Skip to main content

Jeffrey Talbert is an accomplished trial attorney and environmental lawyer who focuses on environmental litigation, permitting, and risk management. He also serves as a mediator and allocator of costs at Superfund Sites and has significant experience in all major environmental statutes.

Prior to joining the firm, Jeff led the environmental group at a Chambers-ranked law firm and was a Trial Attorney at the U.S. Department of Justice’s Environmental Enforcement Section. At the U.S. DOJ, he led one of the largest Clean Water Act cases in U.S. history, the first Clean Air Act case under EPA’s pulp and paper initiative related to New Source Review, the largest Natural Resource Damages case under the Park Service Resource Protection Act, and numerous CERCLA and RCRA cases. Jeff received numerous awards for his work, including EPA's Gold Medal for exceptional service.

Jeff’s extensive public service and private practice experience includes working on over 70 CERCLA/Superfund or RCRA sites across the United States, including cases involving contaminated sediments and natural resource damages. He has also led cases involving the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, the Natural Resources Protection Act, and the Endangered Species Act.

Jeff has significant first-chair trial experience in complex commercial cases, including several with exposure over a billion dollars. He is lead trial counsel for a group of 70 parties in litigation involving potential responsibility for cleanup costs at the Lower Passaic River estimated at over $2 billion. Jeff’s commercial trial experience includes cases involving environmental laws, antitrust, securities, patents, trademark, contract disputes, and anti-terrorism.

Experience

  • A group of over 70 companies as lead liaison counsel in three litigation matters regarding CERCLA remediation costs associated with the Lower Passaic River in New Jersey estimated $1.8 billion. Manage all aspects of the cases, coordinate litigation team involving multiple law firms (over 200 lawyers), and handle all court appearances and oral arguments. Negotiated settlement agreement in one of the matters between over 80 companies and the United States.*
  • Chemical company as lead counsel in defense of RCRA citizen suit for injunctive relief associated with contamination of sediments in the Penobscot River, one of New England's largest river systems and estuary. Estimated range of remediation $200 million to $1 billion. Three phases of litigation including, month-long trial in Federal District Court involving testimony from 22 expert witnesses in various technical aspects of contaminated sediment issues including: fate and transport, stable isotope analysis, geochemistry of marsh areas.*
  • Large trust in successful Second Circuit Appeal overturning Northern District of New York dismissal of CERCLA sections 107 and 113. Handled the oral argument before the Second Circuit.*
  • Hydropower producer as co-lead counsel in several citizen suits under the Endangered Species Act challenging biological opinions and incidental take status allowing hydropower projects to operate. Achieved dismissal of prior action in Federal District Court on jurisdictional grounds. Successfully opposed appeal to the First Circuit Court of Appeals and prevailed in defeating a related challenge in the D.C. Court of Appeals.*
  • Chemical company in PFAS litigation brought by State of Maine for Natural Resource Damages for alleged contamination.*
  • Fourth largest coal company in the United States as lead counsel in a major Clean Water Act case regarding penalties and injunctive relief to address thousands of NPDES permit violations spanning several states. Obtained companywide injunctive relief valued at $10 million and a $20 million penalty, which was the largest civil penalty ever paid for Clean Water Act permit violations at the time and is still one of the largest penalties paid for such violations.*
  • Large chemical company as lead counsel in defense of state enforcement action seeking $250 million remedy to address mercury contaminated soils, sediments, and groundwater at RCRA and Maine Uncontrolled Hazardous Substances Site. Conducted opening statements, key directs, and cross examinations in two-week state administrative hearing that led to modified order saving client $150 million.* 
  • Large oil company as lead and co-counsel in state lead natural resource damage case.*
  • Department of Interior as lead and co-counsel in settlement negotiations of natural resource damages from mercury in the South River in Virginia.*
  • Department of Interior as lead and co-counsel in settlement negotiations of natural resource damages at Palmerton Site in Pennsylvania.*
  • While at U.S. DOJ, Jeff was co-lead counsel in first Clean Air Act case brought pursuant to EPA's Pulp & Paper Initiative under the federal New Source Review Program. First phase of this case involved a week-long trial in Maryland U.S. District Court regarding the availability of Best Available Control Technology for alleged violations of EPA's Prevention of Significant Deterioration Program.*
  • While at U.S. DOJ, Jeff represented the Park Service in a Natural Resource Damages case involving civil action to recover natural resource damages for harm to Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado. Case settlement obtained on eve of trial for the largest natural resource damages recovery to date under the Park Services Resource Protection Act.*

*Reflects experience at previous employer.

Recognition

American College of Environmental Lawyers (2023)
Senior Fellow, Litigation Counsel of America (2019-2024)
Chambers USA
Band 1 Environmental  (2020 – 2024)
More

Credentials

Education

  • J.D., University of Michigan Law School, 2000
  • B.A., Kalamazoo College, 1997, cum laude

Admissions

  • District of Columbia
  • Hawaii
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • New Jersey
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
  • U.S. District Court, District of Massachusetts
  • U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey

Government & Military Service

  • Trial Attorney, Environmental Enforcement Section, Environment and Natural Resources Division, U.S. Department of Justice, (2004–2008)

Activities

  • American College of Environmental Lawyers
  • American Bar Association, Natural Resources & Environmental Section and Litigation Section
  • District of Columbia Bar Association
  • Trial Law Institute and Diversity Law Institute, Litigation Counsel of America
Overview