Robert D. Cox, Jr.

Managing Partner

Drawing upon over 30 years of experience, Bob Cox counsels clients on environmental compliance and enforcement actions. He represents clients concerning water, air, hazardous waste, and solid waste matters before the United States Environmental Protection Agency, Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection and municipal regulatory boards.

He represents clients in cost recovery claims and private party litigation under Chapter 21E and CERCLA in state and federal courts. Bob regularly advises clients and municipalities on brownfields development activities and on strategies to limit or shift environmental liability risks in connection with real estate or business transfers. He also has extensive experience advising and defending clients before local boards with respect to license and permitting issues.

He also has significant experience in NPDES water permitting, including appeals of NPDES permits to the Environmental Appeals Board, as well as administrative appeals and hearings on MassDEP issued permits. He defends claims and actions brought by government environmental enforcement agencies.

Bob currently serves as a Board Member and Vice-Chair of Programming of the Environmental Business Council of New England and as chair of the Mayor's Brownfields Task Force, City of Worcester.

Bob is recognized as one of the top environmental lawyers in Massachusetts by Chambers USA, America’s Leading Lawyers for Business. He has been selected by his peers as one of the Best Lawyers in America in the practice area of Environmental Law and Litigation - Environmental, and since 2004, has been selected for inclusion in Massachusetts Super Lawyers

Admitted to Practice: 

United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts
First Circuit Court of Appeals
D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals
United States Supreme Court

Representative Experience:

  • Declaratory judgment action contesting MassDEP’s interpretation of the term “oil” as used in the MCP. Reported as Peterborough Oil Company, LLC v. Department of Environmental Protection, 474 Mass. 443 (2016).
  • Defense of a former property owner on claims for reimbursement of clean-up costs for petroleum-contaminated soil, under Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) and G.L. c. 21E. Reported as Cariddi v. Consolidated Aluminum Corp., 478 F.Supp.2d 150 (D. Mass 2007).
  • Defense of claims by property owners for alleged property damages and personal injuries associated with groundwater contamination from oil releases at service areas along the MassPike in Charlton. Reported as Scavone v. Massachusetts Turnpike Authority, Worcester Superior Court (No. 94– 1098,) 1994WL 902896; Kempinski v. Massachusetts Turnpike Authority, Worcester Superior Court (No. 99-1277B), 11 Mass. L. Rptr. 435; Zagloba v. Massachusetts Turnpike Authority, Worcester Superior Court, 11 Mass. L Rept. 414.
  • Defense of claims brought against a municipality for damages and personal injury arising out of the release of gasoline from underground storage tanks. Reported as Gleason v. Town of Bolton, Worcester Superior Court (No. 99- 01194), 14 Mass L. Rptr. 678.
  • District Counsel for the Upper Blackstone Water Pollution Abatement District (UBWPAD) and representation of the UBWPAD in connection with EPA NPDES permitting and appeal of UBWPAD's 2008 NPDES permit to the Environmental Appeals Board and First Circuit Court of Appeals. Reported as Upper Blackstone Water Pollution Abatement Dist. v. U.S. Envtl. Prot. Agency, 690 F.3d 9, 15 (1st Cir. 2012), cert. denied, 133 S. Ct. 2382 (2013).
  • Representation of municipalities on appeals of NPDES permits to the Environmental Appeals Board: Town of Concord, DPW, NPDES 13-8, 16 E.A.D. __ (09/09/13); Charles River Pollution Control District, NPDES 14-1, 16 E.A.D. __ (08/27/14) (contesting EPA's authority to regulate the Towns of Franklin, Medway, Bellingham and Millis as “co-permittees”).
  • Representation of municipality concerning need for a special permit to expand a sand and gravel operation. Oakham Sand & Gravel Corporation v. Town of Oakham, 54 Mass. App Ct. 80 (2002).
  • Representation of party in administrative appeals brought by a citizens group concerning a MassDEP Chapter 91 license and wetlands approval: In the Matter of Webster Ventures, LLC, DEP OADR Docket No. 2015-014 (Final Decision 08/15/16) and OADR DocketWET-2014-016 (Final Decision 03/26/15).
  • Representation of a nonprofit corporation in obtaining a Brownfields Covenant Not to Sue to address liability issues associated with pre-existing contamination.
  • Representation of a former manufacturer in the defense of claims for response action costs. Sanitoy Inc. v. Ilco Unican Corporation, 413 Mass. 627 (1992).
  • Routinely advise property owners on appropriate terms for Activity and Use Limitations under c. 21E/MCP.
  • Routinely represent parties on penalty assessments sought by Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office and MassDEP for alleged MCP, air, solid waste, wastewater, and hazardous waste management violations.
  • Advise businesses and negotiate penalties on claims brought by the EPA in connection with air emissions, hazardous waste management, and wastewater discharges.
  • Regularly advise private businesses and negotiate settlement agreements in connection with completion of response actions under Chapter 21E and MCP. 

Professional/Community Affiliations: 

  • Vice Chair - Programming and Board Member, Environmental Business Council of New England
  • Chair, Mayor's Brownfields Task Force, City of Worcester
  • Director, Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce
  • Clerk, Rutland Land Conservancy, Inc.
  • Member, MassDEP Advisory Committee on NPDES Authorization in Massachusetts (2015)
  • Town Counsel, Oakham (1989-2004)
  • Member and Chairman, Zoning Board of Appeals, Town of Rutland (1987-2002)
  • Member and Vice Chairman, By-Law Study Subcommittee, Town of Rutland (1998-2002)
  • Conservation Commission, Town of Webster (1985-1986)
  • Former Chair, Environmental Law Section, Worcester County Bar Association
  • Former Member, Executive Committee, Worcester County Bar Association
  • Former Member, Property Law Section Council, Massachusetts Bar Association
  • Former Co-Chair, Clean Air Committee, Environmental Law Section, Boston Bar Association
  • Former Member, MCLE Real Estate and Environmental Curriculum Advisory Committee
  • Member (former Chair), Massachusetts Audubon Society, Worcester Advisory Board