Overview

Susan Hearne Richardson concentrates her practice in the area of environmental law, including regulatory and compliance counseling, due diligence for real estate and corporate transactions, permitting, enforcement and hazardous site remediation. Ms. Richardson has significant experience in advising clients with regard to wastewater permitting and enforcement issues, particularly as applicable to municipal governments.

Ms. Richardson was recognized in The Best Lawyers in America® for Environmental Law in 2018 and the ten years immediately preceding. She is listed in the 2018 and the nine years immediately preceding editions of Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business for Environmental Law. Ms. Richardson was recognized in the 2009 Legal 500 US and named to The International Who's Who of Business Lawyers for 2009. She was named a Georgia "Super Lawyer" in Environmental Law in 2016 and the seven years immediately preceding by Super Lawyers magazine. Ms. Richardson has been named as one of Georgia Trend's 2012 and 2016 "Legal Elite" for Environmental Law and is AV® rated by Martindale-Hubbell.*

*CV, BV, and AV are registered certification marks of Reed Elsevier Properties Inc., used in accordance with the Martindale-Hubbell certification procedure's standards and policies.

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Experience

Represent Glynn County, Georgia with regard to the purchase of a major brownfields property, which currently is listed on the federal Superfund list. This work involved negotiation of a purchase agreement with a Fortune 100 company and obtaining other Brownfields protection, including a “Ready for Reuse” determination from U.S. EPA.

Advice to one of the largest U.S. forest products manufacturers in connection with carbon sequestration issues in the Southeast.

Represented developer with regard to federal citizen suit action brought by adjacent property owner claiming violations of General NPDES Stormwater permit as well as state law nuisance and trespass claims. This matter was resolved on favorable terms for our client.

Represented textile manufacturer with regard to settlement of a wastewater enforcement action brought by Region IV of the United States Environmental Protection Agency.

Represented several companies with regard to resolution of an action brought by an environmental organization challenging issuance of Georgia's General Permit for Stormwater Discharges from Construction Activities. Settlement included negotiation of terms and conditions of the General Permit, which had been subject to numerous challenges over an almost 10 year period.

Represents one of the top U.S. forest products manufacturers with regard to a number of environmental matters, including a citizen-driven appeal of the reissuance of an NPDES permit, legal challenge to the issuance of a zero-discharge total maximum daily load for the Savannah River, numerous CERCLA cost-recovery matters and general environmental compliance issues.

Represented Knoxville Utilities Board with regard to wastewater compliance issues including negotiation of a comprehensive federal consent decree resolving EPA, Tennessee and citizen suit enforcement actions against KUB’s wastewater collection, transmission and treatment system.

Defended City of Atlanta with regard to an action brought by an environmental organization challenging issue of the City of Atlanta's NPDES permits for its Combined Sewer Overflow facilities. The environmental group dropped its challenge following filing of motions for summary determination.

Represented large municipality with regard to the challenge of a potential new reservoir, which would have the effect of removing the city’s existing water customers.

Represented Cauley Creek Water Reclamation LLC in negotiation of a settlement agreement with numerous citizen-activists regarding the challenge of a newly-issued NPDES permit.

Prepared and submitted a Brownfields application for the purchaser of a former industrial facility in Chamblee, Georgia.  Responsibilities included negotiation of the corrective action requirements with the Georgia EPD, assistance with the design and implementation of the corrective action plan and advice regarding redevelopment for residential use.

Represented several natural gas utility companies with regard to an administrative challenge to Georgia's General NPDES Permit for Stormwater Discharges from Construction Activities and negotiation of ultimate settlement agreement.

Represented a major energy provider with regard to an RCRA/CERCLA cost recovery/contribution action involving a former refinery facility in Wichita, Kansas (“RCRA” stands for the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act and “CERCLA” stands for Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980). The case was resolved through mediation.

Assisted the client with removal of a legacy brownfields property from the Georgia Hazardous Site Inventory through new protections provided under the recently-enacted Georgia Voluntary Remediation Program.

The firm served as lead counsel to City of Atlanta regarding National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (“NPDES”) permitting and enforcement issues for the City’s water reclamation centers and combined sewer overflow facilities and the related collection and transmission system.  Representation also included negotiating a federal Consent Decree with the Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Justice, and the State of Georgia to settle a citizen suit filed by a citizen activist group. Recently was allowed by the federal district court to join extraterritorial users of the City's water system to the pending Consent Decree matter when the City was faced with a taking of the City's water assets. All disputes regarding service area and assets will now be resolved under the jurisdiction of the federal court, rather than the state court.

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Services
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Education

Tulane University Law School, J.D. (1991) magna cum laude, Order of the Coif

University of Tulsa, B.S., Biology (1988) cum laude

Admissions

Georgia (1994)

Texas (1991)

Court Admissions

U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia (1994)

U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas (1991)

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit (1994)

Professional & Community Activities

YWCA of Greater Atlanta, Former Board Member

Institute for Georgia Environmental Leadership, 2009 Class Member, Board of Directors, Former Chair

State Bar of Georgia, Environmental Law Section, Past Chair and Former Secretary

Tulane Law Review, Former Member

St. Martin's Episcopal School, Board of Trustees

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