Mitchell E. Burack

Biographical Summary

I am a solo attorney in Bala Cynwyd, PA, just outside Philadelphia.  My areas of practice have included Brownfield transactions, site clean ups generally, remedial cost allocation disputes, underground tanks, PCBs, stormwater, municipal and industrial wastewater, solid waste, air regulation, and OSHA asbestos and lead issues.  

My career began in 1979 with four years of service in the US EPA Headquarters Office of Enforcement.  In the  Water Enforcement Section I worked on a case in  federal court in Virginia against and  a large municipal sewage authority and several industrial users.  In the Hazardous Waste Enforcement program I was on the enforcement team  against Hooker Chemical and Occidental pertaining to the Love Canal site in Niagara Falls.   I was also EPA counsel for one of the first CERCLA mass- enforcement actions,  against the former customers of an abandoned  hazardous waste  recycling facility in Indiana.   

Prior to opening a solo practice in 2001, I was a partner for 10 years with the Pepper Hamilton firm in Philadelphia, which offered the opportunity to represent   several large companies in EPA CERCLA suits and to negotiate settlements for site cleanup and cost allocation.  I defended and settled a citizen suit  which had been brought against a local municipal wastewater authority, as well as government air enforcement actions against industrial clients.  There was also the opportunity to work closely with the Business Department on real estate transactions and business acquisitions involving environmentally impacted facilities in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Illinois, Connecticut and Massachusetts,  including an industrial property on EPA’s Superfund National Priorities list.    

In solo practice, my work has continued to include representation of clients at EPA and state Superfund sites, in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York.  I am also frequently involved   in the negotiation and implementation of   site cleanups required by state regulations or undertaken under state voluntary cleanup programs in order to obtain a statutory liability release. 

In the area of water permits and enforcement, I have represented a municipal authority in the appeal of a discharge permit which would have imposed stringent and expensive treatment requirements;  a contract operator of a municipal sewage treatment plant in defense of an EPA enforcement action, and several industrial users of local sewage plants, being penalized by local Authorities.   I also defended and settled a citizen suit against a school district arising from alleged violations of a construction stormwater permit and allegations of property damage by a neighboring property owner.

In the transactional area, my services typically include retention as special counsel in conjunction with purchase, sale,  or long-term  lease termination,  at an environmentally impacted property. Such “Brownfield” transactions have included redevelopment of former gas station properties and industrial sites, for various commercial uses.  

I am a member of the Pennsylvania, Illinois and D.C. bars.  I am also a trained mediator, approved under Local Rule 53.3 of the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania. My undergraduate B.A. (major in psychology) is from University of Illinois (Champaign-Urbana) in 1976, and my law degree is from Washington University School of Law-- class of 1979.

I am a continuing and active participant in the Montgomery County Bar Association Arbitration program for matters with amount in controversy below $50,000.  I am a member of the Pennsylvania Association of Environmental Professionals, and formerly served two elected terms on the Board while also serving as Eastern Section Chair.   In 2016 I was appointed to serve a four year term on the Lower Merion Township Environmental Advisory Council.  Previous service has included a term as chair of the Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee of the ABA Section on Environment Energy and Resources, as well as chair of the Environmental Law Committee of the Philadelphia Bar Association.