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Steve E. Chester

Miller Canfield Law Firm

Lansing, MI

In 2014, Mr. Chester rejoined the Miller Canfield law firm in the Energy, Environmental and Regulatory Group. Prior to rejoining Miller Canfield, where he had been an attorney from 1995 to 2003, he served as Deputy Assistant Administrator for the EPA Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance (OECA) in Washington D.C. from August 2011 to March 2014. In this capacity, he had policy and supervisory responsibilities over the water, federal facility, chemical and criminal enforcement programs, as well as the compliance, data collection, and state oversight programs. From 2003 to 2010, Mr. Chester was Director of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), the highest ranking environmental regulatory position in the state. As Director of Michigan's environmental protection agency, he was responsible for overseeing the management of Michigan's environmental protection programs, including the air, water, waste, and remediation and redevelopment programs. During his career, Mr. Chester also previously worked at the EPA in the early 1990s, initially as the Deputy Enforcement Counsel for Hazardous Waste Enforcement, and then as the Deputy Director for the Office of Criminal Enforcement. From 1986 to 1992, he was an Assistant Attorney General for the State of Michigan doing environmental litigation

Work Phone:

EPA Region:
Year of induction:
1981 Juris Doctor - Wayne State University Law School. Detroit, MI 1977 B.S., Criminal Justice - Michigan State University. East Lansing, MI
State Bar of Michigan
Court Admissions:
State Courts of Michigan United States Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit United States District Court, Eastern District of Michigan United States District Court, Western District of Michigan United States Supreme Court
Professional Societies and Organizations:
Board Chairman , Center for Climate Strategies (2010 - present) Fellows, Michigan State Bar Foundation Best Lawyers in America Adjunct Professor, Michigan State University, College of Law Climate Change Law and Policy, Course 566K, Winter 2011 The Environmental Counsel of States - Chair, Compliance Committee (December 2008 - 2010), Chair, Water Committee, (2005 - 2007)
Representative Publications:
Co-author with Thomas D. Peterson and Robert B. McKinstry of the article Unlocking Willpower and Ambition to Meet the Goals of the Paris Climate Change Agreement (Part One) Shifting Needs of Law, Policy, and Economics, The Environmental Law Reporter, December 2016, Vol. 46, No. 12. Co-author with Robert B. McKinstry and Thomas D. Peterson of the article Unlocking Willpower and Ambition to Meet the Goals of the Paris Climate Change Agreement (Part Two) The Potential for Legal Reform and Revision, The Environmental Law Reporter, February 2017, Vol. 47, No. 2. Co-author with Thomas C. Phillips and James R. Lancaster Jr. of chapter on Environmental Law, in Local Government Law and Practice in Michigan, published jointly by the Michigan Municipal League and the Michigan Association of Municipal Attorneys, 2000
Illustrative Projects:
A recent significant brownfield redevelopment project Steve worked on was the American Center for Mobility project at Willow Run, the site of the former General Motors plant in Ypsilanti, which during WWII had been the site of the Ford Motor Willow Run B-24 Bomber Plant. The highly contaminated site was shuttered by GM in 2009. Steve served as co-environmental counsel for the purchaser of the site, providing environmental expertise in the review and drafting environmental covenants and easements, obtaining a federal prospective purchaser agreement, and assessing the buyer's environmental liability, due diligence and due care obligations. The heavily contaminated property was of limited use yet proved ideal as a research and testing facility for automated ,driverless vehicles.