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Michael J. Hecker

Partner, Environmental Practice Leader, Co-Leader Brownfield Redevelopment Practice
  • New York
  • U.S. District Court, Western District of New York

State University of New York at Geneseo, B.A., Cum Laude 

University at Buffalo School of Law, J.D., Cum Laude

Mike is the leader of the firm’s Environmental Practice Group, and has a broad-based environmental and energy-based practice, with a focus on addressing environmental issues in business transactions, regulatory compliance counseling and permitting, administrative, civil, and criminal environmental defense, and remediation-based project oversight and assistance.

A large part of Mike’s practice focuses on assisting regional, national, and international clients with regulatory compliance and remedial matters.  His experience includes counseling corporate and facility-based management on operational compliance programs and permitting pursuant to local, State and Federal requirements and disclosure obligations, including the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (“RCRA”), Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act, and other environmental statutes and regulations. In addition, Mike has substantial experience in overseeing small to large-scale, multi-faceted remedial projects, including those pursuant to the New York State ("NYS") Spills Program, the NYS Brownfields Program, the NYS Inactive Hazardous Waste Disposal Site Remedial Program, RCRA, and the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act ("CERCLA"). As part of these representations, Mike has negotiated a number of State and Federal Orders and Decrees with various agencies, including the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, United States Environmental Protection Agency and the United States Department of Justice.

As part of his involvement in business transactions, Mike counsels strategic and financial parties on a wide range of issues, including due diligence matters; legacy impairment and compliance liabilities and considerations; Environmental, Social and Governance (“ESG”) matters; the negotiation of sophisticated the negotiation of environmental-related provisions and requirements in purchase and acquisition agreements, distributor and supplier agreements, leases and other contractual arrangements; the use of environmental insurance and risk transfer products; compliance with State transfer act program requirements; the use of tax-credit based programs, including the USEPA’s Brownfields Program and the NYS Brownfields Program; and, sustainability-based initiatives and requirements.

Mike regularly assists renewable project developers on a wide range of permitting, regulatory compliance, and risk assessment issues. In particular, he has assisted a number of clients on the siting of projects on brownfield and former landfill sites, providing counsel on the wide range of issues to be addressed and considered in doing so.

Mike also has significant experience representing clients during State and Federal administrative, civil, and criminal investigations and proceedings regarding alleged violations of environmental statutes and regulations. His experience defending enforcement actions includes assisting clients with internal investigations and audits, directing and overseeing sophisticated third-party environmental professionals, legal and regulatory application and analysis, and interaction with regulatory authorities. 

Mike is a member of the Board of Directors of Hodgson Russ.

Honors

  • Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business, (Environment - Band 1) 2020 - 2022
  • Listed, Upstate New York Super Lawyers (Environmental) 2021-2022
  • Listed, Upstate New York Super Lawyers Rising Stars, (Environmental) 2014 - 2020
  • Listed, New York Metro Super Lawyers Rising Stars, 2013 - 2020 (Environmental)

Experience

Mike regularly represents clients regarding environmental regulatory issues and disputes before the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; advises clients on interpretation of federal and state environmental provisions, regulations, and statutes; and advises clients on environmental provisions in transaction agreements, including indemnity provisions, supplier agreements, and other associated corporate documents. Specifically, Mike has played a significant role in the following representative matters:

In the News

Press Releases

Publications

Blog Posts

Mike contributed to Hodgson Russ's Clean and Green Law blog. His blog entries included:

  • "Solyndra Lives: Controversial Department of Energy Loan Program Will Continue," October 15, 2013
  • "State Renewable Portfolio Standards Under Attack by State Legislatures," May 2, 2013
  • "New York Governor Pushes for Increased Cleantech Investment," January 15, 2013
  • "Lisa Jackson to Step Down as EPA Administrator; Is a Cleantech Innovator Next in Line?, December 27, 2012
  • "Lower Costs and State Incentives Making Solar Increasingly Affordable in Commercial and Residential Markets," October 17, 2012
  • "U.S. Government Moves to Fast Track Solar Development on Public Lands," August 1, 2012
  • "Alternative Financing Options for Renewable Energy Projects: The Next Step?," July 6, 2012

He also contributed to the archived Hodgson Russ Canada/U.S. cross-border blog, Smarter Way to Cross. His entries can be found on the Publications page.

Presentations & Events

Professional Associations

  • President-Elect, UB Law School Alumni Association
  • National Association of Environmental Management
  • Air & Waste Management Association - Niagara Frontier Section - Co-Chair of the Annual Seminar Committee
  • New York State Bar Association - Environmental & Energy Law Section- Second Vice Chair and Member of the Executive Committee and Cabinet

Community & Pro Bono

  • Adjunct faculty member, University at Buffalo School of Law, International Legal Advocacy, 2013 - 2016
  • American Lung Association of the Northeast’s Buffalo Leadership Board, Immediate Past Chair and Chair of the Nomination Committee

  • Legal Aid Bureau of Buffalo, Inc., former member of the Board of Directors