JAMES BIEKE is senior counsel in Sidley’s Environmental group. He focuses on environmental and natural resources law and policy, with a particular emphasis on complex scientific, technical, economic and legal issues and cleanup of complex contaminated sites. For 40 years, Mr. Bieke has handled environmental and natural resource cases in federal and state courts and before federal and state administrative agencies. He provides advice to clients on numerous legal, technical, scientific and policy issues under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA), the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act and other federal and state environmental statutes and regulations.
Mr. Bieke has worked on numerous environmental investigations and cleanups under CERCLA, RCRA corrective action and comparable state laws, focusing in the last 30 years on large sites involving contaminated waterways, sediments, floodplains and the associated fish and wildlife. He has extensive knowledge and wide experience in human health and ecological risk assessments, issues relating to PCBs and other scientific and technical issues. He has also prepared many access agreements and institutional controls, and has given presentations on EPA’s institutional controls guidance.
In addition, he has worked on issues relating to natural resource damages (NRD), having handled cases involving NRD claims at specific sites, prepared comments on the NRD assessment regulations of the Interior Department and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and handled litigation challenging those regulations.
Further, he has worked extensively on issues relating to the setting of and challenges to National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) under the Clean Air Act, representing trade associations and groups of companies and trade associations.
Mr. Bieke’s representative matters include the following:
- He represents the main potentially responsible party in connection with the investigation and remediation of contaminated sediments and soils in and near the Hudson River in New York, in and near a former manufacturing plant in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, and in and near the Housatonic River in Massachusetts and Connecticut. These representations included the successful negotiation of complex and innovative consent decrees with the United States, including the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and state environmental agencies. They have also included implementation of those decrees, including sampling, risk assessments, remedy evaluations, interactions with other private parties and the States, remedial design, remedial action, deed restrictions, and post-remediation monitoring and maintenance.
- He represents clients in other cases involving contaminated river and stream sediments, upland soils, and groundwater.
- He represents a group of numerous trade associations in challenging EPA’s revision of the NAAQS for ozone.
Mr. Bieke has been recognized for his practice in Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business, The Best Lawyers in America, and Who’s Who in Environmental Law.