Wendel Rosen helps clients successfully navigate a complex regulatory landscape of local, state, and federal environmental regulations. With deep understanding of the law, experience with the agencies, and insight to a range of industries, our attorneys offer practical guidance to help clients meet their business goals. We assist clients with environmental issues that arise in the ownership, transfer, and leasing of real property. We handle compliance, release reporting, access and indemnity agreements, negotiation, investigation, remediation, and litigation for the public and private sectors.

Our clients include commercial and residential property owners, developers, real estate investment trusts, construction firms, public entities, nonprofits, and manufacturing, industrial, agricultural, chemical, warehousing, technology, automotive, and retail companies.

Environmental Compliance

We guide clients in all manner of air, water, and hazardous waste compliance, including Porter-Cologne Water Quality Control Act,  Hazardous Substance Account Act, Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), and Resources Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) issues. Additional matters frequently addressed by the firm include:

  • Occupational safety and health compliance, enforcement, appeals, and variance proceedings
  • Proposition 65 compliance and defense
  • Storm water permitting and compliance
  • Underground and above ground storage tank compliance, closure, and reimbursement
  • Emergency planning, release reporting, and community right-to-know
Transfer, Redevelopment and Remediation

The firm assist clients with environmental due diligence in real property, asset, and business sales. Our attorneys are experienced in contaminated site investigation, cleanup, closure, and health risk management, and assist with identification of environmental issues, reporting obligations, interaction with regulatory agencies, remediation of contaminated property and actions to fund remediation and obtain site closure. Our attorneys have experience with the redevelopment of former industrial, infill, and brownfield sites.

Litigation and Conflict Resolution

We represent private parties, public entities and municipalities in cost recovery, compliance, and regulatory negotiations. Our attorneys guide clients in matters of environmental insurance coverage, claims analysis, identification of responsible parties and cost recovery. When we are unable to negotiate a resolution, we represent clients in lawsuits to recover environmental costs and to defend environmental claims.

Transactional and Due Diligence Matters
  • Instrumental in the approval of the exchange and sale of Port of Oakland public trust land to Oakland Harbor Partners, LLC. The $35 million development will support a mixed-use residential development of more than 3,000 units of market-rate and affordable rental and for-sale housing, 200,000 square feet of retail and commercial space and two new marinas. The transaction includes finding exchange parcels, conducting the necessary negotiations and the passage of precedent-setting legislation to facilitate the deal.

  • Assisted a number of residents in San Francisco in negotiations with a utility and the Department of Toxic Substances Control over the remediation of historical contamination beneath their homes and compensation for the associated losses.

  • Lead counsel for a scrap metal company’s purchase of a facility in San Leandro, California, negotiating provisions to indemnify client, which was taking over and industrial site with known environmental issues.

  • Worked with a closely held trust to meet difficult deadlines for the remediation and sale of a 1-acre parcel to a county transit district for expansion of its maintenance facilities. The firm negotiated an agreement in which the former operator of the property conducted a significant portion of the environmental work without the need for litigation.

  • Assisted a national retailer with environmental issues, including response to Polanco Act demands, from a California redevelopment agency, resulting in the successful sale of the multi-million dollar property to a third party.

  • Assisted a national cold storage and logistics company with obtaining a favorable variance from the Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board with regard to regulations that would otherwise have required the client to spend millions of dollars to address the alleged violation.

  • Provided environmental due diligence nationwide for a national fitness chain and assisted in the evaluation, investigation and remediation of contaminated property to allow for the construction of fitness centers and associated facilities.

  • Represented the owners of a Napa County vineyard in negotiating a settlement of a Cleanup and Abatement Order in which the agency initially sought penalties and site restoration that could have cost the client several million dollars. The final resolution required only an off-site mitigation program, which cost the owners $15,000.

  • Assisted a San Francisco property owner in a case against a publicly-traded international oil and gas company, in which we obtained for the client reimbursement for past remediation costs (including attorneys’ fees), installation of a soil and groundwater cleanup system, indemnity for future costs and a guarantee that the oil and gas company would pay any future incremental development costs resulting from the contamination.

  • Assisted a Northern California refinery with environmental permitting and compliance issues, as well as taking the lead on environmental due diligence matters for a possible sale of the facility.

  • Lead counsel for the Alco Iron & Metal purchase of a WR Grace facility in San Leandro, California, negotiating provisions to indemnify the buyer, which was taking over an industrial site with known environmental issues.

  • Assisted the Port of Oakland in negotiating the remediation of the former Alaska Airlines maintenance facility site at the Oakland International Airport.

  • Assisted the Port of Oakland in negotiation of cleanup requirements and the construction details for a state of the art tank farm at the Oakland Airport. The tank farm, which cost in excess of $25 million, supplies jet fuel to the airport and became fully operational within the past 12 months.

Litigation Matters
  • Representing owners of coastal property, obtained a ruling from the California Court of Appeal, that a State Lands Commission policy restricting coastal development was an illegal, underground regulation and could not be used to prevent the landowners from developing their property. (Bollay v. California Office of Administrative Law, et al., California Court of Appeal Case No. C 063268 (Sacramento County Superior Court Case No. 34-2008-80000072).)

  • Negotiated a multi-million dollar settlement for a client seeking to recover environmental investigation, business interruption, loss of use, and diminution in value damages from the former owners and operators of an automobile dealership in Palo Alto, California. (AR Automotive, LLC, et al. v. Henry Khachaturian, et al., Case No. RG09450197)

  • Obtained a final judgment dismissing CERCLA claims by the State of California and private parties against The Dow Chemical Company at the Brown & Bryant site in Shafter, California. (Atchison Topeka & Santa Fe Railway, Co. v. Hercules, Incorporated, et al., United States District Court for the Eastern District of California Case No. CIV-F-96-5879.)

  • Represented a client that had previously purchased, remediated and sold property near the San Francisco Airport in litigation with an adjoining landowner who sued to recover his own remediation costs. Negotiated a favorable settlement for the client. (Haskins v. Cherokee Grand Avenue LLC, United States District Court for the Northern District of California Case No. CV 11-5142 YGR).

  • Assisted the owners of a shopping center in Alameda, California with remediation of historical contamination on the property and regulatory closure plus recovery of 100 percent of past environmental costs and indemnification for future environmental from a major oil refiner that was responsible for the contamination. (Sebanc v. Shell Oil Company, United States District Court for the Northern District of California Case No. C 10-04853 SC.)


Rising Waters of the State and Receding Waters of the U.S.

Rising Waters of the State and Receding Waters of the U.S.

04/16/2019 | Client Update

While you may have heard about the Trump administration’s attempts to narrow the scope of Waters of the United States (WOTUS), California is expanding its regulations, including broadening the definition…

WOTUS Revised

WOTUS Revised

12/18/2018 | Water Efficiency

[Originally published in the December, 2018 issue of Water Efficiency.] The controversial definition of “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS), which establishes the reach of federal jurisdiction under the Clean Water…

Waters of the U.S. – The Tide of Uncertainty Rises Again

Waters of the U.S. – The Tide of Uncertainty Rises Again

03/07/2017 | Wendy L. Manley

The controversial definition of “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS), which establishes the reach of federal jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act, has been thrust in a new direction. On…

Date Category Publication Title
12/21/2016 Publication Wendy L. Manley OEHHA Adopts Revised Temporary Regulations for BPA Warnings in Food & Beverage Packaging
03/15/2016 Publication Greggory Brandt Fines Issued to California Businesses that Hire or Dispatch Trucks and Heavy Equipment
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09/01/2014 Publication California Constructor Evolving Storm Water Requirements Emphasize Long-Term Benefits
06/15/2014 Publication The Water Report

California Adopts Industrial Storm Water Permit for 2015
05/13/2014 Publication Wendy Manley

2014 IGP Challenge Filed
04/29/2014 Publication Wendy Manley

Manufacturers Take Note: New Storm Water Requirements for Industry Finalized
04/04/2014 Publication White Paper A Vapor Intrusion Primer for Real Property Transactions: 10 Questions to Ask Before You Buy or Lease Property
03/03/2014 Publication

Tenants In-Common

Environmental Due Diligence Basics: The Five Questions You Need to Answer Before Signing Your Next Lease
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Date Category Host Title


Wendel Rosen’s Amara Morrison Appointed to Bay Planning Coalition Board of Directors

Wendel Rosen’s Amara Morrison Appointed to Bay Planning Coalition Board of Directors

10/10/2019 | Wendel Rosen

Amara Morrison, a land use partner with Wendel Rosen LLP, the largest law firm in the East Bay representing businesses throughout the San Francisco Bay Area and state, has been…

Warning! You’ve Been Exposed to New Prop 65 Requirements!

Warning! You’ve Been Exposed to New Prop 65 Requirements!


Wendel Rosen attorney Wendy Manley co-authored the article, "Warning! You've Been Exposed to New Prop 65 Requirements!" which published on February 6, 2019, in the ACBA.  To read more, please…

Ruling on Acrylamide Brings Breakfast Back to the Table – First Coffee, Now Cereal

Ruling on Acrylamide Brings Breakfast Back to the Table – First Coffee, Now Cereal

08/21/2018 | Wendy Manley

In this Foodlaw.com post from August 21, 2018, environmental and prop 65 attorney Wendy Manley breaks down recent cases covering warning requirements related to acrylamide in breakfast cereals and coffee….

Date Category Publication Title
06/19/2018 News Food Safety Magazine  Proposition 65 – Effects on Coffee Producers