Earl W. Phillips Jr.

Partner

  • Overview

    Biography

    Earl Phillips is co-chair of the firm’s Environmental + Utility Practice Group. The majority of his practice is devoted to identifying and achieving strategic project, transactional, or compliance/risk management objectives, with particular focus on environmental, energy, and health/safety considerations. His passion for client service, substantive knowledge, geographic breadth of experience (matters in over 35 states and numerous countries), composure under fire, and academic currency contribute to his strategic counseling and legal relationship management.

    Risk Management/Compliance

    Mr. Phillips’ practice includes risk management and compliance counseling. He regularly serves as lead outside counsel helping clients develop, improve and implement compliance auditing and Environmental/Health/Safety (EHS) Management Systems. 
    He regularly provides risk management counsel, and helps clients triage, prioritize, sequence and undertake corrective measures, including Voluntary Disclosures.

    Transactions

    For sites, operations, and transactions with environmental or energy issues, Mr. Phillips regularly provides comprehensive transactional services: performing due diligence, evaluating risk/reward, drafting and negotiating letters of intent, site access agreements, options to purchase, rights of first refusal, leases, and purchase and sale agreements. He structures environmental liability allocation agreements and risk transfer instruments, negotiates specialty environmental insurance products, and secures private and public environmental land use restrictions. Post closing, he helps clients with compliance and remediation obligations, risk management, and the allocation of responsibility. 

    Project Development

    Mr. Phillips serves as the lead outside counsel for a wide range of project development efforts, helping clients move from the planning/vision stage to project permitting to construction to completion. Projects have included: the relocation, expansion, and siting of manufacturing operations, the siting of global corporate facilities, development of brownfields, conversion of tank farms to mixed and residential use, expansion and modification of water supply reservoirs and dams, and the repositioning of operations and facilities both in and out of the country.

    Energy

    Mr. Phillips regularly represents energy clients with respect to project evaluation, permitting, and transactional matters. On the generation side, he has advised owners, developers and operators of combined cycle power plants as well as co-generation, waste-to-energy plants, solar arrays, hydropower facilities, and fuel cells. He has also advised companies involved in the bulk storage of petroleum and the transmission (pipelines) for natural gas and fuel oil.

    Remediation

    Mr. Phillips guides clients through the complex rules, regulations, and policies related to contaminated site investigation and remediation. He advises clients so they can make the best decisions regarding if, when, and how to remediate a site. His strategic advice and advocacy, coupled with his understanding of the legal and political factors associated with remediation, have achieved protective results while saving clients over $100 million.

    Emergency Preparation and Crisis Management

    Mr. Phillips helps clients both with preparing for emergencies and responding to them. He has experience with preparing for “unthinkable” events and helping clients during chaotic crises. Mr. Phillips has successfully guided small, medium and large institutions through a wide range of disasters. These include major explosions, groundwater contamination impacting public drinking water, tank truck accidents, major tank farm failures, and governmental civil and criminal investigations.  

    Dispute Resolution

    Mr. Phillips efficiently helps clients resolve disputes which arise over environmental health, safety, and energy matters. He has successfully defended cases around the country involving compliance enforcement and remediation matters initiated by state and federal agencies like the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, state environmental agencies, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Coast Guard, Nuclear Regulatory Commission, as well as third parties. Beyond this, he has successfully pursued third parties in allocation disputes. Mr. Phillips has negotiated consent decrees and stipulated judgments on behalf of clients. He has successfully mediated liability and allocation disputes involving multiple parties.

    Mr. Phillips is a Fellow in the highly selective American College of Environmental Lawyers and past chair of the Environment Section of the U.S. Law Firm Group. He is ranked in the top tier of environmental lawyers in Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business, has received the highest ratings (AV® Preeminent™) from Martindale-Hubbell™ for his entire career, and has been listed in The Best Lawyers in America® for Environmental Law for more than a decade (Copyright 2016 by Woodward/White, Inc., Aiken, SC). Mr. Phillips has taught courses in environmental, water, and land use law at Wesleyan University, the University of Connecticut, and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and is currently a Visiting Scholar/Adjunct at Wesleyan University’s College of Environmental Studies. 

  • Experience
    • Experience

      Experience

      • Counseled a large, privately held manufacturing client in a project involving a contaminated municipal water supply well, and regional and onsite groundwater investigation and remediation, and on-site RCRA Corrective Action.

      • Remediation & Related Disputes

      • Representing large, privately held manufacturing client in project involving extensive regional and onsite groundwater investigation and remediation, on-site soils investigation and remediation, negotiation of multiagency (federal, state, municipal)consent decree,cost recovery efforts from prior owners, and defense of toxic tort claims.
      • Representation of several publicly traded manufacturing clients with respect to their multistate site investigation.

      • Representation of hundreds of privately held companies addressing environmental conditions, compliance, and cost recovery on allocation.

      • Other Experiences

      • Representation of a client in the investigation and subsequent remediation of a historic clock manufacturing building in Waterbury, Connecticut. Based on the nature of the material in issue (e.g. radium) the remediation was overseen by and involved both the State Environmental Agency and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). The initial site inspections were conducted by NRC experts.

      • Represented a Fortune 500 company in connection with the due diligence, permitting, remediation, and construction of a $280 million pharmaceutical facility on a waterfront and coastal brownfield.

      • Transactional and Development

      • Representation of multiple major fuel terminals in remediation and conversion to residential and higher end mixed use.

      • Other Experiences

      • Represented large high-technology manufacturer and after-market service provider in the negotiation and related legal support required to design and permit several connected "sustainable campus" projects at its headquarters, including multimillion-dollar wastewater treatment and reuse upgrades, eliminating NPDES-permitted discharges, installation of a combined heat and power cogeneration facility, and related infrastructure changes.

      • Transactional and Development

      • Negotiated and counseled clients on the environmental provisions related to throughput contracts at petroleum and commodity terminals.
      • Representation of a construction materials company concerning the sale of its asphalt paving and construction contracting business in Michigan and Indiana; representation of aggregate company in addressing environmental conditions and transactions in New York and Louisiana.
      • Representation of major metal and recycling company in multi-state environmental due diligence and acquisition of target facilities. 

      • Energy

      • Representation of utility relative to environmental risk management and compliance initiatives.

      • Other Experiences

      • Represent natural gas pipeline relative to permitting and compliance issues associated with repair and expansion.

      • Represent energy company with respect to issues related to hydropower permitting, compliance, and risk management.

      • Energy

      • Representation of merchant energy plants (co-gen) in permitting and siting.

      • Represent solar companies in siting, power purchase agreements, and related third-party agreements. 

      • Water

      • Representation of private developer of water infrastructure and water system development, licensing, and conveyance.

      • Represent major water company relative to acquisition and compliance.
      • Represent municipal water company expanding surface water resources.

      • Represent municipal water company in developing regulatory well head protection and cost recovery associated with groundwater contamination.

      • Defense

      • Representation of a manufacturer of technology products and provider of support services for the aerospace and building industries worldwide at a National Priorities List site where state and federal agencies sought to compel remediation over a 10-square-mile area, including areas never owned or operated by our client. Negotiated a consent decree limiting the work to performing an investigation only and only for our client’s property. Significantly limited additional groundwater work through the state regulatory program.
      • Representation of large privately held manufacturer sued as sole PPR from four-mile production plume impacting public and private water supplier in two separate municipalities. 

      • Representation of a private manufacturer named as the sole viable PRP in a major Superfund matter calling for public water supply lines, soil vapor extraction, and soil remediation.
      • Representation of publicly traded manufacturer in the largest contaminated sediments and water column Superfund matters in U.S.
      • Other Experiences

      • Represented a large manufacturing client to develop and advance arguments for EPA deferral to the development of international standards for greenhouse gas emissions from certain source categories. Worked with the client’s technical, marketing, and legal personnel to develop an in-depth white paper on 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.

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    • Professional Associations

      Professional Associations

      American Bar Association
      Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources, Co-chair of Waste and Resource Recovery Committee

      United States Law Firm Group
      Past Chair of Environmental Section

      American College of Environmental Lawyers
      Fellow

      Wesleyan University - College of the Environment
      Visiting Scholar and Instructor

      National Institute of Municipal Law Officers
      Past Chair of Environmental Section

      Connecticut Business & Industry Association
      Environmental Policies Council, Past Executive Steering Committee

      Connecticut Council on Environmental Quality
      Past Member
    • Honors + Awards

      Honors + Awards

      Connecticut Bar Foundation, James W. Cooper Fellow, 2013

      Listed in The Best Lawyers in America® as Hartford Lawyer of the Year in the area of Environmental Law for 2013 (Copyright 2012 by Woodward/White, Inc., Aiken, SC)

      Listed in The Best Lawyers in America® in the area of Environmental Law since 1993 (Copyright 2016 by Woodward/White, Inc., Aiken, SC)

      Listed in Connecticut Super Lawyers® in the area of Environmental Law since 2007 (Super Lawyers is a registered trademark of Key Professional Media, Inc.)

      Listed in Who's Who Legal: The International Who's Who of Environment Lawyers 2009, 2013 (Copyright by Law Business Research Ltd)

      Listed in Who's Who Legal: The International Who's Who of Business Lawyers 2010 in the area of Environment (Copyright by Law Business Research Ltd)

      Ranked in Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business in the state of Connecticut in the area of Environment

      AV® Preeminent™ Peer Review Rated in Martindale-Hubbell™ for Substantive Law (Environmental) and Ethics

      Listed as one of the Top 50 Lawyers in Connecticut by Connecticut Super Lawyers® 2011 (Super Lawyers is a registered trademark of Key Professional Media, Inc.)

  • NEWS + PRESS
    • Publications

      Publications

      "Of Counsel: Old Refrigerant Regulations, New Interpretations," published in Scrap, co-authored with Megan E. Baroni and Richard M. Fil (July/August 2013)

      "Of Counsel," published in Scrap, co-authored with Richard M. Fil (January/February 2012)

      "Climate Change: Law and Economics of Cap-and-Trade (chapter in LEXIS/NEXIS Global Climate Change Series)," published in LexisNexis Global Climate Change Special Pamphlet Series, co-authored with Brian C. Freeman and Kirstin M. Etela (1/2010)
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      Coauthor of chapter on state environmental law, Treatise on Environmental Law, published by Matthew Bender

      Coauthor of Connecticut Chapter, Environmental Law Practice Guide, published by Matthew Bender

      "Mandated Penalties Under the Proposed Federal Environmental Sentencing for Business Organizations," published in ABA Environmental Litigation Section Newsletter, coauthor

      "The Cleanup and Redevelopment of Contaminated Land," published in Brownfields Law & Practice, coauthored for Matthew Bender

      "Enforcement Issues Under the New Clean Air Act," published in National Business Institute, coauthor

      Coauthor of chapter, Brownfields Law and Practice: The Cleanup and Redevelopment of Contaminated Land, published by Matthew Bender

    • Presentations

      Presentations

      "Environmental Regulatory Trends and Outlook for 2017: What You Need To Know," presented at R+C Environmental & Utilities Practice Group webinar/seminar, co-presented with Brian C. Freeman, Robert S. Melvin, Todd R. Berman and Emilee Mooney Scott (1/18/2017)
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      "Water Supply, Conservation & Use: Market Drivers & Responses," co-presented with W. Richard Smith Jr., presented to the National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association (3/2014)

      "Council of Counsel Luncheon," at NSSGA 2014 Convention

      "Planning for Shale Development: Booms, Busts, and Beyond," sponsored by the American Planning Association, Panelist (10/26/2012)

      "Meeting the Challenges in Siting, Moving or Expanding Operations," at ISRI Convention and Exposition, Panelist (4/17/2012)

      "Getting a Good Deal Buying or Selling an SSG Business – Business and Environmental Legal Strategies," at National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association, co-presented with W. Richard Smith Jr. (3/21/2011)

      "Understanding the Legal and Regulatory Dimensions: The laws and regulations that affect ownership, liability, remediation, and land use," at Rebuilding Our Cities & Towns: Planning for the Redevelopment of Environmentally Impaired Properties Workshop, Berlin, CT, co-presented with Robert S. Melvin and Kirstin M. Etela (Spring 2006)

      "Superfund and Solid Waste: The Municipal Perspective," presented for the National Institute of Municipal Law Officers, 53rd Annual Conference in Charleston, South Carolina, lecturer and coauthor

      "Emergency Planning and Right-to-Know: The Municipal Perspective," presented at the Annual Conference of New England Finance Officer's Association, lecturer and coauthor

      "Environmental Issues Confronting the Business Community," at Penn State University and published in the Northeastern Pennsylvania Chamber of Commerce, lecturer and author

      "Buying and Selling Environmentally Challenged Businesses and Properties," presented for the New England Fuel Institute, lecturer and author

      "Security and Crisis Management," presented for the Connecticut Business & Industry Association, lecturer and author

      "Local Groundwater Protection," presented for the American Planning Association in Denver, Colorado, lecturer and author

      "Bankruptcy Law Meets Environmental Law: Toxic Gridlock," presented for the Commercial and Bankruptcy Law Section of the Connecticut Bar Association, lecturer and author

      "Ground Water Protection and Mitigation Measures," presented for the Urban Land Institute in San Francisco, California, lecturer and coauthor

      "Environmental Risk Management" and "Environmental Inspections" presented for Executive Enterprises Course in Boston, Massachusetts, lecturer and author

      "Hazardous Waste: The Resource Conservation Recovery Act," presented for the National Business Institute, lecturer and coauthor

      "Thinking About the Unthinkable: Crisis Preparation and Management," presented for the New England Fuel Institute, lecturer and author

      "Expanding Profit Potentials Through Environmental Risk Management," presented for the National Real Estate Development Center in Miami, Florida, lecturer and coauthor

      "Environmental Investigations, Audits and Assessments," presented for Executive Enterprises Environmental Regulation Course in Hartford, Connecticut, and Boston, Massachusetts, lecturer and coauthor

      "Environmental Risk Management," presented for Executive Enterprises Environmental Regulation Course, lecturer and author

      "Responsibilities and Risks in Training the Risk Manager and Response Team Under Title III," at the Conference Sponsored by the American Industrial Hygiene Association, lecturer and coauthor

      U.S. environmental law paper and lecture presented to a consortium of large law firms principally located in London, United Kingdom, lecturer

      "Environmental Considerations in the Transactional Setting," presented for Executive Enterprises Environmental Regulation Course, lecturer and author

      "Crisis Preparation and Response," presented for the Massachusetts Chemical Technology Association, lecturer and author

      "Clean Water Act Programs and the Water Quality Act of 1987 (An Overview)," presented for Executive Enterprises in Boston, Massaschusetts, lecturer and coauthor

      "The Clean Air Act; Business Impacts and Public Relations," presented for Ruder-Finn (New York Academy of Science) in New York, New York, lecturer and coauthor

      "Brownfield Redevelopment Along The Coastal Edge: New England Experiences," at Coastal Zone National Conference, Baltimore, MD
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    • News

      R+C in the News

      • November 1, 2016

        Robinson+Cole's Environmental + Utilities Group Holds Annual Summit

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      • June 23, 2015

        Earl Phillips Has Been Elected to Co-chair the American Bar Association's Waste and Resource Recovery Committee

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      • June 11, 2014

        Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation Recognizes Robinson+Cole for Sponsoring Home Run for Heroes

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      • August 9, 2013

        Robinson & Cole Lawyers Featured in Scrap Magazine

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      • December 5, 2012

        Earl Phillips and Sorell Negro Discuss Shale Development for American Planning Association Webinar

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      • May 2, 2012

        Environmental Attorneys Discuss Siting, Moving and Expanding Operations at Scrap Metal Convention

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      • February 16, 2012

        Environmental Attorneys Offer Key Points for a Successful Property Transfer in Scrap Magazine

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      • April 8, 2011

        Earl Phillips and Rich Smith Present at National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association Convention

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      • July 8, 2010

        Earl Phillips Jr. Featured in the Connecticut Law Tribune’s “Gulf Lessons”

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      • March 8, 2010

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

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      • July 11, 2008

        Robinson & Cole Partner Joins American College of Environmental Lawyers

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      R+C News Releases

      • October 18, 2016

        Robinson+Cole Lawyers Recognized by Super Lawyers®

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      • August 15, 2016

        Robinson+Cole Receives Top Listing in Connecticut Lawyer Count in The Best Lawyers in America® 2017

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      • May 27, 2016

        Chambers USA Recognizes Robinson+Cole Lawyers and Practice Groups

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      • October 19, 2015

        Robinson+Cole Lawyers Recognized by Super Lawyers®

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      • August 18, 2015

        Robinson+Cole Receives Top Listing in Connecticut Lawyer Count in The Best Lawyers in America® 2016

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      • May 19, 2015

        Robinson+Cole Earns Six Practice Area Rankings in Chambers USA 2015

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      • October 17, 2014

        Robinson+Cole Lawyers Recognized by Super Lawyers

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      • August 19, 2014

        Robinson+Cole Receives Top Listing in Connecticut Lawyer Count in Best Lawyers National Peer Review Survey

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      • May 29, 2014

        Robinson+Cole Earns Rankings in Chambers USA 2014 in all Connecticut Practice Areas

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      • August 16, 2013

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

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      • June 10, 2013

        Chambers USA Ranks Robinson & Cole in Five Practices, Names 17 Attorneys as Leading Lawyers

      • March 1, 2013

        Robinson & Cole Lawyers Selected as James W. Cooper Fellows of the Connecticut Bar Foundation

      • October 22, 2012

        Super Lawyers® Names 49 Robinson & Cole Attorneys to 2012 List and Recognizes 26 as Rising Stars

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      • September 14, 2012

        Ten Robinson & Cole Attorneys Selected as “Lawyers of the Year”

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      • August 28, 2012

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

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      • June 7, 2012

        Chambers USA Ranks Robinson & Cole in Five Practices, Names 16 Attorneys as Leading Lawyers

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      • September 12, 2011

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

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      • June 17, 2011

        Chambers USA Ranks Robinson & Cole in Six Practices, Names 12 Attorneys as Leading Lawyers

    • Newsletters

      Newsletters

      EPA Launches eDisclosure Portal and Modifies FOIA Presumption, co-authored with Robert S. Melvin, Megan E. Baroni and Jonathan H. Schaefer (Dec 2015)