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Environmental Permitting, Compliance, and Enforcement Defense

The Spencer Fane Environmental practice works with businesses to develop practical, innovative, and strategic solutions to permitting and regulatory requirements, helping them maintain compliance and minimize the risk of enforcement actions with administrative, civil, and criminal penalties.

Spencer Fane attorneys have decades of experience providing counsel on permitting and environmental issues related to the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, RCRA, CERCLA, TSCA, FIFRA, NEPA, the Endangered Species Act, and wetlands regulations, along with state and local environmental programs.

We work with industrial and business operations in development, construction, refining, manufacturing, and others that are subject to environmental permits. Our team offers pragmatic advice and seeks collaborative approaches with regulatory bodies to expedite approvals and permits. We approach each situation with a willingness to negotiate with all key stakeholders, including regulators, to find solutions and get approvals that work for our clients in an efficient manner. We recognize that permitting is often part of larger projects or operational goals, and work expeditiously to help clients avoid delays or interruptions.

In working with clients on compliance, we put them in a position of strength and bolster our ability to mount a vigorous defense in response to enforcement actions. We respond to and resolve civil and criminal enforcement actions in a manner that protects business interests, minimizes disruption to operations, and achieves successful resolution.


  • Successfully defended utility client’s Clean Air Act Construction Permit from a third party challenge, allowing construction of new energy generating facility to proceed under permit and resolving further appeals through negotiated settlement.
  • Served as lead counsel for refinery in resolution of RCRA corrective action order, negotiating requirements to resolve environmental cleanup liability and support redevelopment.
  • Represented industrial client in renewal and modification of Clean Water Act permit to incorporate alternative compliance demonstration addressing toxicity impact of upgradient water source.
  • Assisted construction company in obtaining after-the-fact section 401 wetland permitting with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and EPA for waters of the United States (WOTUS)
  • Successful defense of Environmental Manager of a metal plating facility for the automotive industry in Clean Water Act criminal investigation
  • Handled defense of lead-acid battery recycling facility and secondary lead smelter in Clean Air Act enforcement case alleging NESHAP violations
  • Successful defense of chemical plant in RCRA hazardous waste inspection of permitted TSD facility and the RCRA Part 264 and Part 265 rules and regulations
  • Developed schedule of compliance and associated Consent Order for industrial discharger to undertake toxicity study as part of Clean Water Act compliance obligations