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

Stites & Harbison Welcomes Back Ken Gish to the Lexington Office

LEXINGTON, Ky.—Stites & Harbison, PLLC welcomes back attorney Ken Gish to the firm’s Lexington, Ky., office. He rejoins the firm as a Member (Partner) in the Environmental, Natural Resources and Energy Service Group and the Business & Finance Service Group.

by Stites & Harbison, PLLC November 17, 2023
Press Releases

Governor Beshear Appoints Jenny Cave to Kentucky Horse Park Commission

LOUISVILLE, Ky.—Governor Andy Beshear has appointed Stites & Harbison, PLLC attorney Jennifer Cave to the Kentucky Horse Park Commission. She will serve a four-year term.

by Stites & Harbison, PLLC October 11, 2023
Client Alerts

EPA Finalizes Long-Awaited PFAS Reporting Rule

Environmental attorney Jennifer Cave takes a look at the EPA's final rule for the reporting and record-keeping of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).

by Jennifer J. Cave October 09, 2023
Client Alerts

LIBOR Transition: Navigating the World of Synthetic LIBOR

Mary Lu Noah takes a look at the changes in the financial world after the demise of the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) in this Stites & Harbison Client Alert.

by Mary Lucille Noah (Mary Lu) August 21, 2023

26th Annual Kentucky Environmental Permitting and Reporting Conference

Date: 8/9/23 - 8/10/23

Embassy Suites by Hilton Lexington/UK Coldstream, 1801 Newtown Pike, Lexington, Ky. 40511

Environmental attorney Jennifer Cave will be a speaker at this Kentucky Chamber of Commerce event.

Jennifer J. Cave June 15, 2023
Client Alerts

Significant Merchant Electric Legislative Amendments Head to Governor's Desk

Over the past several years, Kentucky, similar to other states, has received many applications for industrial-scale solar generation and energy storage facilities in rural areas across the Commonwealth. Up to this point in time, seeking and receiving a Certification for Construction from the Kentucky State Board on Electric Generation and Transmission ("Siting Board") followed a framework developed before recent commercial interest in large-scale solar development arose in Kentucky. Attorney Bill Gorton takes a look at the issues and concerns that have arisen.

by William T. Gorton III March 24, 2023

21st Annual Kentucky Environmental Conference

Date: 3/9/23 - 3/10/23

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

Where can you find the latest information on Kentucky and federal environmental policies and regulations, as well as information on new environmental compliance mandates? The Kentucky Chamber of Commerce will provide this and more at our annual Kentucky Environmental Conference. You will leave this conference with a detailed, up-to-the-minute review of major environmental regulatory issues that affect your facility. Environmental attorney Jennifer Cave will be a speaker.

Jennifer J. Cave March 02, 2023
Press Releases

Bluegrass Tomorrow Honors W. Blaine Early at 2023 Vision Awards Breakfast

LEXINGTON, Ky. —Bluegrass Tomorrow recently honored Stites & Harbison, PLLC attorney W. Blaine Early, III with the Robert N. Clay President’s Award for most valuable board member. This is the second time Early has received the award.

by Stites & Harbison, PLLC February 27, 2023

What You Need to Know About Reclamation Bonds

Date: 2/28/23
Time: 2:00 p.m.

Virtual Seminar

Attorneys Blaine Early and Bill Gorton will be speakers for the NASBP's virtual seminar on reclamation bonds on Tuesday, February 28th.

W. Blaine Early III and William T. Gorton III February 17, 2023