Environmental Compliance and Permitting


Manufacturers, property owners, and developers turn to Robinson+Cole's Compliance and Permitting Group for our proven ability to identify effective strategies that address not only regulatory requirements  but also the physical and operational limitations and other competing factors affecting compliance and permitting efforts.

Our Services

Whether serving as active members of corporate compliance teams and auditing efforts,  or representing applicants in state and federal permit proceedings, we provide the legal analysis and support that our clients seek regarding the range of regulatory programs they face. These include the following federal programs and their state and local counterparts:

  • the Clean Water Act and Oil Pollution Act
  • the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) and Mine Safety and Health Act (MSHA)
  • the Clean Air Act
  • the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA)
  • the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act
  • the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA)
  • the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act

Our understanding of these programs allows us to provide clients with effective advice and representation regarding their environmental, health, and safety concerns, such as the following:

  • wastewater discharges
  • stormwater runoff and erosion and sedimentation controls
  • worker safety measures
  • air emissions
  • solid and hazardous waste
  • underground storage tanks
  • financial assurance
  • spill and safety reporting
  • oil and chemical release planning and prevention
  • corrective action
  • cleanup, remediation, and other release and emergency response actions
  • abatement of asbestos, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and other building material constituents

Our Team

Our group leads or closely follows the latest discussions and changes affecting our clients, including new and emerging efforts to address sustainability and climate change concerns, and the expanding reach of toxic and chemical substance regulations such as those taking effect under the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, as well as the continuing requirements of TSCA; EPCRA; the European Union’s Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) program; California’s Proposition 65; and other regulatory initiatives.

Our Compliance and Permitting Group lawyers draw on experience gained not only from representing a diverse range of clients and industries but also from having members with science and engineering degrees and formerly holding positions in federal, state, and local environmental agencies. 

    • Experience
      • Serving as national preferred counsel for United Technologies Corporation on environmental, health, and safety matters, Robinson+Cole provides strategic advice and representation on issues arising under RCRA, CWA, CAA, CERCLA, EPCRA, OSHA, TSCA and many other state and federal EH+S laws affecting UTC Corporate Headquarters, UTC Aerospace Systems, Pratt & Whitney, Otis Elevator, Carrier, and UTC Climate, Controls & Security business units.

      • Represented large high-technology manufacturer and after-market service provider in the negotiation and related legal support required to design and permit several connected "sustainable campus" projects at its headquarters, including multimillion-dollar wastewater treatment and reuse upgrades eliminating NPDES-permitted discharges, installation of a combined heat and power cogeneration facility, and related infrastructure changes.

      • Provided critical input to institutional investor’s due diligence and renovation plans for a large city office building by analyzing impacts under TSCA from polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) detected in window caulking.

      • Represented a large manufacturing client to develop and advance arguments for EPA deferral to the development of international standards for greenhouse gas emissions from certain source categories. Worked with the client’s technical, marketing, and legal personnel to develop an in-depth white paper on relevant U.S. and international law, governmental authorities, and nongovernmental organizations, as well as a strategy document setting out potential options, venues, and pressure points.

      • Developed analyses and tools to assist multiple Fortune 500 companies in determining applicability and relevant requirements of complex New Source Performance Standards and National Emissions Standards for hazardous air pollutants for a broad array of emission sources at facilities nationwide. 

      • Worked closely with technical and legal staff at EPA headquarters to secure an exemption from Tier 4 nonroad engine emission standards for a construction equipment manufacturer.

      • Prepared a voluntary disclosure submittal to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for manufacturing facility under Section 313 of Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA). Company identified as part of a routine environmental management program the presence of an inadvertently produced byproduct in wastewater discharge. EPA allowed 100 percent reduction of potential penalty.

      • Assisted large retail fuel oil company in preparing a compliance handbook covering release reporting, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), permitting, antitrust, and other industry-related issues.

      • Representation of an aquaculture production business in the development of a program to disinfect production facilities, remove stock animals, implement a farm repopulation and importation program, and secure federal funding and compensation from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service).

      • Representation of a large-scale commercial composting facility to resolve a permit matter by a state agency, without formal enforcement and penalties, and assisted the client in obtaining related permit modifications, as well as authorization for a significant facility expansion.

      • Represent various composting clients, both established concerns and start-ups, concerning permitting, operational compliance, and enforcement matters.

      • Representation of a manufacturer in self-disclosing excess volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions under its air permit to the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (CTDEEP) and resolving related CTDEEP enforcement action without penalties. Worked with client and outside technical consultants to develop a compliance management system to prevent future recurrence.

      • Environmental Counseling and Dispute Resolution

      • Conducted internal investigation of pharmaceutical client's compliance with the Clean Air Act's leak detection and repair requirements. 

      • Other Experiences

      • Represented a concrete manufacturer in federal court litigation involving environmental (RCRA citizens suit), wetlands issues, and NPDES permitting.

      • Completed time-sensitive EHS compliance investigations at aerospace manufacturer’s facilities involving self-discovered and reported violations of Clean Air Act NESHAP regulations for volatile organic hazardous air pollutants and Clean Water Act metal finishing pretreatment standards.

      • Defended a metal finishing company in public hearings and enforcement matters, leading to a settlement with the state agency and intervenor citizen groups and allowing for renewal of the client’s NPDES permit with a compliance schedule to meet new wastewater discharge limits under a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) allocation imposed on multiple discharges into the receiving waters.

      • Substantially reduced a Connecticut chemical manufacturer’s penalty payments by proposing a habitat restoration project desired by a local river watershed association, as a Supplemental Environmental Project completed under the settlement of a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrative Complaint alleging violations of categorical Clean Water Act Pretreatment Standards.

      • Represented a Connecticut municipality and its water pollution control authority with regard to sewage treatment plant capacity concerns and related problems with slow performance on an expansion contract and funding and permit matters overseen by the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.

      • Negotiated a Connecticut city's settlement of a CTDEEP enforcement action alleging sewer overflows and related state law and federal Clean Water Act (CWA) violations, significantly reducing city’s payment obligation by proposing a Supplemental Environmental Project to improve wetland habitat in watershed lands used by the City for watershed protection and recreational activities.

      • Provided analysis of federal CWA regulation of sewage treatment plant biosolids under CTDEEP contract.

      • Help numerous clients reduce site cleanup costs by negotiating and recording agency-approved environmental land use restrictions (ELURs) and other institutional controls that must be established to rely on alternative risk-based criteria under the Connecticut Remediation Standard Regulations (RSRs) and similar state and federal cleanup programs.

      • Led client team comprising in-house and local counsel, surveyors, and technical consultants to redevelop large South Florida manufacturing and office complex involving a complex set of legal and transactional concerns, including real estate leasing and sales, environmental, utility, endangered and protected species, and municipal matters. Our services have involved the creation and use of a Community Development District by owners and tenants of the redeveloped property, as well as transactions and regulatory proceedings with the county and the State of Florida.

      • Represented a waterfront fuel oil terminal owner in the investigation, negotiation of alternative clean standards, remediation, and structuring of transaction to sell and convert the terminal to upscale residential apartments.

      • Represented a subsidiary of a conglomerate client on the steering committee of a multiparty Midwestern Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) site.

      • Represented owner of a 46-acre municipal solid waste landfill required to close landfill, construct cap, install landfill gas collection and treatment system, perform groundwater zone of influence study, prepare wetlands mitigation program, and obtain all related air, water, solid waste, and wetlands permits and approvals.

      • Assisted redeveloper with environmental investigation and remediation issues arising in the development of a corporate complex in South Norwalk, Connecticut.

      • Assisted client with ongoing efforts to pursue stabilized status under the USEPA Voluntary RCRA Corrective Action Program.

      • Represented major PRP and served as lead negotiator for PRP group in addressing EPA response cost claims for a Superfund site in the southeastern U.S.

      • Managed the land use permitting for Bridgeport’s sports and entertainment complex, referred to as the Arena and Transit Garage at HarborYard®, and assisted the city in complying with the requirements of the Connecticut Environmental Policy Act (CEPA) and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

      • Representation of a well-known diversified technology, media, and financial services company in deconstruction and remediation of a manufacturing facility with environmental, historic, and wetlands challenges in Bridgeport, Connecticut.

      • Secure permits and approvals required for clients to construct and modify waterfront docks, bulkheads, ferry, and other terminal structures, aquaculture, and other coastal operations, including strategic legal advice and representation of businesses and land owners in wetland, coastal zoning, and other local, state, and federal proceedings. Specific examples of our work are posted under Coastal Resources of our Land Use Group.

      • Representation of the Connecticut Health and Educational Facilities Authority, including evaluating site conditions and environmental permitting and compliance efforts at numerous educational institutions.

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    • News
      • November 6, 2023

        Robinson+Cole Receives 42 First-Tier Metropolitan Rankings and Six National Rankings in Latest Edition of Best Law Firms®

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      • April 18, 2023

        Jon Schaefer Quoted in Recycling Today on Confusing Environmental Justice Policies and Regulations

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      • May 23, 2019

        Brian Freeman and Emilee Mooney Scott Present at MCTA Meeting

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      • March 27, 2019

        Peter Knight Authors Article on Looming IMO 2020 Sulfur Cap

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      • December 4, 2018

        Brian Freeman and Emilee Mooney Scott Present During Air Permitting & Compliance Program

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      • November 1, 2018

        Robinson+Cole Receives 36 First-Tier Metropolitan Rankings and Four National Rankings in Latest U.S. News – “Best Law Firms” Survey

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      • October 18, 2018

        51 Robinson+Cole Lawyers Recognized by Super Lawyers®

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      • May 18, 2018

        Jim Ray and Emilee Mooney Scott Offer Insights on PFAS

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      • December 11, 2017

        Robinson+Cole Elects New Partners

      • September 27, 2017

        Robinson+Cole Lawyers Participate in 2017 Southern New England Energy Conference

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      • June 20, 2017

        Robinson+Cole Participates in CBIA Energy & Environmental Conference

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      • January 9, 2014

        Environmental and Utilities Lawyers Speak at MCTA Meeting

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      • November 13, 2013

        Environmental Analyst Elected President of Connecticut Environmental Forum

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      • November 12, 2013

        Robinson & Cole Lawyers Promote Manufacturing Blog at SBANE's Prospectus 2013

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      • October 16, 2013

        Environmental Lawyer Speaks at Global Shipping Conference in China

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      • August 9, 2013

        Robinson & Cole Lawyers Featured in Scrap Magazine

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      • April 4, 2013

        Hartford Lawyers Participate in Energy, Environment, and Economic Development Conference

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      • May 2, 2012

        Environmental Attorneys Discuss Siting, Moving and Expanding Operations at Scrap Metal Convention

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      • April 23, 2012

        Environmental and Utilities Lawyers Write About Supreme Court Decision on Clean Water Act

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      • March 21, 2012

        Robinson & Cole Among Largest Firms in Real Estate, Insurance and Environmental Law

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      • February 16, 2012

        Environmental Attorneys Offer Key Points for a Successful Property Transfer in Scrap Magazine

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      • January 31, 2012

        Environmental Attorney Writes Article on ‘Tri-State’ Water War

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    • Publications + Presentations
    • "New Massachusetts DEP Regulations Target Cape Cod Septic Systems" co-authored by Michael S. Giaimo, Jessica D. Bardi and Kevin A. Feeley Jr. (7/26/23)

      "Air Permitting & Compliance: What to Know, What to Do, What Not to Do," co-presented by Brian C. Freeman and Emilee Mooney Scott, for the MCTA in Westfield, MA (5/23/2019)
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      "The IMO 2020 Sulfur Cap in the United States: Compliance Issues," published in The Maritime Executive, published in The Maritime Executive business journal (3/19/2019)
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      "EPA & DEEP Morphing, Citizens & NGOs Rising: Updating Your Compliance Program in the New Regulatory World," co-presented by Robert S. Melvin, Todd R. Berman and Brian C. Freeman, at the CBIA 2017 Energy & Environment Conference in Farmington, Connecticut (6/16/2017)
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      "Hot Topics in Chemical Compliance," presented by Emilee Mooney Scott, at the CBIA 2017 Energy & Environment Conference in Farmington, Connecticut (6/16/2017)
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      "EPA Launches eDisclosure Portal and Modifies FOIA Presumption" co-authored by Earl W. Phillips Jr., Robert S. Melvin, Megan E. Baroni and Jonathan H. Schaefer (Dec 2015)

      "The Regulation of Fracking," presented by Sorell E. Negro, Guest Lecturer at Quinnipiac Law School for Professor Jeffrey Meyer's Environmental Law Class (10/31/2013)

      "Deadline Approaching for Comments on EPA Water Study to Impact Clean Water Act Jurisdiction" (10/24/2013)

      "Fractured Communities: Hydraulic Fracturing and the Law in New York State," at Albany Law Review symposium panel, presented by Sorell E. Negro (9/24/2013)

      "Connecticut Combined Heat and Power Programs" (09/06/2013)

      "Red Alert on Greenwashing" (07/11/2013)

      "Managing Our Coastal Resources Post-Irene and Sandy: New Laws, Regulations, and Guidelines," at Connecticut Chapter of the American Planning Association's annual "Hot Topics in Land Use Law and Practice" program, presented by John P. Casey (6/21/2013)

      "New Takings Issues: Regulating Shale Development and Coastal Adaptation to Climate Change," presented by Sorell E. Negro, presented as part of CLE panel discussion on hot topics in land use and environmental law at the ABA's Young Lawyers Division Spring Conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota (5/17/2013)

      "New EPA Vessel General Permit Includes Numeric Limitations for Ballast Water Discharges" (04/30/2013)

      "Federal Flood Plain Regulation," at Lorman Education Services audio conference, co-presented by John P. Casey and Ernest Abbott & Molly Lawrence (4/26/2013)

      "FTC Provides Primer On 'Green' Paint Marketing," published in Connecticut Law Tribune, authored by Emilee Mooney Scott (4/8/2013)

      "Underground Tanks At Your Facility In Connecticut?" (03/28/2013)

      "Beyond the Fracking Wars," at a CLE panel at the 2013 ABA Midyear Meeting in Dallas, Texas, presented by Sorell E. Negro (2/7/2013)

      "Protecting Stream Flows: Water Management Strategies from the Susquehanna River Basin Commission," authored by Sorell E. Negro, published in the Water Resources Committee Newsletter of the ABA's Section of the Environment, Energy, and Resources (2/2013)

      "Supreme Court Holds Transfer of Polluted Water Within Same Water Body is Not a Discharge Under the Clean Water Act" (01/11/2013)

      "Man Camps, Boomtowns, and the Boom-and-Bust Cycle: Learning from Rifle, Colorado, and Williams County, North Dakota," published in Beyond the Fracking Wars, authored by Sorell E. Negro, a publication of the American Bar Association (2013)

      "BP’s Suspension Highlights Risk of Exclusion for Government Contractors" (12/06/2012)

      "Lessons from the 'Tri-State' Water War," published in State & Local Law News, authored by Megan E. Baroni (Winter 2012)

      "Planning for Shale Development: Booms, Busts, and Beyond," presented by Sorell E. Negro, organized and moderated this national webinar for the American Planning Association (10/26/2012)

      "Marcellus Shale Development: Planning for Environmental, Community, and Economic Impacts," presented by Sorell E. Negro, moderated this session at the American Planning Association's New York Metro Chapter Annual Meeting in New York City (10/19/2012)

      "New Requirements for CT UST Owners and Operators Take Effect August 8, 2012" (06/22/2012)

      "Distinguishing Water Law from Land Use to Protect Water Quality and Navigate Rapanos," published in Environmental Claims Journal, authored by Sorell E. Negro (5/21/2012)

      "The View from the Shore - Regulation as Far as the Eye Can See," published in New England Real Estate Journal, authored by John P. Casey (5/18/2012)

      "Ruling Paves Way for Clean Water Act Litigation," published in Connecticut Law Tribune, co-authored by Robert S. Melvin and Emilee Mooney Scott (4/9/2012)

      "Navigating History: Montana and State Riverbed Ownership," published in Law360, co-authored by Evan J. Seeman, Brian R. Smith and Sorell E. Negro (4/2/2012)

      "OSHA Releases Guidance on Employer Safety Incentive Programs" (03/28/2012)

      "Of Counsel," published in Scrap, co-authored by Earl W. Phillips Jr. and Richard M. Fil (January/February 2012)

      "Built Seawalls: A Protected Investment or Subordinate to the Public Trust?" authored by Sorell E. Negro, published in the Ocean and Coastal Law Journal of the University of Maine School of Law (2012)

Our Team