Boston College Law School, J.D.
  • cum laude
Boston College, A.B.
  • Political Science and Philosophy
  • magna cum laude; Phi Beta Kappa


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Steven Nadeau is a well-respected environmental attorney. His federal and state Superfund practice has included precedent-setting accomplishments for his clients in the context of sediment management, PCB remediation, compliance matters, brownfield redevelopment, cost recovery litigation and lender liability, and alternative dispute resolution, including:

  • Coordinating Director, Sediment Management Work Group (SMWG) (1998 to present):
    • Instrumental in organizing a new ad hoc industry group whose mission statement is to "advance risk-based, scientifically sound approaches for evaluation of sediment management decisions." Has served as Coordinating Director for the Group since May 1998 and under his leadership its membership has grown to over three dozen members. This organization includes a diverse national industrial membership and currently is implementing a number of initiatives in support of its mission statement. The SMWG continues to play a strong role in shaping public policy on sediment management at the national, regional, and state levels.
  • National Contaminated Sediment Practice:
    • Developed a vibrant national practice assisting individual or multiple potentially responsible parties (PRP) at complex contaminated sediment sites around the country, including Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Ohio, Wisconsin, New Jersey, New York, and the Pacific Northwest. 
    • Serves as primary advisor, lead counsel, and strategist at various sediment sites
    • Frequently provides ancillary support to supplement existing site teams in a number of areas, including peer reviewing key site documents to optimize their technical advocacy and to ensure the benefits of the risk-based approach reflected in current national contaminated sediment policy are fully optimized
    • Called upon to serve in a cameo role to provide resources, ideas, and strategy on complex sediment sites 
    • Involved on the national contaminated sediment scene for more than 20 years, including close work with EPA headquarters’ senior management in the Office of Superfund Remediation Technology Innovation (OSRTI) group 
    • Engaged with the federal contaminated sediment program, including EPA’s Contaminated Sediment Technical Advisory Group (CSTAG) and advises and assists companies interested in optimizing the effective utilization of this important review opportunity at complex sediment sites
    • Served as a peer reviewer in 2007 of the National Research Council’s Report, Dredging Effectiveness at Superfund Megasites: Assessing the Effectiveness (2007)
    • Expert on the Great Lakes Legacy Act (GLLA) and assists companies in preparing, submitting, and securing approval of GLLA funding for remedial activities at contaminated sediment sites in the Great Lakes
  • Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA):
    • Extensive experience in federal and state Superfund proceedings and has represented a number of site steering committees and individual companies in Michigan, the Midwest, and across the country.
  • Allocation and Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR):
    • Active in multi-party federal and state Superfund site allocation issues for many years and in a number of contexts, including service as an allocation consultant, mediation of litigation disputes, representation of individual parties in third party neutral allocation proceedings, and representation of private parties in formal ADR proceedings with EPA.
    • Served for a number of years as a mediator in the Michigan state court system
  • Environmental Litigation: 
    • Extensive environmental litigation experience involving prosecution and defense of cost recovery and contribution matters involving government agency claims and PRP litigation
  • Marina and Shoreline Development, Dredging, and Wetlands:
    • Extensive experience assisting clients in obtaining the necessary federal and state permits for marina development and/or renovation and navigational dredging. With the recent onset of low water in the Great Lakes, secured expedited permit approvals and, in several instances, successfully secured approval to dispose of the dredged spoils as "inert" following appropriate testing, saving hundreds of thousands of dollars cumulatively on several projects
  • Transactional Issues:
    • Maintains an active practice counseling business clients on environmental regulatory requirements and liabilities in corporate mergers, acquisitions, and divestitures and relating to the purchase, sale, and financing of real estate
  • Brownfield Redevelopment:
    • Extensive experience on brownfield projects, including successfully securing hundreds of thousands of dollars in reimbursement and/or tax credits for clients


Representative Matters

  • Lead counsel on the Manistique Harbor Superfund Site (1992 to 1996):
    • Orchestrated a substantial technical and administrative effort as lead counsel culminating in acceptance by Region V of an underwater capping remedy which was $30 million less than the dredging remedy favored by the Region. This capping remedy was selected following a de novo EPA Headquarters review of the Region's initial recommendation to dredge. Later, negotiated a full cash-out (with no remedial reopeners) final settlement with Region V consisting of payment equivalent to the $3.8 million low bid for the capping remedy, combined with the projected $1.7 million budgeted for long-term operation and maintenance costs and past costs, rounded to $6 million. The EPA dredging costs ultimately exceeded $35 million.
  • Common Counsel/Administrative Counsel/Special Counsel:
    • Forest Waste Landfill CERCLA Site (1986-present), negotiated a remedy change saving approximately $14 million; negotiated $1 million in past cost forgiveness from U.S. EPA; secured over $1.0 million in settlements from three bankrupt companies; and negotiated $1 million settlement from four PRP defendants in a contribution suit prior to the commencement of any discover.
    • Rasmussen Landfill CERCLA Site (1988-present), ushered the group through the site investigation, remedy selection, and remedy implementation phases and helped the group through a third-party neutral allocation process.
    • Fons/Old Wayne Landfills Part 201 (Michigan) Site, negotiated a voluntary cleanup with a presumptive remedy (engineered cap) in a Michigan Part 201 proceeding, keeping the site off the NPL and skipping the Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study and the remedy selection phases. The remedy was implemented following a "pre-design study" utilizing only a two-page letter as the "enforcement" documentation.
    • Served as common, administrative, and/or special counsel at a number of CERCLA and state Superfund sites. Examples include: 
  • Facilitated EPA's interpretation of Toxic Substances and Control Act (TSCA), which liberalized flexibility for PCBs cleanups at CERCLA sites:
    • Drafted comments, which resulted in change in EPA's application of TSCA to PCBs containment remedies at Superfund sites and expansion of the Standard Scrap decision. Standard Scrap had rigidly and arbitrarily banned containment remedies if PCB concentrations exceeded 50 ppm unless they were found in areas which historically had been intended as disposal locations, e.g., landfills or surface impoundments. EPA Headquarters agreed that a correct interpretation of TSCA would permit the use of containment remedies at all sites, based on an evaluation of protectiveness of the proposed remedy on a site-specific basis.
    • Retained as special counsel by the Metamora Landfill site PRP group, a Michigan CERCLA site, to seek a reopener of the Record of Decision (ROD)'s cap remedy; orchestrated approval by Region V and MDEQ of design changes, which are expected to save approximately $1.4 million
  • Allocation and ADR:
    • Served as Allocation Consultant for the Ewan and D'Imperio Sites in New Jersey (1992-1993) in which he allocated $30 million in potential liability among 22 PRPs. The allocation involved a complex drum recycling operation which utilized six different sites and included evaluation of 8,600 pages of testimony and 20,000 pages of documents
    • Represented an auto manufacturer in ADR with EPA Region V (1994) where he successfully negotiated a substantial reduction in the EPA Region V response costs in a pilot ADR project involving a third-party mediator
  • Environmental Litigation: 
    • Amicus counsel to U.S. Department of Justice in the John R. Gravel vs. United States Environmental “Takings” Case, which was decided favorably in the U.S. Supreme Court
    • Kelley vs. Tiscornia Lender Liability Case (1992 to 1997): Served as senior environmental co-counsel; won summary judgment in favor of bank in first reported decision applying EPA's Lender Liability Rule; affirmed in the U.S. Sixth Circuit in first reported decision applying the September 1996 CERCLA Lender Liability statutory amendment
  • Marina and Shoreline Development, Dredging and Wetlands:
    • Assisted clients on several wetlands matters, both in the permitting and enforcement arenas
  • Compliance Counseling and Enforcement Defense:
    • Counseled a broad cross section of industrial clients on a variety of compliance issues, including traditional compliance audits and compliance audits conducted under the EPA Audit Policy and under Michigan's unique Privilege and Immunity Statute
    • Represented clients in the enforcement compliance setting
  • Brownfield Redevelopment:
    • Assisted a number of clients in taking full advantage of Michigan's number-one ranked brownfield program of tax credits, grants, and assistance covering investigation and remediation costs, infrastructure, and construction costs, among others, for qualified brownfield projects



  • The Best Lawyers in America, 1991-2022
    • Recognized in practice area of Environmental Law
    • Detroit Environmental Law "Lawyer of the Year," 2010
  • DBusiness, Top Lawyers, 2010-2019
  • Michigan Super Lawyers, 2006-2019
  • Leading Lawyers Magazine Michigan, 2017
    • Recognized in practice areas of:
      • ADR Law: Commercial Real Estate, Environmental & Construction
      • Environmental Law
  • 2011 Outstanding Environmental Professional of the Year for Michigan by the Michigan Association of Environmental Professionals (MAEP)
  • Martindale-Hubbell AV® Preeminent™ Peer Review Rated

Professional & Community Involvement

  • American Bar Association
    • Environment, Energy and Resources Section
  • State Bar of Michigan
    • Environmental Law Section
    • Real Estate Section
  • Detroit Metropolitan Bar Association
    • Environmental Law Section
  • Greater Detroit Area Chamber of Commerce
    • Environmental and Energy Policy Committee

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