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River Restoration

The Lower Fox River and Green Bay portion of Lake Michigan (the “Fox River Site”) represents one of the world’s largest river and harbor environmental projects. Our client was identified as a potentially responsible party in 1994, along with six other paper mills located along the Fox River. Since then, we have focused considerable attention on governmental claims by (1) directing complex and multidisciplinary technical evaluations (including remedial investigation, fate and transport modeling, ecological and human health risk assessments, and natural resource damage assessments); (2) overseeing public and governmental relations at the federal, state, and local levels; (3) negotiating and directing implementation of a consent decree and an amended consent decree to perform response actions in Operable Unit 1 (OU1) beginning in 2004 (seven river miles, at a cost exceeding $100 Million); (4) responding to a Unilateral Administrative Order for Remedial Action issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 2007 to perform and fund remedial action in Operable Units 2–5 (32 river miles, at a cost of $600–$800 million over 10-plus years); and (5) addressing natural resource damage claims of seven federal, state, and tribal trustees. Based on the technical and legal case we developed, for example, the agencies issued an amended remedy for the river segment (OU1) that our client remediated (with one other party). The cost savings due to the amended remedy exceeded $50 million. As a bonus, ongoing sampling indicates that site risks are being reduced more quickly than originally anticipated.