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Environmental Permitting and Enforcement

Numerous federal, state and local agencies require permits for business operations that affect the environment.

Often, the requirement of a permit is neither obvious nor intuitive. For instance, it may not occur to a client that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has permitting authority over a proposed project that includes dredging in a river, or that a pond in a corn field is a wetland that requires state (and possibly federal) approval before it is disturbed. A client planning to expand its production facilities may not realize that, in some instances, air permits must be completed before certain construction activities may begin. 

Ice Miller's environmental attorneys work with clients to identify required permits, create realistic permitting timelines and, if necessary, help obtain required permits so that projects and business operations move forward smoothly, efficiently and on time. 

We also have experience challenging permits that impose unrealistic or impractical conditions. For example, a municipal wastewater utility may conclude that the limits imposed by its NPDES permit are not technically or economically feasible. Our environmental attorneys are in the forefront of total daily maximum load/water quality-based effluent limits challenges to NPDES permits issued by state environmental agencies. 

Ice Miller's environmental lawyers also have experience helping our clients ward off challenges to valid permits obtained by our clients from federal, state and local agencies. We have helped clients whose permits have been challenged for a variety of reasons by neighbors, competitors and public interest groups.

Watch our environmental video here.

Environmental laws invest federal, state and local governmental agencies with the authority to enforce laws designed to protect natural resources and the environment. When environmental incidents occur, these agencies may bring administrative or judicial enforcement actions. Our team of environmental lawyers pro-actively assists clients with understanding their legal obligations, developing strategies for reporting environmental incidents, working with agencies to create appropriate corrective actions and creating long-term plans to assure that such incidents do not recur.

Representative Experience

  • Haynes International, Inc.:  We have assisted Haynes with issues related to air permits, permits and corrective actions related to closed hazardous waste landfills, wastewater/ storm water permitting, federal, state, and local enforcement issues, TSCA and financial assurance.
  • Greif Packaging, LLC:  We represented Greif in the defense of a violation notice issued by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency in connection with air emissions from the client's manufacturing plant.  Resolution of the matter required applying for and obtaining an adjusted standard from the Illinois Pollution Control Board from otherwise applicable regulations, which was also submitted to the U.S. EPA for adoption as a revision to the Illinois State Implementation Plan.
  • Morgan Foods, Inc.:  We have assisted Morgan Foods with various environmental permitting issues and regulatory issues over the years that are related to its manufacturing facility in Indiana.
  • Vertellus Specialties Inc.:  Ice Miller has assisted Vertellus and its predecessors with environmental issues for decades.  Our representation includes assistance with closing manufacturing facilities, defense of EPA and state enforcement actions, appeals of air permits, and various environmental issues related to transactions.
Additional Experience
  • Riverboats require environmental permits from numerous state and federal agencies.  Environmental permits issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Indiana Department of Environmental Management, and the Indiana Department of Natural Resources for two riverboat projects were challenged before the state administrative appeals bodies and in federal court.   Ice Miller's environmental attorneys successfully defended all of the challenges on behalf of a riverboat client.
  • One of our clients, a manufacturer of food products, became aware of the need to make a process change needed for its NPDES permit that had the potential to impact its operations, and also needed to address issues with sludge in the lagoon.  Ice Miller's environmental attorneys assisted the client in collaborating with an environmental consultant and worked with state regulators to create a solution that allowed the client to meet regulatory limits and continue its operations without interruption.
  • Following an EPA multi-media inspection of one of Ice Miller's heavy manufacturing clients, the client received notice of four separate enforcement actions from U.S. EPA:  one from the air program, one from the RCRA program and two from the Clean Water Act program (SPCC Plan and SWPPP).  Ice Miller's environmental attorneys assisted the client with immediate responses, all of which were due with 10 days.  We arranged a meeting with EPA so that all issues could be coordinated, and the clients' responses could be amended in a reasonable manner.  We put forth written arguments, led penalty negotiations, assisted with amendments to plans, and negotiated compliance and penalty consent decrees.
  • Ice Miller assisted a client university that received a hazardous materials transportation enforcement action from the FAA when one of its professors allegedly shipped hazardous materials by aircraft that were part of his investigation toolkit.  In addition to investigating and responding to the allegation, Ice Miller guided its client with respect to future training and guidance on hazardous transportation requirements. 


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