The U.S. 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 more than 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 an array 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"), the 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. We 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.
Our transaction services include:
- 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
- Negotiating environmental provisions in transactional documents, including site access, investigation and remediation agreements; confidentiality provisions; representations and warranties; and indemnities and allocations of liability
Our transactional projects include the following:
- Managed the environmental due diligence associated with the sale of a long-term care facility, including groundwater analysis, release reporting, and the development and implementation of strategies to prevent listing the facility on the state's hazardous sites inventory
- Managed the environmental due diligence associated with the sale of several large hospitals, including UST compliance assessment and strategy to avoid transferring any UST liability to the purchaser
- Coordinated environmental due diligence for a variety of transactions for hospitals, physician practices, and pharmaceutical manufacturers
Permitting and Compliance Services
Our permitting and compliance services include:
- 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 the 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
- Assisting clients in preparing for, and participating in, compliance audits and related government investigations
Our representative permitting and compliance projects include the following:
- Managed asbestos assessment and remediation in a managed care facility, including contractor retention, notices to appropriate government agencies, waste disposal, and employee- and patient-related issues
- Managed assessments of USTs and aboveground storage tanks 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 a residential treatment center regarding an investigation by government agencies and response to same
- Defended a pharmaceutical manufacturer and supplier to major medical facilities in an enforcement action by multiple environmental agencies alleging violations of requirements related to the manufacture and distribution of pesticides used to clean medical equipment
- Represented a medical association with regard to various indoor air quality issues; the representation included contracting and managing an indoor air quality assessment and monitoring and negotiating an indemnity and remediation agreement with the source of air contaminants to protect employees' health and productivity as well as property value