Peter J. Fontaine

Peter J. Fontaine

Peter J. Fontaine

Co-chair of Cozen O’Connor LLP’s Energy, Environmental & Public Utilities Practice Group and the Climate Change practice

Peter is co-chair of the firm’s Energy, Environmental & Public Utilities Practice Group and the Climate Change practice. He works with large, medium, and small companies across the United States to help them manage and resolve their environmental liabilities and exploit new opportunities arising from the convergence of energy and environmental imperatives. Peter joined the firm in 2002 as a lateral partner and was the impetus behind Cozen O’Connor’s formation in 2004 of a combined environmental and energy practice.

He serves as environmental counsel to two natural gas pipeline projects, which are designed to increase natural gas supplies to communities in the northeast and thereby lower electricity and heating costs for millions of consumers while also reducing emissions. In this capacity, he advises the pipeline owners on a multitude of environmental regulatory issues and regularly interfaces with state and federal agencies. Peter helps a wide range of businesses to assess, manage, and resolve environmental liabilities associated with soil, water and air pollution. He leads the firm’s Brownfields Development Practice, which assists land owners and developers to identify, manage, and resolve the challenges posed by real or perceived soil and groundwater contamination. This includes helping to manage due diligence, negotiate environmental provisions in purchase agreements, procure liability protection from insurers and regulatory agencies, and structure remediation projects. He has advised land owners and developers on some of the most complex brownfields projects, including helping secure closure, remediation, and redevelopment of sites in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Maryland. He assists Fortune 500 companies to structure and implement internal environmental compliance programs, including compliance audits, policy development and implementation, and internal investigations. He defends and prosecutes environmental claims in state and federal courts and administrative agencies, including before the Pennsylvania Environmental Hearing Board and the New Jersey Office of Administrative Law. He advises consumer product manufacturers in connection with toxic and hazardous substances subject to California’s Proposition 65 and similar state and federal laws.

Peter also represents clean energy companies in the wind, solar, biogas, and electric vehicle sectors to develop projects and exploit new markets. In 2008, Peter conceived and helped form the Battery Electric Vehicle Coalition, which advocates for legislation to level the playing field for electric vehicles.

He previously served as an enforcement lawyer with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in Washington, D.C., where he helped write regulations implementing the 1990 Amendments to the Clean Air Act, prosecuted civil violations of environmental laws, and was a Special Assistant to the Director of Civil Enforcement. He received the Agency’s Award for Excellence for his contribution to the EPA’s first multimedia enforcement team. He routinely draws on his EPA experience to help clients achieve practical solutions to their environmental problems.

Outside the office, Peter is an active member of the Greater Philadelphia community. He helped secure passage of three open space public questions in 1998, 2005 and 2006, which created stable funding sources for preserving open spaces, farms, historic sites and recreational areas in Camden County, NJ. From 1999 to 2013, he chaired Camden County’s Open Space Advisory Committee, which since 1999 has preserved more than 2,000 acres of farmland and open space. He served on Pennsylvania Governor Edward Rendell’s transportation transition team. He is a former board member of the New Jersey Conservation Foundation, the state’s oldest land conservation organization.

Peter earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of New Hampshire in 1986, where he was a four-year member of the varsity soccer team. He received his J.D. from George Washington University Law School in 1990.