Member Spotlight: Lee Hoffman
Lee Hoffman traces his passion for environmental law back to a Tulane University biology class. He and his professor were having a discussion about rain forest protection, when Hoffman “naively” (his word) complained that government officials weren’t paying enough attention to what scientists were telling them. “Hoffman,” said the professor, “scientists don’t make policy, lawyers do. If you want to worry about policy, go to law school.” So, Hoffman took classes from senior EPA officials at the George Washington University Law School, and from that point forward, he was hooked.
Now, he litigates and advises clients in the areas of environmental law, energy and utility matters as a partner with Pullman and Comley, LLC in Hartford and Bridgeport, Conn. What issues is he tackling? “Right now, the focus is on an evolution in our thinking as federal Superfund law approaches its 30th birthday,” he says. “The U.S. EPA mandate that the ‘polluter pays’ doesn’t factor in comparative fault for the contamination involved, and doesn’t necessarily solve every contamination problem,” he explains. “Contaminated sites are a problem that needs to be addressed through a variety of stakeholder input, where the solutions aren’t always easy and obvious…but when we find these solutions, we have a real triumph to talk about.”
Hoffman credits the National Brownfield Associations for teaching him a lot. “NBA members are truly the leading professionals in this industry, and the breadth and depth of knowledge and wisdom that has been gathered here is unparalleled. When I stop to talk to new acquaintances at NBA events, I am continually struck by how much I still have to learn in [the brownfield] arena, and how willing others are to share their experiences and ideas…It’s one thing to get perspectives from other learned professionals in your field, but it’s another thing altogether to be able to gather the perspectives of public officials, former and current property owners, developers, municipal officials, community leaders and transaction professionals all under one umbrella.”
Hoffman currently serves on the Executive Committee of NBA Connecticut, as well as THE BIG DEAL 2009 Planning Committee. He is also a member of the Connecticut General Assembly’s Taskforce on Brownfields Strategies, the Executive Committee of the Environmental Section of the Connecticut Bar Association, the Steering Committee of the Environmental Policies Council of the Connecticut Business and Industry Association, and the Board of the New England Section of the Air and Waste Management Association.