Chris is an environmental lawyer and former environmental consultant with over 20 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 40+ 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.
Some highlights of Chris’s environmental trial experience include the defense of a landfill against allegations of PFAS contamination in groundwater and storm water runoff. Chris has also tried cases involving allegations of air pollution from a large manufacturing facility and a civil rights claims related to the taxation of forestry in Alabama. Notable transaction and compliance matters include representation of a fireworks distribution company in obtaining an air permit for its operations in Alabama, advice related to vehicle emissions for engine importers and utility truck upfitters, and compliance with HUD environmental regulations related to the development of low-income housing.
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 currently on the Vestry of St. Stephen's Episcopal Church.
Community & Professional
- 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, Former Board Member
- Birmingham Bar Volunteer Lawyer Program, Former Board Member
- Birmingham Multiple Sclerosis Society, Leadership Class of 2007
- St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, Vestry
Representative Transactional and Compliance Matters
- Guided clients through the successful completion of numerous brownfield projects in multiple states including Alabama, Tennessee, and Michigan.
- Advises multiple clients in obtaining and complying with required air, water, and waste disposal permits.
- Assisted numerous companies with 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
- Representing chemical manufacturer in several lawsuits involving alleged PFAS contamination of public water supplies.
- Defending large waste management company in multiple lawsuits involving alleged PFAS contamination of soils and groundwater.
- 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 PFAS 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-present)
- The Best Lawyers in America© for Environmental Law (2013 - present); Litigation: Environmental (2020 - present); Energy Law and Mass Tort Litigation / Class Actions - Defendants (2022 - present)
- Mid-South Super Lawyers for Environmental Litigation (2016 - present)
- B-Metro, Selected as a Top Attorney (2020)
- 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
- Advanced Environmental Due Diligence From Legal & Technical Perspectives, Alabama State Bar, Environmental Law Section Conference. (2021)
- Roles and Responsibilities of Legal Counsel & Technical Professionals on Environmental Projects, 6th National Association of Environmental Professionals Annual Conference. (2022)
- State Bar: Alabama
- U.S. District Court: Alabama (Northern, Middle, Southern)