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Protecting Your Resources.

Environmental issues are a part of everyday life, especially in business. From buying or selling real estate, manufacturing widgets, developing new land or redeveloping old buildings, to tapping into groundwater found deep beneath the surface and the stratospheric ozone layer, actions can have environmental consequences. Our attorneys guide clients through the regulatory maze and help resolve all types of environmental problems, from routine questions of regulatory compliance to complex, multimillion-dollar litigation and transactions. With our in-depth knowledge of all aspects of environmental law, we strive to prevent environmental concerns from growing into environmental problems.

​Underberg & Kessler provides a wide range of environmental legal services and representation to businesses, property and facility managers, municipalities and individuals, including:

  • Obtaining government permits and land-use approvals

  • Environmental due diligence and compliance audits

  • Brownfields redevelopment under New York’s Brownfield Cleanup Program and Environmental Restoration Program

  • Investigation and defense of state and federal Superfund and Petroleum Cost Recovery actions

  • Advice on interpreting and complying with government regulations

  • Environmental litigation and dispute resolution

  • Assistance with real property and business acquisitions and divestitures

  • Environmental counsel to banks and municipalities, and general counsel

  • Obtaining permits for solid waste landfills, transfer stations and mining operations

For more information about environmental law, contact George Van Nest, chair of the practice group.

For more information about environmental law, contact George Van Nest, chair of the practice group.



  • Obtaining facility permits for a specialty steel manufacturer and providing legal advice for closure of regulated hazardous waste management units, including corrective action.

  • Obtaining major facility permits for solid waste landfills and transfer stations, and providing legal advice for facility closure.

  • Assisting manufacturing facilities to obtain variances from major facility permitting requirements under the Clean Air Act.

  • Conducting reviews of industrial clients’ operations and environmental practices, and developing recommendations for ongoing compliance under all regulatory programs.

  • Advising petroleum tank owners of their responsibility for tank registration and compliance.


  • Assisting clients in closure of business units and locations in business divestitures and acquisitions.

  • Guiding developers through New York’s SEQR process, including obtaining local land-use approvals and resolving siting issues.

  • Representing parties in cell tower placement, approval and pre-emption matters.

  • Assisting financial institutions in evaluating environmental risks associated with loans, work-outs and the negotiation of contractual protections.

  • Conducting environmental due diligence on behalf of clients, including the evaluation of environmental risks in purchasing and leasing hundreds of sites in 15 different states.

  • Developing and implementing an environmental self-evaluation program for a manufacturing and storage business in preparation for the sale of the business to a multibillion-dollar company.

  • Negotiating leases, purchase and sale contracts, and environmental responsibility agreements in connection with property and business acquisitions.


  • Representing developers in the investigation and remediation of sites under New York’s Voluntary Cleanup Program and Brownfields Cleanup Program.

  • Representing municipalities in Brownfields redevelopment projects under the Environmental Restoration Program.

  • Assisting developers in environmental due diligence, project evaluation, land-use approvals and tax credit review on Brownfields project


  • Representing plaintiffs and defendants in complex federal and state Superfund actions. We currently represent a private company seeking $20 million in cost recovery from responsible parties at a former landfill site.

  • Serving as lead counsel for heavy-metal manufacturers in defending claims that plaintiffs' exposure to certain heavy metals in an industrial setting had activated or aggravated their asymptomatic neuro-muscular disease.

  • Acting as regional liaison counsel for insurers and manufacturers in defense of more than 300 asbestos-related personal injury and wrongful death actions.

  • Representing a municipality in its oversight of an application to build a large mine, including negotiation of government permits, environmental protection, host benefits and financial issues.

  • Representing a contractor in its defense of plaintiff’s claims that the negligent design and installation of an HVAC system caused multiple chemical sensitivity syndrome.

  • Representing parties in petroleum discharge cases, including both defense and prosecution of actions for remediation costs arising out of leaking underground storage tanks. For example, we currently represent a property owner seeking up to $1 million in petroleum remediation from former owners of a site where gasoline storage tanks have leaked.

  • Representing a variety of private and municipal clients in negotiations with the EPA and DEC with regard to liability, cost-sharing and remediation at a number of hazardous waste sites.

  • Assisting in the defense of a major insurance company in multi-party, multi-site environmental coverage litigation.


James A. Coniglio

James A. Coniglio

Geneseo, NY

George S. Van Nest

George S. Van Nest

Buffalo, NY

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