Environmental Law

Overview

Hull Barrett’s environmental law practice includes counseling and advising private parties regarding compliance with federal, state and local laws and regulations and defending against allegations of violation by regulatory agencies and others; pursuit, defense and negotiation of resolution of civil claims alleging environmental impacts and damages; coordinating due diligence for property and corporate acquisitions; managing long and short term remediation projects; and interpretation, enforcement and prosecution of violations for local government clients.

Our transactional and regulatory attorneys advise sellers, purchasers, developers and their lenders on all phases of due diligence, ranging from Phase I site assessments, wetland and stream buffer considerations, asbestos and lead paint inspections, to full scale structural and subsurface Phase II investigations. If contamination or violations are found, we help the parties understand the legal implications, negotiate terms for assumption or indemnity, and where necessary coordinate comprehensive remediation projects, whether under government mandate or voluntarily, including “Brownfield” liability management programs available under state and federal laws.

We have lawyers experienced in environmental claims litigation, whether by civil enforcement of regulations or the pursuit or defense of tort damage claims. Our firm also acts as County attorney for two Georgia counties, advising the local government entities in their regulated operations, and enforcing local ordinances and state environmental regulations for which the Counties are delegated enforcement authority by the State. Firm partner Darren Meadows formerly served as in-house attorney with the Georgia Environmental Protection Division.

Importance of Environmental Law

With ever increasing government regulation and heightened awareness and sensitivity of the general public to environmental concerns, every business must be aware of, and each transaction must take into account, these environmental laws and regulations.

Any action to modify property or structures, to utilize water, to utilize equipment which results or could result in discharge to the air or water, or any action or inaction which could affect other people or their property, may be regulated or result in liability exposure. Our attorneys help clients navigate this complex terrain on a daily basis.

Representation and Achievements

  • Former FPE Site, Vidalia, Georgia – coordinated the investigation, acquisition and remediation of closed heavy industrial facility and obtained EPD Brownfield approval, allowing the site to be sold for use as a hospital expansion site.
  • Garden City, Georgia UST Site – represented Garden City in the acquisition of property where a large underground storage tank release had occurred, negotiated the allocation of tasks for remediation, and obtained Georgia EPD approval of remediation, allowing the site to be used for new City Hall and related development.
  • Sibley Mill, Augusta, Georgia – represented Augusta Canal Authority in investigation and acquisition of closed historic mill facility, currently coordinating remediation under approved Brownfield plan.
  • Former Savannah Morning News Site, Savannah, Georgia – on behalf of seller negotiated with buyer and coordinated expedited remediation when buyer found decades-old historic contamination, avoiding costs and complications of government oversight, while ultimately achieving EPD approval and preserving deal to sell property.
  • Railroad Depot Property, Augusta, Georgia – coordinated due diligence investigation and negotiated terms of Brownfield acquisition for buyer, managed remediation per EPD approved plan, and obtained from seller reimbursement of expenditures when real estate deal did not close.
  • MedNow facility, Augusta, Georgia – managed due diligence which discovered, and expedited remediation of, underground storage tank release, allowing property to be used for medical facility.
  • Atlantic Pole-Georgia, LLC, Vidalia, Georgia – represented buyer of active wood treating facility in first of its kind, EPD-approved Brownfield acquisition, allowing the facility to continue in productive use while pre-existing contamination from seller is remediated.
  • Former Chemical Site, Augusta, Georgia – negotiated a mutually acceptable settlement for former tenant client with former landlord relating to allegations of contamination of property.
  • Coordinated and reviewed hundreds of Phase I environmental site assessments for real estate investment, development, hospital, and local government clients all over the United States.
  • Represent landowners in pursuit of damage claims against Georgia DOT for adverse stormwater drainage impact due to road projects.
  • Defending Columbia County, Georgia from allegations of adverse impact to property from landowners and environmental activist group.