Environmental Litigation

Our environmental attorneys have represented clients with litigation challenges and regulatory environmental issues before governmental agencies on cases covered by state and federal statutes, regulations and common-law principles related to regulatory compliance and clean-up, water issues, wetland compliance and environmental contamination.

Kirton McConkie’s environmental legal representation includes, but is not limited to:

  • Permitting and permit appeals
  • Administrative rulemaking  and rule challenges
  • Litigation and arbitrations over alleged contamination
  • Enforcement defense
  • Hazardous waste, contamination, soil vapor intrusion, and toxic substance issues
  • Environmental clean-up and land use disputes
  • Contaminated property disputes and allocation of clean up among potential responsible parties
  • Natural resources issues
  • Water claims, prior appropriation and other riparian rights and claims

Experience with commercial, industrial and governmental entities gives us broad spectrum knowledge about client projects when it comes to financial, competitive and operational concerns. We are savvy to client goals and objectives while recognizing there may be ongoing relationships with one or more agencies.

Questions & Answers

What is a Nuisance?

A nuisance is created when a land owner or occupier uses the land in such a way as to interfere with the rights of others in the area. A public nuisance interferes with the interests of the general public while a private nuisance interferes with the rights or interests of an individual. With a public nuisance, a government agency typically initiates a lawsuit. Only private citizens or entities can sue to stop a private nuisance.

What is a trespass or negligence action?

Wheras nuisance claims are often of a repetitive nature, trespass and negligence claims provide relief when an injury results from a single event. Trespass is proved by any tangible evidence of invasion of the landowner's property.

What is strict liability?

Under the doctrine of strict liability, an abnormally dangerous activity must be the cause of suffering due to environmental harm. Examples of abnormally dangerous conditions are crop dusting, blasting or oil well drilling.

What does prior appropriation and riparian rights mean?

A riparian owner has land abutting a stream or river and is permitted by law to divert the water for useful purposes. Prior appropriation means the first to divert the water for beneficial purposes acquires a vested right to continue the use.

Prior appropriation is followed in many western states where water is scarce and economic uses for streams and rivers are necessary.

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