Environmental, Natural Resources, & Energy

Regulatory Counseling, Permitting and Compliance

Stites & Harbison's attorneys have great depth and relevant experience under federal, state, and local environmental laws and regulations. We routinely advise on virtually every area of environmental permitting and compliance. We know the environmental compliance challenges that affect manufacturers, oil and gas companies, mining operations, renewable and traditional energy generators and utilities, and real estate developments.

Our team works tirelessly to help navigate the ever changing regulatory landscape while developing cost-effective and creative compliance solutions. Our attorneys include scientists and engineers who have worked in natural resources and regulated industries. We understand both the science behind the law and the business impacts of regulation and anticipate regulatory issues before they become compliance problems.

Vital to our successes are the relationships our attorneys have cultivated with regulators and government leaders at the local, state, and federal levels. Regulators view our attorneys as effective advocates based on our knowledge and experience. Our attorneys regularly sit on agency advisory committees and are active in the development of environmental policy and rulemaking. We continually monitor legislative and regulatory developments at the federal and state levels and work with our clients to develop and advocate for or against proposed legislation and submit comments on proposed regulations.

Our lawyers assist clients in obtaining and defending all types of environmental and land use permits, licenses, and approvals needed for new development, infrastructure, and redevelopment projects. We work closely with clients to develop permitting strategies that minimize the risk of appeal and create the most efficient and cost-effective permitting processes.

We help clients avoid penalties through environmental audits, including those involving the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). We often take advantage of federal and state environmental audit policies to identify and self-report violations, which enables our clients to settle with federal and state agencies for pennies on the dollar.

Representative Experience:

  • Regularly defend companies against enforcement actions taken by federal and state regulatory agencies
  • Represented a client regarding the permissible reach of limitations on an owner's ability to mine on property protected by the Kentucky Wild Rivers Act
  • Obtained a federal court injunction against the federal Office of Surface Mining to prevent threatened federal enforcement when an operator was caught in a disagreement between state and federal regulatory agencies
  • Challenged numerous agency regulations and rulemakings at the program level, achieving delays in implementation and favorable settlements in several others
  • Represented a coal company in its successful effort to obtain a permit to construct and operate the largest coal ash landfill in Kentucky despite a determined permit challenge by citizens
  • Oversaw a RCRA Facility Investigation for a cement kiln, a chemical company, a trustee in bankruptcy for a chemical company, and an airport
  • Assisted in licensing commercial hazardous waste facilities
  • Advised paint company in investigation of accidental release of chemicals into soil and groundwater. Also defended the company in enforcement actions by state and federal government and federal citizen suit.
  • Defended enforcement actions and responded to information requests by state and federal agencies regarding RCRA compliance, negotiating compliance schedules/agreements with state and federal agencies
  • Initiated citizen suits on behalf of an industry client affected by an adjacent industry’s contamination of its property which migrated onto Stites’ client’s land
  • Demonstrated that notices of violation were inappropriate because the wrong waste characterization methodology was used by the state.
  • Successfully defended a Title V air permit issued to a gas-fired peaking power plant challenged by a well-financed citizen’s group through administrative hearing and appeal
  • Advised large aluminum manufacturers about compliance with primary and secondary MACT regulations for hazardous air pollutants and responses to EPA’s information demands
  • Negotiated various Consent Decrees with USEPA and state agencies to settle enforcement actions concerning, among other matters, hazardous air pollutants, new source review allegations, risk management, and operating without a valid permit
  • Advised and defended national client regarding herbicide licensure requirements
  • Advised farm owners on acquisition and sale of agricultural properties and due diligence regarding the environmental regulatory consequences of those transactions, including hazardous waste liabilities, application of appropriate ASTM standards, Clean Water Act compliance, and conservation easements
  • On behalf of farmers and agricultural trade groups and growers, the firm successfully challenged a state’s wastewater discharge permit for large-scale animal production facilities (concentrated animal feeding operations or CAFOs)
  • Represented metropolitan water authority in challenge of upstream municipal wastewater plant regarding the permitting process’s compliance with regional planning requirements and with effluent limitations
  • Represented industry consortium in developing cumulative impact analysis to support application for Section 404 dredge and fill permits
  • Assisted international municipal waste collection and disposal company on issues ranging from landfill expansions and local solid waste management plan amendments to citizen suits, sale of several landfills, including permit transfers, and satisfaction of key personnel reporting requirements
  • Assisted in obtaining local government approval for landfills under the Tennessee Jackson Law
  • Represented company in federal citizen suit for alleged violation of subtitle D and imminent and substantial endangerment
Main Contacts
See more related to Regulatory Counseling, Permitting and Compliance
Press Releases

Jennifer Cave Appointed to Kentucky Medical Cannabis Advisory Committee

LOUISVILLE, Ky.—Governor Andy Beshear has appointed Stites & Harbison, PLLC attorney Jennifer Cave to the Team Kentucky Medical Cannabis Advisory Committee. She will serve a two-year term. The committee, composed of 17 members, will help advise the governor on providing access to medical cannabis to Kentuckians suffering from chronic pain and other medical conditions.

by Stites & Harbison, PLLC June 22, 2022
Events

20th Annual Kentucky Environmental Conference

Date: 3/10/22 - 3/11/22

Griffin Gate Marriott Golf Resort & Spa, 1800 Newtown Pike, Lexington, KY 40511

Environmental attorney Blaine Early will be a presenter at this two-day conference in Lexington, Kentucky on March 10 & 11, 2022.

W. Blaine Early III March 08, 2022
Press Releases

Women We Admire Names Jennifer Cave to Top 100 Women Leaders in Law of 2021

LOUISVILLE, Ky.—Women We Admire recently named Stites & Harbison, PLLC attorney Jennifer Cave to The Top 100 Women Leaders in Law of 2021. This year’s honorees were chosen for their commitment to the field of law and for setting a benchmark of excellence.

by Stites & Harbison, PLLC November 10, 2021