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