Sustainability, CleanTech and Climate Change

Our lawyers have had experience in law firms, in the private sector, in federal and state agencies, and with citizen groups. Our depth of experience across offices allows us to respond to client needs along a broad spectrum of issues.

The strength of this group lies in its breadth of interdisciplinary experience and the communication among the lawyers, between their offices, and across practice groups. This allows our group to staff engagements cost-effectively, with the lawyer or lawyers best suited to meet a client’s particular need.

Climate Change and Energy

Pepper provides counseling, advocacy, and dispute resolution services concerning climate change, and other energy issues, to a wide range of domestic and foreign companies, including those generating and transmitting energy, with operations sensitive to energy prices. Other clients develop technology and products that use less energy and emit lower levels of greenhouse gases (GHG).  Examples of our experience include representing:

  • an industrial company commenting on proposed California and Cook County, Illinois GHG emission regulations

  • a trade association commenting on a California proposed regulation and draft federal bill that would require labeling and/or “regulation”’ of the energy efficiency of their members’ products.

  • a Pennsylvania electric utility in obtaining an additional allocation of valuable emissions allowances under the state’s regulations governing emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx).

  • an independent power producer in the sale of emission reduction credits, and have counseled various clients in the regulatory requirements for banking emission reduction credits for future use and sale.

  • a developer securing environmental permits for construction of Pennsylvania’s first “green” technology building that used high-technology to reduce energy consumption, maximized the use of sustainable materials and minimized indoor air quality hazards.

  • a company on the potential future GHG emission and coal ash liability of a coal mining operation.

  • a trade association in successfully advocating for an IRS ruling that the biomass tax emption in the 2005 Energy Act is not lost if the company uses tire-derived fuel as a supplemental fuel. Pepper also assisted this client with amicus briefs and in preparing comments to regulators on other aspects of using tire-derived fuel in incinerators.


Pepper assists clients in every aspect of sustainability, including environmental issues. Such matters involve evaluating, with the assistance of experts and consultants, the strength of the science, evaluating the potential regulatory and personal injury liabilities from the presence of allegedly toxic chemicals, and developing a sustainable, yet scientific valid strategy. Examples include representing:

  • an unregulated utility subsidiary that manufactures a supplemental fuel produced from coal wastes, pulp and paper, plastic wastes and proprietary additives, and is used in coal-fired generating stations. We are representing this client in the formation of joint ventures in Argentina, Brazil, Costa Rica, India, Mexico and South Africa and in associated regulatory compliance.

  • a utility affiliate in the development of new commercial products utilizing fly ash and flue gas desulfurization sludge

  • a manufacturer on its potential environmental and product liability resulting from its historical use of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) in the manufacture of a number of products. PFOA is a chemical widely found in human blood throughout the world, but no evidence has been found that exposure to PFOA in workers or the general population has or can cause adverse health effects in humans.

  • companies and industry trade associations in shaping environmental policy by developing and articulating scientifically sound, public policy advocacy positions, including commenting on regulations and guidance such as PCB disposal rules, hazardous waste identification rules for wastes and for contaminated media, the hazardous waste corrective action rule, Brownfields regulations, the EPA’s lender liability proposal, the EPA’s draft soil screening level guidance, Pennsylvania’s Act 2 rules, and Michigan’s Part 201 rules.

  • an interstate gas pipeline company in negotiations with a state agency related to a multi-site cleanup of compressor stations along a pipeline.

Labeling and Marketability

Pepper advises on requirements governing or affecting advertising and marketing products including the Federal Trade Commission green marketing regulations, the California Safe Drinking Water Enforcement Act (Proposition 65) toxics warning law, state and federal product labeling and advertising requirements, as well as product liability law.

Real Estate

Pepper represents utilities and their affiliates in buying and selling land, facilities, easements and licenses. We represented utilities in connection with the leasing of facilities or rights-of-way to telecommunications firms. We also handled numerous zoning and land use matters. Our work has included counseling regarding cogeneration projects that burn solid waste.



  • advised a non-U.S. manufacturer concerning its options pursuant to the North American Free Trade Agreement and its Environmental Side Agreement to ensure that the U.S. manufacturer in the same industry did not have a competitive advantage due to lack of U.S. enforcement

  • advised clients on developing trends in domestic and international environmental law, including the impact of environmental laws on the market for their products

  • advised U.S. and Canadian paper companies concerning the impact of U.S. environmental laws on the marketability of its product

  • follows the Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals scheme (REACH) and related regulatory developments

  • advised a client concerning the European Community’s (EC) proposal to classify a chemical as a reproductive toxicant pursuant to the Classification and Labeling Directive (67/548/EEC, as amended) and the Regulation on Classification, Packaging and Labeling of Dangerous Chemicals. Among other things, the Classification and Labeling Regulation harmonizes the EC requirements with the global harmonization scheme (GHS) and integrates this process into REACH. This advice summarized the potential consequences of the new classification, the technical risk assessment defenses to the classification, and the potential mitigating actions available to the client.

  • advised trade associations and companies concerning the interactions and implication of European and other international product, safety or environmental requirements

  • advised national trade associations and individual companies on the U.S. legal and regulatory impacts of an EC “risk assessment” of the members’ products. This retention included developing comments on the draft risk assessment, and developing a strategy for the RMA to implement, in conjunction with its European counterpart.

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