Morris Manning & Martin, LLP

Environmental

Morris, Manning & Martin’s Environmental Practice develops mechanisms through which environmentally impacted properties can be purchased, financed, redeveloped and sold in an increasingly challenging market. Our excellent service and skills are evidenced by the practice’s ranking in Chambers USA, a leading legal services ranking publication.

Local Counsel, Worldwide

Our Environmental Practice is a national practice. We serve as specialized counsel for our clients, regardless of location, and we have created the network needed to provide solutions for our clients across the country. We have handled significant projects in over 40 of the 50 U.S. states. The substantial network we’ve created through our vast experience includes strategic relationships with equity sources, lenders, insurance companies and heads of state agencies. Though our experience is most substantial in the U.S., our lawyers have also handled the acquisition, financing and disposition of properties in Australia, Asia, Europe and South America, as well as Canada and Mexico.

Economic Incentives and Redevelopment

Morris, Manning & Martin’s Environmental Practice goes beyond the traditional role of environmental counsel to provide the broader economic development assistance needed for redevelopment of urban and industrial areas, including airports, seaports and transportation corridors. A fundamental component of our involvement includes working with state and federal agencies to draft legislation that promotes tax and economic incentives for redevelopment. We also coordinate the transportation, land use and environmental issues necessary for success in these projects.

Proven Experience

Our lawyers have particular depth in managing and solving the following types of issues:

  1. Impact from former operations – Our lawyers represent sellers, buyers and lenders in the environmental cleanup of properties that have been impacted by former operations, including the liability issues associated with the cleanup.
  2. Water issues – We manage the permitting process at both local and state levels and create mechanisms to insure properties have accurate water supplies both now and in the future.
  3. Permitting – Our lawyers help clients get the proper permits for water supplies, streams and endangered species involved in their developments. One example is the permitting related to dredging and filling needed for port-related expansions and development of other waterfront properties.
  4. Legislation – We work with legislators and state and federal agencies to ensure the cleanup and development of impacted properties is beneficial for both the communities and the developers. We also draft pertinent legislation to help our clients succeed in their efforts. For instance, the head of our practice served as a legislative appointee to the commission formed to review reauthorization of Georgia’s Hazardous Waste Trust Fund and was the principal author of Georgia’s current Brownfield legislation.
  5. Project Finance – Our lawyers work with lenders and insurers to help secure the funding and coverage needed to make their projects happen. In addition, we help our clients secure state tax credits and federal grants to offset the costs of environmental cleanup and often, the costs of the development of impacted properties.

Key Services:

  • Construction
  • Eminent domain & condemnation
  • Energy & infrastructure finance
  • Environmental insurance negotiations & claims
  • Environmental litigation
  • Environmental permitting
  • Foreclosure on environmentally impacted property and strategy for risk minimization
  • Litigation, arbitration, mediation and alternative dispute resolution in all state and federal courts and forums
  • Negotiating risk allocation of environmental costs and liabilities
  • Negotiations of remediation agreements
  • Negotiations with state & federal regulators
  • Pre-transaction environmental strategy and due diligence
  • Purchase, redevelopment, financing and sale of environmentally impacted properties (brownfields)
  • Sustainability matters
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Areas of Expertise

Environmental Litigation

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The Environmental Litigation Practice at Morris, Manning & Martin is one of the leading practices of its kind in the U.S. Our lawyers routinely assist clients across the country with environmental considerations and their impact on business and corporate real estate. Redevelopment of contaminated properties hinges on liability, regulations, and financing. Our lawyers navigate a course through these obstacles and steer clients toward meeting their goals.

Negotiators and Litigators

Our lawyers address and solve environmental issues associated with every type of property, including steel mills, plating facilities, automobile manufacturing facilities, textile mills, military bases, ports, oil fields, shopping centers, landfills, timber assets, hotels, office complexes and residential developments. We develop mechanisms through which such properties can be purchased, financed, redeveloped and sold in an increasingly challenging market. This includes addressing environmental issues associated with distressed assets and, increasingly, port and infrastructure developments. Our lawyers possess broad based experience in issues associated with such developments, including Environmental Impact Statements and the permitting related to dredging and filling needed for port related expansions and development of other waterfront properties. We have also successfully negotiated and litigated broad-based environmental concerns, from cost recovery to insurance disputes. We deal on a daily basis with representatives of the EPA and their state counterparts and have resolved property rehabilitation issues for hundreds of environmentally impacted properties across the country, including Atlantic Station®.

Leadership Across the Field

Our lawyers are active in professional and regulatory circles, interpreting and drafting new regulations to guide business and industry toward creative new solutions. We serve as national environmental counsel for a number of major institutional clients. Our group includes lawyers with engineering and construction experience, an environmental specialist and a former state environmental regulator, adding technical and regulatory depth. We deal on a daily basis with representatives of the EPA, have developed close relationships with senior-level state regulators and regularly assist in developing cleanup standards that are realistic and cost-effective. We have developed brownfield legislation across the U.S. that engages local and state governments and provides economic and other incentives for redevelopment.

Focused on Solutions

Our lawyers concentrate on finding solutions to solve environmental risks while serving our clients’ business objectives. Redevelopment efforts proceed in combination with pollution cleanup, creating institutional-grade properties that become valuable business assets. Financing is secured with transferable liability protections. Our goal-oriented leadership on Atlantic Station® in Atlanta turned the nation’s largest brownfield site into a multi-use development that has earned the highest environmental accolades and the prestigious Phoenix Award. We are also actively involved on behalf of lenders in addressing distressed properties which suffer from environmental issues and in developing methods and strategies whereby the lender can realize upon its collateral. With environmentally compromised properties, land use, property values and corporate bottom lines are interwoven. Such disparate considerations can be overcome using the comprehensive expertise you will find in the Environmental lawyers at Morris, Manning & Martin.

Key Services:

  • Negotiating risk allocation of environmental costs and liabilities
  • Environmental insurance negotiations & claims
  • Negotiations with state & federal regulators
  • Litigation, arbitration, mediation and alternative dispute resolution in all state and federal courts and forums regarding environmental claims
  • Negotiations of remediation agreements

Sustainability

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Our Sustainability Practice brings together the right team of experienced lawyers to proficiently meet or exceed the needs of "green" businesses. We stay a step ahead by embracing innovation, always expanding our knowledge and constantly finding better ways to help both new and emerging and mature and established businesses achieve their goals. Our entrepreneurial approach excels by focusing on bottom line results that accomplish the objectives of our clients.

We use a multidisciplinary approach to combine transactional experience and business acumen with the firm's resources in mergers and acquisitions, project development, project financing and related structured financing. Working together, our lawyers provide practical, thoughtful and informed advice on complex transactions, keeping our clients one step ahead of the competition. Our clients benefit from our lawyers' experience in managing, negotiating and executing intricate transactions in electric power, natural gas, LNG, transmission, manufacturing and renewable energy sources.

Renewable Energy

We provide a broad range of legal services to private equity, venture capital and other investors, financial institutions, developers, builders, project owners, energy services companies, engineering, procurement and construction firms and suppliers, and other vendors in the renewable energy sector. We have experience with:

  • Biomass
  • Fuel cells
  • Geothermal
  • Hydro
  • Municipal waste
  • Ocean wave/tidal
  • Solar
  • Waste to energy
  • Wind

Our knowledge will guide you through the maze of complex issues involved with federal, state and local regulatory compliance, maximizing tax incentives and renewable energy credits, power transmission, commercializing technologies and protecting intellectual property and other assets.

Sustainable Growth and Clean Technology

We represent companies that are cutting-edge leaders in the efficient use of land, air and water resources, including the reduction or avoidance of environmental damage from greenhouse gases, hazardous emissions and waste materials. Our Sustainable Growth and Clean Tech Practice draws on our multifunctional capabilities to help businesses with green initiatives, including the development, installation and use of pollution control equipment, energy efficiency and electricity management systems and smart grid technologies.

Who are the practice's clients?

Lawyers in our Sustainability Practice represent a broad range of clients, including:

  • Biomass and biofuel developers
  • Clean technology firms
  • Creators of pollution control and greenhouse gas reduction technologies
  • Developers and operators of renewable energy facilities
  • Energy efficiency technology companies
  • Energy management companies
  • Energy storage and transference
  • Independent power producers
  • Project finance and infrastructure companies
  • Research universities
  • Smart grid technology companies
  • Sustainable real estate developers and operators
  • Transportation and logistics businesses
  • Venture capitalists, financial services companies, hedge funds and other investors
  • Waste management and recycling companies

What kinds of services does the Sustainability Practice offer?

The Sustainability Practice offers full-service representation to our clients. We are able to use an integrated approach to tap into firm-wide resources and knowledge to achieve our clients' business goals. Our services include:

  • Alternative financing arrangements
  • Capital formation
  • Engineering, procurement, construction and government contracting
  • Environmental assessment and compliance
  • Financing
  • Intellectual property
  • Leveraging economic development programs and incentives
  • Mergers and acquisitions
  • Real estate
  • Regulatory compliance
  • Strategic alliances/joint ventures
  • Structuring new entities
  • Sustainable development
  • Tax structuring and credits
  • Technology licensing and distribution

Our lawyers have the legal acumen necessary to advise you on tax credits and incentives, structure project financing, negotiate technology licensing and government contracts, provide legal protection for new technologies, and counsel clients in the application and protection of their patents, trademarks, and copyrights. A number of our Intellectual Property lawyers previously worked in the U.S. Patent Office as patent examiners, including a former U.S. Patent Examiner working in the unit that reviewed solar energy and photovoltaic patent applications and technologies. In addition, we provide counseling on the real estate, environmental and construction issues unique to projects incorporating smart growth concepts and/or sustainable development practices, including brownfield redevelopments and LEED™ projects. Several of our lawyers are LEED™ certified.

Representative Matters:

Corporate and Financing

  • Counsel to a Southeastern U.S. technology company, the leading provider of advanced metering solutions for the energy and utility business. The company's core product enables energy and utility companies to communicate with electricity meters using wireless networks and the Internet.
  • Counsel to one of North America's largest integrated manufacturers of 100% recycled paperboard and converted paperboard products, including acquisition of a fiber tube company, acquisition of a composite cans business, acquisition of a paperboard group, and sale of a packaging division.
  • Counsel to micro wind turbine manufacturer on the development of its business plan, financing, corporate governance, marketing and sales.
  • Counsel to wind power project developer on site selection and federal and state permitting, authorizations and regulatory approvals, financing, engineering, turbine construction and operations.
  • Counsel to biomass producer on real estate, construction, legislative, financing and commercialization matters, including representation before federal and state agencies.
  • Counsel to solar photovoltaic energy developer on approved applications for federal and state grants and loans, power purchase agreements and installation contracts.
  • Counsel to advanced technologies company on applications for federal stimulus funding and state grants.
  • Counsel to the developers of a system for processing landfill gas and converting it into useable natural gas capable of local energy generation or resale into the general gas distribution system, including representation of company in obtaining seed financing for research, development and product commercialization.
  • Counsel to private equity fund in an initial preferred stock investment in a high efficiency solar photovoltaic manufacturing company based in Atlanta, Georgia.
  • Counsel to an Atlanta-based company that provides economical, reliable, high efficiency energy solutions to help its customers take control of energy-related spending, including representation in securing of bridge financing and recapitalization, Series A preferred stock financing, sale of preferred stock and all corporate matters.
  • Counsel to a Southeastern U.S. biorefinery company with revolutionary technology for converting biomass into ethanol and high-value biochemicals, including serving on the business advisory board and representation of the company in pursuit of federal and state grants and general business matters.
  • Counsel to a natural gas power plant developer in site authorizations, state and local regulatory proceedings, and transactional matters.
  • Counsel to a solar photovoltaic and thermal energy systems producer in raising investment capital, negotiating customer contracts and purchasing technology and equipment.
  • Local counsel to a Düsseldorf, Germany-based international bank in senior financing for a 100 MGY corn ethanol plant in Southwest Georgia.
  • Counsel to a Florida-based manufacturer of ultra-thin, flexible, solid-state electrolyte lithium polymer batteries in senior debt financing and convertible subordinated debt financing.
  • Counsel to a large, Florida-based agribusiness company in the organization of participation as a market maker in the carbon cap and trade system.
  • Counsel to a Northeast hydropower developer for the reopening and operation of a municipal hydroelectric plant.
  • Counsel to a Mid-Atlantic biofuels manufacturer for the financing, permitting, construction and operation of a large scale biodiesel blending facility.
  • Counsel to a multinational consumer products manufacturer for the $200 million non-recourse project financing of an industrial waste to energy operation, including the amended and restated bond purchase and guaranty term loan facility.
  • Counsel on complex matters for renewable energy developers, including: business formation; organization and operating structures; securing funding and regulatory authorizations for large scale wind, biomass and geothermal energy production facilities; power purchase agreements (PPAs); renewable energy credits (RECs); carbon emission reduction contracts; and transmission access.

Environmental and Sustainable Development

  • Lead environmental, real estate and construction counsel for numerous brownfield redevelopments across the country, including Atlantic Station™, selected by the EPA as one of the nation's best brownfield redevelopments. Other brownfield redevelopments include a former wood treating facility in South Florida; a former zinc mining operation near Vail, Colorado; two solid waste landfills and a harbor in Charleston, South Carolina; a former airplane manufacturing facility in New York; a former automobile assembly facility in Hapeville, Georgia; a former granite mine in Maryland; and a former textile mill in South Carolina.
  • Counsel to a real estate private equity fund manager and an integrated operating and development organization that specializes in North American lodging and hospitality investments in the development of The Lodge and Spa at Callaway Gardens, a LEED™ certified development under LEED-NC 2.1.
  • Counsel to several EarthCraft™ residential home developers and builders, including the nation's first exclusive EarthCraft™ home builder.
  • Counsel to the sustainable development division of a leading Southeastern U.S. bank in the nation's first green affordable housing project.
  • Counsel on the development, financing and commercial use of energy saving and cleantech building technologies, including transformational hardware and software advancements related to solar power, state-of-the-art biofuels, batteries and fuel cells.
  • Counsel to the developers of a 20MW large scale solar project, including negotiation of power purchase agreements (PPAs), site selection, permitting and regulatory approvals, negotiation of property rights lease agreements, interconnection agreements and engineering and procurement/construction contracts (EPCs). Advised on securing financing and investor due diligence.
  • Counsel to the developers of cellulosic biomass facilities in the U.S. and internationally, including financing, feedstock supply contracts, permitting and offtake arrangements.
  • Counsel to a joint venture involving Chinese, Brazilian and U.S. companies creating a distribution network for petroleum and biodiesel involving rail transit.
  • Counsel to an emerging growth firm developing advanced technologies for the production of butanol and other renewable chemicals from cellulosic biomass.
  • Counsel to a joint venture between leading U.S. natural gas producers and distributors for the transportation and sale of liquefied natural gas (LNG), including the development of regional fueling station networks.
  • Advise clients on cross-border wood pellet supply agreements.
  • Represent several project developers in obtaining woody fiber, feedstock, site selection, fiber supply agreements and outtake contracts for biomass plants for use by domestic and international electric power generators.

Intellectual Property

  • Counsel to a large China-based company, which purchased technology (with more than 120 patents and applications) from a U.S. company for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, in conducting patent due diligence in the area of the treatment of air pollution.
  • Counsel to a leading Tennessee-based research university in the preparation and successful prosecution of a portfolio of patent applications for new types of heat transfer compositions with nanoparticle size conductive material powder. This technology has the potential to be used for energy conservation and efficiency.
  • Counsel to a manufacturer of engineered lumber products and a leading research university in getting three patents allowed for a process of manufacturing fibrous products out of fast-growing fibers such as bamboo, jute, kenaf, hemp and other materials. The commercial end product for these fibers can include attractive and high-strength engineered lumber for construction and aesthetic building design, car panels, dashboards and other auto parts.
  • Counsel to a leading Illinois-based research university in the preparation and successful prosecution of a portfolio of patent applications for new types of solar cells and related new materials.
  • Counsel to a developer of patented technology that burns tires in a high-heat process to create electricity.
  • Counsel to clients with respect to drafting and successfully prosecuting numerous patent applications in matters related to biodiesel, clean water (purification process) soil rehabilitation using biological methods, and reconsolidated or reconstituted wood products.

Tax and Nonprofit

  • Counsel to a Georgia-based company in the business of the design, installation, maintenance and operation of hydrogen fuel cells, including the structuring of tax credit syndication for a large fuel cell system at Camp Pendleton Army Base (now in operation).
  • Member of the Cleantech Committee of the American Israel Chamber of Commerce. The Committee's focus is the facilitation of business in the renewable energy, energy efficiency and water treatment and conservation industries.
  • Pro bono counsel to a private-public consortium in a successful legislative initiative to create the first tax credit program in the State of Georgia for investment in renewable energy and energy efficiency projects.
  • Counsel to an urban-based streetcar initiative in the organization of a tax-exempt entity. The initiative is focused on creating a pedestrian-friendly, live-work-play urban landscape intended to spur economic development along its path and reduce traffic congestion and pollution.