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F. Michael Parkowski | Environmental Law
The federal Clean Air Act of 1970 and federal Water Pollution Control Act of 1972 had just forced a major shift in the government’s role in air and water pollution control.
The young attorney, who had a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Villanova University, had worked as the deputy director of enforcement for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region III, while attending Temple University Beasley School of Law at night.
His credentials caught the attention of officials in Delaware, who were drafting new environmental regulations. “Having a technical background in a legal world provides distinct advantages in being able to speak the language and communicate effectively with scientist and engineers who deal with environmental issues,” he says.
So in 1973 Parkowski began serving in the Delaware Attorney General’s office as general counsel to the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control. The laws and regulations he drafted during his tenure include legislation to create the Delaware Solid Waste Authority and the Delaware Agricultural Lands Preservation Foundation, a public entity that purchases development rights to farms.
Today Parkowski is a director of Parkowski, Guerke & Swayze, a 15-attorney firm with offices in Dover, Wilmington and Georgetown. Parkowski focuses on environmental law and real estate and land-use law, two areas that marry well. “Very rarely can you go forward with a commercial real estate transaction without tripping over environmental requirements,” he says.
His ties to government remain strong. Since 1976 Parkowski has served as general counsel to the Delaware Solid Waste Authority. His office also has represented the Delaware Economic Development Office, the Delaware Department of Transportation, the Delaware Lottery Office, the Delaware Agricultural Lands Preservation Foundation, the Delaware Civic Center Corporation and the Delaware Manufactured Homes Relocation Authority.
For the firm’s corporate clients, Parkowski makes sure that regulations are interpreted and applied properly. Parkowski also handles cases involving agriculture and wetland preservation, and he’s represented landowners in development issues. Without savvy counsel, farmers and other landowners risk negotiating deals that benefit buyers and keep the land tied up too long, he explains.
Listed in The Best Lawyers in America for more than 20 years, Parkowski is the past president of the Delaware Bar Association. For nine years, he has served as the chair of the Governor’s Judicial Nominating Commission.
Page 3: Collins "C.J." Seitz Jr. | Civil Litigation