Steven Chester Brings Unique Blend of Government and Private Sector Experience in Interpreting and Applying Environmental Laws and Regulations.
Foley announced today that Steven Chester has joined the firm as Of Counsel in the Detroit office working in the Environmental Regulation Practice. Prior to joining Foley, Chester served for seven years as Director of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, the highest ranking environmental regulatory position in the state.
As Director of Michigan’s environmental protection agency, Chester was responsible for overseeing the management of Michigan’s air quality, water resources, solid and hazardous waste, oil and gas, land management, and remediation and redevelopment programs, in addition to administering a $350 million budget and supervising a staff of 1,400 people. While in this role, he was successful in securing greater protection of Michigan’s water resources and the Great Lakes by advocating for water withdrawal and invasive species legislation, supporting the Great Lakes Compact and preventing open water disposal of contaminated sediments. Additionally, he guided the Michigan Climate Action Council in developing a climate action plan to mitigate the adverse impacts of greenhouse gases on the state’s residents and environment.
Previously Chester was Principal and Of Counsel with Miller, Canfield, Paddock and Stone, PLC., where he provided counsel to Fortune 500 companies and municipalities specializing in environmental law and litigation. He regularly represented clients in environmental litigation, including serving as co-counsel for the Detroit Public Schools in a federal lawsuit involving the remediation and construction of Beard Elementary School. He also actively assisted clients in the purchase and remediation of industrial properties for redevelopment purposes and provided counsel on resolving compliance and enforcement issues with state and federal regulators.
Prior to this, he held multiple positions with the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), among them Deputy Director with the Office of Criminal Enforcement and Deputy Enforcement Counsel for the Resource, Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). During his tenure with the EPA, Chester was appointed as liaison to the Department of Justice and United States Attorneys on environmental crimes prosecutions and civil hazardous waste law enforcement.
“As a recognized and respected voice in the environmental regulatory community, Steve will be an outstanding resource for our clients, particularly our manufacturing clients located throughout the Midwest,” said Steve Hilfinger, managing partner of Foley’s Detroit office. “We look forward to tapping his experience with climate change initiatives as well as other areas of environmental regulatory reform that impact our clients.”
Chester is currently actively involved with the Center for Climate Strategies, an organization helping governments and their stakeholders tackle climate change issues. He assists states in developing comprehensive climate action plans with clear adaptation measures in anticipation of what will be required when pending federal climate change legislation is adopted. Having successfully implemented a climate action plan in Michigan, he is a sought after advisor to provide guidance to other states in EPA Region Five (IL, IN, MI, MN, OH) and across the U.S.
“Steve has a demonstrated ability to find creative, workable solutions to address complex environmental issues,” said Linda Benfield, chair of Foley’s Environmental Regulation Practice. “His deep knowledge of the current climate change initiatives being considered at the Federal level and vast experience in many other areas of environmental regulatory reform make him a strong asset to one of the leading environmental practices in the U.S.”
Foley & Lardner LLP continually evolves to meet the changing legal needs of our clients. Our team-based approach, proprietary client service technology, and practice depth enhance client relationships while seeing clients through their most complex legal challenges. Our environmental law practice is one of the largest in the United States and is made up of attorneys with significant experience in assisting clients with the full range of environmental services. In a recent survey of Fortune 1000 corporate counsel, conducted by The BTI Consulting Group (Wellesley, Massachusetts), Foley ranked first for superior client service and value. We also were named to the InformationWeek 500 list for four consecutive years for our client-focused technology. With nearly 1,000 attorneys in 21 offices and more than 60 practices, Foley strives to provide high-caliber business and legal insight.