Background - Practices (Details)

Contaminated Lands and Hazardous Waste

Crowell & Moring's work covers the full range of contamination matters. Our practitioners help position clients to avoid or leverage litigation arising from environmental issues whether those relate to toxic sites or to the transportation of hazardous materials.

Our lawyers have practiced under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) since it was enacted in 1980. We represent clients in matters involving all aspects of that law, and also in state Superfund laws.

We are adept at defending against cost-recovery actions, unilateral administrative orders, judicial enforcement, and claims for natural resource damages, while successfully pursuing pioneering theories of government liability. In addition, our services include designing cost allocations in litigation, alternative dispute resolution, and negotiated settlements.

Our recent engagements include counseling potentially responsible parties at National Priority List (NPL) sites and representing owners and developers on brownfields redevelopment projects in negotiations with EPA, and state and local agencies. We have also represented clients in a broad range of Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) enforcement and compliance matters.

We have successfully defended clients against federal and citizen suit claims of "imminent and substantial endangerment," as well as counseled businesses on all aspects of regulation under RCRA and corresponding state laws, together with waste characterization and management, permitting, recycling projects, delisting, and rulemaking.

Crowell & Moring's lawyers also advise shippers, carriers and manufacturers on compliance with the Department of Transportation's (DOT) Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR). This includes matters related to packaging, labeling, employee training, and other prescribed requirements for the shipment of hazardous materials, or "hazmat," by water, rail, air, and ground. Enforcement activity and fines for violations of the HMR have increased over the past few years, and the DOT has imposed additional requirements on hazmat shippers and carriers related to security issues since the events of September 11, 2001.

We help clients monitor relevant regulatory developments, including proposed and final rules, new agency policies or procedures, and significant enforcement actions or trends. We defend or advise on enforcement actions and draft comments in rulemaking proceedings. We also provide awareness or other training, conduct audits to determine compliance deficiencies, recommend and design compliance strategies and procedures, and prepare exemption applications.

Crowell & Moring lawyers also have extensive experience with DOT's regulations governing transportation of natural gas, oil, and other hazardous liquids by pipeline. We provide compliance counseling on the detailed operation and maintenance requirements of the pipeline safety rules and defense of enforcement actions, especially those arising out of leaks or spills. 

Representative matters include successful resolution without penalty of an oil pipeline spill in Wyoming that resulted in contamination in environmentally sensitive areas, and the successful defense of an enforcement action resulting from a catastrophic oil pipeline failure in a tributary of the Chesapeake Bay.