Environmental Transactions

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Business transactions of all types and across all industries require a legal partner who can identify environmental risks and provide creative solutions for these increasingly complex transactions. As a full-service law firm with offices located across the U.S. and in Canada, Dickinson Wright has a leading environmental practice and is positioned to assist clients with all their domestic and international transactions. We regularly advise both private and public sector clients in real estate and corporate projects worldwide, ranging from multi-million dollar acquisitions to financings and divestures to the sale or lease of small business properties.

 

Our team members have diverse backgrounds that span environmental engineering, chemistry, urban planning, business, and communications. We remain at the forefront of industry developments through memberships in organizations like the American College of Real Estate Lawyers (ACREL) and College of Community Association Lawyers (CCAL) the Air and Waste Management Association (AWMA) and the Michigan Manufacturers Association. Additionally, our team members keep their clients informed of the current trends and changes in the industry through timely publications.

 

Awards and Recognitions 

 

Dickinson Wright partners have proudly served as Chairpersons of the Environmental Law Sections of the Michigan, and Arizona State Bars; been active members of the American Bar Association, Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources; the Air and Waste Management Association; and the Federal Bar Association Environmental Law Committee. Additionally, members of our team have been selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© and Super Lawyers®.

 

Our Services

 

Our philosophy is to assist clients in evaluating and quantifying environmental risks to make informed business decisions and to facilitate the resolution of environmental issues before a problem arises. However, we also provide education and advice to protect our clients from liability for past contamination and prior non-compliance with environmental laws and regulations.

 

Property Development: Our lawyers advise clients on all types of development projects, including residential, corporate, industrial and mixed-use. We assist clients throughout the entire process, regularly assessing properties, identifying necessary approvals and permits for new projects, and determining remediation and due care strategies. Our work includes:

 

  • Assessing properties and complying with reporting, disclosure and remediation requirements, including obtaining and filing baseline environmental assessments.
  • Assisting with the transformation of contaminated sites into environmentally safe and economically viable projects.
  • Identifying necessary approvals and permits for new projects in the areas of zoning, wetlands, floodplains, endangered species, well drilling, water use and sewer systems, and many other areas.
  • Resolving real property valuation disputes involving contaminated properties.

 Brownfields: Our team’s knowledge and experience with Brownfields redevelopment projects minimizes liability risks associated with contaminated properties. We regularly assist Brownfield sellers and redevelopers with acquiring approvals and permits, structuring projects, and reducing the cost of these transactions by evaluating available tax credits, grants, and other financial incentives. We also work with developers to obtain necessary environmentally-related approvals and assist with tap-ins and connections to water and sewer supplies or permitting for private utility services.

 

Risk Allocations: We advise on risk allocations, including insurance coverage, indemnification, and risk-sharing arrangements, helping clients stay ahead of industry trends and changes in state or federal regulations that affect their work. Our team helps clients obtain environmental insurance coverage for their real estate and corporate transactions, including remediation cost cap policies and secured creditor policies. We also advocate for our clients handling insurance coverage issues stemming from contaminated properties.

 

Due Diligence Investigations: We regularly conduct and assist in obtaining environmental compliance due diligence investigations (e.g. Phase 1 and Phase 2, BEA and Due Care Plans) for our clients in congruence with federal and state laws. As a preventative measure, we prepare audit surveys, interview personnel and draft the due diligence reports. Our team also evaluates environmental risks and regulatory requirements while assessing potential liabilities associated with the acquisition, merger, or other disposition of companies and properties.

 

Due Care and Cleanup Obligations: Owners and operators of contaminated properties must follow specific state and federal guidelines with respect to due care and cleanup obligations. Our team drafts post-closing agreements to address these issues, ensuring our clients have the proper due care and cleanup methods in place.

 

Representative Case Matters

 

Lead environmental counsel to regional developer who acquired over 30 different parcels of land to develop a multi-use entertainment district in a historic downtown area.

 

National environmental counsel on real estate acquisitions and investments for companies with nationwide investment portfolios.

 

Assisted manufacturing client in assessing all environmental issues associated with redeveloping a 100 year old brownfield site with a new 1M square foot manufacturing facility, including evaluating PFAS issues.

 

Responsible for assessing the environmental risks associated with the sale of 37 properties by an asphalt company and factoring the risks into the sale documents.

 

Responsible for managing environmental due diligence associated with the purchase of several manufacturing facilities in the US and internationally.

 

Obtained brownfield grants and loans of over $2 million dollars to redevelop a former VOC contaminated site into a retail area and public amphitheater.

 

Assisted clients with various contractual matters, including drafting access and license agreements, restrictive covenants, confidentiality agreements, post-closing obligation agreements and easements.

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