Environmental Compliance and Management

  • Holland & Knight's Environmental Compliance and Management Team's on-the-ground experience with our clients' diverse industries gives us a thorough understanding of the business and operational implications of federal, state and local environmental regulations, and our policy professionals in Washington, D.C., keep our clients up to date with the latest developments.
  • Our team has strong, longstanding and collaborative relationships with consultants in a range of disciplines to produce thorough compliance reviews that help protect our clients.
  • Holland & Knight's attorneys serve as an extension of our clients' legal departments, developing tailored strategies focused on ensuring that short- and long-term compliance goals are met and maintained, while minimizing legal and financial exposure.
Windmills and construction workers


Holland & Knight's Environmental Compliance and Management Team has decades of experience with complex, rapidly changing federal and state environmental regulations. Our lawyers' prior experience ranges from positions within federal and state governments, including the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to general counsel at Fortune 500 companies.

As environmental compliance remains a key priority for investors, governments, consumers and the public around the globe, the companies that will be sustainable over the long term likely will be those that are proactive in not only compliance with applicable laws and regulations, but also sensitive to managing environmental, health and safety issues in ways that benefit their communities. For this reason, our Environmental Compliance and Management Team takes a hands-on approach to clients' operations to address and minimize potential risks and liabilities before issues develop.

Should an issue arise, our team of attorneys has extensive experience with steering companies through compliance obligations and, when needed, vigorously defending them in agency enforcement actions. We counsel companies to develop and implement comprehensive environmental oversight and compliance management programs that are consistent with applicable standards, meet industry practices and align with the company’s broader goals, including environmental, social and governance (ESG) objectives.

Holland & Knight's vast size and reach enables our attorneys to focus on niche areas of law and environmental science, resulting in an interconnected web of highly knowledgeable professionals who guide clients in a range of areas, including energy, renewable fuels, manufacturing, commercial and residential real estate, tax credit, brownfields redevelopment, natural resources and air, water and waste permitting.

Our attorneys help companies:

  • write standard operating procedures (SOPs)
  • hire third-party auditors and retain the confidentiality and privilege of those audits
  • navigate agency inspections
  • self-report noncompliance
  • establish eligibility for penalty mitigation under self-audit laws and policies
  • develop and implement environmental management and compliance systems
  • oversee training so that companies can ultimately take over and run their programs independently

Extensive Regulatory and Policy Guidance

Providing early guidance and advice on all aspects of compliance with environmental laws and regulations is part of our strategy for keeping clients current with evolving regulations.

We have deep experience and knowledge of regulatory requirements under the following:

  • Clean Air Act (CAA)
  • Clean Water Act (CWA)
  • Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA), also known as Superfund
  • Emergency Planning and Community Right-To-Know Act (EPCRA) reporting requirements
  • Endangered Species Act (ESA)
  • Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA)
  • Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA)
  • National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)
  • Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
  • Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA)
  • Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA)
  • State counterparts of the above federal laws
  • Texas Environmental Health and Safety Audit Privilege Act

For example, our attorneys have:

  • led the environmental compliance program for one of the largest chemical transport companies in the U.S. in response to an incident that resulted in 13 parallel investigations; the DOJ found that the resulting compliance program, ongoing updates and audit system created by Holland & Knight was of such high quality that it was not necessary for the client to have a third-party monitor; our team annually visits the client's sites to ensure ongoing compliance and maintain an understanding of daily operations
  • handled environmental compliance management and auditing work for numerous energy and manufacturing companies, including clients with oil and gas exploration and production, compression, processing and/or refining facilities and clients with countertop, cast iron or plastic product manufacturing facilities
  • served as outside counsel to national associations, helping draft their quality assurance and quality control standards, as well as entire suites of SOPs and industry-specific auditing programs for environmental compliance
  • guided multiple clients through congressional investigations and environmental-related crises, assisting with public disclosure of information and establishing cyclic internal auditing programs beyond the standard
  • navigated high-risk environmental, health and safety compliance considerations for major international corporations during complex transactions, including engaging trusted third-party consultants to conduct desktop reviews, environmental site assessments and interviews with company managers of acquisition targets

Compliance Audits and Corporate Governance

Our Environmental Compliance and Management attorneys assist companies in conducting regular environmental compliance audits and self-disclosures, including preparing audit protocols and surveys for completion by each audited facility, interviewing plant personnel and drafting audit reports. Such audits are prepared in accordance with federal and state audit laws and policies to help ensure that, if the findings are disclosed to federal or state agencies, clients can obtain mitigation of, or immunity from, enforcement penalties for any violations discovered.

For example, our attorneys have:

  • conducted comprehensive environmental compliance audits for clients in multiple jurisdictions under attorney-client privilege for internal use
  • assisted in preparing and conducting environmental compliance audits to help clients comply with state audit privilege and immunity laws as well as satisfy the U.S. EPA's audit disclosure policy and take advantage of penalty reductions for voluntary reporting
  • coordinated and conducted an environmental compliance audit for the client to implement an environmental management system under the International Organization Standardization (ISO) 14000 standard series for the client's facilities located throughout the U.S.

In addition, we have extensive experience with environmental disclosure obligations and the establishment of internal disclosure controls. We have assisted clients in implementing environmental management systems adopted by ISO, such as ISO 14000. Holland & Knight also has capabilities working with correspondent law firms in Europe, Mexico, Latin America, the Middle East and the Pacific Rim to counsel domestic corporations on environmental compliance and liability issues in virtually any country in the world.

Environmental Health and Safety

Members of our Environmental Compliance and Management Team have played a role in shaping landmark environmental legislation, including Superfund reauthorization, Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) reauthorization, the CAA and CWA as well as the Texas Environmental, Health and Safety Audit Privilege Act new owner amendments.

Providing early guidance and counsel on all aspects of compliance with environmental policy is part of our strategy for keeping clients current with evolving regulations. For example, our attorneys are experienced in providing advice on CAA permitting and emission sources standards, ESA and MBTA compliance, EPCRA reporting requirements, OSHA regulation of exposure to toxic chemicals and TSCA compliance filings.

If an investigation or enforcement action is initiated, our lawyers are prepared to mount a vigorous response on our clients' behalf. We are committed to leveraging Holland & Knight's interdisciplinary resources to defend clients facing enforcement actions, as well as those who are under investigation by the EPA, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), Office of Inspector General, DOJ and other federal or state agencies.

For example, we have:

  • defended clients who have received notice of violations under various environmental statutes, including alleged violations of EPCRA, CWA, CAA, CERCLA and state law counterparts
  • defended clients facing criminal prosecution under various environmental laws
  • provided advice and assisted clients in responding to citations received from OSHA
  • defended numerous clients in threatened stormwater enforcement matters
  • defended a client in an action for alleged violation of state noise standards
  • advised clients under the TSCA regarding asbestos and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB) issues
  • represented clients in state courts and administrative proceedings involving state regulatory enforcement actions, as well as in federal court on EPA enforcement actions

Risk Mitigation

Our attorneys understand that prevention is often the most cost-effective strategy when dealing with contamination issues. Holland & Knight's Environmental Compliance and Management Team aims to proactively reduce legal and financial risks by conducting comprehensive risk assessments tailored to specific industries and operational contexts.

We meticulously identify potential risks and liabilities exposure within clients' operations and supply chains, and develop customized mitigation plans that prioritize risk reduction. We also work closely with companies to help ensure that these strategies align with their broader business objectives, which not only protects our clients' interests but also contributes to long-term sustainability and resilience.


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