MacDonald Illig's Environmental Law Group counsels and represents clients regarding nearly every facet of federal and state environmental law and regulation in the tri-state region. With more than 65 years of combined experience, many of our environmental attorneys possess scientific or technical backgrounds and/or agency experience. We offer sophisticated, effective advice to aid our clients in reaching their objectives.

Clients of the Environmental Law Group hail from a wide range of industries, including alternative fuels, chemicals, construction, food and beverage, metal fabrication, manufacturing, waste handling, municipal water and sewer, petroleum refining and distribution, real estate development, and many more. Members of these industries turn to MacDonald Illig lawyers for negotiations and litigation before environmental agencies, boards and other administrative bodies, as well as state and federal courts.

Our representative capabilities include but are not limited to:

  • Act 2/Voluntary Action Program/Brownfields Clean-up Program
  • Title V permits
  • State-only air permits
  • PSD/NSR investigations
  • Municipal water and sewer
  • Industrial wastewater
  • State Superfund Laws
  • Municipal, Residual and Hazardous waste
  • Pennvest/Public Financing
  • NPDES permitting
  • Wetlands
  • RCRA
  • USTs
  • Recycling
  • PCBs
  • Civil penalties
  • Consent orders; and
  • Consent decrees

To enhance our provision of comprehensive environmental counseling and representation, our group routinely draws on the resources of MacDonald Illig’s other distinguished business and litigation departments, including the Business Transactions, Commercial Litigation, Construction, and Government Services & Public Finance groups. We are proud of our outstanding reputation within and beyond the tri-state region. We look forward to addressing your environmental law needs.


The MacDonald Illig Environmental Group has been involved in Superfund sites since the inception of CERCLA. We have acted as counsel to many clients at sites throughout the Country; ranging from sites where the client is the only PRP to sites where the client is one of hundreds. We have also acted as head of the executive committee of a superfund site that was turned into a successful golf course; for which, with the engineer/consultants on the project, we received the Diamond Award Certificate of Engineering Excellence from the American Council of Engineering Companies of Pennsylvania. We have also participated in a number of suits brought under CERCLA by both USEPA and private parties.

Civil Penalties

The MacDonald Illig Environmental Group has assisted clients in addressing claims by governmental authorities for civil penalties under federal, state and local environmental laws. We are familiar with the major penalty policies issued by the federal and state environmental agencies and can assist clients in negotiating resolution of penalty claims by the government.

Consent Decrees

The MacDonald Illig Environmental Group has negotiated numerous consent assessments, consent orders and consent decrees on behalf of our clients with both federal and state government agencies. These documents can have significant consequences for the parties entering into them with government agencies and it is important to have experienced environmental counsel, such as the attorneys at MacDonald Illig, to assist you in these negotiations to ensure tha you and/or your company's interests are protected.

Industrial Wastewater

MacDonald Illig's Environmental Law Group assists industrial wastewater clients with all legal issues relating to their industrial wastewater discharge, whether they are direct or indirect discharges. These issues include industrial wastewater pretreatment programs, permits and ordinances, NPDES permit issues and appeals, federal categorical or other industrial wastewater limitations, such as local limits promulgated by a Publicly Owned Treatment Works (POTW), approved pretreatment programs, as well as federal, state and local enforcement matters by USEPA, PADEP or local municipalities.

Municipal or Community Sewer and Water Systems

MacDonald Illig's Environmental Law Group assists clients in all aspects of municipal, public or community sewer and water systems, including NPDES permitting and appeals, DMR violations, CSO and SSO issues, federal pretreatment programs, defense against USEPA and PADEP enforcement actions, Consent Decrees, Administrative Orders on Consent, Consent Orders and Agreements, defense against citizen suits, Act 537 Sewage Plan matters, public bond and/or PENNVEST financing, water and sewer ratemaking and rate disputes, and public or municipal authority legal issues.

Municipal, Residual & Hazardous Waste

The MacDonald Illig Environmental Group assists clients in complying with all waste generator registration and reporting requirements including registration as a hazardous waste generator, annual residual waste reporting requirements including Source Reduction Strategies (Form 25R) and Annual Chemical Analyses (Form 26R), and preparation of Biennial Reports for Hazardous/Residual Waste. We also guide facilities in the proper characterization of wastes or contaminated soils to minimize disposal costs or, where possible, to meet clean fill standards. We also work with landfills, transfer stations, and other waste management facilities to assist them in complying with federal and state permitting and operational requirements. Our experience has included negotiating and litigating permit disputes, flow control ordinances, and disposal/recycling contracts.

NPDES Permitting

MacDonald Illig's Environmental Law Group assists clients in all legal issues relating to NPDES permits, with respect to both municipal and industrial wastewater discharges. Our services include matters relating to issuance and appeals of NPDES permits, numerical effluent limits and other NPDES terms, limitations and standards, public comments and negotiation of draft NPDES permit limits, DMR violations and enforcement, federal categorical pretreatment standards, and industrial wastewater pretreatment programs, permits and local limits approved by Publicly Owned Treatment Works (POTW).

Oil and Gas

MacDonald Illig has the many years of experience needed to effectively represent landowners and business owners who wish to take advantage of new opportunities created by Marcellus Shale and Utica Shale gas development. MacDonald Illig has represented land owners and business owners in Erie, Crawford, Warren, Mercer and Venango Counties in northwestern Pennsylvania in real estate, environmental and business matters. MacDonald Illig's lawyers are experienced in interpreting joint venture agreements, pooling and unitization agreements, surface use agreements, pipeline right-of-way agreements, seismic testing agreements, transportation agreements, and other facility use agreements.

MacDonald Illig's oil and gas lawyers are experienced in reviewing existing leases to determine how to effectively represent landowners if drilling companies propose to drill deeper wells on real estate which is subject to an existing lease. MacDonald Illig's lawyers are also experienced in reviewing proposed leases directed towards toward the Marcellus and Utica shale formations, and the Beekmantown, Trenton Black River, Knox and other conventional gas formations.

MacDonald Illig's business lawyers are knowledgeable in reviewing and revising form agreements proposed by businesses which drill into the shale gas formations. These lawyers can advise Northwestern Pennsylvania businesses which wish to contract with those companies who drill into the Marcellus shale.

MacDonald Illig's estate planning lawyers can assist those land owners who have received up front bonus payments to structure their financial affairs to minimize the effects of income, gift and estate taxes. These estate lawyers can recommend a variety of trusts, family limited partnerships and other ownership forms which can be helpful in passing more of the financial benefits of payments received from shale gas drilling to future generations.


Whether it is ensuring that the client's management of its PCBs has complied with the requirements of the Toxic Substances Control Act ("TSCA") (i.e., properly completing its PCB log, proper labeling and recordkeeping ect.), or assisting in responding to the discovery of PCB contamination or an PCB spill, the MacDonald Illig Environmental Group has been there to provide service to our clients.

PENNVEST and Public Financing

MacDonald Illig's Environmental Law Group assists clients in PENNVEST, USDA/RUS, municipal bond and other public financing transactions to fund public sewer, water and other projects. We assist clients throughout the application, closing and implementation of these public funding projects.

PSD/NSR Investigations

The MacDonald Illig Environmental Group has successfully represented several clients in responding to investigations being conducted by the USEPA to determine whether a violation of the Prevention of Significant Deterioration ("PSD") or the New Source Review ("NSR") regulations issued under the Clean Air Act have been violated. Many of these investigations are triggered by USEPA's decision to investigate a whole sector of industry, such as the petroleum refining industry; while others are triggered by a particular interest in a specific facility. Regardless of the reason behind the investigation, Companies faced with such an investigation need a certain level of experience and understanding of the nuances of the regulations that we can provide to ensure that USEPA reaches the correct conclusions.


The MacDonald Illig Environmental Group provides clients with compliance assistance in meeting the regulatory requirements for characterizing, storing and handling hazardous waste under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). In addition to clarifying regulatory requirements, we assist facilities in preparation for RCRA inspections and if penalties have been assessed, we help facilities respond to USEPA and, where appropriate, challenge agency determinations and penalty assessments. We also help facilities respond to RCRA Corrective Action Environmental Indicators inspections that evaluate sites for migration of contaminated groundwater of exposure of humans to environmental contaminants.


The MacDonald Illig Environmental Group helps facilities with the preparation of Toxic Release Inventory (Form R) reports and Tier II reports summarizing facility storage, use and releases of listed hazardous substances. We also assist facilities in preparation for USEPA facility inspections and in making initial determinations regarding whether their facility exceeds the Form R or Tier II reporting thresholds. We also assist facilities that have failed to report or filed erroneous reports with the submission of voluntary self-disclosures to USEPA to minimize their liability.

State-Only Air Permits

The MacDonald Illig Environmental Group routinely works with clients to prepare state-only air permit applications including both Natural Minor Operating Permits and Synthetic Minor Operating Permits. We work with clients to review possible operational or production limits that can be taken to qualify for a Synthetic Minor Operating Permit and avoid the additional requirements imposed by a Title V Permit. We also review draft permits with clients to ensure that permit conditions are fully understood and the requirements are consistent with existing practices to the greatest extent possible. We represent clients in challenges to permit conditions or enforcement actions. We also assist clients in the preparation of Emission Inventory reports, minor operating permit modifications, and Plan Approvals or Requests for Determination needed to make changes to facility sources or operations.

Title V Permits

The MacDonald Illig Environmental Group assists clients in the preparation of Title V Permit Applications and renewals. We also review draft Title V Permits with clients to ensure that permit conditions are correct and that permit requirements are consistent with existing practices to the greatest extent possible. We also assist facilities with the preparation of required Title V Compliance Certification Reports and Deviation Reports as well as any needed Plan Approvals or permit modifications. We review and comment on proposed regulations such as MACT and NSPS standards and assist clients when these standards are being incorporated into their operating permits.


The MacDonald Illig Environmental Group has assisted tank owners, land owners and potential property purchasers in addressing issues arising from the presence of underground storage tanks. Our experience in underground storage tank issues includes working with consultants to remediate the impact of leaking underground storage tanks, addressing Pennsylvania Underground Storage Tank Indemnification Fund ("USTIF") issues, as well as the permitting required for the installation, transfer and removal of underground storage tanks. MacDonald Illig attorneys have also litigated third-party claims involving damage resulting from storage tank leaks on behalf of injured parties as well as tank owners.


The MacDonald Illig Environmental Group has assisted clients in development involving wetlands. We review the issues that arise in the delineation of wetlands and wetlands permitting at both the state and federal level. We have assisted clients in obtaining wetlands permits as well as in the remediation and/or replacement of wetlands. 

If we might be of service to you for any of these matters, please do not hesitate to contact us