Van Kley Walker, LLC
practical insight in environmental law


Public Sector

We understand the environmental challenges facing public-sector clients.

We represent counties, municipalities, and townships on environmental issues affecting their citizens. This includes advice on how to comply with environmental requirements, as well as taking actions necessary to protect their communities.

Environmental Planning and Compliance Counseling

Local governments face a dizzying array of state and federal environmental requirements with major impacts on solid waste management, publicly-owned wastewater treatment plants (POTWs), sewer planning and permitting, brownfield redevelopment, public drinking water systems, and air pollution control. We offer proactive advice to help local governments meet their legal obligations and stay abreast of changes affecting their operations. We also assist local governments in formulating and implementing environmental policies, regulations, redevelopment initiatives, and zoning for the benefit of their communities.

Enforcement Defense

Occasionally, local governments find themselves to be the targets of state or federal enforcement or a citizen suit. This enforcement might take the form of a lawsuit, administrative order, notice of violation, or demand letter. Where municipal clients are the subject of government enforcement or citizen suits, we represent them in settlement negotiations and defend them in litigation. In either case, we utilize our knowledge and experience as former government enforcement attorneys to inform our client’s defense strategy.

Federal Facilities

We have unique experience representing the interests of state and local governments concerned about contamination at production plants or installations of the U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. Department of Defense, or other federal agencies. Jack Van Kley served as lead counsel in five state environmental enforcement actions against U.S. Department of Energy and Department of Defense facilities, and was instrumental in bringing about major legislation requiring U.S. government facilities to comply with federal and state environmental laws. Chris Walker represented an Ohio municipality in connection with the $1 billion cleanup of a former U.S. Department of Energy research facility. That cleanup paved the way for the reuse of that facility as a high-tech industrial park.

Water Rights

More and more, local governments find themselves entangled in disputes over their water supplies. We have successfully defended lawsuits by neighbors who have accused a municipal well field of drying up their wells. In a landmark case that reached the Supreme Court of Ohio, Jack Van Kley represented four municipalities and a county to stop the City of Akron from depriving the Cuyahoga River of the water flow necessary to preserve his clients’ water supply and park lands. We handle negotiations or lawsuits arising out of these disputes. Besides handling lawsuits of this nature, we advise our municipal clients regarding how best to avoid these disputes before they result in litigation.

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