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Robert D Cox Jr.

Of Counsel

Robert D. Cox, Jr.

Of Counsel


Bob Cox is an environmental lawyer with over 35 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 also the immediate past Managing Partner at Bowditch and a current member of the firm’s Diversity Committee.

Over the summer, Bob took on a new role as “Visiting Assistant Clinical Professor of Law” to design and launch, and is now directing, Suffolk University Law School’s new Environmental Law and Policy Clinic. This is Suffolk Law’s 13th in-house clinical program. He is also teaching an environmental law survey course at Suffolk Law during spring semesters.

Besides work

Bob is a runner, cyclist and downhill, cross-country and (sometime) backcountry skier, and well-known gym rat.


  • Visiting Assistant Clinical Professor of Law, Suffolk University Law School – Environmental Law and Policy Clinic
  • Fellow, American College of Environmental Lawyers (ACOEL)
  • Executive Committee, Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce
  • Chair, Mayor’s Brownfields Task Force, City of Worcester
  • Adjunct Faculty, Suffolk University Law School
  • Member, NAIOP Massachusetts Brownfields Redevelopment sub-committee
  • Member, Women’s Bar Association


  • Former Vice Chair, Strategic Planning, Environmental Business Council of New England
  • Immediate Past Chair, Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce
  • Immediate Past Chair, Environmental Business Council of New England
  • Director and Clerk, Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce
  • Vice Chair, Programming, and Board Member, Environmental Business Council of New England (2003 – present)
  • 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


  • Named a Go To Environmental Lawyer by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly (2023)
  • Named to Top 10 Powerhouse Environmental Lawyers Shaping Massachusetts’ Future in 2023 by Business Today
  • Recipient of the 2022 Joseph J. Superneau Leadership Award from the Massachusetts Coalition for Water Resources Stewardship
  • 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 inclusion in the fields of Environmental Law (since 2006), Litigation – Environmental (since 2011) and Real Estate Law (since 2022)
  • Massachusetts Super Lawyers, selected for inclusion since 2004

Articles + Talks



Bar Admissions

  • Massachusetts
  • 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.
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