Robert describes his practice as “dirt law.” If a matter involves real property, Robert has done it. Whether in their transactions or in their legal transgressions, land owners have benefited from Robert’s in-depth knowledge of land use and environmental law.
Robert left Fairbanks Alaska to attend law school in Tucson Arizona. While still in law school, he worked on several Superfund cases including a former landfill that had been converted to a business park, resulting in landfill gas fires and pollution of a sole-source drinking water aquifer. Upon graduation in 1985, Robert clerked for the Honorable Joseph M. Livermore of the Arizona Court of Appeals. Robert then moved to Dallas Texas where he worked with EPA-Region VI. He participated in Superfund litigation and RCRA (Resource Conservation and Recovery Act) permitting throughout the region, which encompasses Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma and New Mexico.
Returning to Tucson to the firm of Waterfall Economidis, Robert was engaged in a variety of land-use planning and environmental matters. His firm had a robust real estate practice that gave Robert the opportunity to pursue hundreds of “FEDs” and foreclosures. His other projects included everything from assisting the State Department of Lands on a “solar village” project to litigating allocations of responsibility for leaking underground storage tanks. He successfully defended a mining company from any liability for a major Superfund site. He represented several regulated industries in a statewide-effort to modify Arizona’s Water Quality Standards and was on the team that negotiated use of Mount Graham for an observatory. He secured the first in-stream water appropriation and conservation easement ever recognized in Arizona.
After the Exxon Valdez oil spill, Robert returned to Alaska to work with Clough & Associates in defense of Exxon. Robert’s primary job was to defend Exxon Shipping Company from environmental claims arising under RCRA, CERCLA and Section 311 of the Clean Water Act.
In 1991 Robert joined the State of Alaska, Department of Law, Natural Resources Section. Representing Alaska’s Departments of Environmental Conservation, Fish and Game, and Natural Resources, he co-authored Alaska’s Clean Air Act (AS 46.14); secured several public access easements to state park lands; recovered from the federal government the costs of fire-fighting assistance Alaska had provided to other states; and participated in every aspect of legislation and regulation drafting. On behalf of the Alaska Court System he successfully negotiated a multi-party response to pollution found during construction of the Kenai Courthouse.
On behalf of the State, in its role as Natural Resource Trustee, Robert also oversaw closure and reclamation of two large pulp mills. This was the first in a long line of properties where Robert helped craft appropriate deed notices, deed restrictions and other “institutional controls.”
Robert went back into private practice in 1997. Continuously since that time he has represented a family that owns several mobile home parks and an entrepreneur who has grown from operating a single taxi into a major provider of tourism excursions. His practice has evolved into a wide array of both environmental and general real estate matters. Robert authored the first draft of cruise-ship pollution prevention legislation and shepherded it through the legislature. To this day he works on air and water quality issues related to large-scale tourism. His experience with contaminated properties now spans four decades. He is intimately familiar with intricacies of the Clean Air Act and RCRA.
From the real estate perspective, he has assisted with myriad transactions and is particularly skillful at ferreting out historic information crucial to a seller’s full disclosure. Recent litigation involves easements and rights-of-way. As the marijuana industry comes of age in Alaska, he has developed comprehensive familiarity with that regulatory regime and is a reliable counselor at the cross-roads of business strategy and regulatory compliance.
Robert’s litigation-honed knowledge of environmental and real property law ensures direct, cost-effective legal assistance on all matters involving air, land or water. His familiarity with real property law is extensive.