Airport Environmental Counseling

Environmental issues associated with airports and air transportation activities are receiving far greater attention from regulators and the public today than even five years ago. More and more airports are turning to outside environmental legal counsel to resolve conflicts resulting from environmental concerns. These airports recognize that significant cost savings can be realized by skillful negotiation with regulators and early involvement of environmental legal counsel as a member of the airport’s environmental “team.”

Barnes & Thornburg LLP is an ideal resource to add to your airport team – we have a long history of working productively with federal and state regulators, as well as environmental groups, and are familiar with federal and state legal environmental requirements applicable to airports. We have helped resolve environmental issues at airports of all sizes, from large commercial hubs to small general aviation fields.

Barnes & Thornburg’s environmental attorneys have counseled airports and the air transportation industry for almost 20 years. Although every airport is unique and presents its own set of facts, the skills and experience acquired by Barnes & Thornburg over the years provide a foundation conducive to efficient and effective legal resolution of complex, airport-specific environmental challenges. For example, our attorneys have:

  • Represented the largest airport management professional association in numerous federal and state environmental permitting and rulemaking negotiations;
  • Assisted numerous airports as part of a team which included in-house and/or general outside counsel;
  • Counseled an alliance of airports created to support the negotiation of new environmental regulations directly affecting aircraft and airport deicing and anti-icing activities;
  • Assembled and represented a group of 85 California airports in the negotiation of state Clean Water Act permitting requirements and compliance programs;
  • Assisted airport and carrier representatives in EPA negotiations regarding Oil Pollution Act (i.e. Spill Prevention or SPCC) regulations;
  • Conducted environmental compliance audits at major airports;
  • Negotiated contents of a Compliance-Focused Environmental Management System affecting airports;
  • Counseled a large port authority in the negotiation of an alternative solution to unmanageable Total Maximum Daily Load restrictions proposed for airport stormwater discharges;
  • Advised a large hub airport with soil contamination issues and a local citizen lawsuit;
  • Assisted large hub airport regarding significant cleanup effort associated with a past leaking fuel farm;
  • Advised numerous airports with permit reviews and negotiations;
  • Teamed with environmental consultants to provide guidance to airport environmental staff through Airport Cooperative Research Program grant;
  • Assisted national airport group working with the Department of Transportation to streamline environmental review obligations;
  • Advised airports regarding drinking water issues and concerns; and
  • Written numerous articles and participated in presentations and seminars to help educate airport staff, regulators, and industry representatives on key environmental issues facing the industry.

Barnes & Thornburg has the experience in the airport and air transportation industry to assist individual airports with environmental regulatory and litigation needs. We also have broad experience representing municipalities and other regulated entities with virtually all aspects of environmental counseling. Our technical understanding allows us to work well with consultants and engineering staff, while our collaborative, team approach facilitates our involvement with our clients’ in-house and other outside counsel.

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