Environmental Law

Crowley Fleck’s Environmental Law attorneys provide  the utmost in experience, judgment and knowledge in the largest and most complex projects and lawsuits implicating environmental law.  Our environmental attorneys are equally capable in the courtroom and boardroom.  Whether interacting with courts or regulators, our attorneys are widely recognized as credible and vigorous advocates for environmental issues associated with mines, oil and gas operations, pipelines, hydropower projects, wind farms, and industrial processes, among many other things. The Firm routinely represents clients in matters and cases involving the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Forest Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Bureau of Land Management, and many other federal and state agencies.  Among the many areas in Environmental Law in which Crowley Fleck is engaged on a regular basis are:

National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and State Equivalents

Crowley Fleck is routinely engaged to assist clients with permitting or litigation on large and complex natural resource and energy projects that cover  the full range of NEPA analyses, from scoping and Environmental Assessments  through Environmental Impact Statements to a Record of Decision .  The Firm adds value to strategic decisions along the way, and provides able litigation counsel in administrative and judicial processes, not only with NEPA overall, but its specific components, including air, water, cultural resources, climate change, and social, economic, and environmental justice elements.

Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, and State Equivalents

Crowley Fleck attorneys are thoroughly familiar with the technical and daunting array of regulations and laws relating to discharge or emission permits on both the federal and state levels.  In clean air regulations, the Firm’s experience includes permitting and enforcement actions involving New Source Review standards, Title V permitting, fugitive emissions, and National Ambient Air Quality Standards.  For water quality, we assist in obtaining and litigating National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permits and equivalent state discharge permits, total maximum daily load issues, narrative and numerical water quality standards, wetlands and Section 404 permits.

Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA or Superfund), Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), and Solid or Hazardous Waste

Site contamination claims by the government or third parties can be nearly intractable, but Crowley Fleck’s experience includes a range from large, high profile Superfund sites to small parcels with one responsible party.  The Firm will assist, as expeditiously as the circumstances permit, with strategies to minimize the client’s exposure, and if necessary to pursue claims for cost recovery or contribution for environmental harm caused by the activities of others.  The Firm also represents clients who may be, or have been, charged with federal or state criminal charges due to hazardous waste handling or disposal practices.

Endangered Species Act (ESA) and Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA)

The ESA and MBTA are highly specialized areas of Environmental Law in which Crowley Fleck has remarkable depth.  The Firm’s clients are typically project developers who intervene in litigation over a federal ESA consultation to protect their own interests.  Crowley Fleck also advises entities in the permit process where the ESA may apply, including the development of mitigation or Habitat Conservation Plans.  Our attorneys have also successfully protected clients from federal criminal charges brought under the MBTA.

Climate Change

The Firm represents clients who must develop strategies, whether in permitting or litigation, for dealing with CO2 or other greenhouse gas emissions or evaluating a project against the impacts of climate change.  The Firm has successfully defended project proponents in legal challenges brought under the broad rubric of climate change.

Constitutional Environmental Claims (Montana)

Montana’s Constitution contains unique and powerful provisions described as the “Constitutional Right to a Clean and Healthful Environment.”  Crowley Fleck has litigated cases brought to effectuate those provisions, and has counseled clients on strategies to avoid the potential for such litigation.

Eminent Domain

While not strictly an environmental issue, Crowley Fleck’s experienced environmental litigators have handled many eminent domain lawsuits, as they arise in projects that qualify as a public interest under state or federal eminent domain laws, such as transmission lines, pipelines, or other rights of way.  The Firm is very familiar with the nuances of eminent domain law in the many states where we practice, and in the federal sphere as well.

Environmental Due Diligence

Crowley Fleck assists clients who must evaluate potential liabilities associated with the acquisition of facilities or real estate, particularly energy production or large natural resource developments.  The Firm’s attorneys are very experienced in assessing the risks associated with the purchase of oil and gas assets, industrial and mining sites, and brownfields or redevelopment of contaminated land.

Legislative Activities

Crowley Fleck assists trade groups and individuals who must seek solutions to environmental problems through state legislatures in Montana, North Dakota, and Wyoming.  The Firm’s attorneys draft legislation, work with clients on interacting with legislators and other interested parties in advocating for the legislation’s passage, or in amendments.

Alternative Dispute Resolution

When the best answer to a complicated environmental case is to sit down at the table with your client’s opponents and hammer out a negotiated settlement, Crowley Fleck provides the right mix of advocacy and conciliation that many years of experience provide.  Whether through mediation, arbitration, or simply informal outreach, the Firm’s attorneys provide seasoned counsel with a deep appreciation for the client’s desire to end a dispute through a compromise settlement.