Adam P. Kahn

Partner - Boston

Adam Kahn
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Adam has focused on environmental and energy law issues for 25 years. Adam has deep expertise in a broad spectrum of matters involving renewable energy, conventional energy, project permitting, land use/development, environmental compliance, and Brownfields redevelopment. Corporate, institutional, and government clients have benefited from Adam’s considerable experience in environmental disputes; compliance and transactions; siting, permitting, and development of complex energy facilities and other commercial and industrial operations; and the remediation, redevelopment and reuse of contaminated property.

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  • Harvard Law School, J.D., magna cum laude, 1992
  • Brown University, A.B., magna cum laude, 1987

Representative Experience

Energy Facility Experience

  • Represents an owner of a combined cycle electric generating facility with regard to energy and environmental permits needed to authorize an expansion in capacity
  • Represents a wind energy developer with regard to energy and environmental permitting for a proposed commercial scale off-shore wind farm and related transmission facilities
  • Represented an importer of liquefied natural gas and owners of electric power generating facilities in Massachusetts Department of Public Utility matters relating to financing of gas pipelines by electric ratepayers
  • Represented the developer of a proposed 60-mile undersea electric transmission line with regard to environmental, permitting and siting matters
  • Represents the owners of a 1,000 MW pumped storage hydroelectric facility on the environmental aspects of a FERC relicensing process
  • Represents the owners, developers, or EPC contractors for dozens of solar power generating facilities with regard to environmental permitting, due diligence, transactional and compliance matters
  • Represented a developer in siting, permitting, and related litigation for a proposed commercial scale biomass facility
  • Represented the developer of a proposed 450 MW peaking generation facility and the developer of a proposed combined cycle generating plant in the northeastern United States in environmental permitting and energy facility siting matters
  • Successfully represented the developer of a 360 MW combined cycle-electric generating plant in obtaining all required approvals; regularly advise owners and operators of numerous other power plants in compliance and enforcement matters
  • Advised owners of approximately 25 coal, oil and natural gas fired electric power generating stations in nine states of obligations under state and federal air pollution requirements, including acid rain, New Source Review and Title V
  • Successfully represented a Canadian owner of hydroelectric facilities obtain approvals for a major expansion of a 600 MW pumped storage generating facility
  • Represented owners of a power plant in the northeastern United States with regard to an EPA review of thermal emissions and entrainment/impingement issues under the Clean Water Act
  • Successfully appealed a Title V air permit issued to a 345 MW cogeneration facility located in New York State
  • Represented multiple power plants in New Source Review related investigations and enforcement actions
  • Represented operator of waste-to-energy facilities in environmental compliance matters
  • Represents developers of renewable energy facilities fueled by landfill gas in acquisition, development, and enforcement actions
  • Provides siting and permitting advice to develop Anaerobic Digestion facilities designed to convert food waste into biofuels
  • Represents clients with respect to the creation and sale of carbon and emission-related credits
  • Represents owners of distributed generating, emergency backup, small hydroelectric and cogeneration facilities in permitting, compliance and enforcement actions

Domestic Litigation and Enforcement

  • Represented a supplier of liquefied natural gas before the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court in obtaining a determination that the Department of Public Utilities lacks the authority to approve electric ratepayer financing of gas pipelines.  ENGIE Gas & LNG LLC v. Department of Public Utilities, 475 Mass.191 (2016)
  • Represented the owner of one of the largest chemical manufacturing facilities in the northeastern United States against federal claims that the facility did not comply with federal and state clean air act requirements
  • Represented a party in litigation brought by the Department of Justice involving air emission and waste handling issues at a waste-to-energy facility located in Illinois
  • Represented an owner of an electric power generating facility in a federal criminal environmental matter in the northeastern United States relating to the operation of air emissions monitoring equipment
  • Represents the owner of a combined cycle electric power generating facility with regard to an enforcement matter pertaining to that facility’s compliance with applicable greenhouse gas measurement and reporting initiatives
  • Represented a party in litigation brought by the Department of Justice involving air emissions from two biomass plants in California
  • Represented the owners of hydroelectric facilities in Maine against citizen suits alleging that the facilities violated the federal Endangered Species Act
  • Represents the owner of a chemical manufacturing facility in the West Virginia in claims against prior owners and operators with regard PCB contamination
  • Represented the owner of a coal-fired power plant in the northeastern United States with regard to a citizen suit alleging violations of air emissions regulations
  • Represented the owners of two coal-fired power plants in the mid-Atlantic region relating to emissions monitoring and related compliance issues
  • Represented a municipality in defending its wastewater discharge permit at the EPA Environmental Appeals Board
  • Represented an owner of multiple mining facilities in a litigation brought by a state attorney general alleging multiple violations of state clean air and clean water acts
  • Represents numerous clients in single and multi-party superfund enforcement and litigation actions
  • Defended operators of institutions and industrial facilities, including recycle and virgin paper mills; asphalt, aggregate and concrete manufacturers; power plants; chemical manufacturing facilities; communications facilities; electronics manufacturers; medical device manufacturers; and others against enforcement actions brought by state and federal environmental agencies, Attorneys General, and the United States Department of Justice
  • Successfully appealed Title V operating permit conditions for two industrial and electric power generating facilities in New York
  • Obtained the dismissal of claims against the owner of a 300 MW cogeneration facility relating to alleged violations of air emissions permits
  • Successfully challenged the denial of air emission reduction credits by a state environmental agency
  • Obtained a favorable decision on behalf of a chemical manufacturer in defense of environmental remediation cost recovery and property damage claims. Mystic Landing v. Pharmacia Corp., 417 F. Supp. 2d 120 (D. Mass. 2006) and 443 F. Supp. 2d 97 (D. Mass. 2006)
  • Secured the disputed tax exempt status for a regional land bank commission. Martha's Vineyard Land Bank Comm’n v. Bd. of W. Tisbury, 62 Mass. App. Ct. 25 (Mass. App. Ct. 2004)
  • Successfully defended local and state approvals allowing the construction of such projects as a controversial public high school, a high technology corporate campus and a private golf club. Clifford v. City of Everett, No. 03-4339 (Mass. Super. Ct. 2004), White Pine, LLC v. Massachusetts DEP, No. 99-5758 (Mass. Super. Ct. 2001), and Fitzgerald v. Vincent, No. 2001-02 (Mass. Super. Ct. 2001)

International Litigation and Arbitration

  • Successfully defended the Republic of Uruguay in an environmental challenge brought by Argentina in the International Court of Justice regarding the construction of pulp mills on the River Uruguay. Pulp Mills on the River Uruguay (Argentina v. Uruguay, 2010)
  • Represents the Republic of Ecuador in an action pending in the International Court of Justice regarding aerial spraying of herbicide without adequate precautions. Case Concerning Aerial Herbicide Spraying (Ecuador v. Columbia)
  • Represents a sovereign state in multiple ICSID arbitrations regarding environmental issues associated with gold mining
  • Served as environmental law expert in a German arbitral proceeding relating to compliance of a manufacturing facility with U.S. environmental law

Permitting, Compliance, and Brownfields Redevelopment

  • Advises hundreds of clients on legal requirements for remediation and redevelopment of contaminated properties
  • Represents clients on federal and state endangered species act issues, including CITES treaty compliance
  • Prepares environmental policies and supervised compliance and “beyond compliance” audits for industrial, energy, academic, and institutional clients
  • Advises clients on strategies for compliance with the International Finance Corporation's Environmental and Social Standards, a benchmark for sustainable industrial and infrastructure projects in the developing world
  • Represents Massachusetts Development Finance Agency with respect to remediation and redevelopment of the former Fort Devens
  • Represents municipalities or redevelopment authorities in Chelsea, Everett, Worcester, Springfield, Arlington, Somerville and Malden, Massachusetts in the acquisition, remediation, sale and redevelopment of former industrial properties for school, medical, residential, commercial, park, transportation and industrial use
  • Advised the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority with respect to the permitting of the Greenbush Commuter Rail Line in metropolitan Boston
  • Represented the Massachusetts Development Finance Agency in the siting of a $1.1 billion pharmaceutical manufacturing facility at the former Fort Devens
  • Obtained permits for construction of a new recycle paper mill and for a significant expansion of a major textile manufacturing facility in New Hampshire
  • Assisted developer of a 900,000 sq. ft. high tech office complex and recreational facility obtain needed endangered species, MEPA, and wetlands approvals
  • Obtained environmental permits for Vineyard Golf Club (Edgartown, MA) and The Bay Club of Mattapoisett (MA)
  • Represents owners of commercial and industrial property and businesses with respect to due diligence and transactional matters associated with environmental compliance, environmental remediation, and related matters
  • Represents municipalities, manufacturers, and institutions with respect to regulatory closure of solid waste facilities
  • Counsels energy and industrial corporations with respect to sustainability, environmental corporate social responsibility
  • Represents multiple owners of property addressing indoor air pollution issues including those involving vapor intrusion, PCBs, asbestos and lead

Professional Experience

  • Worked as a scientist at Environ Corporation prior to law school


  • Elected a Fellow to the American College of Environmental Lawyers
  • Ranked in "Band 1" by CHAMBERS USA: AMERICA'S LEADING LAWYERS FOR BUSINESS as one of Massachusetts' Leading Environmental Lawyers
  • Named BEST LAWYERS’ Boston Litigation - Environmental Lawyer of the Year (2015 and 2018)


  • Boston Bar Association
    • International Environmental Law Committee, Chair (2009-2011)
    • Hazardous and Solid Waste Committee, Chair (1999-2000)
    • Clean Air Committee, Chair (2000-2003)
    • Steering Committee of Environmental Law Section (1999-2004)
  • Lex Mundi, Environmental Law Group, Firm Representative
  • Massachusetts Bar Association, Member
  • American Bar Association, Member
  • Brookline Conservation Commission, Commissioner (1999 to 2007)
  • Director, JMR Barker Foundation

  • Frequent speaker on a variety of environmental, energy and legal profession matters
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Bar Admissions

  • Massachusetts

Court Admissions

  • U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts
  • U.S. Court of Appeals First Circuit