Bob Cox is an environmental lawyer with over 30 years of experience helping clients facing complex, technically challenging environmental compliance and enforcement actions throughout Massachusetts. Bob counsels primarily businesses, public utilities and municipal authorities in water, air, hazardous waste and solid waste matters before the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection and municipal regulatory boards. “I represent the regulated community,” Bob explains, “including owners, builders, developers, manufacturers, and schools and colleges, looking at potential high-cost compliance with government regulations. My clients turn to me because I’m practical and hands-on and because I’ve worked directly with the regulators, some for many years.”
Clients rely on Bob in cost recovery claims and private party litigation under Chapter 21E and CERCLA in state and federal courts. He represents and counsels clients involved in issues of concern to land owners and developers, such as clean-up cost uncertainties, environmental use restrictions or limitations, and risks associated with emerging contaminants.
In addition, Bob regularly advises businesses, municipalities and other clients on brownfields development activities and on strategies to limit or shift environmental liability risks in real estate or business transfers. He has extensive experience advising and defending clients before local boards involving license and permitting issues as well as in NPDES (National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System) water permitting. This includes appeals of NPDES permits to the EPA’s Environmental Appeals Board and administrative appeals and hearings on MassDEP-issued permits. He also defends claims and actions brought by government environmental enforcement agencies.
Bob is a runner, cyclist and downhill, cross-country and (sometime) backcountry skier, and well-known gym rat.
- Vice Chair – Programming and Board Member, and, commencing June 2018, Chair, 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, Massachusetts Audubon Society, Worcester Advisory Board
- Member, Women’s Bar Association
- Chambers USA, America’s Leading Lawyers for Business, recognized as one of the top environmental lawyers in Massachusetts
- Best Lawyers in America, selected by his peers for listing in Environmental Law and Litigation – Environmental
- Massachusetts Super Lawyers, selected for inclusion since 2004
- 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
- Former Chair, Massachusetts Audubon Society, Worcester Advisory Board
Articles + Talks
- “MassDEP Should Run The NPDES Program,” Banker & Tradesman, March 1, 2016
- “D&O Insurance for Environmental Liability Exposures,” Corporate Counsel, May 5, 2015
- “Why We Rarely Hear About New Superfund Sites,” Banker & Tradesman, April 27, 2015
- “Cleanup at WRTA Site is Right,” Worcester Telegram & Gazette, March 17, 2015
- “Brownfields Tax Credits Extended (Finally!),” Bowditch & Dewey, July 30, 2013
- “State Needs Soil Disposal Options,” Worcester Telegram & Gazette, July 30, 2013
- “Supreme Court to Review Unilateral Administrative Orders Issued Under the Clean Water Act,” Bowditch & Dewey, November 8, 2011
- “Ambiguous Environmental Indemnification Fails to Protect Seller from Claims for Cleanup Costs,” Bowditch & Dewey, July 14, 2011
- “Strong DEP Key to Growth,” Worcester Telegram & Gazette, April 26, 2011
- “Water Legal & Regulatory Matters in New England (EPA Region 1),” 9th Annual Water Resources Strategies Symposium, Massachusetts Coalition for Water Resources Stewardship, May 18, 2018
- “Environmental Law for LSPs,” Licensed Site Professionals Association, April 11, 2018
- “EBC Annual Evening Program with MassDEP Commissioner Suuberg: A Review of MassDEP Programs and Priorities for 2018,” Environmental Business Council of New England, March 14, 2018
- 8th Annual Water Resources Strategies Symposium, Massachusetts Coalition for Water Resources Stewardship, Marlborough, Massachusetts, May 17, 2017
- “The New MCP for Everyone: A Practical Understanding of the Massachusetts Contingency Plan,” Licensed Site Professionals Association, March 2, 2017
- “Site Remediation and Redevelopment Program Series – Part One – Transaction, Funding Aids and Project Set-Up,” Environmental Business Council of New England, January 17, 2017
- “Implementation of Governor Baker’s New Climate Change Strategy Executive Order,” Environmental Business Council of New England, November 15, 2016
- “When Oil Really Just Means Oil: The Peterborough Oil Company v. DEP Decision,” Boston Bar Association Environmental Law Section, Boston, Massachusetts, October 24, 2016
- “Design It, Make It, Ship It,” Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce’s Game Changers Business Conference & Expo, Worcester, Massachusetts, October 14, 2016
- “Evening Program with MA EOEEA Secretary Matthew Beaton,” Environmental Business Council of New England, Boston, Massachusetts, January 26, 2016
- “EPA’s Draft MS4 Permit: Challenges to EPA’s Legal Authority?” 495/MetroWest Partnership’s Water Resources Committee Meeting, Westborough, Massachusetts, June 30, 2015
- “Program Series with MassDEP Regional Offices: Commissioner Marty Suuberg and the Central Region Leadership,” Environmental Business Council of New England, Worcester, Massachusetts, May 19, 2015
- “Design and Construction Projects: Legal, Contracting, Procurement, and Risk Management Literacy,” Bowditch & Dewey College and University Roundtable, Worcester/South Hadley, March 2015
- “The New MCP for Everyone,” Licensed Site Professionals Association, Waltham, Massachusetts, February 26, 2015
- “LNAPL and VI Sites: Using AULs for Site Closure Under the New MCP,” Licensed Site Professional Association, Westborough, Massachusetts, December 9, 2014
- “Clean Water Act Requirements and Limited Dollars: Is Integrated Planning the Answer?” Environmental Business Council of New England Water Resource Management Program, Boston, Massachusetts, October 10, 2014
- Massachusetts Coalition for Water Resources Stewardship’s 5th Annual Water Resources Strategies Symposium, Marlborough, Massachusetts, May 16, 2014
- “Management of Urban Soil,” Environmental Business Council of New England Site Remediation & Redevelopment Committee and Solid Waste Committee Program, Boston, Massachusetts, May 7, 2014
- “The Crisis of Soil Management for Development Projects in Massachusetts,” Licensed Site Professionals Association/Environmental Business Council of New England, Waltham, Massachusetts, November 14, 2013
- Massachusetts Coalition for Water Resources Stewardship’s 4th Annual Water Resources Strategies Symposium, Marlborough, Massachusetts, May 20, 2013
- Licensed Site Professionals Association seminar, Westford, Massachusetts, April 23, 2013
- “Stormwater Management in New England,” Law Seminars International, Boston, Massachusetts, April 19, 2013
- “Updates on Brownfields Covenants Not to Sue Program,” Boston Bar Association, Boston, Massachusetts, March 14, 2013
- “Environmental Law for LSPs,” Licensing Site Professionals Association, Westford, Massachusetts, March 10, 2011
- United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts
- First Circuit Court of Appeals
- D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals
- United States Supreme Court
- J.D., Suffolk University Law School
- B.A., summa cum laude, University of Massachusetts
- Declaratory judgment action contesting MassDEP’s interpretation of the term “oil” as used in the Massachusetts Contingency Plan. Reported as Peterborough Oil Company, LLC v. Department of Environmental Protection, 474 Mass. 443 (2016).
- 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.
- 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.
- Former manufacturer in the defense of claims for response action costs. Sanitoy Inc. v. Ilco Unican Corporation, 413 Mass. 627 (1992).
Permitting and regulatory compliance
- 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”).
- 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).
- 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.
- 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).
- 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. S. Envtl. Prot. Agency, 690 F.3d 9, 15 (1st Cir. 2012), cert. denied, 133 S. Ct. 2382 (2013).
- Parties in obtaining a Brownfields Covenant Not to Sue to address liability issues associated with pre-existing contamination.
- Regularly advise private businesses and negotiate settlement agreements in connection with completion of response actions under Chapter 21E and MCP.
- Routinely advise property owners on appropriate terms for Activity and Use Limitations under Chapter 21E and MCP.