Florida Environment

  • As one of the largest law firms in Florida and in the United States, Holland & Knight has extensive experience and knowledge in all aspects of environmental law, from acquisitions and project development to environmental audits and compliance assessments, as well as litigation and enforcement defense.
  • Our Florida Environmental Team attorneys have a long history and substantial experience with environmental issues such as air, water, due diligence, entitlements, brownfields, wetlands, endangered species, health and safety, hazardous and solid waste, and related litigation.
  • We represent clients that range from developers and builders to investors and lenders, industry and trade associations, as well as federal, state and local governments.
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Holland & Knight's Florida Environmental Team covers the full spectrum of regulatory issues involving air, water, wetlands, solid waste, listed species and sustainable development. We take an active role in policy development, agency rulemaking, enforcement, permitting and administrative litigation on behalf of our clients. Our attorneys have established comprehensive working relationships with local regulatory and policy authorities throughout the state, including municipalities as well as the executive and legislative branches.

We provide clients with the added benefits of working with a focused practice group combined with the broader resources of a large multidisciplinary firm, and our team members' strong working relationships with decision-makers at the local, regional, state and federal levels ensures that our clients are well-represented in all environmental, health and safety laws, regulations and litigation.

Our team takes pride in being highly responsive to market changes and creatively adapting as circumstances demand, as well as providing innovative, cutting-edge counsel on evolving issues affecting every aspect of the industry. Simply put, we offer you a progressive approach based on thorough industry awareness.

More broadly, the comprehensive experience of our Florida Environmental Team includes:

  • agricultural and conservation easements
  • air quality issues
  • biological and radiological materials
  • endangered species matters
  • enforcement defense
  • environmental due diligence
  • environmental health and safety, including OSHA counseling and defense
  • environmental management systems
  • environmental resource permitting
  • hazardous materials handling
  • permit challenge defense
  • power plant and transmission line sitings
  • sewage and water treatment plants
  • solid and hazardous waste management
  • state and federal agency advocacy
  • state and federal legislative advocacy
  • stormwater
  • wetlands permitting at the local, state and federal levels, including work under Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act
  • CERCLA/Superfund and site remediation
  • third-party audits
  • water regulation and pollution matters (e.g., permitted discharges)
  • water supply issues

Extensive Experience on All Aspects of Environmental Matters

Our attorneys and policy advisors are well known and highly regarded in Tallahassee, Florida's capital and legislative and regulatory center. They actively represent clients before regulatory agencies and the Florida Legislature on matters that range from the siting of power plants, solar facilities, transmission lines, natural gas pipelines and solid waste management facilities to securing legislation and funding for a variety of environmental issues.

Holland & Knight attorneys have broad, national experience that includes compliance and regulatory counseling as well as litigation and enforcement defense for many Fortune 500 and Fortune 100 clients. We have deep knowledge in the areas of environmental compliance and permitting as well as environmental and toxic tort litigation. We handle litigation and transactions involving the purchase, sale and redevelopment of environmentally impacted properties. Team members have extensive experience in guiding clients through the environmental due diligence of real estate and manufacturing operations in large mergers and acquisitions at the state, multistate and multinational levels. Members of the team have testified before both the U.S. House of Representatives' Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee as well as the U.S. Senate's Environment and Public Works Committee on the reauthorization of both the Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act.

Members of our practice are involved in related industry groups, including the Urban Land Institute and the Florida Association of Environmental Professionals. In addition, various members of our Florida Environmental Team have been honored by The Florida Bar for their commitment to public service in the field of environmental law, have served as chair of the Environmental and Land Use Law Section of The Florida Bar, and have served as co-chair of the Jacksonville Bar Association's Environmental and Land Use Committee.

Our environmental lawyers are recognized as among the leaders in their field by state, national and international publications. The Chambers USA 2020 guide highly ranked our environmental law practice for its "strength in complex environmental and administrative litigation" and its "nationwide resources to advise on a wide range of regulatory matters, including water resources and wetland work." In addition, several of our attorneys have been repeatedly recognized individually by Chambers USA, The Best Lawyers in America and Florida Super Lawyers for their environmental work.

Comprehensive Environmental Advocacy

Holland & Knight is committed to staying at the forefront of developing environmental law and regulations. Our attorneys and professionals provide strategic counsel to clients, ensuring that requirements are met and opportunities are maximized. Our emphasis is on providing an analysis of each client's needs and structuring a comprehensive program that integrates corporate culture with consideration of how environmental issues can impact the bottom line. Another strength of the practice is that we advocate on behalf of clients' specific federal, state and local environmental goals.

Activities in Tallahassee and at local levels of government affect all companies doing business in the state of Florida. You need a team of experienced government advocates on your side that is committed to helping you navigate through often complex governmental regulations and procedures, use government to the advantage of your business, strategize on how best to improve your company's standing, and prevent the adoption of laws or regulations that could be detrimental to your business. Our team of public policy advisors and lawyers applies its depth of experience, relationships, and substantive political and legal know-how to advocate on your behalf to resolve any issues of concern that relate to Florida government.

In the environmental field, governments serve as regulators, customers and competitors. We understand these multifaceted governmental roles and use our presence throughout the state to serve as a forceful advocate. We have played an active role in shaping environmental and growth management legislation in Florida since the 1970s, acting as legislative counsel to individual clients and regularly appearing before committees of the Florida Legislature.

Holland & Knight's Florida Environmental Team has achieved recent noteworthy successes, including:

  • successfully opposing legislation that would have jeopardized the water, wastewater and surface water in portions of Broward County
  • securing legislation designed to minimize contamination of recyclable materials
  • securing funding for the research and development of a camera to be affixed to a drone for the detection of python snakes, an invasive species, in Florida's Everglades
  • securing funding for the construction of a diversion wall designed to improve the quality of water flowing into Lake Toho and the Everglades
  • successfully opposing legislation to extinguish the voting rights of landowners in a Broward County water and sewer district
  • successfully blocking legislation that would have eliminated a program designed to encourage public entities to construct green, efficient buildings
  • securing funding for innovative stormwater technologies for a municipality
  • completed the resolution of a citizen challenge to an Environmental Resource Permit (ERP) and obtained the issuance of a Section 404 Permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, allowing for the continued development of a 1,200-acre, mixed-use development in Florida's Manatee County
  • working to pass sensible environmental protection legislation for when regulated industries accidentally spill lawful substances that could harm the groundwater
  • amended the growth management laws on behalf of a large developer to reduce needless administrative regulatory hurdles
  • successfully advocated for additional funding in the state budget to assist a nonprofit zoo in constructing recovery pools and a life support system that provides care and rehabilitation for more than half of all sick and injured manatees rescued in Florida waters
  • advocated for funding in the state budget to assist a city with a significant economic revitalization project and a water project
  • represented Osceola County in securing a $750,000 Northern Everglades water restoration project

Environmental Litigation

Holland & Knight's environmental attorneys regularly litigate environmental cases in state and federal courts and before administrative law judges. Our lawyers have represented clients in challenges to permits and regulations, and have defended clients in enforcement actions taken by environmental regulatory agencies and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). We are intimately familiar with federal environmental law and have been involved in the development and implementation of all of Florida's environmental and growth management laws. Our lawyers have successfully argued challenges to permits and regulations under the Clean Air, Clean Water and Endangered Species Acts; sought injunctive relief under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) and the common law for damages caused by petroleum releases; obtained damages for environmental claims under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA); and defended clients in enforcement actions taken by federal and state environmental regulatory agencies and the DOJ.

Advising on Brownfields and Contaminated Land

Holland & Knight has a national practice assisting real estate developers, corporations and municipalities in transforming previously contaminated lands into economically productive, environmentally safe projects that help communities grow. We utilize skilled teams of attorneys knowledgeable in every aspect of brownfields redevelopment to provide clients with an extensive network of contacts, up-to-the-minute analysis of changing federal and state cleanup requirements, as well as regulatory and risk management tools to quantify environmental risks.

Meeting All of Your Land Use and Environmental Needs

Holland & Knight has eight offices located throughout Florida, enabling our environmental attorneys to maintain strong working relationships with decision-makers at the local, regional and state levels, and ensuring that our clients are well represented in all Florida land use and environmental matters and before the Florida Legislature.

We work closely with Holland & Knight's Florida Land Use Team, which includes attorneys with prior business experience as well as former government staff who are politically savvy and knowledgeable. We can provide guidance and advice on proposed land development regulations, zoning ordinances and comprehensive plans based on our experiences on all sides of the issues. Our land use attorneys are active on local advisory boards, committees and industry groups, and participate extensively in the debates surrounding the adoption of and changes to regulations and local land use practices.


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