Practices | Environmental and Natural Resources

Bernstein Shur’s Environmental and Natural Resources Practice Group represents individuals, businesses, and municipalities that are trying to comply with or enforce local, state, or federal environmental and land use laws (as well as acquire other businesses or large land parcels). The group addresses issues involving land use permitting and development, conservation easements, wetlands, waste disposal or recycling, remediation, water and air quality, toxics, energy production, insurance coverage, and waterfront and timberland properties. Group members also help clients successfully complete large-and small-scale land conservation and historic preservation projects.

Our interdisciplinary group includes attorneys with litigation, real estate, tax, transactional, municipal, engineering, governmental relations, and regulatory specialties. The group is also able to address complex title issues with the the firm’s integrated title company, Monument Title.

Our goal is to serve a client’s environmental needs efficiently, responsively, and successfully. While we enjoy developing creative solutions that avoid regulatory conflict, we also have the skills and experience required to aggressively protect our clients’ interests in any court or regulatory arena. We have helped commercial and individual clients across a wide range of environmental issues, including:

  • Representing clients appearing before regulatory agencies such as:
    • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
    • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
    • U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
    • Maine Department of Environmental Protection
    • Maine Land Use Regulation Commission
    • Maine Planning Boards and Zoning Boards of Appeals
  • Prosecuting or defending claims or enforcement actions in court, involving governmental, business, or private claims, including:
    • All Maine trial and appellate courts
    • The U.S. District Court
    • The First Circuit Court of Appeals
    • The U.S. Supreme Court
  • Working with state and federal legislators to enact helpful laws (and to defeat harmful laws).
  • Providing start-to-finish assistance in finding, evaluating, financing, permitting, and developing environmentally suitable projects, including environmental due diligence certification for such clients as hydro, rail, aquaculture, paper, timberland, and windpower companies.
  • Counseling clients on how to cost-effectively comply with Maine’s complex and demanding environmental regulations, with a focus on Maine’s waterfront and wetland properties.
  • Assisting clients to ensure that when litigation against them arises, that their insurance policies provide meaningful defense and indemnification protections.
  • Ensuring that the appropriate environmental technologies are used in a focused and effective manner to achieve the client’s ultimate goals.
  • Drafting and defending conservation easements (and their tax consequences).
  • Family ownership planning and transfers, including vehicles for multi-generational ownership
  • Project entity and tax treatment (entity choice, creation, and tax structuring).
  • Advising tax-exempt organizations, including land trusts, on entity structure and exemption issues.