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Environmental Law

The environmental lawyers at Cravens & Noll offer our clients rapid response and innovative strategies that can be customized to provide flexible and economical solutions for environmental matters. We can assist clients on projects of all sizes, commercial and residential. We have an experienced trial team if needed for an environmental case.

Cravens & Noll will handle your case with personal attention that leads to client savings in both time and money. Our background in the technical aspects of environmental law allows for efficient interaction with consultants and regulators. Our technical expertise and our experience working with regulators gives Cravens & Noll the advantage of anticipating the direction that a case is likely to take. We can then work closely with the client to tailor our efforts in order to maximize results.

Cravens & Noll Environmental has an appreciation for the technical and regulatory expertise of an experienced consultant. We partner with consultants to facilitate their projects, providing valuable input and taking care to leave project control to the consultants.

Environmental Law Services

Cravens & Noll provides counsel on a variety of aspects of environmental law, including: permitting requirements for water, waste and wetlands; contaminated sites; land development; property and business transactions; water quality issues; underground storage tank compliance; erosion and sediment control; Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act requirements; storm water management; agricultural issues; waste disposal; and other environmental compliance issues, as well as the associated Virginia and federal administrative process act requirements, with an emphasis on regulatory solutions with federal, state and local governments. The firm also provides legal services for land use issues involving zoning, easements, environmental covenants and transportation right-of-way matters.

Cost Effective Environmental Compliance

The lawyers at Cravens & Noll can guide companies and individuals to achieve and maintain compliance with environmental requirements administered and enforced by state and federal agencies, and local regulators. Whether you are an individual landowner or farmer, small business, or a large company, there may be an occasion where you need advice on how to manage your environmental compliance in a cost-effective manner. Cravens & Noll can provide this advice and can work with the agencies to ensure you make wise decisions when confronted with these issues.

Here is a description of just some of the environmental requirements that Cravens & Noll can assist you with.

Water Quality Requirements

Virginia Stormwater Management Program (VSMP) — The VSMP is administered by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) to regulate stormwater discharges from municipal storm sewers and from construction activities.

Erosion and Sediment Control — The Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation’s (DCR) Erosion and Sediment Control Program (ESC Program) regulates construction activities that constitute land-disturbing activities under the Virginia Erosion and Sediment Control Law and Regulations (VESCL&R).

Chesapeake Bay Act — The Virginia Chesapeake Bay Act created a partnership between the state and local governments in Tidewater, Virginia. The act expands the local government’s role to manage water quality by providing authority for local land use decision-making. Each Tidewater locality must adopt a program based on the regulations adopted by the Chesapeake Bay Act Local Assistance Board.

Storm water management requirements, erosion and sediment control standards, and the requirements and restrictions of the Virginia Chesapeake Bay Act can overlap, and are sometimes duplicated. Cravens & Noll can work with the regulators to streamline clients’ efforts to comply with these programs.

Farmers within a locally designated Chesapeake Bay Preservation Area must have a Soil and Water Quality Conservation Assessment and/or plan (SWQCP) that ensures water quality protection consistent with the act and regulations, and must maintain or establish a 100-foot vegetated buffer between the locally designated water resource and the farming activity. SWQCPs also outline best management practices to address nutrient management.

Cravens & Noll can work with local officials on your behalf to ensure the Bay Act requirements are properly applied in your case. We will represent your interests before local boards and commissions to support you and protect your rights.

Virginia Water Protection Permit Program (VWP) — Construction and other land development activities affecting surface water, including wetlands, may trigger the requirement for a permit from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality’s (DEQ) Virginia Water Protection Permit Program (VWP). A permit may be needed for activities such as land clearing, dredgingfilling, excavating, draining, or ditching in streams and wetlands. The VWP serves as Virginia’s Section 401 certification program for federal Section 404 permits issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers under the Clean Water Act.

The attorneys at Cravens & Noll can interpret the laws and regulations associated with wetland delineation, work with regulators to ensure wetland requirements are appropriately applied, and assist with the DEQ/Army Corps of Engineers joint permit application process when necessary.

Farming Regulations

Animal feeding operations (AFOs) are covered by a Virginia Pollution Abatement individual or general permit. A separate Virginia Pollution Abatement general permit covers confined poultry feeding operations for poultry waste management. A Virginia Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit may be required for certain concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs). This includes farms utilizing liquid manure or caring for more than 300 confined animal units of livestock. In addition, a site-specific nutrient management plan must be developed by a Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) certified nutrient management planner in accordance with Virginia law and approved by the DCR.

Remediation and Property Development

Owners and operators of sites that contaminated or may have contaminated the environment, as well as potential buyers of such property, need an environmental lawyer to advise them on how to clean up the property in the most cost-effective manner, and/or how to protect themselves from liability in the sale or purchase of the property. The lawyers at Cravens & Noll are experienced with the issues involved in the remediation and development of contaminated or potentially contaminated properties. We combine our knowledge and experience with the scientific and technical aspects of site assessment and remediation with over 20 years of experience in the cleanup and transfer of contaminated property. Our expertise in the Virginia Voluntary Remediation Program (VRP), the Virginia Brownfields Program, and the Federal Superfund Program, puts Cravens & Noll in a unique position to provide you with an experienced environmental lawyer who will give you responsive and personalized attention. We advise and guide our clients to the most cost-effective approach for the property.

Due Diligence/All Appropriate Inquiry

Cravens & Noll will ensure conformance with the standards necessary to meet the legal requirements associated with identifying the nature and extent of contamination, and potential costs of liability associated with real estate and business transactions, and then work with regulators and insurers to address viable liability protection.

Site Remediation

We can represent property owners, operators and transporters who are defendants in cost recovery actions, as well as plaintiffs in such actions. We will help clients obtain a certificate of satisfactory completion using innovative cleanup strategies and land-use controls as needed.

Brownfield Redevelopment

In addition to securing liability protection for a contaminated or potentially contaminated property, we can assist developers, local governments and not-for-profits interested in seeking EPA, HUD and other grants or loans for Brownfield redevelopment projects. We also can facilitate relationships with local stakeholders, and defend clients against legal challenges by private property owners as necessary.

Land Use Law

Local governments in Virginia have the authority to issue comprehensive land use plans and to establish zoning ordinances and other land use controls. Cravens & Noll can represent stakeholders before the planning commission, board of supervisors and board of zoning appeals, to assist with the land use and development process. Our experienced trial attorneys are also there for you when your land use dispute needs to be fought in court.

Rulemaking and the Administrative Law Process

At Cravens & Noll, we have the experience necessary to assist our clients throughout the rule making and enforcement process for environmental regulations in Virginia and the federal EPA. We can anticipate new requirements and counsel our clients on strategies for participating in the rule making, and our services are designed so our clients never face the enforcement process. However, in the event enforcement proceedings do arise, Cravens & Noll can represent you before the agency at every stage to protect your rights and to lead you to an effective resolution of your case.

Contact the Richmond Environmental Attorneys at Cravens & Noll

If you have questions regarding the complex aspects of environmental law, we can help. Our experienced attorneys can listen to the facts of your situation and provide educated legal advice on how best to proceed. Turn to the experienced Virginia environmental law attorneys of Cravens & Noll. To schedule a free initial consultation, call 804-332-6161 or toll free at 866-547-6373, or simply contact us online.