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Environmental Law

Helmsing Leach attorneys draw upon years of experience in helping clients navigate the maze of environmental law and regulation.  The firm’s attorneys have assisted clients with regulatory compliance, as well as environmental litigation at the administrative and judicial level.  The firm has represented buyers and sellers of potentially contaminated land in real estate transactions to protect against environmental liabilities associated with the land.

Through its attorneys, the firm has served as general counsel to Partners for Environmental Progress, Inc., a non-profit corporation consisting of hundreds of local and regional business and non-profit organizations with a common purpose of promoting economic prosperity and environmental sustainability in the Gulf Coast region.

Attorneys in the firm have also published articles in the field of environmental law and taught and environmental law seminars.

Attorneys in the firm have counselled clients with regard to regulatory compliance under state and federal regulatory programs involving land, air, and water. We have assisted clients in obtaining, and complying with NPDES permits under the Clean Water Act, Title V permits under the Clean Air Act, §404 permits for dredging or filling of wetlands and state permits for the storage and transportation of hazardous waste. Firm attorneys have represented clients charged with violations of the permit programs for air, water, and land and assisted in defending and negotiating notices of violation, orders of non-compliance, and penalty assessments.

Lawyers with Helmsing Leach have represented clients in administrative agency proceedings as well as in state and federal courts involving issues of environmental law. Clients have included owners and operators of contaminated “Superfund” sites in Mississippi and Louisiana, as well as generators of hazardous waste materials deposited at such sites. Firm attorneys have successfully defended claims of personal injury allegedly caused by exposure to toxic chemicals as well as claims of contamination to the environment. Firm attorneys have obtained compensation for landowners whose land has been contaminated by the migration of chemicals from adjacent properties or other sources of contamination. Firm attorneys have successfully litigated the issue of insurance coverage for various claims of environmental liability arising out of Superfund sites.

The purchase and sale of potentially contaminated land is fraught with risks of future environmental liability to both seller and buyer. Such transactions require a working knowledge of such liabilities and skill in negotiation of the necessary disclaimers and/or indemnities in the instruments used in the conveyance or lease of real estate. Without such legal expertise, the buyer or seller may face enormous liabilities that could have been avoided, minimized or allocated to others.

Firm attorneys have experience in the negotiation and drafting of the appropriate documents for such real estate transactions. Firm attorneys can also assist respective purchasers, investors and lenders in assessing the environmental risks discussed in Phase I and/or Phase II environmental assessments of the property.

  • William W. Watts, III, “Common Law Remedies in Alabama for Contamination of Land,” 29 Cumberland Law Review 37 (1999)