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David L. Rieser

Of Counsel
Fax +1.312.827.8000

David Rieser has more than three decades of experience advising clients in all areas of environmental law, including legislative, regulatory, compliance and law enforcement matters, corporate, commercial and real estate transactions, governmental and private cost-recovery actions, environmental insurance coverage, and remediation of contaminated sites. Mr. Rieser serves Fortune 100 and mid-sized companies operating in a broad range of industries, including power generation, chemicals, petroleum, steel, food and consumer products, financial services, and waste management.

In the legislative and regulatory arena, Mr. Rieser has represented trade associations, industry groups, and individual companies in numerous matters involving the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA). He also represented power generating companies in permitting and administrative proceedings, and prepared responses to agency requests for information regarding Clean Air Act (CAA) issues.

Mr. Rieser has served as a voice for clients in drafting and negotiating regulations in Illinois, won site-specific regulatory relief from the Illinois Pollution Control Board (IPCB), negotiated federal corrective action orders for hazardous waste facilities under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), served as common counsel for potentially responsible parties in actions under the Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA), and obtained no further remediation letters (NFR) under the Illinois Site remediation Program (SRP) for a number of developer and industrial clients with contaminated properties. Mr. Rieser also represents clients in matters involving the Chicago Metropolitan Water Reclamation District (MWRD), including enforcement issues and lease negotiations.

Mr. Rieser regularly counsels buyers and sellers of commercial and industrial property and businesses as well as their lenders on the assessment and allocation of environmental risks of the transactions, including acquisitions and dispositions of assets valued in the hundreds of millions of dollars. Recent transactions have involved assets located in Europe and the United States, and include deals for contaminated and other properties requiring environmental remediation.

An experienced litigator, Mr. Rieser has argued cases in federal and state courts, including a recent victory in the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, in which he represented a coalition seeking to preserve commercial navigation in the Chicago waterways. Other matters have included cost recovery and enforcement actions.

Professional Background

Mr. Rieser serves on the Illinois Site Remediation Advisory Committee, a stakeholder group that works with the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency on the development of regulations for the remediation of contaminated sites. He is currently Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Lake Michigan Section of the A&WMA, and was chairman of the local host committee for the A&WMA Annual Conference and Exhibition held in Chicago in 2013.

Mr. Rieser serves as an adjunct professor in the Loyola University Chicago School of Law. He is regularly sought as a speaker before trade associations and industry groups, where he lectures on a broad range of environmental topics. Recent presentations have described current developments relating to the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), the Clean Air Act (CAA), the Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), the use and protection of waterways and water resources, as well as wastewater discharges, climate change, EPA regulations, and carbon and other greenhouse gases.

Similarly, Mr. Rieser is the author of numerous published articles, book chapters, and client alerts that analyze and discuss recent legislative, judicial, and regulatory trends. In these publications, Mr. Rieser has helped clients and others better understand issues such as protection of trade secrets in greenhouse gas reporting, EPA waste rules involving biomass and other alternative fuels, Supreme Court and federal appellate court decisions, pharmaceutical waste management, brownfield remediation, ozone standards, coal ash rules, and environmental due diligence requirements.


  • Recognized by Chambers USA as a top environmental lawyer since 2008
  • Named an Illinois Super Lawyer six times
  • Listed as a Leading Lawyer in environmental law by the Leading Lawyers Network
  • Received the Regulatory Affairs Award from the Chemical Industry Council of Illinois in 2009
  • Received 2012 Perry Fisher Outstanding Service Award presented by the Lake Michigan Section of the Air & Waste Management Association (A&WMA)

Professional/Civic Activities

  • Illinois Site Remediation Advisory Committee
  • Chairman, Board of Directors of the Lake Michigan Section of the A&WMA
  • Chairman, local host committee for the A&WMA Annual Conference and Exhibition held in Chicago in 2013

Speaking Engagements

  • “The Future of Citizen Suits: After Sierra Club v. Dominion and Before Justice Gorsuch,” American Association of Railroads EWC Spring Meeting, April 21, 2017
  • “Paved with Good Intentions:  EPA’s Definition of Solid Waste,” Chemical Industry Council of Illinois RCRA Training Seminar, March 16, 2017
  • “Dirt and Water:  Environmental Risk and Stormwater Issues in Construction Contracts,” Society of Illinois Construction Attorneys, Insurance Subcommittee, March 15, 2017
  • Moderated a panel on legal issues and a panel of industry experts at a conference on the Environmental Evaluation of Real Property: Purpose, Perils and Pitfalls program at the Union League Club of Chicago sponsored by the Lake Michigan Section of the Air and Waste management Association and the Union League Club, January 17, 2017
  • “Law Firm Beware:  Environmental Due Diligence in Corporate Transactions,” firm speakers panel in CLE videoconference, September 26, 2016
  • “Case Study: Remote Monitoring Issues,” Lake Michigan States Section, Air and Waste Monitoring Association Air Quality Management Conference, November 4, 2015 (Moderator)
  • “Chill Spills: Release Reporting for RCRA Facilities,” Chemical Industry Council of Illinois, RCRA Refresher Course, June 17, 2015
  • “Uncertain Ground - Dealing with Environmental Risk in Demolition and Construction Contracts,” Chicago Bar Association Construction Law and Mechanics Lien Subcommittee, May 4, 2015
  • “Addition by Redaction: Protection of CBI under FOIA,” Illinois State Bar Association Environmental Law Conference, April 1, 2015
  • “Bad Relief - Federal Issues with Variances and Provisional Variances,” Chemical Industry Council of Illinois Water Issues Seminar, March 25, 2015
  • “Uncertain Ground - Dealing with Environmental Risk in Demolition and Construction Contracts,” Society of Illinois Construction Attorneys, March 17, 2015
  • “Bells and Whistles: EPA Amends the Definition of Solid Waste,” Chemical Industry Council of Illinois RCRA Hot Topics Seminar, January 29, 2015
  • “Doing Diligence: Changes in ASTM Standards and USEPA Regulations,” Chicagoland Health and Safety Environmental Conference, September 22, 2014
  • “SWMU Lagoons: Federal and State Regulation of Coal Ash Impoundments,” Chemical Industry Council of Illinois RCRA Training Seminar, September 18, 2014
  • “Environmental Law for Transactional Professionals,” MB Financial Presentation, May 5, 2014
  • “Vapor Intrusion in the Real Estate World,” MuchShelist Vapor Intrusion Seminar, February 19, 2014 (Moderator)
  • “Not so Fast: The Impact of New Phase I Guidelines and Vapor Intrusion Rules on Transactions,” January 13, 2014
  • “Still Steaming: Area Source Boiler MACT,”  Illinois Auditing Roundtable, November 15, 2013
  • Representing a large chemical company in Superfund NPL Site involving the remediation of lead in residential areas
  • Common Counsel for PRP Group at Superfund Site in Gary, IN
  • Representing a transportation company in an EPA action to require remediation of contaminated groundwater and in personal injury action brought by local residents
  • Representing a foundry in NESHAP’s compliance action.
  • Representing a food manufacturing client in a dispute with a state agency regarding an NPDES permit
  • Representing a transportation company regarding environmental issues associated with potential lease of operating property
  • Representing an energy company in regulatory proceedings regarding state rules for closure of coal combustion waste impoundments