McGuireWoods partner Gregory Evans was named a 2022 Environmental MVP by Law360 for his work representing Asarco LLC in its successful bid to recoup cleanup costs for a Montana Superfund site from Atlantic Richfield Co. But his interest in environmental law took root at an early age, he said in a Sept. 27, 2022, profile.
Evans told Law360 that his ambitions to become an environmental lawyer date back to his childhood in an East Los Angeles neighborhood that was polluted by the nearby railyard.
“The pollution was so severe that it caused disease in my family and impacted our community in so many ways,” Evans said. “I’ve always wanted to be an environmental attorney to show that there are guidelines that can be achieved, alignment that can be achieved between a company’s objective, its social responsibility, and the needs of our community to live in a safe and healthy environment.”
Law360 recognized Evans for leading a legal team that represented Asarco against Atlantic Richfield in a dispute over the $120 million cleanup of a Superfund site at a former lead smelting plant in East Helena, Montana. A federal judge ruled last year that Atlantic Richfield must reimburse Asarco for 25% of the amount Asarco paid under a settlement with the Environmental Protection Agency and the state of Montana.
Evans said the case clarified how pollution and toxic waste remediation can get paid for when multiple entities bear responsibility for environmental damage. The ruling will incentivize companies to settle their claims quickly and later pursue contributions from other parties that added to pollution at a particular site.
“The sooner parties acknowledge their environmental impact, the sooner resources can be devoted to clean up those impacts,” he said. “The communities benefit because that money is otherwise unavailable. The Superfund doesn’t have enough money to clean up all of the industrial impacts that occurred in the last few years.”