What We Do
 


Environmental

Environmental Lawyers

"We routinely handle some of the most challenging environmental matters"


We are one of the leading environmental law firms in Indiana.  Our large and vibrant practice offers a range of services covering virtually all aspects of environmental law.  Our approach to solving problems is business-focused and creative. Our environmental law practice areas include:
  • air water and waste permitting issues
  • cleanups and remediation of all types
  • solid waste and underground storage tank issues
  • toxic torts
  • cost recovery claims
  • government enforcement actions of all kinds  
Our clients benefit from the scientific and technical backgrounds many of our environmental lawyers have.  Our lawyers include engineers with combined decades of chemical and engineering industry experience, biology and environmental science majors, and others with advanced degrees embracing scientific and technical disciplines.

Significant Cases

Cooper Indus., LLC v. City of South Bend, Ind., 899 N.E.2d 1274 (Ind. 2009) (statute of limitations under Indiana Environmental Legal Action Statute and environmental liability for corporate successors)

Shell Oil Co. v. Meyer, 684 N.E.2d 504 (Ind. Ct. App. 1997), trans. granted, Shell Oil Co. v. Meyer, 705 N.E.2d 962 (Ind. 1998) (liability of owners and operators under Indiana Underground Storage Tank Act)

Pflanz v. Foster, 888 N.E.2d 756 (Ind. 2008) (statute of limitations under Indiana Underground Storage Tank Act)

Ind. Dep’t of Nat. Ret. v. United Refuse Co., Inc., 615 N.E.2d 100 (Ind. 1993) (standard for administrative review of agency actions)

Ind. Dep't of Envtl. Mgt. v. Chem. Waste Mgt. of Ind., Inc., 604 N.E.2d 1199 (Ind. Ct. App. 1992), trans. den., 1993 (restraints on retroactive application of new environmental legal requirements)

Rumpke of Ind., Inc. v. Cummins Engine Co., Inc., 107 F.3d 1235 (7th Cir. 1997) ("innocent landowner" exception for CERCLA 107(a) cost recovery actions)

The Sierra Club v. Gates, 499 F. Supp. 2d 1101 (S.D. Ind. 2007) (successfully defended action which sought to enjoin continuing shipments of the product of the hydrolosis of the chemical warfare agent VX from a depot in Indiana to Veolia Environmental Service’s incineration facility in Texas)

City of Mishawaka v. Uniroyal Holding Inc., 2006 WL 163007 (N.D. Ind. 2006) (claims under Indiana Environmental Legal Action Statute not barred by CERCLA protection afforded by prior agreement with EPA)

NRC Corp. v. Amoco Oil Co., 205 F.3d 1007 (7th Cir. 2000) (environmental liability and damages for contamination of leased premises)

Ind. Dept. of Envt’l Mgt. v. Twin Eagle LLC, 798 N.E.2d 839 (Ind. 2003) (authority to regulate isolated wetlands)

Supporters to Oppose Pollution, Inc. v. Heritage Group, 973 F.2d 1320 (7th Cir. 1992) (dismissal of RCRA citizens suit)

Triple G Landfill, Inc. v. Board of Comm’rs, 724 F. Supp. 529 (S.D. 1991), 977 F.2d 287 (7th Cir. 1992) (scope of preemption of local rules by federal or state regulations)

Nat. Salvage & Serv. Corp. v. Ind. Dep't of Envtl. Mgt., 571 N.E.2d 548 (Ind. Ct. App. 1991) (estoppel based on government employees’ representations)

EPA v. Envt’l Waste Control, Inc., 710 F. Supp. 1172, 1186 (N.D. Ind. 1989), aff’d, 917 F.2d  327 (7th Cir. 1990), cert. denied, 499 U.S. 975 (1991) (RCRA claims against landfill)

Lindsey v. DeGroot, 898 N.E.2d 1251 (Ind. Ct. App. 2009)(Determined Indiana's Right to Farm Act was constitutional and applied to bar the nuisance claim of a neighbor against DeGroot Dairy).

Examples

Hazardous and Solid Waste Management
 
Our firm is among the most experienced anywhere on environmental issues with solid and hazardous waste. We have worked with clients on all aspects of solid waste from the preparation of permit applications, advising on compliance with operating requirements, filing challenges to inappropriate permit conditions, defending permits against individual or organized group challenges, challenging the retroactive application of “need statutes” and “good character” disclosures to pending applications, handling zoning issues relating to the siting of landfills and in resolving enforcement actions. We participate in rule-making and legislation involving environmental solid waste issues and are a member of the National Solid Waste Management Association.
 
RCRA
 
Our attorneys represent clients in hazardous waste enforcement and corrective action matters under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA).  We have also provided audit and compliance assistance to help clients avoid enforcement actions under RCRA.
 
Underground Storage Tank and Petroleum Issues
 
We have a robust practice in the area of underground storage tanks and petroleum marketing.  Our firm has served as general counsel for the Indiana Petroleum Marketers & Convenience Store Association for more than fifteen years.  We have represented literally hundreds of petroleum marketers in Indiana and neighboring states in work ranging from compliance, transactions, litigation involving the Underground Storage Tank Act (USTA) and the Petroleum Marketing Practice Act (PMPA), insurance coverage, and legislative, regulatory and administrative matters.
 
Brownfield Redevelopment
 
Our attorneys have represented clients with major brownfield redevelopment projects, including the City of South Bend (former Studebaker and Oliver Plow facilities), the City of Mishawaka (former Uniroyal facilities), and the City of Anderson (former General Motors facilities), as well as numerous smaller private brownfield redevelopment projects.  These projects have involved federal and state grants for investigation, remediation, demolition and other activities, cost recovery against current and past owners and operators, insurance coverage for investigation and cleanup costs, and compliance with release reporting, waste handling and disposal requirements.
 
Air Issues
 
We handle all permitting, compliance and enforcement under federal and state Clean Air Acts.  This work has included obtaining an air permit for construction and operation of a new ethanol plant, negotiating more favorable or reduced Title V stack sampling and compliance monitoring requirements, overturning citizens’ objections to an air permit, and resolving NOVs issued for the alleged failure to meet BACT determined destruction and capture efficiencies in an air permit.  We have also helped an agri-business client successfully object to an overly lenient PSD permit issued to a neighboring industrial industry. 
 
Environmental Litigation
 
Our firm is skilled at prosecuting and defending complex cases involving environmental litigation under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), Indiana’s Environmental Legal Action (ELA) statute and other statutes.  We successfully defended a landfill operator in the largest toxic tort action ever brought in Indiana due to the alleged contamination of groundwater from a landfill. The case originally had over 145 plaintiffs and sought over $1 billion in damages.  On the other side, we served as plaintiffs counsel in obtaining  cleanup costs and expenses from a major oil company for pollution of a small Indiana town's water supplies, a victory of first impression in the United States.  The work led the Hoosier Environmental Council to award one of our attorneys its "Litigator of the Year" award.
 
Coal Related Issues
 
Our firm has handled a variety of environmental matters affecting coal-fired power plants.  One of the core strengths of our coal practice was the involvement of one of the founding partners in the drafting of Indiana’s Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act.  The various coal related issues handled by our environmental attorneys includes issues involving air emissions from the burning of coal, storage of coal, disposal of coal combustion and related wastes, water permitting and regulatory issues concerning discharge of wastewater with high temperatures or chemicals used to treat and maintain steam production facilities, and water quality issues involving other power plants discharging into the same water bodies. 
 
Water Issues
 
Our attorneys have advised numerous clients on all aspects of water quality regulation and compliance under the Clean Water Act and similar state statutes.  This has included representing a major automotive industry manufacturer concerning NPDES and storm water issues, including a complicated and ongoing negotiation and administrative appeal of a plant's NPDES permit.  This particular project required a careful understanding of and coordination with remediation programs and issues.  We have also litigated several actions to require the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) to issue permits allowing lawful construction in floodways.  For instance, we represented a commercial property developer in an action that centered on allegations that the development would increase the risk of downstream flooding.  Our firm succeeded in persuading the state to issue the permit.
 
Indiana’s Voluntary Remediation Program
 
Plews Shadley Racher and Braun’s environmental attorneys have represented numerous clients in Voluntary Remediation Program (VRP) matters.  This includes taking a significant number of former industrial plants through the program.  Among these successes, we have assisted a client in receiving approval for a 100+ year work plan involving on and off-site contamination at one.  In addition, our attorneys have also successfully overturned an IDEM denial to admission into the VRP as arbitrary and capricious.

Client Alerts

October 21, 2014   Angela Green selected co-chair of Insurance Subcommittee of the ABA’s Environmental Litigation Section
By Plews Shadley Racher & Braun LLP
 
October 15, 2014   Josh S. Tatum elected to IN State Bar Association’s Appellate Practice Section’s Council
By Plews Shadley Racher & Braun LLP
 
October 6, 2014   Ryan T. Leagre joins PSRB as an associate
By Plews Shadley Racher & Braun LLP
 
September 19, 2014   PSRB Attorneys Successful in Meth Insurance Recovery Case
By Plews Shadley Racher & Braun LLP
 
August 18, 2014   Plews Shadley Racher & Braun attorneys named Best Lawyers in America
By Plews Shadley Racher & Braun LLP
 

Significant Cases

Cooper Indus., LLC v. City of South Bend, Ind., 899 N.E.2d 1274 (Ind. 2009) (statute of limitations under Indiana Environmental Legal Action Statute and environmental liability for corporate successors)

Shell Oil Co. v. Meyer, 684 N.E.2d 504 (Ind. Ct. App. 1997), trans. granted, Shell Oil Co. v. Meyer, 705 N.E.2d 962 (Ind. 1998) (liability of owners and operators under Indiana Underground Storage Tank Act)

Pflanz v. Foster, 888 N.E.2d 756 (Ind. 2008) (statute of limitations under Indiana Underground Storage Tank Act)

Ind. Dep’t of Nat. Ret. v. United Refuse Co., Inc., 615 N.E.2d 100 (Ind. 1993) (standard for administrative review of agency actions)

Ind. Dep't of Envtl. Mgt. v. Chem. Waste Mgt. of Ind., Inc., 604 N.E.2d 1199 (Ind. Ct. App. 1992), trans. den., 1993 (restraints on retroactive application of new environmental legal requirements)

Rumpke of Ind., Inc. v. Cummins Engine Co., Inc., 107 F.3d 1235 (7th Cir. 1997) ("innocent landowner" exception for CERCLA 107(a) cost recovery actions)

The Sierra Club v. Gates, 499 F. Supp. 2d 1101 (S.D. Ind. 2007) (successfully defended action which sought to enjoin continuing shipments of the product of the hydrolosis of the chemical warfare agent VX from a depot in Indiana to Veolia Environmental Service’s incineration facility in Texas)

City of Mishawaka v. Uniroyal Holding Inc., 2006 WL 163007 (N.D. Ind. 2006) (claims under Indiana Environmental Legal Action Statute not barred by CERCLA protection afforded by prior agreement with EPA)

NRC Corp. v. Amoco Oil Co., 205 F.3d 1007 (7th Cir. 2000) (environmental liability and damages for contamination of leased premises)

Ind. Dept. of Envt’l Mgt. v. Twin Eagle LLC, 798 N.E.2d 839 (Ind. 2003) (authority to regulate isolated wetlands)

Supporters to Oppose Pollution, Inc. v. Heritage Group, 973 F.2d 1320 (7th Cir. 1992) (dismissal of RCRA citizens suit)

Triple G Landfill, Inc. v. Board of Comm’rs, 724 F. Supp. 529 (S.D. 1991), 977 F.2d 287 (7th Cir. 1992) (scope of preemption of local rules by federal or state regulations)

Nat. Salvage & Serv. Corp. v. Ind. Dep't of Envtl. Mgt., 571 N.E.2d 548 (Ind. Ct. App. 1991) (estoppel based on government employees’ representations)

EPA v. Envt’l Waste Control, Inc., 710 F. Supp. 1172, 1186 (N.D. Ind. 1989), aff’d, 917 F.2d  327 (7th Cir. 1990), cert. denied, 499 U.S. 975 (1991) (RCRA claims against landfill)

Lindsey v. DeGroot, 898 N.E.2d 1251 (Ind. Ct. App. 2009)(Determined Indiana's Right to Farm Act was constitutional and applied to bar the nuisance claim of a neighbor against DeGroot Dairy).


Examples

Hazardous and Solid Waste Management
 
Our firm is among the most experienced anywhere on environmental issues with solid and hazardous waste. We have worked with clients on all aspects of solid waste from the preparation of permit applications, advising on compliance with operating requirements, filing challenges to inappropriate permit conditions, defending permits against individual or organized group challenges, challenging the retroactive application of “need statutes” and “good character” disclosures to pending applications, handling zoning issues relating to the siting of landfills and in resolving enforcement actions. We participate in rule-making and legislation involving environmental solid waste issues and are a member of the National Solid Waste Management Association.
 
RCRA
 
Our attorneys represent clients in hazardous waste enforcement and corrective action matters under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA).  We have also provided audit and compliance assistance to help clients avoid enforcement actions under RCRA.
 
Underground Storage Tank and Petroleum Issues
 
We have a robust practice in the area of underground storage tanks and petroleum marketing.  Our firm has served as general counsel for the Indiana Petroleum Marketers & Convenience Store Association for more than fifteen years.  We have represented literally hundreds of petroleum marketers in Indiana and neighboring states in work ranging from compliance, transactions, litigation involving the Underground Storage Tank Act (USTA) and the Petroleum Marketing Practice Act (PMPA), insurance coverage, and legislative, regulatory and administrative matters.
 
Brownfield Redevelopment
 
Our attorneys have represented clients with major brownfield redevelopment projects, including the City of South Bend (former Studebaker and Oliver Plow facilities), the City of Mishawaka (former Uniroyal facilities), and the City of Anderson (former General Motors facilities), as well as numerous smaller private brownfield redevelopment projects.  These projects have involved federal and state grants for investigation, remediation, demolition and other activities, cost recovery against current and past owners and operators, insurance coverage for investigation and cleanup costs, and compliance with release reporting, waste handling and disposal requirements.
 
Air Issues
 
We handle all permitting, compliance and enforcement under federal and state Clean Air Acts.  This work has included obtaining an air permit for construction and operation of a new ethanol plant, negotiating more favorable or reduced Title V stack sampling and compliance monitoring requirements, overturning citizens’ objections to an air permit, and resolving NOVs issued for the alleged failure to meet BACT determined destruction and capture efficiencies in an air permit.  We have also helped an agri-business client successfully object to an overly lenient PSD permit issued to a neighboring industrial industry. 
 
Environmental Litigation
 
Our firm is skilled at prosecuting and defending complex cases involving environmental litigation under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), Indiana’s Environmental Legal Action (ELA) statute and other statutes.  We successfully defended a landfill operator in the largest toxic tort action ever brought in Indiana due to the alleged contamination of groundwater from a landfill. The case originally had over 145 plaintiffs and sought over $1 billion in damages.  On the other side, we served as plaintiffs counsel in obtaining  cleanup costs and expenses from a major oil company for pollution of a small Indiana town's water supplies, a victory of first impression in the United States.  The work led the Hoosier Environmental Council to award one of our attorneys its "Litigator of the Year" award.
 
Coal Related Issues
 
Our firm has handled a variety of environmental matters affecting coal-fired power plants.  One of the core strengths of our coal practice was the involvement of one of the founding partners in the drafting of Indiana’s Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act.  The various coal related issues handled by our environmental attorneys includes issues involving air emissions from the burning of coal, storage of coal, disposal of coal combustion and related wastes, water permitting and regulatory issues concerning discharge of wastewater with high temperatures or chemicals used to treat and maintain steam production facilities, and water quality issues involving other power plants discharging into the same water bodies. 
 
Water Issues
 
Our attorneys have advised numerous clients on all aspects of water quality regulation and compliance under the Clean Water Act and similar state statutes.  This has included representing a major automotive industry manufacturer concerning NPDES and storm water issues, including a complicated and ongoing negotiation and administrative appeal of a plant's NPDES permit.  This particular project required a careful understanding of and coordination with remediation programs and issues.  We have also litigated several actions to require the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) to issue permits allowing lawful construction in floodways.  For instance, we represented a commercial property developer in an action that centered on allegations that the development would increase the risk of downstream flooding.  Our firm succeeded in persuading the state to issue the permit.
 
Indiana’s Voluntary Remediation Program
 
Plews Shadley Racher and Braun’s environmental attorneys have represented numerous clients in Voluntary Remediation Program (VRP) matters.  This includes taking a significant number of former industrial plants through the program.  Among these successes, we have assisted a client in receiving approval for a 100+ year work plan involving on and off-site contamination at one.  In addition, our attorneys have also successfully overturned an IDEM denial to admission into the VRP as arbitrary and capricious.

Client Alerts

October 21, 2014   Angela Green selected co-chair of Insurance Subcommittee of the ABA’s Environmental Litigation Section
By Plews Shadley Racher & Braun LLP
 
October 15, 2014   Josh S. Tatum elected to IN State Bar Association’s Appellate Practice Section’s Council
By Plews Shadley Racher & Braun LLP
 
October 6, 2014   Ryan T. Leagre joins PSRB as an associate
By Plews Shadley Racher & Braun LLP
 
September 19, 2014   PSRB Attorneys Successful in Meth Insurance Recovery Case
By Plews Shadley Racher & Braun LLP
 
August 18, 2014   Plews Shadley Racher & Braun attorneys named Best Lawyers in America
By Plews Shadley Racher & Braun LLP
 
 
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