Environmental Law: Mr. Schwartz counsels clients from myriad industries, including manufacturing and financial institutions, regarding environmental issues. Much of his environmental practice relates to corporate, finance, mergers and acquisitions and real estate transactions. He works with purchasers, sellers and developers to avoid or minimize the risk of environmental liability and to pursue strategies for defraying the cost of environmental compliance. His services include reviewing environmental site assessments, baseline environmental assessments and due care plans; counseling clients in connection with acquisition, sale and use of real property; counseling clients on compliance with environmental regulatory matters; defending clients in response to environmental claims asserted by the government or by third parties, and assisting clients in obtaining environmental grants, tax credits, and financing. His environmental law experience includes permitting, compliance, reporting, audits, and enforcement. Specific matters have involved:
Superfund and Michigan Part 201: experience in dealing with state environmental clean up laws and federal superfund laws from the initial notice and request for information by U.S. EPA and state agencies through remediation. Mr. Schwartz has counseled and defended clients with respect to specific topics with Superfund including evaluation of potential liability, allocation of liability, evaluation of settlement approaches, officer and director liability and natural resources damage claims. He has served as the group administrator for a group of potentially responsible parties performing response activities at a Superfund site in Michigan since 1997.
Underground Storage Tanks: experience with environmental issues affecting individuals and businesses who own and/or operate underground storage tanks (UST). He is knowledgeable about regulation compliance issues including UST standards, upgrades and removal; operating requirements, release reporting, financial responsibility, permitting and recordkeeping. He assists clients with financial programs geared toward reimbursement of cleanup costs, including the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality’s Refined Petroleum Temporary Reimbursement Program.
Brownfield Redevelopment: experience in counseling client on issues related to redeveloping industrial or commercial sites complicated by environmental contamination. He advises clients on obtaining reimbursement of expenses incurred for assessment, risk reduction, and remediation of brownfield properties through negotiation of purchase agreement terms as well as through publicly available grants, low interest loans, tax credits and tax increment financing offered by local municipalities and brownfield redevelopment authorities.
Natural Resources: experience in counseling client on natural resources permitting and enforcement matters, including wetlands, sand dune, groundwater and surface water use and development.
Regulatory Compliance: experience in assisting in regulatory compliance and enforcement matters including asbestos abatement, PCB regulation and remediation, hazardous materials transportation, release reporting, and hazardous waste management.
Banking and Financial Institutions: Mr. Schwartz works with many different types of financial institutions, such as banks, savings and loan associations, and credit unions, ranging in size from large regional banks to smaller community banks. He also represents insurance companies and other financial services providers. Mr. Schwartz handles corporate, commercial, asset-based and acquisition financings. He drafts and reviews loan and security documents, policies, and procedures. He has extensive experience representing lenders in connection with a full-range of secured and unsecured transactions including direct purchase tax exempt bonds, co-lending arrangements, syndicated and participation loans, revolving loans, term loans, and letters of credit. He also has experience with the following specialized types of loans: real estate loans, construction loans and aircraft loans. Some examples of recent work in this practice area include: Doing all of the loan work in Michigan for one of the largest property and casualty insurance companies in the nation with a financial strength of $2.5 billion in assets. This includes properties for commercial offices, apartment complexes and retail strip malls. Representing the agent in connection with a syndicated working capital loan in the amount of $150 million to a hospital health system. Representing
Professional Affiliations, Activities and Honors: Mr. Schwartz belongs to the American Bar Association, State Bar of Michigan, and the National Association of Bond Lawyers. He is a member of the Grand Rapids Bar Association and is a past chair of the Environmental Law Section.
Articles and Presentations: Mr. Schwartz speaks on environmental matters such as EPA’s “All Appropriate Inquiry” regulations to professional organizations. He has also authored articles on environmental law on a range of topics including underground tanks and mold contamination.
Community Activities: Mr. Schwartz is a former member of the supervisory committee for Associated Builders and Contractors Credit Union, and former member of the board of directors of Green Built, Inc., a non-profit corporation dedicated to the promotion and certification of environmentally sustainable home construction.
Education: Mr. Schwartz received his law degree, cum laude, in 1983 from Wayne State University Law School where he was Note and Comment Editor for the Law Review, Order of the Coif and won the American Jurisprudence Award for Commercial Transactions. He earned his undergraduate degree cum laude in 1980 from University of Michigan. He is admitted to practice in Michigan.