Zweiback, Fiset & Coleman has extensive experience representing clients in environmental investigations, enforcement actions, and litigation. Our attorneys provide expert guidance on regulatory obligations and skillful defense in both judicial and administrative actions.
Our attorneys have significant experience negotiating criminal, civil, and administrative settlements before many government entities, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Air Quality Management District (AQMD), and District Attorneys’ offices. Our expertise extends to counseling clients in federal criminal prosecutions of alleged violations of the Clear Air Act and Clean Water Act, and we have achieved favorable settlements with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Justice, among others.
With decades of experience working in the highest level of government and at the nation’s leading litigation firms, our attorneys are able to provide clients of various sizes and across industries with the expert environmental and natural resources counsel and defense representation they need to tackle complex legal challenges while maintaining the efficient, personal approach of a boutique litigation firm that preserves client resources and focuses on our clients’ overall goals and economic picture.
Matters our Environmental & Natural Resources Litigation Lawyers Handle
In addition to strict federal environmental and natural resources compliance guidelines that must be met, many of our clients also face complex California state compliance requirements which can lead to investigations, enforcement actions, civil lawsuits pursued by government entities and private plaintiffs alike, and, in some cases, criminal investigations and prosecutions.
Federal Environmental and Natural Resource Investigation and Enforcement Proceedings
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is the primary federal agency overseeing the compliance of individuals and businesses with federal environmental law. The EPA has the power to institute environmental and natural resource investigations targeting private entities and to pursue enforcement actions against those entities for violations of the Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act, and other environmental laws related to natural resources and endangered species. If successful, an enforcement action can result in significant financial penalties, injunctive relief including expensive and onerous requirements for a defendant to come into compliance with federal guidelines, and additional requirements. Furthermore, a successful federal enforcement proceeding can result in severe reputational damage for a defendant and may lay the grounds for a successful civil lawsuit by private parties. The attorneys of Zweiback, Fiset & Coleman understand the severe consequences for a target of a federal investigation and/or enforcement action, and have the skills and experience – including decades of experience in the highest levels of federal government – to guide our clients through federal investigations and enforcement actions and work towards the optimal outcome for our clients, including favorable settlements and the termination of investigation and enforcement proceedings.
California State Environmental and Natural Resource Investigation and Enforcement Proceedings
California is widely known for having some of the most strict and complex environmental and natural resource laws and enforcement frameworks in the nation. While the California Environmental Protection Agency (CalEPA) is the chief state agency overseeing legal issues related to the environment, individuals and businesses operating in California also must maintain compliance with oversight from the California Air Resources Board (ARB), Local Air Pollution Districts, the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) and its nine Regional Water Quality Control Boards, the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC), the Certified Unified Program Agencies (CUPA), the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA), the Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR), County Agricultural Commissioners, and the office of the California Attorney General.
Our attorneys provide compliance counsel to individuals and businesses in developing and implementing procedures, policies, and frameworks to maintain compliance with the complex requirements of California environmental and natural resource law. When investigations and enforcement actions do take place, Zweiback, Fiset & Coleman provides zealous defense representation to help our clients obtain favorable outcomes that minimize financial and reputational consequences.
Criminal Environmental and Natural Resource Proceedings
Individuals and businesses can face criminal penalties – including significant monetary fines and jail or prison time – for violations of a number of environmental and natural resource legal statutes, including for violations of the US Clean Water Act, the US Clean Water Act, and other hazardous waste and environmental laws pursuant to federal and California state law. In recent years, the federal government has successfully convicted thousands of individuals and businesses for violations of environmental laws and extracted billions of dollars in criminal fines. Our attorneys have significant experience in both environmental law and in defending parties against criminal prosecutions, and will zealously fight to defend you or your business in any criminal proceeding prosecuted by the Department of Justice and/or state regulators and prosecutors to protect your financial interests and your future.
Civil Environmental and Natural Resource Lawsuits
In addition to federal and state investigation and enforcement legal challenges related to environmental and natural resource law, individuals and businesses can face potentially costly civil litigation pursued by private plaintiffs and private organizations. Such lawsuits can present existential risks for individuals and businesses as the consequences can include hugely significant jury verdicts, lasting reputational damage, and complex legal proceedings that can continue for years and drain client resources. With our extensive experience in successfully resolving complex private party litigation, Zweiback, Fiset & Coleman is able to provide superior environmental and natural resource defense counsel for our clients while employing an efficient, lean approach that both vigorously pursues favorable outcomes and preserves client resources.
Contact our Experienced Environmental Resource Attorneys
The threat to a business of an environmental and/or natural resource investigation or enforcement action by government authorities or a lawsuit pursued by private plaintiffs can bring with it the potential for steep fines and jury verdicts, onerous compliance oversight requirements, reputational damage, and long and challenging legal proceedings. It is therefore important for individuals and businesses facing legal challenges related to environmental and natural resource issues to engage with skilled and experienced defense and compliance counsel at the first sign of such a threat to a business’ well-being and future standing.
The attorneys of Zweiback, Fiset & Coleman have made it their mission to provide skilled defense and compliance counsel to businesses and individuals in complex environmental and natural resource proceedings that powerfully defends our clients’ interests throughout the litigation, investigation, enforcement action, or compliance process. Our attorneys creatively and efficiently strategize towards positive resolutions that serve our client’s comprehensive, long-term goals. If you or your business are facing a complex proceeding related to environmental or natural resource issues, contact our office to speak with an experienced attorney regarding your situation today.