Steven Poplawski is the leader of the firm’s Environmental group. He provides compliance counseling regarding a wide range of regulatory issues in all major environmental areas, including air, waste, and water. These representations have included counseling on self-disclosure of violations and negotiations with both state and federal regulators of appropriate settlements often involving multiple facilities throughout the country. They have also included complex and sometimes controversial permitting projects requiring teaming with clients, consultant and public relations personnel. Mr. Poplawski has managed compliance audits for a variety of manufacturing and transportation facilities, including air plane maintenance facilities. These audits have led to the development of compliance programs designed to enhance future compliance and achieve corporate sustainability goals. On behalf of buyers, sellers and lenders, he has supervised and planned environmental audits, led environmental due diligence teams, and negotiated the environmental provisions of numerous corporate acquisitions and real estate transactions.
In addition to extensive compliance counseling experience, Mr. Poplawski has represented corporations on serious enforcement matters:
Led negotiations on New Source Review enforcement matters involving single and multiple facilities, including preparation of historic analysis of modifications and emission changes convincing agency that no further action was required.
Led environmental audit teams organized to identify and correct environmental issues at facilities nationwide in response to criminal investigation begun at one facility.
Successfully defended aircraft maintenance company against two count felony indictment in federal court. Case settled for misdemeanor plea and no conviction for individual defendants after Company prevailed on a motion to dismiss the Clean Water count of the indictment.
Mr. Poplawski has represented corporate clients in environmental litigation for twenty-five years in both state and federal judicial and administrative tribunals throughout the United States. Mr. Poplawski also has extensive experience in representing Debtors with regard to the treatment of environmental liabilities in bankruptcy. He has represented both plaintiff and defendant corporations in federal and state statutory and common law cost recovery actions involving a variety of contaminants including metals, petroleum products, chlorinated solvents, dioxin and PCBs. The following matters are representative of Mr. Poplawski’s experience:
Represented owner in overseeing litigation of Superfund claim involving PCBs in Delaware River sediment. Used bankruptcy process and estimation proceeding to successfully resolve twenty-year old CERCLA litigation.
Successfully represented Fortune 100 company in Superfund action that resulted in client being fully reimbursed for cleanup of historic lead contamination.
Successfully represented Fortune 100 company against Superfund claim in federal court, prevailing on summary judgment.
Successfully represented three plaintiffs in separate cost recovery actions in state court for petroleum contamination. In each case, the client either recovered all response costs incurred or the defendant agreed to perform the necessary cleanup in compliance with state standards.
Defended hazardous waste disposal company in state court injunction action seeking removal of forty acre land disposal facility. Work included research on alternative remedies.
Lastly, Mr. Poplawski serves as the chair of the Environmental Committee of the Regional Commerce and Growth Association of Metropolitan St. Louis, where he works on enhancing business development consistent with sustainability goals for the St. Louis Region. He is also the chair of the firm’s sustainability committee. These positions give him a unique perspective from which to advise clients on their sustainability efforts.
Bar and Court Admissions
United States District Courts for the Eastern District of Missouri and Northern and Southern Districts of Illinois
University of Chicago, J.D., 1986
Yale University, B.A., 1983
Co-author - Air Chapter, Missouri Environmental Law Deskbook
Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis - Environmental Committee
St. Louis Regional Commerce and Growth Association - Chair, Environmental Committee
Civic Involvement and Honors
The Best Lawyers in America, Environmental Law, 2011-2013
Chambers USA, Environmental, 2010