Chris is an environmental lawyer and former environmental consultant with over 15 years of experience solving environmental problems for heavily regulated industries. He and his colleagues are relentlessly focused on adding value by leveraging our firm’s 30+ years of knowledge and experience dealing with environmental issues to efficiently achieve clients’ business goals. Clients include pipeline and natural resource companies, real estate developers, manufacturers, landfill owners, and local governments.
With extensive experience in both litigation and regulatory compliance, Chris brings a unique perspective to finding practical solutions to our clients’ environmental issues. His litigation experience includes defending clients in land use disputes and toxic torts, citizen suits, and EPA and state administrative actions. He also helps clients prevent litigation when advising them on the environmental risks and opportunities associated with a real estate deal or other business transaction; obtain and comply with required permits, and develop the infrastructure and procedures needed to ensure continued compliance.
Chris has served as the Chair of the Environmental Law Section of the Alabama State Bar and on the boards of the Green Resource Center for Alabama, Birmingham Volunteer Lawyer Program, and Cahaba River Society.
“He is a very good environmental attorney. He is good for clients in terms of working out what is important from that standpoint and can focus our attention…doesn’t bog us down with chasing insignificant things. When he brings something to us, it’s something that needs to be addressed, that’s the biggest strength. ” – Client Testimonial
“Chris is the environmental lawyer I think is the best in the market. He has good background, knows the concepts and understands the area from all angles.”
Representative Transactional and Compliance Matters
- Advises multiple clients in obtaining and complying with required air, water, and waste disposal permits.
- Guided numerous companies through inspections and information requests by federal and state regulators.
- Negotiate with federal and state regulators on behalf of clients regarding permit requirements and potential enforcement actions.
- Advises real estate developers on permitting, contamination, wetland, and other issues related to property transactions.
- To allow for expansion of a regional airport, assisted Alabama municipality with purchase of wastewater treatment lagoon that was the subject of a Federal lawsuit and ADEM enforcement action.
- Successfully negotiated with ADEM to reduce penalties associated with an administrative order issued to client for alleged violations at a wastewater treatment lagoon.
- Assisted client with development of park and associated constructed wetlands for treating storm water runoff from upstream watershed.
- Worked with multiple clients to address contamination issues associated with real property transactions via the Alabama Voluntary Cleanup (“Brownfields”) Program.
- Coordinated and evaluated environmental assessments conducted as part of the acquisition of a hazardous waste transportation company.
- Assisted in coordinating and advising client during multimedia environmental audits at all of client’s manufacturing facilities.
- Successfully negotiated the early closure of a RCRA Section 3013 Administration Order and represented client in fulfilling obligations under a separate RCRA Section 3007 Administration Order, both issued by EPA Region IV.
Representative Litigation and Enforcement Matters
- Defending Fortune 500 global cement production facility in personal injury and property damage suit filed by over 400 plaintiffs and minors.
- Represented owner of former landfill in Clean Water Act citizen suit filed by regional environmental organization.
- Obtained early dismissal of alleged violation of zoning laws filed against farmer by county government in Tennessee.
- Defended biosolids company in class action related to alleged PFC contamination in several Alabama counties.
- Defended numerous clients in enforcement actions filed by the Alabama Department of Environmental Management.
- Represented Fortune 500 manufacturing company in multiple suits brought by over 1,400 adjacent property owners alleging air contamination.
- Represented multiple pipeline companies in toxic tort lawsuits alleging petroleum contamination in groundwater.
- Represented multiple pipeline companies in dispute over the effect of the pipeline on the value of nearby coal reserves.
- Represented public corporation in Clean Water Act citizen suit alleging violations of state storm water regulations.
- Defended fittings manufacturing company in toxic tort suit alleging surface water and air contamination from landfill operations.
- Assisted in defending national company in criminal Clean Water Act investigation and trials brought by the U.S. Department of Justice Environmental Crimes Section.
- Defended natural resource company in construction dispute involving alleged unforeseen subsurface conditions.
- Successfully defended the State of Alabama against claims that the state’s method of taxing forest and agricultural land is racially discriminatory
- Chambers USA: Leading Practitioner in the area of Environmental Law (2018)
- The Best Lawyers in America© for Environmental Law (2013 -present) and Litigation: Environmental (2020)
- Mid-South Super Lawyers for Environmental Litigation (2016 – present)
- Alabama Super Lawyers “Rising Star” for Environmental (2010-2012); Environmental (2013-2015)
- Alabama State Bar Albert L. Vreeland Pro Bono Award, 2009
- Alabama State Bar Leadership Forum (Class 7)
- Birmingham Business Journal’s Top 40 Under 40, 2013
- Martindale-Hubbell AV® Preeminent Rating
Chris's Affiliations and Civic Involvement
- Alabama State Bar Environmental Law Section, Executive Committee
- Alabama State Bar Leadership Forum, Nominating Committee
- U.S. Green Building Council, LEED Accredited Professional (LEED AP)
- ABA Section on Environment, Energy and Resources (SEER)
- Green Resource Center for Alabama, Board Member
- Birmingham Bar Volunteer Lawyer Program, Board Member
- Birmingham Multiple Sclerosis Society, Leadership Class of 2007
- St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, Finance Committee and Lay Eucharistic Minister
University of Alabama School of Law (2004, J.D., summa cum laude; Order of the Coif; M. Leigh Harrison Award; Alabama Law Review, Articles Editor )
Rhodes College (1995, B.A., summa cum laude; Phi Beta Kappa; Omicron Delta Kappa; Leadership Rhodes)