Philip L. Comella, Esq. is a Partner in the Litigation Practice Group and Co-Leader of the Environment and Energy Practice Group. Phil’s practice spans both regulatory counseling and environmental-based litigation. With over three decades of experience in environmental law, and a focus on the solid and hazardous waste industry, he regularly counsels owners and operators of landfills, treatment facilities, recycling operations, and waste generators on compliance and permitting matters arising under the environmental laws. Phil began his legal career by spending seven years as in-house counsel for a major waste management company, where he had responsibility for hazardous and solid waste issues arising across the country.
Solid and Hazardous Waste Industry
Phil has wide-ranging and deep experience in solid and hazardous waste matters arising under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), including citizen suits, enforcement actions, permitting, and compliance. He has represented generators, transporters, and fixed facilities on a myriad of issues arising under this statute and state counterparts, including solid waste, hazardous waste, TENORM (technologically enhanced naturally occurring radioactive materials), used oil, and clean-up standards. Phil has also worked on numerous PCB matters over the last 30 years, including those involving disposal clean-up requirements, dilution, and coordinated waste approvals. He has worked on multiple facets of the Comprehensive Environmental Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA or Superfund), including defending enforcement actions, responding to information requests, negotiating ROD amendments, and heading up PRP groups. With a long history in both Superfund and Brownfields, he is experienced in applying clean-up standards across regulatory fields, and negotiating contract conditions and insurance provisions to reduce environmental liability.
Enforcement Actions and Litigation
Phil has defended clients in a broad array of enforcement actions and compliance matters brought under virtually every environmental law. These matters have ranged from claims of improper waste disposal, faulty waste characterization, and closures of treatment, storage and disposal facilities, to landfill odors, TENORM management, and unauthorized PCB treatment. He has negotiated settlement agreements on these matters with environmental regulatory agencies in virtually every EPA region and in over twenty different states. He has a long history of defending companies from toxic tort lawsuits relating to the release of hazardous chemicals, including groundwater contaminants, odors, and air pollutants, including sulfuric acid, sulfur trioxide, landfill gas, and phosphoric acid.
Landfill Gas and Renewable Energy
He has represented landfill owners, developers, and end-users on all aspects of landfill gas projects, including contract drafting, negotiation, regulatory compliance, enforcement action defense, and litigation to enforce contract rights. He also has experience with the permitting of hydropower plants under the Clean Water Act.
Environmental-Based Construction and Engineering Claims
Phil’s practice also encompasses construction claims with an environmental component. For example, he has defended clients on construction claims involving mold contamination and asbestos removal. He has worked extensively in the area of classifying construction and demolition debris in numerous projects, including stadium demolition and electrical installations. He also has extensive experience defending environmental and engineering professionals against negligence and contract claims.
J.D., George Washington University Law School, with honors
B.A., Beloit College, cum laude