised a sovereign nation in connection with the global climate change treaty negotiations to develop a successor to the Kyoto Protocol, which resulted in the Paris Agreement to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. We are advising on an environmental treaty related to an international marine ecosystem. We have experience in interpreting and helping clients comply with the environmental and social standards of multilateral development banks, such as the World Bank and International Finance Corporation, as well as evolving international standards, including the Equator Principles.
Our environmental litigation practice also remains vibrant as we are engaged in cutting-edge disputes involving contaminants, for which evidence of adverse health effects is emerging and enforceable standards are changing rapidly. In litigation, we represent clients relating to remediation of contaminated sites, compliance with environmental laws, environmental insurance coverage, rights and obligations under environmental contractual indemnities, and environmental liabilities in bankruptcy.
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 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 & RECOGNITION
Band 2 for Environment & Planning in Australia
Chambers Asia-Pacific 2020
Band 3 for Environment: Mainly Transactional in New York
Chambers USA 2020-2022
We advise Pfizer Inc. on a variety of environmental matters, including on its environmental management system, environmental litigation, global environmental compliance, and environmental transactional matters. 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.
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.
Macquarie Infrastructure Corporation and International-Matex Tank Terminals
Macquarie Infrastructure Corporation and International-Matex Tank Terminals LLC in connection with their acquisition of a portfolio of seven oil terminals in the US. The transaction involved a number of complicated environmental issues concerning ongoing investigation and remediation of contamination at several terminals, compliance issues and asset transfer obligations associated with an environmental consent decree. We coordinated the buy-side environmental due diligence, managed the environmental aspects of the transaction, and negotiated the purchase agreement and related environmental agreements.
Acted as environmental counsel to Fortis Inc. in its US$4.3 billion acquisition of UNS Energy Corporation. This environmentally complex transaction involved a due diligence assessment and transfer of ten power generation facilities.
We acted as environmental counsel to Hess Corporation in connection with Hess's divestiture of its United States East Coast oil terminal network to Buckeye Partners L.P. This transaction involved 20 large bulk oil storage terminals located along the US Atlantic coast and in St. Lucia, and Hess's 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. We also acted as environmental counsel to HOVENSA LLC, a joint venture formed by Hess Corporation and the national oil company of Venezuela, in the sale of substantially all of its U.S. Virgin Islands petroleum terminal and refining assets. This deal involved complicated environmental issues concerning an ongoing investigation and remediation of contamination at one of the largest refineries in the world, as well as compliance issues under the Clean Air Act. This sale was consummated pursuant to Sections 363 and 365 of the Bankruptcy Code and overseen by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court. In addition to working through complex environmental issues concerning air quality, soil and groundwater contamination, and the interplay between bankruptcy law and environmental law, our team engaged in complex negotiations with the buyer and governmental entities concerning the allocation of environmental liabilities and mechanisms to fund those liabilities.
China Three Gorges Corp.
We represented China Three Gorges Corp., a clean energy group focused on large-scale hydropower development and operation, in the US$1.2 billion acquisition of the Brazilian business of Duke Energy Brazil. We coordinated with local counsel to advise our client on the allocation of a variety of environmental liabilities involving hydroelectric power and impacts to waterbodies in this transaction. We negotiated and drafted complex environmental provisions in the purchase agreement.
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 carmaker'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.
Melbourne Metro Rail Authority
Advising the Melbourne Metro Rail Authority and Secretary to the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources on the AU$11 billion Metro Tunnel Project. This is the largest transport infrastructure project ever undertaken in Australia and is intended to ease road and train congestion by allowing 20,000 more passengers to access the rail network during peak times. We are providing ongoing environmental advice during construction, land acquisition and land assembly.
Advised Neoen, which, together with Tesla, constructed, operate and maintain the world's largest lithium ion battery. The battery is paired with Neoen's existing Hornsdale Wind Farm and will have a storage capacity of 100 MWs.
Offshore wind energy
Advising the proponent of the Star of the South offshore wind farm in south-east Australia on environmental impact assessment, approvals and land assembly, and a consortium of lenders on environmental and social due diligence for the Yunlun offshore wind farm in Taiwan.
Montara oilfield acquisition
Advised the mandated lead arrangers, underwriters and bookrunners on a US$120 million term facility provided to Jadestone Energy (Eagle) Pty Ltd for the acquisition of the Montara offshore oil project (including FPSO) off the Western Australian coast. This involved advice on environmental obligations and requirements under Australian environmental and offshore petroleum laws, and on contractual risk allocation and negotiation.
Lenders of the Oltin Yo'l GTL Plant
Representation of the lenders of the ground-breaking US$5.6 billion financing of the Oltin Yo'l GTL Plant in Uzbekistan. Upon completion, the plant is expected to contribute significantly to Uzbekistan's commitment to becoming energy-independent and will benefit from commitments from the Uzbek government and the national oil and gas company, Uzbekneftegas. We are advising on Environmental Health and Safety Standards (EHSS) compliance for the project, including local environmental, health and safety laws and international EHSS standards and guidelines.
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 country to meet officials running the ETS and visits to Carbon Capture Storage projects.
We represented a sovereign nation in connection with the negotiation of the most important multilateral environmental agreement since the 1992 Kyoto Protocol, the 2015 Paris Agreement to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
Waste Management, Inc.
We represented Waste Management, Inc. in defending a class action lawsuit regarding odors from a landfill. After removing the case to federal court, we were able to resolve all claims prior to a class certification hearing.
Conservation Law Foundation, Inc.
We serve as outside legal counsel to the Conservation Law Foundation, Inc.'s (CLF) environmental enforcement program in litigation against multiple violators of the Clean Water Act throughout New England. We engage in discovery practice and motion practice and represent CLF before multiple federal courts.