Environment & Life Sciences

Steptoe works in a broad range of dynamic, international regulatory fields which require mastering not just the law but the underlying science.  We have built an integrated team of lawyers, scientists, and technical consultants to guide clients through the complex, politically charged, and ever-changing regulatory landscape.  In addition, when necessary, we litigate matters that involve hazardous substances and wastes, air and water quality, land use, CEQA, toxic torts and other environmental matters, including state and federal Superfund liability, National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permitting and compliance issues, California’s Safe Drinking Water & Toxic Enforcement Act (Proposition 65), California’s Safer Consumer Products Law (Green Chemistry Initiative) and all other California environmental laws.  We also prosecute and defend claims under federal and state environmental statutory schemes, including the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), California’s Hazardous Substances Account Act (HSAA), and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA).

With questions of health, safety, and the environment receiving ever greater scrutiny from regulators who coordinate their efforts across national borders, our skills provide us with practical solutions to overcome regulatory hurdles. Steptoe has a reputation for constructive engagement with regulators and legislators to shape our clients’ commercial environment.  We have a particular focus on the US, European Union, and China markets.

We have particular experience helping clients in five principal fields:

Our clients are national and multinational companies, trade associations, and public institutions. They consult us in five principal areas:

  • Building and executing strategies for compliance with cross-sector regulatory schemes, including pre-market authorizations
  • Legal advocacy before decision makers on legislative, administrative, and policy proposals in order to help shape the general regulatory environment and product-specific regulation
  • Assessment and management of environmental risks accompanying corporate acquisitions and disposals
  • Regulatory monitoring and analysis to keep abreast of the latest legal developments
  • Representation before the courts, administrative authorities, and enforcement bodies

We have particular experience helping clients in the following sectors:

  • Agricultural Biotechnology (GMOs)
  • Antimicrobials & Biocides
  • Automotive
  • Chemicals (Commodity & Specialty)
  • Cosmetics
  • Defense
  • Electronics
  • Energy
  • Flavors and Fragrances
  • Food Contact Materials
  • Food, Feed, and Seeds
  • Medical Devices
  • Metals
  • Mining
  • Nanotechnologies
  • Pipeline
  • Plant Protection Products (pesticides)
  • Plastics
  • Textiles
  • Transportation
  • Waste