Environmental, Health and Safety for Transportation

Few issues provoke the high level of government scrutiny and public attention like those affecting the environment. Environmental regulations impact the transportation industry in many respects and present unique risks.  

Successfully managing these risks requires attorneys who are not only fully versed in all aspects of environmental law, but who have a deep knowledge of the regulated industry and work well with government agencies.  

Freeborn & Peters’ Environmental, Health and Safety Practice is national in scope, and members of the group have extensive experience advising and representing transportation clients in virtually every area of environmental law.  For more than two decades, the firm has counted many major transportation companies as clients and has successfully counseled them in environmental matters and represented them in litigation.

Our environmental litigators have been involved in many cases of national significance. We represent clients in federal, state and local civil and criminal enforcement proceedings involving alleged violations of environmental laws and in proceedings brought by third parties under environmental laws, including the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act and the Resource Conservation and Recovery.  Our attorneys have substantial trial experience and appear regularly in federal, state and administrative venues.

In addition to litigation expertise, we provide the following services:

  • Environmental Compliance, Permitting and Response Actions – Advising on such issues as release reporting, hazardous material regulation, air emissions, wastewater discharges, manufacturing notification, registration and labeling, and protection of endangered and threatened species.
  • Environmental Siting and Land Use – Assisting with the complex land use, public relations and political issues pertaining to the siting and development of environmentally active facilities.
  • Transaction Counseling and Due Diligence – Counseling clients with respect to the impact of existing and proposed environmental laws on financial and real estate transactions. In addition, we help clients assess the potential liabilities associated with the acquisition and divestiture of business operations and real estate.

Our attorneys have handled major environmental matters on behalf of transportation clients, including representation of:

  • A class I railroad with respect to a derailment and subsequent release of tens of thousands of gallons of hazardous material resulting in a government enforcement action seeking civil penalties, natural resource damages and an injunction.
  • A short-line railroad with respect to a government enforcement action arising from a derailment and subsequent release of thousands of gallons of ethanol.
  • Various railroads and other transportation companies with respect to government and third-party claims arising from the release of hazardous materials caused by a derailment or vehicle accident.
  • A class I railroad with respect to environmental cost recovery claims under CERCLA and RCRA resulting in appellate precedent on an issue of first impression.
  • A transportation company in the assessment, negotiation and documentation of environmental risks associated with a very substantial acquisition of a competitor involving numerous environmentally impacted facilities and enforcement issues.
  • A transportation company in defending enforcement and contribution claims associated with a Superfund site with a projected cleanup cost in excess of $100 million.
  • Various transportation companies in undertaking proactive environmental assessments of their operations and facilities.
  • Various transportation companies in undertaking voluntary and government-led environmental cleanups.
  • A client in the siting, permitting and development of a major intermodal facility on a brownfield site.
  • Various transportation companies in extensive environmental due diligence associated with major acquisitions and divestitures.