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Permitting, Compliance and Enforcement

  • Overview
  • Attorneys & Professionals
  • Updates, News & Presentations
  • Representative Experience

We provide legal services regarding all aspects of environmental permitting and compliance, which are significant and complex issues that touch the business development plans of most of our clients.

Godfrey & Kahn has represented clients in permitting new and expanded industrial facilities, identifying potential regulatory compliance needs of newly acquired businesses, obtaining permits necessary for new development, and defending clients that are the targets of regulatory enforcement actions.

Godfrey & Kahn is experienced in compliance and permitting legal services in the following areas:

  • Clean Air Act
  • Wetland water quality certification
  • Stormwater management
  • Hazardous waste management
  • Solid waste management
  • Waterfront development
  • Workplace safety
  • PCB and asbestos waste management
  • Hazardous materials communication/community right to know
  • Wastewater management/NPDES permitting
  • Phosphorous trading
  • Specialized water permitting includes adjusting water levels for impounded lakes

We provide our clients innovative approaches to streamline permitting and effectively meet compliance obligations through environmental due diligence, auditing and enforcement defense.

John Clancy

Clancy, John L.

Diane Marchik

Marchik, Diane M.

William Nelson

Nelson, William J.

Sarah Schenck

Schenck, Sarah R.

Mark Skolos

Skolos, Mark C.

Eau ClaireEau Claire
Edward (Ned) Witte

Witte, Edward (Ned) B.


Representative Experience


Baker Cheese
Godfrey & Kahn worked with Baker Cheese to successfully implement the first water quality trade under Wisconsin’s new stringent phosphorus standards for its wastewater treatment plant through the development of a unique Water Quality Trade Agreement and Water Quality Trading Plan. Under this agreement and plan, Baker implemented a prairie restoration on three farm fields in order to generate phosphorus credits. This unique trade agreement allows Baker to save significantly on both the capital and operating costs while reducing phosphorus emissions significantly compared to treatment alone.

Federal and State Air Permitting
Godfrey & Kahn represents numerous manufacturers in negotiations with, and where necessary, challenges to state and federal air permitting agencies regarding terms and conditions contained in air permits including those for large scale PSD sources.

Minergy Waste Recycling Facility
Godfrey & Kahn negotiated a settlement agreement with the DNR and environmental groups that allowed permitting and development of a waste vitrification plant on a former landfill along the banks of Little Lake Butte des Morts, Wisconsin. This facility processed over 1,000 tons of paper mill waste per day, transforming it into a useful product that is used throughout the state in construction projects.

Oneida Seven Generations Corporation
Godfrey & Kahn provided legal advice to Oneida Seven Generations Corporation (OSGC), for permitting matters required for a proposed innovative $20 million waste to energy project. The project proposed to convert solid waste to energy (electricity and oil) through the use of pyrolysis. After all the permits were obtained, Green Bay revoked the previously issued conditional use permit (CUP) as a result of public opposition. Godfrey & Kahn represented OSGC at all of the stages of appeal for the project and was successful at the Wisconsin Court of Appeals and Supreme Court in obtaining a reversal of the City’s decision to revoke the CUP.

Ozone Nonattainment
Godfrey & Kahn has represented municipal and county governments in negotiations with state and federal environmental agencies regarding the preparation and implementation of state implementation plans for ozone nonattainment areas.

Permitting and Compliance for Electronics Recycling Facilities
Godfrey & Kahn assisted an electronics recycler to expand its business to four new facilities nationwide by providing a legal analysis of waste management rules for the various electronic components handled by the recycler.

Permitting Wind Farm Manufacturing Facility
Godfrey & Kahn represented a fabricator of wind farm components to establish a new facility in Wisconsin. The facility required air permitting and a stormwater permit for new construction. With the assistance of technical consultants, Godfrey & Kahn successfully negotiated storm water and air permits for the facility.

Private Development – Village of Saukville, Wisconsin
Our client sought permits necessary to develop a parcel of land that included low-quality wetlands created as the result of a previous excavation on the site. With the assistance of technical consultants, Godfrey & Kahn demonstrated to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that the area did not meet the legal definition of a wetland and the development was permitted to proceed.

Village of Mount Pleasant, Wisconsin and Racine, Wisconsin Water Utility
Godfrey & Kahn provided legal advice regarding state and federal wetland permitting matters for a significant water and sewer construction project for Mount Pleasant, Wisconsin

Water Quality Related Effluent Limits
Godfrey & Kahn represents four publically owned treatment facilities in challenges to the terms and condition contained in their respective WPDES permits. In particular, these permit matters involve challenges to the stringent water quality related effluent limits for phosphorus along with challenged to the timelines for compliance which accompany these permits.

Wetland Fill Permitting
Godfrey & Kahn has advised numerous commercial and government clients regarding wetland fill permitting. For example, Godfrey & Kahn recently assisted a commercial client in developing a property that permitted fill of low-quality wetlands. The project also included wetland preservation and enhancement elsewhere on the same property.


A.O. Smith Corporation
Godfrey & Kahn provides environmental advice for A.O. Smith which owns and operates more than 10 water heater manufacturing locations throughout North America. The environmental advice that Godfrey & Kahn provides to A.O. Smith on a regular basis includes advice on Superfund liability for former disposal sites, clean up advice under state and federal law at former manufacturing facilities, compliance with environmental laws, and strategies for selling former contaminated manufacturing facilities to third party buyers consistent with A.O. Smith’s strong corporate culture to ensure compliance and mitigate environmental liabilities at its manufacturing facilities. A.O. Smith is a Fortune 500 company and headquartered in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Michels Corporation
Godfrey & Kahn represents Michels Corporation in ongoing environmental compliance strategies for company. Arthur J. Harrington has served as lead outside counsel for the company on those compliance matters. Michels Corporation is the largest construction company for pipeline installation in North America.

Wacker Neuson
Godfrey & Kahn provides outside regulatory compliance advice for the emission requirements applicable to small engine off-road vehicles under the Clean Air Act. Wacker Neuson is a manufacturer of construction equipment which incorporates engines that are subject to these requirements, some of which are manufactured by Wacker Neuson and others by third party suppliers. Godfrey & Kahn assisted Wacker Neuson in complying with complex Clean Air Act emission requirements on the sale of its products throughout the United States.

Quad/Graphics, Inc.
Godfrey & Kahn has provided comprehensive advice to all North American plants consistent with Quad/Graphics, Inc. innovative business practices and its high environmental standards. We provided all outside environmental compliance advice for Quad/Graphics, Inc. which owns and operates more than 40 printing facilities located throughout North America. It is the second largest printing company in North America. In addition, Godfrey & Kahn has provided Quad/Graphics, Inc. with advice on very complex air permitting issues including proposals for regulatory flexibility that can be provided in air permits to allow changes in operations without significant regulatory burden under the air permitting requirements. Godfrey & Kahn previously provided compliance advice in connection with a number of printing companies which, combined, included more than 50 manufacturing facilities purchased by Quad/Graphics, Inc.


Bypass and Overflow Enforcement Action
Godfrey & Kahn acted as lead counsel representing 28 communities in an enforcement action instigated by the Wisconsin Attorney General in 2005. Wisconsin vs. MMSD, et al., was a land use dispute involving management of water inflow in the sewer distribution systems in each of these communities. Godfrey & Kahn worked alongside the municipal attorneys for the seven lead communities to negotiate a settlement for all 28 communities that resulted in zero fines and a settlement shield for all involved.

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