Practices

Specialized Fields

  • CERCLA and other Waste Cleanup
  • Compliance and Enforcement
  • Environmental Due Diligence
  • Environmental and Natural Resources Litigation
  • Citizen Suits
  • Water Quality and Wetlands
  • Property Development, Transactions, and Brownfields Sites
  • Common Counsel for Multi-Party Cleanups
  • NRD Claims

Attorneys

Special Counsel

Senior Counsel

Elizabeth H. Temkin

Email - Elizabeth Temkin
Phone - 303-382-2900

Elizabeth Temkin is a partner at Temkin & Hardt LLP, with over thirty years of experience in environmental litigation and transactional work throughout the West. Ms. Temkin's practice focuses on complex environmental litigation and site remediation and reuse.  Ms. Temkin is particularly well-known for her litigation and clean-up related work at so-called “mega sites” throughout the Western United States, including some of the biggest and most complicated hard-rock mining Superfund sites in the country, such as Coeur d'Alene, Midnite Mine, Leadville, and others.  She also has considerable experience and success on both sides of citizen suit litigation and as common counsel to PRP groups.  On the transactional side, Ms. Temkin has over the years helped a diverse array of redevelopment projects successfully navigate all sorts of complex cleanup and regulatory challenges.  She has a reputation for finding creative ways to effectively manage environmental risks and liabilities in either a litigation or transactional setting.  

Ms. Temkin graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Cornell University.  She received her J.D. from Stanford Law School.  She is a member of the Bar of the Courts of Colorado, the Ninth Circuit and Tenth Circuit Courts of Appeals, and the United States Supreme Court, and has been admitted pro hac vice in numerous courts across the United States.  Ms. Temkin has been recognized repeatedly over the years by The Best Lawyers in America, Super Lawyers and 5280 Magazine.  Best Lawyers selected Ms. Temkin as its 2014 Denver Lawyer of the Year for Environmental Law.  

Representative Assignments and Projects 

  • Negotiation of the largest ability-to-pay settlement outside bankruptcy to resolve federal, state and tribal CERCLA claims for billions of dollars in alleged cleanup costs and natural resource damages (NRD) at the Bunker Hill/Coeur d’Alene Basin Superfund site in North Idaho.  

  • Negotiation as PRP Group common counsel of an innovative State-lead CERCLA settlement for extensive mine site cleanup work in Nevada.  Several key Consent Decree terms, including the covenant and reopener provisions, diverge widely from model language.  Settlement also resolved tribal NRD claims.  

  • Successful motion for summary judgment defending a high profile CERCLA contribution case in federal court in Montana.  Appeal is pending in the Ninth Circuit.  

  • On-going defense of a toxic tort suit in federal court in Wyoming involving alleged gas field impacts.

  • Negotiation of a CERCLA consent decree on behalf of two estates and multiple beneficiaries for historic mining exploration activities on Forest Service land in Oregon.

  • Successful prosecution to settlement of an insurance coverage lawsuit in federal court in Oregon on behalf of an estate and multiple beneficiaries to resolve cleanup-related defense and indemnity obligations of several insurers under a number of CGL policies to fund a CERCLA settlement with the Forest Service.  

  • Negotiation and advice on development and implementation of voluntary cleanup plans, funding agreements and other details for a municipality as the current owner of a former manufactured gas plant site and of an historic, former fluorspar processing facility.  The latter property contains Native American remains and artifacts and abuts an historic pioneer cemetery.

  • Counsel to major oil and gas producer on EPA investigation and cleanup issues at a Wyoming gas field with an extensive drilling and production history.  Site has been the subject of nationwide press coverage and intense regulatory scrutiny.  

  • Advise current owner on CERCLA and other issues associated with redevelopment of a 3,200 acre former paper mill site in Montana with three miles of river frontage.

  • Advise purchaser of former National Priorities List mining site, that is also on the National Register of Historic Places, on liabilities and risks associated with property acquisition and redevelopment.

  • Negotiation of settlement, access and cleanup related-agreements at a closed uranium mine in New Mexico.  

  • Defense of CERCLA claims against major U.S. mining company involving a former uranium mine on an Indian reservation in Washington State.