Reeves Amodio is the most experienced law firm in Alaska on environmental issues, drawing on four strong environmental and natural resource attorneys: Susan Reeves, Robert Reges, Brian Stibitz, and Robert Corbisier.
The firm’s attorneys have worked on Alaska’s environmental law issues as those laws were being written. Ms. Reeves advised clients and served on agency working groups during the development of federal and state air, water, and waste statutes and their implementing regulations. While working for the State of Alaska, Mr. Reges helped draft some of Alaska’s environmental statutes. The environmental team has represented clients on issues related to permitting, compliance, and liability under the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, (RCRA), the Comprehensive Environmental Response, the Conservation and Liability Act (CERCLA), the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), and state counterparts to these laws. We have worked extensively with environmental regulators at the state level (the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation) and the federal level (the Environmental Protection Agency).
Ms. Reeves is a frequent guest-speaker at Continuing Legal Education (CLE) seminars focused on the environment. For seven years Mr. Reges taught a course in “Environmental Statutes, Regulations and Permitting” to graduate students through the University of Alaska, Anchorage School of Civil Engineering. All the environmental lawyers of Reeves Amodio maintain close relationships and regularly collaborate with various engineering and environmental consulting firms, further broadening the firm’s reach in these areas.
The firm’s attorneys have represented construction companies, mining companies, a recycling company, municipalities, and owners of contaminated properties, in their efforts to comply with environmental laws and negotiate with oversight agencies. We represented the Municipality of Anchorage in negotiating and applying for Owner Requested Limits for marine vessel loading emissions, to avoid the need for the Port of Anchorage to obtain an air-operating permit. We represented a rural Alaska municipal government before the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation and the Environmental Protection Agency, to resolve compliance questions under state and federal laws dealing with solid waste. We successfully represented the North Slope Borough in mediation with the Navy and the Air Force to allocate landfill closure costs under CERCLA (the federal “Superfund” law) and its counterpart Alaska law. We successfully resolved EPA Clean Water Act enforcement actions brought against a paving contractor for a discharge from a construction project.
The firm has extensive experience representing a wide variety of real estate developers, lending institutions, commercial and residential property owners, tank farm operators, municipalities and boroughs on matters involving contaminated sites. We have assisted clients in investigation and remediation of such sites and negotiated closure. We also have resolved allocation of costs, by negotiation with potentially responsible parties and litigation against responsible parties and their insurers.
Air Quality Management
Indoor and outdoor air quality are regulated through the Alaska Clean Air Act. One institutional client required rapid response to a federal mandate to rectify an asbestos problem triggering the National Emission Standard for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP). Another client, the operator of several thousand residential units at Joint Base Elmendorf Richardson, needed assistance resisting the government’s conclusion that a complex “Title V Permit” would be required for compliance with air quality statutes. With our assistance and that of an air quality engineer the client was able to qualify for an extremely simple and inexpensive “Owner Requested Limit” form of permit.
In addition to permit acquisition we have been involved with air permit compliance, negotiating Compliance Orders by Consent (COBC). One such case enabled our client to put its funds toward a “Supplemental Environmental Project” (an air permit management system) rather than pay fines to the State. Mr. Reges has briefed air quality issues before Alaska’s state courts and the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. Ms. Reeves and Mr. Reges have worked both as prosecutors and defenders on cases of visible emissions (opacity). Our air quality practice sometimes overlaps other environmental programs, such as the case where airborne paint chips settled into surface waters, triggering a need to comply with industrial stormwater permitting.
In a residential context, Reeves Amodio lawyers have assisted with avoidance of radon and other vapor intrusion; dust (particulate matter-control and remediation); and tort suits involving asbestos-containing materials. We have worked on cases involving smoke from wood-burning heaters and airborne nuisances (mold, noxious smells). In a commercial context, similar work involves legal response to carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide concerns. We have been counsel of record in administrative adjudications before state and federal tribunals as well as providers of strategic guidance.
NEPA Implementation And Environmental Assessment
Our environmental attorneys have participated and assisted with every stage of environmental review pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). We have reviewed numerous Environmental Impact Statements on behalf of interested parties. We have represented cooperating agencies and interested parties, throughout the process from Environmental Assessment (EA) to Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to the concluding Record of Decision (ROD). Robert Reges has successfully litigated (through briefing) relief from an inadequate EIS. Susan Reeves provided years of legal assistance to the Pebble Partnership as it gathered baseline data and prepared permit applications. On other occasions, the Reeves Amodio environmental lawyers have provided commercial, institutional, corporate and individual clients with advice on the NEPA statute, its case law, and the implementing regulations issued by the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), which is the White House office charged with coordinating national environmental policy and issuing NEPA regulations. In the course of NEPA-related work, the Reeves Amodio team has helped clients navigate the Endangered Species Act (ESA), the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), laws pertaining to historical and archaeological objects and locales, and various local government zoning and land use ordinances.