The domestic and international laws governing use of and access to ocean and coastal resources are diverse and complex, and involve both well-established and emerging regulatory, treaty, and policy frameworks. Existing laws are primarily sector-based and often result in piecemeal regulation of particular activities. This presents unique challenges for obtaining the necessary permits and authorizations for access and use. Attorneys in our ocean and coastal resources practice help clients approach these complex legal matters thoughtfully and thoroughly, where attention must be paid to multiple regulatory schemes covering domestic and international environmental, land use, resource development and trade policies.
Our practice builds on the Firm’s extensive experience representing clients in water quality, wetlands, coastal development, environmental review, protected species, and energy issues, as well as in multilateral environmental agreements relating to the marine environment, international shipping, and living and mineral ocean resources. With this broad foundation, we are able to guide clients through new issues arising from efforts within the United States and coastal states and in the international community to develop and foster more integrated, ecosystem-based approaches to managing living resources and water quality in the world’s oceans and the U.S. coastal areas. In addition to handling issues associated with coastal development and oceans-based uses, such as marine mammal protection and controls on land-based pollution, our practice in this area draws upon the Firm’s experience representing clients in addressing a variety of climate change regulatory matters.
Beveridge & Diamond, P.C.’s diverse and extensive experience in all facets of environmental law, both domestically and internationally, places us in a unique position to help clients address increasingly complex ocean and coastal resource issues. Our lawyers are leaders in their respective fields and bring practical working knowledge of applicable and evolving law and policy in the oceans arena.
Our domestic practice includes representing industry, developer and municipal interests in permitting and litigating issues implicating ocean use, coastal development, and land-based activities that may affect coasts and oceans. Our work in this area typically involves disputes under a variety of federal and related state laws, including the National Environmental Policy Act, the Clean Water Act, the Rivers and Harbors Act, the Coastal Zone Management Act and the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act, as well as federal and state laws designed to protect endangered/threatened species, migratory birds, and marine mammals and habitats. We have assisted clients with a variety of projects involving:
For example, we represented a major telecommunications company in negotiating permits under federal and state laws to authorize the laying of fiber optic cable off the shores of California, Oregon and the Virgin Islands. We also represented a client in an enforcement action alleging violations of the CWA and the Rivers and Harbors Act in connection with the installation and maintenance of fiber optic cables on the sea bottom. Our lawyers successfully litigated a federal CWA enforcement action against pulp mills that directly discharge to the Pacific Ocean. We have negotiated NPDES permits for clients discharging to sensitive coastal and estuarine waters and watersheds, including the Chesapeake Bay and the Great Lakes, and have represented communities seeking to protect regional estuarine ecosystems, such as Sanibel Island and its adjacent federal wildlife refuge, from the impacts of upstream water and land use management regimes. Our experience in the development arena extends to assisting clients with offshore oil and gas leasing and development disputes, as well as new alternative energy opportunities on the outer continental shelf under the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act of 2006.
In addition, we have assisted clients with obtaining the necessary federal and state permits and approvals for a variety of commercial and non-commercial coastal development projects. For example, we assisted a client with obtaining the necessary permits to use dredge material from the Port of Oakland and San Francisco Bay to construct a major wetlands restoration project along the Bay Delta. We obtained the requisite federal and county approvals involving, among other things, wetlands, historic preservation, endangered species and water quality requirements, to allow construction of a large, mixed-use development along a major bay in southeastern Delaware. We helped a client navigate the successful development of a mixed commercial use project along Long Island Sound that preserved and protected one of the largest tracts of undeveloped tidal wetlands in the region.
Our ocean and coastal resources practice includes the expertise we bring to contaminated sediment cleanups. Federal, tribal and state claims for natural resource damages are increasingly asserted with respect to waterways – rivers, bays, estuaries and watersheds – where historic manufacturing practices, combined with municipal discharges and stormwater and agricultural runoff, have resulted in contaminated sediments and stream beds that potentially impair water quality and habitat. Our significant experience evaluating, challenging and negotiating natural resource damage claims is unparalleled in developing and implementing strategies for port, bay, and river system cleanups near and adjacent to coastal areas.
Other representative experience includes assisting a major passenger cruise line company on a wide variety of domestic and international environmental issues, both on ship and ashore. This work included advice on the applicability of international and U.S. federal and port state laws to operation of the fleet’s ships and the wastes they generate, representation in response to government enforcement actions and threatened citizen suits, and development of comprehensive compliance plans. Our work in this industry includes the experience of our white collar criminal attorneys as former prosecutors and in defending maritime industry interests in a number of high profile prosecutions of shipping discharge and record keeping requirements under the federal CWA and other laws. Our attorneys also work with the recreational boating industry on evolving federal and state ballast water regulations and related litigation, and we represent the recreational boating industry in proceedings to establish the proper means of addressing potential water quality impacts related to the use of federally-registered pesticides in anti-fouling vessel paints and other vessel discharge concerns.
Our clients often ask us to work closely with state and federal officials in commenting on emerging policy and law in these areas. Our lawyers have spoken and written on emerging oceans and maritime issues such as the Joint Oceans Commission Initiative on the Pew and U.S. Ocean Commissions Reports, alternative offshore wind and other energy resources, protection of marine genetic resources beyond the limits of national jurisdiction, and environmental and international legal dimensions of Great Lakes shipping (such as the practice of “cargo sweeping”).
Beveridge & Diamond regularly counsels clients on matters related to the negotiation and implementation of bilateral, regional, and global multilateral environmental agreements related to oceans. With much of the world’s oceans considered the global commons, international law increasingly influences domestic law and policy developments in the United States and in other countries. Our lawyers, in their former roles as U.S. Government employees, have led delegations negotiating key international agreements. With this experience and the unique insight it brings, we have provided private clients with advocacy strategies that have helped shape the outcome of international negotiations. The Firm has also advised clients on the complex interaction between international and domestic maritime law, including implementation of international obligations under existing statutory authorities, executive orders, and, where necessary, amendments to U.S. statutes.
Our lawyers have extensive experience with virtually all of the major multilateral and bilateral oceans treaties and organizations, including:
We have advised a well-known NGO on legal aspects of the Whaling Convention, including in helping to formulate objections to the “Scientific” whaling exemption under the International Convention on the Regulation of Whaling. We have participated on behalf of the U.S. Council for International Business in a UN Ad Hoc Open-ended Informal Working Group to study issues relating to the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity beyond areas of national jurisdiction. Our experience also extends to matters related to offshore oil and gas exploration, specially protected areas, and waste discharges from ships.