Sara works with clients on a wide range of development projects where soil, groundwater or soil vapor contamination issues must be addressed – from former gas stations or neighborhood drycleaners to large-scale developments on former industrial sites, such as Northern Stacks in Fridley, Minnesota (on the former Naval Industrial Reserve Ordnance Plant Superfund Site) and Rice Creek Commons in Arden Hills (on the former Twin Cities Army Ammunition Plant). She works closely with the development teams, environmental consultants, municipal government, and federal and state regulators involved in the cleanup and development process to shepherd each project through to successful completion.
At a high level, Sara’s approach to brownfield projects is to develop comprehensive, site-specific strategies focused on: (a) properly estimating environmental costs and fitting them within the project pro forma, incorporating grant funding where appropriate; (b) ensuring that the investigation and cleanup are planned and implemented in a cost-effective manner that protects human health and the environment; and (c) protecting the client against the risks of environmental legal liability.
Sara assists clients with regulatory compliance issues that range from analyzing new or ambiguous regulatory requirements to responding to notices of violations and enforcement actions. Some of the substantive regulatory topics on which Sara advises and represents clients include:
- cleanup of hazardous substance releases
- chemical regulation
- hazardous and solid waste handling, disposal, and recycling
- electronic waste requirements
- hazardous substance reporting (Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act or “EPCRA” reporting)
- wastewater discharge
- stormwater permitting and compliance
- environmental review (environmental assessments and impact statements)
- occupational safety and health
Sara has worked on behalf of her clients with regulators in a variety of federal and state government agencies and has particular experience working with U.S. EPA and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.
Sara advises clients on environmental and regulatory aspects of real estate acquisitions and divestitures, loan transactions, mergers and acquisitions, and commercial contracts. Within the context of these transactions, Sara provides clients with services such as:
- advising clients on environmental risks in transactions,
- overseeing environmental due diligence,
- drafting and negotiating agreements to mitigate environmental risks,
- identifying and implementing alternative strategies to mitigate risk, such as environmental insurance policies or environmental liability transfers, and
- representing clients involved in investigating or remediating contaminated property for redevelopment purposes.
Sara works closely with her clients’ technical consultants to ensure that environmental aspects of their transactions are navigated in a timely, appropriately thorough, and cost-effective manner. Over the past few years, she has also increasingly been working with clients to incorporate sustainability-related provisions into their contracts and transactions.