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Environmental Law

Since the 1970s, environmental laws and their governing regulatory agencies have expanded. Now, environmental law not only impacts large power companies and utilities but also land developers and private landowners. At Wolcott Rivers Gates, our environmental law attorneys have extensive experience handling sensitive and complex environmental law matters in litigation.

As the laws and regulations continue to change, our clients can rest assured that our attorneys stay abreast of the latest actions and statutes related to environmental regulations.

Environmental Regulations Affect Everyone

If you run a business, you may be subject to air, water and waste regulations. If you own property, especially in coastal areas, you should be familiar with Clean Water Act and its limitations on impacting non-tidal wetlands. Most landowners do not realize how far the federal government will go to control the development of your property. On a positive note, the Federal Claims Court has recently taken a pro-landowner position with respect to regulatory takings claims. If the government prevents development of your property, you may be able to make them pay for it.

Our team can also assist you with:

  • Environmental compliance litigation

  • Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act

  • Virginia Marine Resource Commission

  • Local wetlands boards

  • Environmental assessments (phases I and II)

  • Clean Water Act

  • EPA compliance

Environmental Litigation

"The vast economic development and construction in this country accompanied by a much greater scientific understanding of the environment and the impact of development on it has further polarized the environmental movement and developers. The regulatory agencies are left somewhere in the middle, attempting to keep pace with changing times and science, and it is being challenged from both the left and the right in court constantly."

An excerpt from Environmental Regulation and the Current Law - John F. Sawyer, Esquire

At Wolcott Rivers Gates, our environmental law attorneys have engaged in federal court matters from as far away as Alaska. That's where we obtained the first-ever injunction temporarily shutting down the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers’ permitting program.

One of our decisions, Precon Development Corporation v. United States, remains the “go to” decision in the 4th Circuit, identifying limits on government jurisdiction over forested wetlands. Our case in the United States Court of Federal Claims, Pioneer Reserve, LLC v. United States Army Corps of Engineers, established that mitigation banking instruments create rights that are enforceable against the government.

As the laws and regulations continue to change, our clients know we monitor the latest actions and statutes related to environmental regulations.