The Boston boutique environmental law firm of Mackie Shea Durning, PC and its three shareholders were recognized again as one of the top environmental law firms in Massachusetts in the 2020 edition of Chambers USA Guide.
The firm is known for its “respected practice, noted for its litigation prowess and representation before state and federal agencies, its effective handling of licensing disputes, (and) broad experience in matters such as solid waste management, renewable energy plants, and residential and commercial developments.” Clients state the Mackie Shea Durning attorneys “are good at thinking out of the box and respond in a timely manner.” The firm has “a really in-depth knowledge of the environmental regulations and is familiar with the regulators.”
Thomas A. Mackie is considered “the leading solid waste attorney in Massachusetts.” Tom also has strong experience in recycling and renewable energy. According to one client, Tom “understands the nuances of state regulatory law and has a straightforward approach to all issues, even the most difficult ones.”
John F. Shea is recognized for this expertise in hazardous waste, water, wetlands and wildlife laws, and is known for doing a “phenomenal job of translating the rules and regulations” of environmental law.
Peter F. Durning has notable experience in handling a wide range of environmental matters, including permitting issues and enforcement defense. He is “very strategic on important decisions” and provides “excellent litigation representation” in issues concerning water and wetlands.
Chambers rankings are based on client interviews and opinions of colleagues and competitors assessing legal ability, professional conduct, client service, diligence, commitment and business sense.
On October 11, 2019, Judge Jennifer S.D. Roberts of the Massachusetts Land Court issued a Memorandum of Decision granting summary judgment to the Town of Concord resolving a dispute among Littleton, Acton and Concord regarding which statutory authority governed the water withdrawal rights from Nagog Pond.
Nagog Pond has been a source of public drinking water for Concord since it took the pond via eminent domain in 1909. Littleton and Acton argued that a provision in an 1884 Act, which gave Concord rights to Nagog Pond, reserved withdrawal rights for the two towns where the pond is located. Concord argued its withdrawal rights were superior to any provisions of the 1884 Act, because it held a Registration under the 1985 Water Management Act, which grandfathered qualified existing water withdrawal rights.
Mackie Shea Durning PC attorneys Peter Durning, John Shea, and Gail Magenau Hire compiled an analysis of the legislative history for the Water Management Act and provided a statutory interpretation of the language of the statute to demonstrate that the Legislature intended to repeal prior special acts, like the 1884 Act, as it set up a new regulatory regime under the Water Management Act.
In her written Decision, Judge Roberts confirmed that the Water Management Act was “a comprehensive statute that was designed to address a state-wide problem – the preservation and allocation of water resources” without regard for municipal or other political boundaries. Judge Roberts noted that in its deliberations on the scope of the Water Management Act, the Legislature was concerned with pre-existing rights created by approximately 650 prior special acts regarding water withdrawals, like the 1884 Act. Judge Roberts affirmed that the legislature “chose to address that concern by registering existing water withdrawals and continuing those registrations, upon timely renewal, ‘forever’.” Based on the language of the two statutes, Judge Roberts concluded the “1884 Act is repugnant to and inconsistent with” the Water Management Act and that any rights granted to Littleton and Acton under the 1884 Act were extinguished.
The Land Court’s Decision to uphold Concord’s Registration to withdraw water from Nagog Pond will allow Concord’s investment in the construction of a new state-of-the-art water treatment facility to go forward without a lingering concern that Littleton and Acton might attempt to usurp Concord’s Registration which perfected and protected its withdrawal rights at Nagog Pond.
Mackie Shea, PC, the Boston boutique law firm, is proud to announce that Thomas A. Mackie and John F. Shea have been selected by Best Lawyers® (2020 edition) for environmental law and environmental litigation. Tom and John each have been recognized for over ten years.
Best Lawyers® is the oldest and most respected publication in the legal profession. Recognition is widely regarded by both clients and lawyers as a significant honor conferred on a lawyer by his or her peers. Listing is based entirely on a transparent survey process evaluating professional abilities and the quality of legal services.
Gail Magenau Hire’s parents, Tom and Mary Beth Magenau, won the 2019 National Wetlands Landowner Stewardship Award from the Environmental Law Institute for wetlands restoration work at their Tri-State Marine (TSM) dealership in Deale, Maryland. For more than 50 years, the Magenaus have combined business goals with sustainable practices to protect the Chesapeake Bay. Their recently completed, state-of-the-art, green infrastructure project provides habitat and food for wildlife and protects Herring Bay by filtering runoff to one of its tributaries. From humble beginnings in 1965, TSM has grown into a successful, full service marine business that sells and services powerboats up to 37 ft. Starting in 1999, TSM has funded complex permitting and specific land acquisitions, including placement of 40 acres into permanent conservation that led to this project’s feasibility. The Executive Director of the Arundel Rivers Federation described the project as “the first public private partnership for storm water management in South Anne Arundel County and will prevent nearly 10,000 pounds of sediment to annually flow into the nearby creek.” Anne Arundel County’s incentive program allows a fifty percent reduction in stormwater fees for such voluntary and sustainably-managed stormwater projects. Other benefits included construction jobs and student and community group engagement.
The firm and its three shareholders were recognized again as one of the top environmental law firms in Massachusetts in the 2019 edition of Chambers USA Guide. According to Chambers, the firm is known for its “respected practice, its litigation prowess and representation before state and federal agencies, its effective handling of licensing disputes, (and) broad experience in matters such as solid waste management, renewable energy plants, and residential and commercial developments.” Clients state the Mackie Shea attorneys “understand the Massachusetts regulations extremely well and have the ability to strategize in the context of the state and local political realities.” The firm’s lawyers are “professional, responsive, knowledgeable and skilled.”
Peter Durning prevailed on motions in the Supreme Judicial Court and the Land Court on a water rights dispute between two municipalities.
John Shea negotiated an Administrative Consent Order with Penalty (ACOP) with MassDEP for a national home builder.
Tom Mackie negotiated an ACOP with MassDEP for a commercial wastewater treatment facility.
Since our most recent newsletter, Tom represented clients in solid waste site assignment hearings resulting in modification to an existing site assignment allowing the vertical expansion of an ash landfill; a site assignment for a new rail served handling facility, and modification to an existing site assignment allowing a construction and demolition debris handling facility to accept municipal solid waste.
Respected practice, noted for its litigation prowess and representations before state and federal regulatory agencies. Noted for its effective handling of licensing disputes. Broad experience in matters such as solid waste management, renewable energy plants, and residential and commercial developments. Clients include defense companies and municipalities.
Sources report: “The Mackie Shea team are professional, responsive, knowledgeable and skilled.”
Clients say: “They understand the Massachusetts regulations extremely well and have the ability to strategize in the context of the state and local political realities.”
An interviewee says: “They are one of the leading firms in New England with respect to solid waste matters.”
Negotiated an Administrative Consent Order and suspended penalty, on behalf of Raytheon Company, to restore wetlands damaged in mitigating flood damage.
Thomas Mackie is a strong choice of counsel for matters connected with solid waste, recycling and renewable energy. Sources consider Tom to be “the leading solid waste attorney in Massachusetts.”
According to sources, John Shea is “great at permitting disputes, as well as working effectively with regulators to reach a compromise.” His expertise covers wetlands, water, wildlife and hazardous waste laws.
Sources report Peter Durning“advocates for his clients very effectively.” He offers expertise in a multitude of environmental matters, including permitting issues and enforcement defense.
On November 1, Best Law Firms (2019 edition) ranked Mackie Shea Tier 1 for Environmental Law and Environmental Litigation in the Boston Metropolitan Area. In August, The Best Lawyers in America again selected Tom and John for inclusion in the 25th Edition for their high caliber work in Environmental Law and Environmental Litigation. Best Lawyers has recognized both Tom and John for their expertise and distinction for over a decade. In May, Chambers USA released its 2018 Rankings, again including the firm among the top environmental law firms in Massachusetts. According to Chambers, the Mackie Shea team is known for its “respected practice, noted for its litigation prowess and representations before state and federal regulatory agencies. Noted for its effective handling of licensing disputes. Broad experience in matters such as solid waste management, renewable energy plants, and residential and commercial developments.” Chambers also ranked all of our shareholders, Peter Durning, John Shea and Tom Mackie, among the best individual environmental attorneys. John, Tom andPeter are 2018 New England and Massachusetts SuperLawyers for environmental law and litigation. These recognitions are humbling and gratifying, because the ratings are based on client referees, peer reviews, and third-party validation. We wouldn’t be recognized for our accomplishments and skills without the challenging and cutting-edge cases entrusted to us by our clients. Thank you.
Tom Mackie received the Stephen G. Lewis Environmental-Energy Merit Award for Service to the Environmental Industry at the 25th Annual EBEE ceremony on June 27, 2018. He was chosen for the Award by the Environmental Business Council of New England (EBC) in recognition of his meritorious service, leadership and dedication to improving the quality of the environment and to the development of the environmental industry in New England. Tom served as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the EBC for two years, and chairs many EBC education programs.
At the same award ceremony, Tom presented to MassDEP Commissioner Martin Suuberg the Paul G. Keough Environmental-Energy Award for Government Service. Paul served over 20 years as EPA Region 1’s Press Secretary, Deputy Administrator, and acting Regional Administrator under both democrat and republican Presidents. Paul was a beloved, energetic and committed public servant and friend. So, too, is Marty Suuberg with over 30 years of experience in state and federal environmental and natural resource agencies as a lawyer, manager and Regional Director. He has been MassDEP Commissioner since January 2015.
John Shea acted as Hearing Officer to the Dennis Board of Health on a proposed site assignment modification for a new municipal solid waste transfer station.
John negotiated an Administrative Consent Order (ACO) with the LSP Board on a license suspension. John also negotiated an ACOP for an international corporation with MassDEP for excessive wetland alteration during work under an emergency certification to eliminate upstream flooding from beaver activities. The client must restore the wetlands under an approved Wetland Restoration Plan and pay an administrative penalty with a suspended amount.
Peter Durning as co-chair of the Boston Bar Association Energy and Environmental Section, and Tom Mackie, as chair of the Environmental Business Council of New England, were honored to introduce the new EPA Regional Administrator, Alexandra Dunn, at a joint BBA/EBC program in February.
In January, Tom mimicked David Frost when he interviewed EOEEA Secretary Matthew Beaton for the second annual update from the Secretary. Secretary Beaton spoke enthusiastically about the Department of Energy Resources’ impending “tremendous procurement” of renewable hydro and other Class 1 renewable energy and development of 1600 MWs of new off shore wind.
In July, Tom and Gretchen Carey, Recycling and Organics Coordinator for Republic Services, will Co-Chair an EBC Solid Waste Program on Innovative Solid Waste Management Technologies. Meanwhile Tom continues to Chair a series of EBC Solid Waste Management Committee Stakeholder meetings and participate as a Member of the MassDEP Solid Waste Advisory Committee in preparation for the MassDEP’s upcoming review of the Solid Waste Master Plan.
Peter was on a panel discussing Environmental Due Diligence for a Boston Bar Association CLE program in April.
At its annual meeting, the Charles River Watershed Association gave its Clean Charles Award to Boston Duck Tours and its CEO Cindy Brown. During the ceremony, CRWA Executive Director Bob Zimmerman (now retired) and Cindy acknowledged John Shea for his political acumen and legal skills during the permitting of the iconic land and water tour.
Mackie Shea has again been recognized by Chambers USA 2018 as among the best law firms for Environmental Law in Boston. In April Tom Mackie and John Shea were selected by Best Lawyers of America in its 2018 Edition of New England’s Best Lawyers for Environmental Law and Environmental Litigation. The Firm was ranked in Best Law Firms as Tier 1 Boston and Tier 2 nationally. Best Law Firms is the oldest and most respected peer- review publication in the legal profession for “legal expertise, ethics and professionalism of the highest caliber.”
Following an appeal to the Land Court, Peter Durning secured a Special Permit from the Acton Board of Selectmen for the Town of Concord’s new surface water treatment plant at Nagog Pond. For other clients, Peter also settled numerous enforcement matters with the MassDEP and the Attorney General’s office alleging solid waste and wetlands protections violations.
On June 27, Tom Mackie will be awarded the Stephen G. Lewis Environmental-Energy Merit Award for Service to the Environmental Industry at the Environmental Business Council of New England 25 Annual EBEE Awards Dinner. The Stephen G. Lewis Award is given in recognition of meritorious service, leadership and dedication to improving the quality of the environment and to the development of the environmental industry in New England.
Tom obtained a major modification to site assignment for a waste to energy plant to implement a Net Recycling project to increase the amount of recyclables the plant will recover.
John Shea secured local approval for a large dock and pier in Marlblehead, and averted “Pier Wars” with a neighbor by brokering a shared pier and dock project with MassDEP concurrence.