Natural Resources

  • Our knowledge of the unique issues arising from both public and private lands, coupled with our extensive experience in coastal, wetland, endangered species and Indian law issues, means that we can effectively represent all of your land and resource interests.
  • Holland & Knight’s Natural Resources Team has a long history of advising on tribal governmental and program operations and efforts to enhance and sustain tribal economies, including extensive experience applying federal environmental statutes on Indian lands.

Coastal Issues

Holland & Knight represents coastal communities, local governments and property owners on a wide range of issues related to coastal protection and management. We are familiar with the unique issues that arise on both private and public land — project approvals, beach nourishment, species protection, land use and sensitive area restrictions.

We have assisted clients in coastal matters, including the following:

  • representing coastal communities in obtaining state and federal authorizations for beach nourishment, dredging and other beach restoration projects
  • assisting private property owners in obtaining permits and other necessary authorizations for building coastal residences
  • obtaining authorization for natural gas production facilities in a National Seashore and successfully defending the authorizations against claims under several federal laws
  • representing communities that have inholdings within National Seashores on a variety of issues before the National Park Service, National Fish and Wildlife Service, and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
  • analyzing and litigating Endangered Species Act issues, including restrictions on shore protection projects and designation of critical habitat
  • obtaining permits from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, NOAA and state coastal agencies involved in the landing of cables in the United States or their transit through the Exclusive Economic Zone, including limiting scope of these permits based on international law and proper agency jurisdiction
  • obtaining licenses for deepwater offshore LNG terminals from the Department of Transportation and the U.S. Coast Guard

Endangered Species

Our environmental attorneys represent landowners, businesses, communities and energy companies on virtually all major issues related to the Endangered Species Act including the listing of species, designation of critical habitat, development of Habitat Conservation Plans, Section 7 consultation issues and avoidance of “take” liability. We consult on individual projects, litigate in federal court both in defense of projects and in challenges to federal actions, and have also participated as amicus curiae in landmark ESA cases.

Our experience includes the following:

  • drafting a Habitat Conservation Plan for an upscale housing development on the eastern shore of Maryland; this was the first HCP on the East Coast
  • representing private developers, energy producers and coastal communities in negotiations with federal agencies on Section 7 consultations regarding a wide variety of projects
  • challenging critical habitat designations that fail to consider the economic impact on coastal communities
  • participating as amicus curiae in Babbitt v. Sweet Home Chapter of Communities For a Great Oregon (involving the ESA “take” definition) and Bennett v. Spear, which expanded the rights of property owners to sue under the act
  • authoring the Endangered Species Act deskbook for the Environmental Law Institute

Wetlands and Natural Resources

Holland & Knight has a national practice in the area of wetlands regulation, including delineation, mitigation and permitting requirements. Our attorneys regularly represent commercial, residential, mining and public clients in navigating the complex federal and state wetlands permitting process. We have supervised teams of consultants in successfully negotiating permits for large-scale projects ranging from housing developments and shopping malls to long-term phosphate and rock mining facilities to transmission line corridors.

We also work with large private landowners and local governments to develop conservation plans, easements and acquisitions which have led to protection of several hundred thousand acres of lands now part of national and state parks, forests and preserves. In addition, we have litigated cutting edge wetlands cases on the scope of federal jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act on behalf of national trade association clients and participated as amicus curiae in precedent-setting wetlands cases before the U.S. Supreme Court.

We have assisted clients with the following:

  • obtaining and defending against multiple challenges to phosphate mining permits involving mining in wetlands and floodplains in Central Florida, including appeals to state courts of appeal
  • assisting in preparing environmental impact statements for Corps of Engineers dredge and fill permits for phosphate and aggregate mining, residential and commercial developments
  • assisting in obtaining regulatory authorization for residential housing developments that included boating and docking facilities as well as dredging of channels
  • participating in a state rulemaking on behalf of a trade association to develop a uniform mitigation assessment methodology for assessing wetland impacts and the amount of mitigation required to offset those impacts
  • challenging onerous federal rules related to the scope of federal jurisdiction over activities in waters of the United States
  • filing amicus curiae briefs in the landmark case of Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook County v. Corps, which overturned the Corps’ and EPA’s regulation of isolated wetlands

Indian Law

Holland & Knight’s Environmental Team works with attorneys in the Indian Law Practice Group on environmental issues arising from all aspects of tribal economic development and natural resources management. We are experienced in tribal governmental and program operations and efforts to enhance and sustain tribal economies. Our involvement includes counseling tribes on the development and implementation of environmental codes and natural resource management programs, environmental compliance and due diligence related to fee-to-trust acquisitions, trust land leasing, military base closures, and obtaining and structuring contracts for and financing of development projects.

We have extensive experience with the application of federal environmental statutes on Indian lands, including the Clean Water Act, Safe Drinking Water Act, Clean Air Act, Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, Superfund, Endangered Species Act and National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). In addition, we have represented tribes in litigation over environmental authority and compliance, water rights, and protection of sacred, cultural and historic sites and artifacts.

Our assistance provided to clients includes the following:

  • advising the administrator and other senior officials at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on the implementation of environmental programs on Indian lands and tribal regulatory authority under the federal environmental statutes
  • advising the Department of Interior Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs on environmental compliance and natural resources management, including the settlement of a multimillion dollar suit for mismanagement of tribal resources
  • training tribal staff on the application of NEPA to the development of Indian gaming projects; reviewed and provided guidance on NEPA documents related to fee-to-trust acquisitions, trust land leasing, permitting, energy development, tribal contracts requiring federal approval, and other federal actions affecting tribal lands and resources
  • providing counsel to an Indian tribe on compliance with the Clean Air Act New Source Review program for a tribally owned co-generation facility
  • representing an Indian tribe before the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and providing counsel on a proposed flood control and ecosystem restoration project affecting tribal lands and resources

NEPA and State Equivalent

Holland & Knight’s attorneys and professional staff have extensive experience in issues arising from the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and related state counterparts. We counsel clients on the complex NEPA process and assist in analyzing NEPA documents such as Environmental Assessments and Environmental Impact Statements, and have litigated NEPA claims in federal courts both in private practice and in prior positions with the Department of Justice.

Our experience includes:

  • analyzing hundreds of Environmental Assessments and Environmental Impact Statements for a wide variety of projects
  • coordinating the Environmental Assessment reviews for a high-speed rail project along the northeast corridor