Public Health and The Environment

Powers Pyles Sutter & Verville is recognized as a leader in the law and policy of safe drinking water, with more than 30 years of experience in the regulation of large municipal water suppliers under both the federal Safe Drinking Water and Clean Water Acts.

Attorneys at Powers work with many clients across a spectrum of public health issues. More recently, the firm has been significantly engaged in legislation, regulation, and public policy efforts surrounding pain care as a public health priority, including the related issue of addiction and the misuse of pain medications that are increasingly detectable in the nation’s water supply.

Representative clients in the Powers’ public health law firm practice include healthcare providers, medical and other professional societies, municipalities, and municipal trade associations active in working to provide clean and safe drinking water that meets state and federal standards for consumption and other purposes. The firm’s work on their behalf includes representation before multiple Congressional Committees, including the Appropriations Committees, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control, the Food and Drug Administration, the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, and the federal courts, up to and including the United States Supreme Court.

As an offshoot of the firm’s work on water and wastewater issues, Powers public health attorneys have developed expertise on matters related to critical infrastructure protection. The firm worked with clients to create one of the nation’s first “information sharing and analysis centers,” called an “ISAC” in Homeland Security parlance. ISACs are organizations that promote and facilitate the sharing of critical security threat and response information between the public and private sectors to better protect critical infrastructure in particular sectors of government and the economy.

Relatedly, the firm has an extensive history of seeking to protect critical infrastructure in health care by identifying and obtaining a range of federal funding for nonprofit hospitals and health clinics, as well as municipalities across the country. This expertise is becoming increasingly relevant as the nation seeks to mitigate the negative effects of the increase in the frequency and ferocity of natural disasters, as well as incidents involving gun violence. Notably, Powers attorneys have a history of helping their clients acquire funding provided by federal and state governments through FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) and the Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSGP).

Success in pursuing these opportunities is based on a thorough awareness of what must be contained in each application, along with an understanding of the statutory and regulatory legal provisions that govern the implementation of the grant once awarded, as well as the compliance, procurement, and reporting requirements that accompany government funding. Because these requirements can be complicated, it is helpful to work with an advisor who has the relevant government experience, legal training, and  direct responsibility for preparing successful applications for government funding to assist in the pursuit and implementation of these grants. To illustrate, Powers attorneys have worked with nonprofit clients for many years to acquire and implement projects funded by exactly these federal and state grant programs. A sampling of funding obtained for our clients during this period is listed below.

  • $1,000,000 in FEMA HMGP nonstructural seismic retrofitting funding to enable an historic nonprofit hospital in Los Angeles stabilize critical utilities and medical equipment on two floors of its main hospital building to protect patients and staff in the event of a powerful earthquake;
  • $406,867 in similar FEMA funding to assist another urban hospital protect essential services in the event of an earthquake by bracing and anchoring its new kitchen, which state authorities required be moved to ensure its compliance with seismic requirements;
  • $1,673,517 in FEMA seismic funding to retrofit electronic and elevator control rooms on each of nine floors of a critical medical facility, along with the electrical, water, and HVAC utilities contained in its adjacent, two-story Power Plant;
  • $75,000 in FEMA NSGP funding to purchase new doors and cameras for a hospital emergency room linked to a walkway, which led to a main hospital building, in order to prevent unauthorized intruders from entering restricted patient care areas; and
  • $200,000 in California State NSGP (CSNSGP) funding to purchase door locking devices, access cards, and access card readers to stop unauthorized entry into and out of a locked mental health facility that treats individuals deemed a threat to themselves or others.
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