Christopher J. McNevin
“A fantastic firm—we were very happy with their work.”
“A super-strong environmental firm.” —Chambers 2013
“… exceptional in all areas”
“… the ability to take a global view on all aspects of potentially significant claims” —Legal 500 2013
“Professional, polished, timely. You feel like you are their number-one client when you are working with them.”
“They are extremely familiar with the oil and gas industry and have a very strong practice group in this area.” —Chambers 2012
The Pillsbury Difference
Leading Lawyers, Focused Experience
Pillsbury has had a preeminent environmental practice since the birth of environmental law itself, experience that pays dividends to clients seeking to control compliance costs, manage litigation risk or speed regulatory approvals. Our lawyers are leaders in environmental law, as measured by legal ranking guides like Chambers and Best of the Best. With a team of 40 lawyers working full-time on environmental matters, Pillsbury is home to one of the largest dedicated environmental practices in the United States. Our lawyers combine high-level perspective with focused insight into specific legal issues, from best practices for navigating renewable energy project approvals to preparing toxic tort litigation defense (with a litigation team that has handled hundreds of such cases).
Successful Outcomes in High-Stakes Scenarios
Environmental liabilities are among the highest potential costs facing many businesses. Pillsbury has a track record of success helping clients assess risk and navigate transactional, regulatory and litigation scenarios involving significant liabilities and novel legal issues. We are a leading advisor on such issues as air emission and water discharge control, climate change, hazardous waste management, Superfund, toxic tort, endangered species and environmental impact analysis.
Pillsbury’s Environmental team is based in the United States’ most active environmental law centers: Washington, DC, California and Texas, and has longstanding relationships with local law firms in other states and around the world. These resources and relations allow us to advise on multijurisdictional issues anywhere in the world, creating efficiencies for our clients that scale with the size and complexity of their cross-border matters.
Litigation & Enforcement
We represent individuals, companies and other entities in civil, criminal and administrative cases under all of the major federal environmental statutes. Our partners have substantial experience litigating highly complex groundwater and airborne emission issues, as well as Superfund, cost recovery, divisibility, enforcement and mandamus cases. For cases that demand an appeals process, we are one of the few firms with an appellate team with experience under virtually every federal environmental statute.
Clients rely on us to manage the legal aspects of a corporate crisis, including initial crisis response, release reporting, incident investigation, and representing clients in subsequent enforcement by federal and state agencies and civil litigation by affected parties. We frequently help clients with their response to major accidents such as release of hazardous substances, fires, explosions and worker fatalities. We are experienced in managing simultaneous reviews by multiple regulatory agencies and have helped clients respond to investigations by the FBI, EPA, NTSB, DOT/PHMSA, OSHA, FAA, DOI, the Chemical Safety Board, Nuclear Regulatory Commission and numerous state regulatory agencies.
Land Use, Natural Resources & Real Estate
We represent developers, lenders, investors and public authorities in dealing with land use laws affecting planning and zoning, environmental impact review, the coastal zone, wetlands, timber lands, solid and municipal waste, public lands and endangered species. We are experienced in brownfields development projects including unexploded ordinance properties, infrastructure financing and development for projects including offshore oil and gas development, oil refineries, power plants, pipelines, transmission lines, resource recovery and waste facilities, mines and quarries, airports, office buildings, shopping centers, residential subdivisions, college campuses, and transportation and transit systems. Our land planning experience includes watershed planning and Total Maximum Daily Loads for large watersheds, bays and estuaries under the federal Clean Water Act, as well as Habitat Conservation Plans under the federal and state Endangered Species Acts.
Industrial Permitting and Regulatory Compliance
Among the primary focuses of our Environmental practice is legal and regulatory compliance. Much of this work involves assisting industrial clients in obtaining, renewing and complying with permits and regulatory requirements for facility construction and operation. Our industry experience covers the full spectrum of environmental regulation—including air and water quality, hazardous waste, and endangered species—for some of the world’s most heavily regulated industries, such as oil and gas production, refining, transport and marketing, power generation, transportation, automobile and consumer product manufacturing, mining and waste management.
Rulemaking & Public Policy
Pillsbury is active in rulemaking and administrative proceedings before the EPA, NRC, FAA and other federal, state and local administrative bodies. We help clients prepare documents to improve regulations, and to evaluate and obtain permits for proposed air emissions and water discharges, handle hazardous and toxic substances, and comply with nuclear regulations. Our lawyers assist in developing and presenting positions to Congress and state legislatures and advise governments on the development of environmental legislation and standards. Pillsbury’s experience covers the 1990 Clean Air Act amendments, Toxic Substances Control Act amendments, Endangered Species Act endangerment proposals and work on the California programs on climate change. We have related experience representing trade associations and individual companies in federal court litigation.
Pillsbury lawyers advise on securing, managing and transferring water rights and in resolving conflicts over access to water supplies through regulatory proceedings, litigation and transactions. For municipalities, our lawyers advise on specific statutes like the Safe Drinking Water Act and on resolving water-related conflicts and embedding water considerations into long-term planning. For desalination projects, we offer experience in the legal areas critical to the success of a desal project: project finance, environmental law, construction and energy regulation. Real estate and industrial clients turn to Pillsbury for advice on adapting development projects to a locality’s water-use statutes and obtaining reliable water sources, and for our experience shepherding development proposals through state and local regulatory review. We also have extensive experience advising on wetlands regulation and the design, operation and maintenance of wetlands mitigation banks and related conservation tools.
Climate Change & Sustainability
Pillsbury was one of the first law firms to form a dedicated Climate Change & Sustainability practice, working from firm offices in the policy and industry centers of Washington, DC, California and Texas. The group’s attorneys enjoy strong national and international reputations for our work on the most critical issues driving climate change policy. Some of our attorneys have served as top officials in the EPA, NOAA and the Departments of Justice and the Interior, and have negotiated international climate treaties, served in Congress, and forged relationships as lobbyists.
Compliance Programs & Management Systems
We facilitate the design and implementation of environmental compliance programs at state, federal and international levels. We also work with clients to evaluate the strength of their environmental, health and safety culture and implement recommendations regarding corporate oversight of their environmental, health and safety performance. Our audit advice identifies areas of potential benefit, achieving full legal compliance with a minimum of cost. In addition, we have extensive experience in deployment of integrated environmental, health and safety management systems. We have registered more than 30 industrial installations in Europe, North America and Asia to the ISO 14001, BSI 7750 and IS 310 environmental management system standards.
Chemical & Biotechnology Regulation
We assist businesses that produce chemical and biotechnology products in managing regulatory obligations and achieving business objectives. Our lawyers advise on the Toxic Substances Control Act, counseling on everything from premanufacture notification review to negotiation of agreements and consent orders. We also help manage requirements under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act; the federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act; the Toxics Release Inventory Program; the Persistent Bioaccumulative and Toxic Chemical Program; and the Children’s Health Chemical Testing Program.
- A primary outside law firm to Chevron Corporation and other Fortune 100 companies for 30 years, advising on all aspects of environmental law and designing one of the first environmental compliance programs.
- Handling half of all current applications to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, covering all aspects of nuclear power generation licensing and nuclear power plant siting.
- General Counsel to the Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA), advising on all environmental, public policy and climate change issues affecting the oil and gas industry in the Western United States.
- Counsel to the San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District since its formation in 1957, advising on the environmental review of each of its major infrastructure expansion projects.
- Represented the American Forest and Paper Association in a successful challenge to EPA’s revised nitrogen oxides New Source Performance Standards for industrial, commercial and institutional steamgenerating units.
- Litigated hundreds of toxic tort, CERCLA, Clean Water Act and other cost-recovery actions representing billions of dollars in potential liabilities.
- Advised companies, associations and governments on more than 100 climate change matters.
- Lead counsel to a major water district in the Southwestern United States for 20 years, recently securing a landmark permit from the State Water Resources Control Board that required negotiations with local governments, other water districts and environmental groups.
- Conducted internal investigations of, and offered compliance support for, safety culture and safety management systems attendant to accidents and events including hazardous substance releases, fires, and transportation failures resulting in worker fatalities, whistleblower complaints and government investigations.
- In the landmark case American Trucking Associations v. Browner, Pillsbury lawyers led the first successful challenge to EPA’s national ambient air quality standard for particulate matter and played a leading role in challenging ozone standards, on behalf of a consortium representing almost all of U.S. industry.
RECOGNIZED INDUSTRY LEADERS
Pillsbury is home to two of the world’s Top 25 Environment lawyers, according to Euromoney’s 2013 Best of the Best.
“Environmental Law Firm of the Year” —US News and Best Lawyers 2014
DEPTH OF EXPERIENCE
Nearly 100 Pillsbury lawyers firmwide have served at federal regulatory agencies, including those overseeing environmental regulation:
- Environmental Protection Agency
- Department of Energy
- Department of the Interior
- Department of Justice
- Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
- National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration