Butzel's Environment, Energy & Sustainability Practice encompasses the entire spectrum of environmental law, from regulatory compliance to litigation. What sets us apart is our practical experience and intimate knowledge of our client's businesses. With experience as both in-house and outside counsel, the members of our group possess a high level of industry knowledge and can provide insight on a wide array of environmental issues. Our attorneys handle virtually every type of environmental matter, from development issues, such as obtaining wetlands and sewer construction permits, to regulatory matters, such as compliance with permits and emission limits. Our practice includes state and federal regulatory compliance permitting for water discharge and air emissions, Brownfields cost recovery, control of toxic substances such as pesticides, PCBs, and asbestos mold and other indoor air issues, spill reporting requirements, labeling and marketing of consumer chemical products, management of underground storage tanks, insurance coverage for environmental claims, environmental aspects of real estate and business acquisitions, environmental litigation, counsel on tax incentives, and commentary on proposed rules and legislation.

Our clients are as diverse as the matters we handle, including individuals, small businesses and major corporations. Butzel has also been retained by other law firms to act as co-counsel or local counsel with regard to a variety of environmental matters. Our reputation, experience and resources give other law firms confidence that they can entrust their clients to our representation. Whether local, regional or national, we tailor our approach depending upon the client's needs.

Butzel's environmental law attorneys work closely with lawyers in our other practice areas to provide counsel on interconnected topics. Our group is frequently called upon to negotiate environmental provisions in purchase, lease, and mortgage agreements and to direct environmental assessments of real estate, including Baseline Environmental Assessments. Each attorney is well-versed in the special concerns of buyers, sellers, and mortgage lenders, in commercial, residential and manufacturing acquisitions. We also have a unique expertise in Brownfield Redevelopment and have worked with municipalities to ensure compliance with construction, waste water discharge compliance, operation and maintenance, management and community relations issues. Butzel attorneys have been involved in many Superfund cases, have extensive experience with environmental litigation and have significant expertise in the development and production of natural resources.


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  • Defended against several claims of injury related to alleged mold exposure.
  • Represented client in water rate dispute against major municipality; resulting in $24 million rate reduction.
  • Represented manufacturing company in lawsuit against insurance company for coverage after environmental emergency
  • Creation of a 13-community management authority for a regional wastewater plant
  • Represented manufacturing company with respect to multimedia inspection by state and US EPA
  • Assist in purchasing hundreds of thousands of dollars of tax credits in numerous transactions
  • Obtained summary judgment in favor of Huron Valley Steel in an extremely complex, $500 million CERCLA cost-recovery litigation brought by Plaintiff.
  • Successfully represented client in dispute with DEQ over wetland delineation for 50 acre development.
  • Assisted numerous clients with international transactions involving environmental due diligence and permitting throughout South America, Asia and Europe.
  • Convinced MDEQ to reverse its policy not to process permit applications for wastewater discharges from treatment plants until proper zoning is in place
  • Representation of companies undergoing a multimedia environmental investigation by local, state and federal authorities, with criminal undertones
  • Assisting with PUD approval, condo documents, along with wetland, shoreland and sewer water permits for a 450-acre lakefront residential development
  • Defend Client in multiple class action and multi-party lawsuits that were filed in reaction to hydrochloric acid release at Client's property; pursue insurance coverage related to same.
  • Obtained a judgment of approximately $24 million for DWSD and its rate payers
  • Represent developer in the obtaining of a wastewater discharge permit from a manufactured home park, including fighting the State's decision not to issue a permit through a contested case proceeding
  • Assisted manufacturing company in reopening after major fire
  • Represented several manufacturing home park clients in obtaining ground water discharge permits.
  • Various enforcement actions pursuant to Wayne County's air regulations against companies such as local steel and automotive corporations
  • Assisted Developer in obtaining a unique 2007 Wetland Permit that allowed the construction of a wetland shelf for sediments and dredging
  • Represented manufacturing company in class action suit for damages as a result of evacuation
  • Defended Wolverine in multi-party lawsuit after Plaintiff purchased property through which two pipelines owned by Wolverine traversed pursuant to two recorded easements.
  • Represented owner of land next to landfill due to methane gas migrating onsite
  • Negotiated an administrative order for a landfill client with the DNRE resulting from alleged violations of the laws and regulations regarding the operation and maintenance of solid waste landfills
  • Represent manufacturer in stock purchase of contaminated property
  • Advised bond insurer for Michigan higher education facilities authority on various aspects of bond and environmental issues
  • Represent client after it was "raided" by US EPA
  • Chaired Brownfield Authority for large suburban community
  • Successfully defended client in Superfund cost recover suit brought to recover costs in cleaning up PCB and lead contamination estimated to run as high as $300-500 million
  • Working with a developer to obtain DEQ permit to fill wetlands and negotiating an agreement with a nearby conservancy
  • Created Brownfield Authority for large metropolitan county and local municipalities,
  • Defended several class action law suits against waste treatment & disposal clients alleging harm due to odors and other impact from respected facilities.
  • Represented a healthcare client with the environmental aspects of the sale of the company
  • Defended against suit filed by MDEQ for alleged contamination of soils and groundwater
  • Prosecuted several cost recovery actions on behalf of clients seeking to recoup remediation costs against responsible parties.
  • Represented numerous clients in obtaining, modifying and or transferring air permits.
  • Successfully represented oil pipeline company against environmental contamination claims in Ohio
  • Represent company in the sale of highly contaminated gas station, conversion to drugstore while remediating contamination.
  • Review and analyze environmental due diligence reports, and purchase agreements on behalf of buyers, sellers, and lenders, and advise as to potential environmental liability and available protections.
  • Defend client in CERCLA cost recovery claim.
  • Conducted environmental due diligence and organized a transfer of environmental permits for the purchase of a portable energy production facility
  • Successfully represented industry group in negations to amend an ordinance regulating industrial discharges into one of the largest wastewater treatment plants in the country.
  • Represented a County against the City of Detroit and Detroit Water and Sewerage Dept. to terminate special powers the Court gave to the Mayor of Detroit
  • Represented energy company in development, land purchase, equipment purchase and tax incentives for wood pellet manufacturing
  • Environmental representation for a metal finishing company in connection with a release of hazardous chemicals that caused the evacuation of over 3,000 people and a flood of class action lawsuits
  • Defended Wolverine in multi-party action filed after Plaintiff experienced 100,000-gal gasoline spill from aboveground storage tank, some of which escaped from Plaintiff's property.
  • Representation of manufacturer in remediation using soil mixing
  • Representation of a county in a variety of issues from construction of a $300 million upgrade and expansion of its wastewater treatment plant to compliance of its wastewater discharge limits
  • Assisted in addressing regional transportation issues for client's possible move to downtown Detroit
  • Representation of manufacturer in remediation using permeable barrier
  • Supervised environmental due diligence and remedial activities related to major multi-parcel development in major metropolitan downtown area.
  • Assisted clients in obtaining permits and defending action in alleged disturbance of an endangered species (eagles).
  • Complex, multi-continent acquisitions of companies for an international polymers manufacturer
  • Obtained court order to allow access for remediation.
  • Financial lending for development of Bloomfield Park
  • Reached a settlement for a nuisance value for MDEQ claims against client
  • Construction of a combined sewer overflow basin at a former dump site.
  • Investigation of remedial contamination and negotiation of non-liability status with state
  • Advised client concerning purchase, tax incentives and the remediation of a contaminated site to redevelop into residential units
  • Represented the County in the transfer of sewer capacity to the communities of Novi, Northville & Plymouth
  • Represented client in obtaining Brownfield and SBT credits ($1 million)
  • Create the first wetland bank in Michigan.
  • Successfully prosecuted several contested case proceedings related to wetland permit denials.
  • Assist with the purchasing, contracting, bonding, construction and permitting of two ethanol plants
  • Represented major manufacturer in negotiating complex remedial action plan.
  • Represented credit union in sale of contaminated property and cost recovery against Texaco
  • Ongoing representation of numerous solid waste and recycling companies on a variety of landfill compliance & permitting issues.
  • Representation of solid waste and recycling company included a variety of landfill compliance and contamination issues of multiple landfills and transfer stations
  • Various enforcement actions against industrial wastewater dischargers
  • Counsel clients as to regulatory and health-based cleanup requirements.
  • Numerous remediation projects of abandoned dumps.
  • Representing companies in alleged criminal environmental conduct
  • Reviewed various environmental due diligence and terms in sales agreements on behalf of bank and its borrowers.
  • Settled a suit against a manufacturer and designer of the pumps at the Wyandotte wastewater treatment plant, resulting in a program to repair the mammoth pumps and monetary damage
  • Defend various companies against alleged wastewater discharge violations
  • Prepare application for siting of a landfill in Illinois; assist with hearings associated with the siting.
  • Assisted client in purchasing, tax incentives and permits of alternative fuel, R&D facility
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