April 22, 2017 marks the forty-seventh anniversary of Earth Day. Suzanne M. Avena, Chair of the Environmental Practice Group at Garfunkel Wild, P.C., remembers being in downtown Manhattan, New York for the auspicious first Earth Day on April 22, 1970 – just one of 20 million Americans who took to the streets to demonstrate for a healthy, sustainable environment.
Ms. Avena reflects, “Like many youngsters today, at an early age I was very interested in ecology and the environment. It was an energized time when people were suddenly motivated to reduce and recycle waste and on a governmental level to determine policies to sustain the planet. I was too young at the time to realize it, but it was also the advent of a slew of major federal statutes pertaining to regulating pollution. The Clean Water Act and the Clean Air Act, two huge pieces of legislation, were enacted at the time. Other important laws came soon after.”
Ms. Avena’s passion for the environment reflects in her work. As Chair of Garfunkel Wild’s Environmental Practice, she advises clients in all areas of environmental law and regulatory compliance. She has taken on complex civil and criminal environmental enforcement and litigation cases and provides advice concerning remediation of hazards such as asbestos, lead-paint, storage tanks, regulated waste and mold. She represents many clients before regulatory agencies to mitigate violations; assists in structuring contaminated property transactions, and negotiates cleanup agreements.
The majority of Ms. Avena’s clients include hospitals, municipalities, universities, manufacturers, real estate buyers, sellers, developers and management firms, lenders, investors, environmental contractors and consultants, and other business owners.
“We should all remember the “Three R’s” not only on Earth Day, but every day – Reduce, Reuse and Recycle” says Ms. Avena.