Nicole R. Gleason is a partner at Diepenbrock Elkin Gleason LLP, and leads the firm’s national environmental law practice. She is uniquely versed in environmental agency enforcement actions, brownfields redevelopment, environmental compliance, environmental due diligence, grant programs, cost recovery litigation and environmental insurance. As Nicole’s representative experience reflects, she has deep experience with complex, multimillion-dollar remediations involving former military bases, landfills and disposal facilities, railyards, manufacturing and storage facilities, regional-multisource plumes as well as smaller dry cleaning and gas station sites. Nicole was also one of the key negotiators of SB 445, which extended and expanded the grant programs available in California for contaminated sites and became effective on September 25, 2014. Since then, Nicole has remained active in a number of legislative and state policy advisory groups that are working to improve contaminated property grant programs. Regardless of the size or nature of the project, she creatively and efficiently realizes her clients’ objectives by being equal parts advocate, advisor, interpreter, connector and PR coordinator.
In 2016, Nicole was honored to be invited to join Lambda Alpha International, a honorary, non-political professional society devoted to the advancement of land economics. In addition, and as a result of her years of experience in environmental law, Nicole was recognized by the Sacramento Business Journal and her peers as one of the “Best of the Bar” in 2015, 2016, and 2017 and as a mentor for the Business Journal’s Mentoring Monday. Sacramento Magazine and her peers also honored Nicole as a “Top Lawyer” in her field in 2016, 2017 and 2018. Nicole was named a Rising Star in 2009 and a Super Lawyer in 2011, 2016, 2017 and 2018 by her Northern California peers. In addition, she served as the Vice Chair of the Executive Committee of the California State Bar’s Real Property Law Section (RPLS), and was qualified as an expert on the California UST Cleanup Fund.
Nicole obtained her B.A. in Political Science with a minor in Planning and Development from California State University, Chico. During that time, she volunteered as Environmental Law Director – and then Administrative Director – for the Community Legal Information Center (CLIC) and served as an outdoor guide for Adventure Outings. She earned academic honors while obtaining her J.D. degree from McGeorge School of Law with distinction, served as a member of both the Traynor Law Society and the Environmental Law Society, and was an editor of the University of the Pacific Law Review.
Multisource Regional Plumes
- Assisted a municipal client in investigating and remediating a regional PCE plume released from multiple third party facilities and obtained significant Cleanup and Abatement Account grant funds to finance the multi-year project.
- Advised client regarding evacuation of a warehouse facility caused by hydrogen sulfide releases and managed the subsequent investigation and remediation as well as employee notices and concerns.
- Advised multiple clients regarding emergency spill reporting obligations.
Wood Treatment Facilities
- Represented property owner in a DTSC enforcement action involving hexalvalent chromium and arsenic impacts caused by historic wood treatment activities.
- Successfully settle multimillion-dollar CERCLA and HSAA cost recovery action brought by DTSC following releases from a former wood treatment facility.
- Negotiated ten-year extension of the UST Cleanup Fund, creation of the Expedited Claim Pilot Program, expanded recovery under the Orphan Site Cleanup Program and the Site Cleanup Subaccount Program (SB 445) in 2014
- Assisted multiple developer clients to obtain grant funding from the Orphan Site Cleanup Fund for remediation of releases from historic, third party operations.
- Negotiated consent decrees with the U.S Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) on behalf of defense group and various individual clients.
- Represented a buyer of a former railyard facility, including placement of pollution legal liability and cost cap insurance policies, for a commercial shopping center.
Base Reuse Projects
- Assisted client in the early transfer of a former naval shipyard property with significant residual contamination including metals, solvents, hydrocarbons and PCBs for redevelopment as an educational facility.
- Assisted public parks client in the expansion of their land holdings through the early transfer of a former naval weapons storage property.
Brownfields Redevelopment Projects
- Represented numerous developers of contaminated properties in negotiating agreements with environmental oversight agencies.
- Represent lender in transaction involving on-going remediation of target property by third party and successfully negotiate appropriate indemnity protection.
- Represent numerous sellers and buyers of impacted properties including resolution of reporting obligations, transfer and management of past and future liability, insurance coverage, and management of agency, lender and tenant concerns.
Landfills/Drum Disposal/Recycling Sites
- Representing potentially responsible parties in multiparty Superfund and cost recovery cases, including at the BKK Landfill Site in West Covina, CA and the Mouren-Laurens/Leach Oil Company (Rev973) Sites in Compton, CA.
- Negotiated cost sharing agreement and indemnity agreement with defense group and settlement agreement with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to avoid significant litigation costs.
- Advised clients regarding hazardous waste generation, storage, transportation and disposal requirements.
- Represented clients in permitting processes, with particular emphasis on well installation and destruction, waste discharge requirements, and underground storage tanks.
Dry Cleaners, Gas Stations, and Bulk Oil Storage Facilities
- Brought Superfund cost recovery action against former dry cleaner operator and former shopping center owners with respect to impacts to the shopping center and adjacent, residential neighborhood on behalf of current property owner and master tenant.
- Represented owner of Northern California bulk oil storage facility in settlement of two related-actions involving impacts from a prior owner’s operations.
- Represented numerous property owners with respect to releases from dry cleaner and service station tenants. Typically, this has included resolution of lease disputes, regulatory enforcement directives and orders, insurance claim disputes, fulfillment of lender requirements, preparation of prospective buyer and tenant disclosures and management of concerns regarding indoor air health risks.
- Negotiated multiple deed restrictions on behalf of property owner clients in connection with receipt of a No Further Action letter.
- Represented numerous retail clients in defense of Proposition 65 action for failure to warn of health risks arising from exposure to hazardous substances.
- Pacific Oil Conference, 2015 “CA UST PROGRAM: New, Extended & Improved”;
- Association of Corporate Counsel, 2015 “Avoiding and Managing Environmental Liability”;
- Pacific Oil Conference, 2014 “Is the UST Cleanup Fund Fading into the Sunset?”,
State Bar of California, 30th Annual Real Property Retreat, “Clean up your Act! The Latest Developments in Contaminated Properties Liability,” 2011, Panelist;
- State Bar of California, Webinar, “2002 Bona Fide Prospective Purchaser Defense,” July 2011, Co-presenter;
- Association of Commercial Real Estate, “Dirty Dirt and Your Deal (aka Environmental Concerns in Real Estate Transactions),” 2007, Presenter;
- Downey Brand LLP, “Environmental Due Diligence – All Appropriate Inquiries Update,” 2007, Presenter;
- Lorman Education Services, “Petroleum Tanks: Installation, Testing, Maintenance, Closure and Enforcement of ASTs/USTs in California,” 2003, Presenter;
- Real Property Law Section E-Bulletin, “Legislative Update: Stuck in the Middle Again? UST Owners Hope AB 1715 Will Provide Regulatory Relief,” November 2012, Co-Author;
- Downey Brand Environmental Law Update, “US EPA Issues New Superfund Policy to Address Delays in Reaching Settlements with Potentially Responsible Parties,” November 2012, Author;
- State Bar Real Property Section E-Bulletin, “Remodeler Training and Certification Required by September 30 for EPA’s Lead Paint Rule,” September 2010, Author;
- State Bar Real Property Section E-Bulletin, “UST Owners and Operators Brace for Caps on Reimbursement from UST Cleanup Fund,” October 2010, Author;
- California State Bar, Real Property Law Section, “Lot Line Adjustment Exception Significantly Narrowed by SB 497,” 2002, Author; and West’s Publishing, “Contracts in a Nutshell,” 4th Edition, 1997, Research Editor.
In addition to her law practice, Nicole is Founding Member of 100+ Women Who Care Yolo County. Nicole was honored to be recognized by the Sacramento Business Journal and her peers as one of the “Best of the Bar” in 2015 and 2016, and as a mentor for the Business Journal’s Mentoring Monday in 2016. Sacramento Magazine and her peers also honored Nicole as a “Top Lawyer” in her field in 2016. In addition, she served as the Vice Chair of the Executive Committee of the California State Bar’s Real Property Law Section (RPLS), and was qualified as an expert on the California UST Cleanup Fund. Nicole is also active in a number of legislative and state policy advisory groups that are working to improve contaminated property grant programs.