Adam P. Kahn

Partner - Boston

Adam Kahn
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Adam is a leading practitioner in environmental and energy law matters. He works on renewable and conventional energy issues, complex project siting and permitting, environmental and energy disputes, environmental compliance, corporate and real estate transactions, and remediation and redevelopment 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

  • Energy, environmental permitting and related appeals for the 800 MW “Vineyard Wind” project, the first large-scale off-shore wind farm in North America. Vineyard Wind LLC (Massachusetts EFSB 17-05 and 19-05), and for the follow-on 804 MW “Park City Wind” off-shore wind project Vineyard Wind LLC (Massachusetts EFSB 20-01).
  • Environmental permitting, due diligence, transactional and compliance matters for dozens of solar power generating facilities.
  • Siting, permitting and regulatory advice for the developers of emerging energy generation technologies.
  • Advise a 1,200 MW pumped storage and traditional hydroelectric development regarding FERC relicensing and related water quality certification. FirstLight Power Resources, Turners Falls Hydroelectric Project (FERC No.1889) and Northfield Mountain Pumped Storage Project (FERC No. 2485).
  • Advice regarding water quality certification issues for a 676 MW pumped storage and traditional hydroelectric facility. Bear Swamp Power Company, LLC (FERC No. 2669, MA OADR 2020-20).
  • Advises parties with regard to electric transmission infrastructure, including the developer of a proposed HVDC undersea and underground electric transmission line in the northeastern US, as well as offshore wind developers with regard to onshore utility-owned transmission infrastructure (Massachusetts EFSB 19-06).
  • Represents conventional combined cycle generation facilities, including initial permitting (US Generating, 360 MW, EFSB 96-04), expansions (Milford Power LLC, Massachusetts, 225 MW, EFSB 17-04) and ongoing compliance, transactional and enforcement advice.  
  • Represented hydroelectric facility in obtaining approvals to expand a 600 MW pumped storage generating facility. Bear Swamp Power Company, LLC (EFSB Advisory Opinion, June 2008). 
  • Represented a developer in siting, permitting, and related litigation for a proposed 47 MW woody biomass facility.
  • Regularly advises owners and operators of fossil fuel, hydropower, fuel cell, solar, waste-to-energy, distributed generation, combined heat and power, emergency backup and landfill gas generating facilities with regard to transactional, project development, permitting, environmental compliance, and enforcement matters.
  • Represents clients with respect to the use, acquisition, creation and sale of carbon and emission-related credits.

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 an owner of a 1,200 MW nuclear power facility in related proceedings before the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (DPU Docket Nos. 15-181 and 16-05).
  • Represented the owner of a chemical manufacturing facility in West Virginia in claims against prior owners and operators with regard to PCB contamination. MPM Silicones, LLC v. Union Carbide Corporation (No. 1:11-cv-1542, N.D. New York, 2017), affirmed Docket No. 17-3468(L), 2nd Circuit, 2020). After trial and as affirmed by the 2nd Circuit, the court awarded MPM 95% of its removal costs.  
  • 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.
  • Represented numerous electric generating, waste-to-energy, biomass, chemical manufacturing and mining facilities across the United States in the northeastern United States against federal Department of Justice and state Attorneys General claims under federal and state clean air acts.
  • Represented a combined cycle electric power generating facility in an enforcement matter pertaining to compliance with applicable Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative measurement and reporting requirements.
  • Represented hydroelectric facilities in Maine against citizen suits alleging that the facilities violated the federal Endangered Species Act. Friends of Merrymeeting Bay v. NextEra Energy Resources, et al. (D. Me. 2011-2013); represented other parties in citizen suit defenses. 
  • Represented a municipality in an appeal of its wastewater discharge permit before the EPA Environmental Appeals Board.
  • Represents numerous clients in single and multi-party superfund enforcement and litigation actions.
  • Defended operators of institutions and industrial facilities, including recycled 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 a paper mill and a 345 MW electric power generating facility in New York State; successfully challenged the denial of air emission reduction credits by another northeast  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).

Permitting, Compliance, and Brownfields Redevelopment

  • Advises hundreds of clients on legal requirements for remediation and redevelopment of contaminated properties.
  • Represents Massachusetts Development Finance Agency with respect to remediation and redevelopment of the former Fort Devens.
  • Represented municipalities or redevelopment authorities across 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 in obtaining needed endangered species, MEPA, and wetlands approvals.
    Obtained environmental permits for Vineyard Golf Club (Edgartown, MA) and The Bay Club of Mattapoisett (MA).
  • 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.
  • Represents clients on federal and state endangered species act issues, including compliance with CITES, federal ESA, and state equivalent 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.

Transactional Experience

  • Represents buyers, sellers, landlords, tenants, owners, and operators in transactional matters with environmental and energy dimensions, including power plants, manufacturing facilities, commercial property, and brownfields sites.  
  • Conducts due diligence, negotiates transaction terms, and obtains permits and approvals.  
  • Negotiates environmental insurance policies and develops other mechanisms to limit liability and facilitate transactions. 

International Litigation and Arbitration

  • 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).
  • Represented the Republic of Ecuador before the International Court of Justice regarding aerial spraying of herbicide without adequate precautions. Case Concerning Aerial Herbicide Spraying (Ecuador v. Columbia, 2013).
  • Represented 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.

Professional Experience

  • Environmental Scientist at Environ Corporation (now part of Ramboll) prior to law school


  • Selected as one of Lawdragon’s 500 Leading U.S. Environmental & Energy Lawyers (2021) 
  • Elected a Fellow to the American College of Environmental Lawyers (2014 to present); Board of Regents (2018 to present)
  • Ranked in "Band 1" by CHAMBERS USA: AMERICA'S LEADING LAWYERS FOR BUSINESS as one of Massachusetts' Leading Environmental Lawyers (ranked 2003 to present)
  • Named BEST LAWYERS IN AMERICA's Boston Environmental Law Lawyer of the Year (2022)
  • Named three times as BEST LAWYERS IN AMERICA's Boston Litigation - Environmental Lawyer of the Year (2015, 2018, and 2021)
  • Listed annually in THE BEST LAWYERS IN AMERICA
  • Listed as Global Leader in WHO'S WHO LEGAL: ENVIRONMENT
  • Listed as Global Leader in WHO’S WHO LEGAL: CLIMATE CHANGE


  • Brookline Conservation Commission, Commissioner (1999 to 2007)
  • Director, JMR Barker Foundation (2015 to present)
  • Member, Board of Directors, Lovin' Spoonfuls Inc. (2018 to present)
  • Criminal Record Sealing Project, Boston Bar Association (2019 to present)
  • 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

  • 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 for the First Circuit