The United States Environmental Protection Agency ("EPA") and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration impose numerous and regularly changing environmental requirements on health care facilities and their operations. There are over 15 federal environmental statutes, and each has its own set of implementing regulations. In addition, each state legislates its own version of each federal environmental statute and implements its own regulations; state requirements are generally stricter than federal requirements. The result is a wide range of environmental regulations affecting each facility and varying widely depending on location and operation. These requirements affect every aspect of a health care facility, including, for example, air emissions from boilers and incinerators, underground storage tanks ("UST"), management of medical and other hazardous waste, wastewater treatment and disposal, and indoor air quality. As federal and state environmental regulators increase their enforcement on health care facilities and citizens' suits and other private litigation become commonplace, understanding and managing these varying and layered environmental requirements is an important part of maintaining a profitable and productive operation.
Epstein Becker & Green has a highly experienced environmental law practice with the sophistication and practicality to serve public and private health care clients nationwide. The environmental attorneys at Epstein Becker & Green represent hospitals, academic medical centers, research organizations, skilled nursing home facilities, assisted living facilities, specialty clinics, and other members of the health care industry. Our environmental attorneys represent health care clients in all aspects of environmental permitting, compliance, transactional due diligence, and dispute resolution. Our primary goal is to provide cost-effective, competitive solutions to even the most complex environmental issues.
Epstein Becker & Green provides health care entities with comprehensive legal support for environmental issues, including:
- Developing and implementing strategies to minimize environmental liabilities;
- Managing environmental due diligence and support for transactions involving assets throughout the country, including state environmental property transfer laws;
- Assisting clients in selecting technical consultants, negotiating consulting agreements, defining a project's scope of work, and preparing and distributing written reports to preserve applicable legal privileges; and
- Negotiating environmental provisions in transactional documents, including site access, investigation and remediation agreements; confidentiality provisions; representations and warranties; indemnities and allocations of liability.
Representative transactional projects include:
- Managed environmental due diligence associated with the sale of a long-term care facility, including groundwater analysis, release reporting, and development and implementation of strategy to prevent listing facility on state's hazardous sites inventory;
- Managed environmental due diligence associated with the sale of several large hospitals, including UST compliance assessment and strategy to avoid transferring any UST liability to purchaser; and
- Coordinated environmental due diligence for a variety of transactions for hospitals, physician practices, and pharmaceutical manufacturers.
Permitting and Compliance:
- Developing and implementing environmental management systems to identify, address and minimize potential environmental liabilities;
- Counseling clients regarding requirements and potential liabilities related to lead-based paint, asbestos, mold and indoor air quality;
- Counseling relating to hazardous material transportation issues, process water treatment and disposal requirements under the Clean Water Act, air permitting requirements under the Clean Air Act, and management and disposal of bio-medical waste under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act;
- For hospital clients and physician practices, defending government actions regarding alleged improper management and disposal of bio-medical waste; and
- Assisting clients in preparing for and participating in compliance audits and related government investigations.
Representative permitting and compliance projects include:
- Managed asbestos assessment and remediation in managed care facility, including contractor retention, notices to appropriate government agencies, waste disposal, and employee and patient-related issues;
- Managed assessments of USTs and ASTs used by health care facilities to store fuels for boilers, emergency generators, and vehicles, including tank registrations, financial assurance compliance, release reporting, corrective action, and state trust fund reimbursement;
- Represented residential treatment center regarding investigation by government agencies and response to same;
- Defended pharmaceutical manufacturer and supplier to major medical facilities in enforcement action by multiple environmental agencies alleging violations of requirements related to manufacture and distribution of pesticides used to clean medical equipment; and
- Represented medical association with regard to various indoor air quality issues; representation included contracting and managing indoor air quality assessment and monitoring and negotiation of indemnity and remediation agreement with source of air contaminants to protect employees' health and productivity as well as property value.