Brian C. Freeman

Senior Associate

  • Overview


    Brian Freeman focuses his practice on environmental compliance counseling, permitting, site remediation, and related litigation regarding federal and state regulatory programs. Areas of particular focus include air quality, climate change, and waste management/recycling issues. He has worked with a broad variety of clients, ranging from Fortune 100 conglomerates to individual entrepreneurs, and across a broad spectrum of industries, including aerospace manufacturing, composting and organics management, pharmaceutical, petroleum, and specialty chemical facilities. His experience includes a several-month secondment in the legal department of a major industrial client, where he handled a full array of environmental, health, and safety matters.

    Mr. Freeman currently serves as cochair of the Air Task Force of the Connecticut Business & Industry Association's Environment Policies Council and as a member of the council's Steering Committee. As an active member of the State Implementation Plan Revision Advisory Committee (SIPRAC), he has worked with the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) to develop and implement air quality control programs in that state. He also serves on DEEP's public advisory panel concerning revisions to the state's underground storage tank program.

    He has published and given presentations on numerous environmental law topics, including climate change, air permitting and enforcement, site remediation, and the individual liability of corporate officers and directors for environmental compliance.

    Before joining the firm, Mr. Freeman clerked for Judge Albert J. Engel, Jr., of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.

  • Experience
    • Experience


      • Has assisted clients in negotiating Title V operating permits for several large industrial facilities, developing related compliance assurance systems, and addressing compliance and enforcement issues.
      • Defended and settled a significant enforcement action brought by EPA and the U.S. Department of Justice against a major pharmaceutical company regarding alleged violations of hazardous air pollutant emission standards under the Clean Air Act, resulting in over 40 percent reduction in penalties and settlement of all potential prior violations.
      • Represented a petroleum industry client throughout a several-year response to a significant release. Efforts ranged from initial emergency response, negotiation of remediation agreements with impacted abutters and settlement of damage claims, and regulatory approval of remediation closure. Successfully resolved several complex issues to secure the maximum allowable coverage for the client’s seven-figure response costs from state underground storage tank cleanup fund.
      • Counsels numerous clients in a variety of industries (including aerospace, pharmaceuticals, petroleum, specialty chemicals, and food processing) regarding air regulatory matters in Connecticut and other states.
      • Secured maximum permissible recovery from a state underground tank fund for a petroleum marketing company following its multimillion dollar cleanup of a gasoline release.
      • CERCLA

      • Represented a major PRP at a Superfund site in Florida and served as the lead negotiator with EPA and several dozen other PRPs on behalf of a "large generator" PRP group. Negotiated a favorable, swift, and efficient settlement of EPA response costs claims.
      • Other Experiences

      • Serves on the audit team for major pharmaceutical client in conducting voluntary self-audits of environmental, safety, and health compliance systems at facilities across the country.
      • CERCLA

      • Served as the chair of the Executive Committee of a large PRP group at a Midwest Superfund site. Restored the group’s operating ability after unexpected loss of its outside counsel. Led effort to initiate technical review of current remediation program effectiveness. Coordinated negotiation of amendment to group's Administrative Consent Order with EPA and execution of group cash call. Continues to serve as active member of the Executive Committee, through further group cash call and buyout, implementation of enhanced remediation to speed site closure, and ongoing EPA oversight issues.
      • Other Experiences

      • Successfully secured regulatory approvals of complex multilateral agreement among bankrupt former site owner, prospective purchaser, and remediation consultant to provide for transfer, remediation, remediation financing, and continued operation of two dozen environmentally impacted sites.
      • Secured numerous regulatory siting approvals for new facilities for a major telecommunications service provider. Representation included presentations at contentious public meetings and multiday public hearings before the state permitting authority.
      • CERCLA

      • Represents a client in a complex river systems Superfund site in the Northeast involving several hundred private and public-sector parties. Serve on the PRP Group Steering Committee and Interim Allocation Committee.
      • Other Experiences

      • Representation of clients regarding emergency releases from pipeline distribution networks. Emergency situations have frequently involved intense public visibility affecting many parties, including regulators, affected municipalities, and residential customers. Responses call for close coordination of the client’s response resources and targeted public outreach. In addition, overcame obstacles to state tank fund recovery for such releases.
      • Led the development of a comprehensive textbook of legal issues for oil heat industry managers and authored and edited chapters on environmental, transportation, employment, acquisition, and divestiture issues.
      • Representation of major landowner regarding remedial operations and termination of franchisee operations.
      • Assisted national composting trade association in developing certification and logo programs for compostable plastics and compost quality testing.
      • Defense of plastics manufacturer against enforcement action by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Department of Justice alleging violation of New Source Review and Title V permitting requirements under the Clean Air Act.
      • Representation of multiple Fortune 500 companies to develop decision trees to assist in determining applicability and relevant requirements of new source performance standards and national emissions standards for hazardous air pollutants regulations for a broad array of stationary diesel engines at facilities nationwide. These services have allowed clients to limit costs and only seek legal counsel when in-house resources identify regulatory analysis and compliance needs.
      • Representation of a power generating client and its technical consultant to develop comments on Environmental Protection Agency's proposed Clean Air Transport Rule.
      • Representation of a large aerospace manufacturing client to advance arguments for Environmental Protection Agency's deferral to the development of international standards for greenhouse gas emissions from certain source categories. Robinson & Cole worked with the client’s technical, marketing, and legal personnel to develop an in-depth white paper on the issues and relevant U.S. and international law, governmental authorities, and nongovernmental organizations, as well as a strategy document setting out potential options, venues, and pressure points.
      • Representation of a large-scale commercial composting facility to resolve a permit matter by a state agency without formal enforcement and penalties; assisted the client in obtaining related permit modifications, as well as authorization for a significant facility expansion.
      • Representation of an organics management company as part of a facilities acquisition team for composting companies seeking operations in the Northeast and Southwest. Advised client on potential environmental regulatory issues and liability allocation strategies for preexisting site conditions, including one facility located within a federal Superfund site.
      • Created program rules and related materials for the U.S. Composting Council's Seal of Testing Assurance Program for compost products and the compostable certification program in conjunction with the Biodegradable Products Institute.
      • Represented various composting clients, both established and start-ups, concerning permitting, operational compliance, and enforcement matters.
      • Represented various clients in defending against and resolving odor complaints and related enforcement actions by regulatory authorities.
      • Environmental

      • Worked closely with technical and legal staff at EPA headquarters to secure exemptions from Tier 4 nonroad engine emission standards for a construction equipment manufacturer.
      • Other Experiences

      • Representation of a manufacturer in self-disclosing excess volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions under its air permit to the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) and resolving related DEEP enforcement action without penalties. Worked with client and outside technical consultants to develop a compliance management system to prevent future recurrence.
      • Served on extended assignment in the legal department of a Fortune 100 client. Worked directly with client management and personnel in voluntarily reporting noncompliance matters identified in an internal audit and resolving matters without enforcement action, developing internal tracking and reporting system for regulated materials, refuting a NPDES enforcement action and resolving it without formal order or penalty, and counseling regarding a variety of environmental, health, and safety issues at the client’s facilities across the United States.
      • Represented trade association in stakeholder discussions concerning state climate change policy development and in various regulatory and legislative efforts concerning environmental matters.
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    • Professional Associations

      Professional Associations

      Connecticut Business & Industry Association
      Environmental Policies Council, Co-chair of Air Task Force (2009 - present) (1990 - present)

      State Implementation Plan Revision Advisory Committee (1993 - present)

      Connecticut Bar Association
      Environmental Law Section (1990 - present)

      Air & Waste Management Association (1998 - present)

      US Composting Council
      Co-chair of Government Committee (1997 - 1999) (1995 - present)

      American Bar Association
      Section of Environment, Energy and Resources (1990 - present)

      Clean Air Act Information Network (2000 - 2010)
    • Honors + Awards

      Honors + Awards

      Listed in Connecticut Super Lawyers® in the area of Environmental Law for 2006 - 2008, and 2010 (Super Lawyers is a registered trademark of Key Professional Media, Inc.) 

      Listed in The Best Lawyers in America® in the area of Environmental Law since 2006 and Litigation - Environmental since 2013 (Copyright 2013 by Woodward/White, Inc., Aiken, SC)

    • Publications


      "Food Waste Recycling," published in Connecticut Green Guide, a special publication of the Hartford Business Journal (Spring 2014 )

      "EPA's Endangerment Finding for Greenhouse Gases Clears Way to Regulation," co-authored with Kirstin M. Etela published in Robinson & Cole's Environmental and Utilities Legal Update (12/2009)

      "Cap-and-Trade: Law and Economics," published in LexisNexis Global Climate Change Special Pamphlet Series, co-authored with Earl W. Phillips, Jr. and Kirstin M. Etela (1/2010)
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      "EPA Adopts Final Rules for First-Ever Nationwide Greenhouse Gas Reporting," published in Robinson & Cole's Environmental and Utilities Legal Update (9/2009)

      "A Bonus for Building Energy Efficiency Projects," published in Connecticut Law Tribune, co-authored with Kristin Etela (7/13/2009)

      "EPA Proposes Rules for Mandatory Nationwide Reporting of Greenhouse Gas," co-authored with Kirsten Etela published in Robinson & Cole's Environmental and Utilities Legal Update (3/13/2009)

      "Another RICE Crop: EPA Proposes Additional Rules for Stationary Reciprocating," co-authored with Kirsten Etela published in Robinson & Cole's Environmental and Utilities Legal Update (3/12/2009)

      "Climate Change Begets Legal Change," published in Connecticut Law Tribune, co-authored with Kirstin Etela and Jonathan Blaine (4/2008)

      "Developments in Individual Liability," published in 2002 Year in Review, a publication of the American Bar Association's Section on Energy, Environment, and Resources (2002)

      "Individual Civil Liability of Corporate Officers and Other Individuals for Environmental Issues: The Net Expands," published in Environmental Counselor, co-authored with Pamela Elkow (5/15/2002)

      "CTDEP Update," published in Connecticut's Environment, monthly column (1995 to 1997)

    • Presentations


      "Greenhouse Gases in the Spotlight: Reporting, Permitting, and Litigation," at Webinar produced by the National Constitution Center, Malvern, Pennsylvania (2/3/2011)

      "Greenhouse Gas Reporting: Lessons Learned and Changes to Consider," at Environmental Law Institute Webinar, Washington, D.C., Moderator (10/28/2010)

      "First Step into a New Land: EPA’s GHG Reporting Rule," at Air & Waste Management Association, Northeast Chapter Conference (11/6/2009)
      • » more info

      "Climate Change and Energy Update," at Robinson & Cole conference for in-house counsel and senior management, Newport, Rhode Island, co-presented with Kirstin Etela and Joey Lee Miranda (10/9/2009)
      • » more info

      "Air Compliance and Permitting Trends," at Connecticut Business & Industry Association, Environment 2009, Waterbury, Connecticut (6/10/2009)

      "New RICE Crop: Proposed Further NESHAP Expansion for Reciprocting Internal Combusion Engines," at Connecticut Business & Industry Association, Environmental Policies Council (5/15/2009)
      • » more info

      "First Step into a New Land: EPA’s Proposed GHG Reporting Rule," at Connecticut Business & Industry Association, Environmental Policies Council, co-presented with Kirsten Etela (4/17/2009)

      "Carbon Offsets Basics" (part of "Carbon Offsets: The Whats, Hows, and Watch-Outs") (2/5/2009) presented at Robinson & Cole's Environmental and Utilities Practice Group Sustainability Series Seminar

      "Climate Change Update," at Robinson & Cole Environmental and Utilities Practice Group Briefing, co-presented with Kirsten Etela, Peter Knight, and Jon Blaine (11/19/2008)

      "Climate Change, Legal Change: A Guide to the Emerging World of Carbon Control," at Connecticut Business & Industry Association, Environment 2008, co-presented with Kirsten Etela, Esq. (6/3/2008)

      "Developments in Natural Resources Damages," at Robinson & Cole Environment and Public Utilities Group Briefing (3/19/2008)

      "Greenhouse Gas Policy and Regulation: Federal Developments and Select State Initiatives," at corporate client EH&S national conference, co-presented with Attorney Kirstin Etela (6/14/2007)

      "The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative: Challenges and Opportunities for Connecticut Businesses," at Soundwaters Coastal Education Center, Business & Environment Lecture Series, Stamford, Connecticut, co-presented with Attorney Kirstin Etela (6/14/2007)

      "New Source Review Update," at corporate client EH&S national conference (3/14/2007)

      "DEP Regulatory Update: Air, Waste & Water," at Connecticut Business & Industry Association's Health & Safety Conference & Expo (4/29/2003)

      "The New SPCC Rules: Enforcement Considerations," at Connecticut Business & Industry Association, SPCC Seminar (1/22/2003)

      "Advanced Environmental Law: The Clean Air Act, Inspections and Enforcement," at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute-Hartford Graduate Center and Southern Connecticut State University (2003 to 2005)

      "The New Road Map for Connecticut Air Permitting," at Connecticut Business & Industry Association, Air Permits Seminar (10/1/2002)

      "From Stratospheric to Street-Level: Developments in Federal Air Programs," at Clean Air Act Technical Conference, West Palm Beach, Florida (11/8/2000)

    • News

      R+C in the News

      • March 25, 2014

        Hartford Lawyer Pens Article for HBJ's Connecticut Green Guide

        • » more info
      • March 14, 2011

        New York Times Article on Greenhouse Gas Quotes Brian Freeman

        • » more info
      • February 17, 2011

        Environmental Attorney Puts the Spotlight on Greenhouse Gas

        • » more info
      • January 6, 2011

        Attorney Comments on Greenhouse Gas Developments

        • » more info
      • November 9, 2010

        Environmental Attorney Examines Greenhouse Gas Emission Regulations

        • » more info
      • March 8, 2010

        Robinson & Cole Attorneys Author Chapter in Global Climate Change Special Pamphlet Series

        • » more info

      R+C News Releases

      • August 16, 2013

        Robinson & Cole Receives Top Listing in Connecticut Attorney Count in National Peer Review Survey

        • » more info
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      • August 28, 2012

        Robinson & Cole Receives Top Listing in Connecticut Attorney Count in National Peer Review Survey

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      • September 12, 2011

        Robinson & Cole Receives Top Listing in Connecticut Attorney Count in National Peer Review Survey

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    • Newsletters


      EPA Sets Schedule for GHG Permitting (04/05/2010)