James A. Thornhill

Jim advises clients on environmental energy and land development matters. His practice includes environmental aspects of transactions, redevelopment of contaminated sites and representation in regulatory matters with federal and state environmental agencies. In the environmental aspects of transactions he handles environmental and land use due diligence and permitting issues in real estate, corporate and energy transactions, including leases, purchase and sale of real property, asset and stock purchases and sales, loans and donations. Jim has also advised clients on the environmental and land use aspects of wind and solar energy generation facilities. He has reviewed hundreds of Phase I and Phase II environmental site assessments and compliance audits for a broad range of clients. He has also written articles and spoken on the environmental due diligence and evolving issues such as vapor intrusion.

He has represented developers in assessing and resolving issues for re-development of Brownfield sites across the country for industrial, commercial and residential projects. Jim is actively working on or recently completed projects under voluntary remediation programs in Maryland, South Carolina and Virginia as well as sites regulated under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. Jim understands not only how to identify and resolve liability issues at contaminated sites, but also how to address the practical implications of residual contamination and development restrictions that may be encountered after the regulator’s sign off on the site. He has extensive experience using environmental insurance in transactions and brownfield redevelopment, having negotiated terms on behalf of sellers, purchasers, developers and lenders.

Jim is experienced in landlord, tenant, owner, operator, trustee and lender liability issues involving underground and above ground storage tanks (USTs and ASTs), hazardous and solid waste, hazardous substances, petroleum, asbestos containing materials, lead-based paint, lead in water, radon, wetlands and navigable waters, endangered species and historic resources. He has worked on a broad range of industrial uses with environmental and natural resource impacts, including energy-related facilities such as power plants; municipal solid waste (MSW), rubble waste and construction and demolition debris landfills, transfer stations and recycling facilities; and sand, gravel and aggregate mining, storage and distribution facilities.

After earning his law degree, Jim was a law clerk for the Honorable Walter E. Hoffman of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. While attending the University of Richmond School of Law, he was a member of the McNeill Law (Honor) Society.

Good to know

Areas of Practice 1) Environmental, 2) Energy Law, 3) Real Estate and Land Use, 4) Distressed Real Estate and 5) Master Limited Partnerships
Law School University of Richmond, JD, 1987
Education Wake Forest University, B.A, 1984
Bar Member / Association West Virginia State Bar Association, Virginia State Bar Association
Most recent firm McGuireWoods LLP
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