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Kevin G. Desharnais


Business Phone: 312.759.1934
Business Fax: 312.759.1939


Kevin Desharnais is a litigator and corporate counselor whose practice is focused on environmental law, including air, land, water, wetlands and noise matters. In addition, he advises on environmental regulatory and compliance issues and has represented clients in numerous federal and state court proceedings and administrative tribunals.

Kevin has substantial experience in complex environmental areas such as air and water permitting and enforcement, environmental remediation of land contamination, and RCRA and CERCLA issues. He has also negotiated and drafted environmental provisions in the course of corporate and real estate transactions, including mergers, stock purchases, securitizations, debt offerings and credit transactions. He has extensive experience in addressing environmental issues in the context of renewable energy projects, including NEPA compliance, endangered species and wetland issues.

Representative Matters


  • Representation of an industrial client on Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) and New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) issues in enforcement matters brought by USEPA.
  • Advised an energy industry client on potential NSPS/PSD issues in Title V permitting related to expansions of an ethanol production facility.
  • Advised a manufacturing client on PSD and other air permitting issues related to operational changes at manufacturing and test facilities.
  • Advised a utility client on potential liabilities under Title IV Acid Rain provisions, Clean Air Interstate Rule, PSD provisions and application for waiver.
  • Advised agricultural industry client with regard to emissions excursions and reporting requirements under Title V Permit at a manufacturing facility.
  • Advised an energy industry client with regard to implementation of “reasonably available control” technology to its processes.
  • Defended an energy industry client in an enforcement action related to alleged violation of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for PM10, resulting in withdrawal of claim.
  • Negotiated the settlement and acceptance of a Compliance Commitment Agreement in response to a Violation Notice issued to an energy industry client regarding unpermitted air emissions, successfully avoiding enforcement litigation.
  • Advised agricultural industry client with regard to applicability of the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants for Reciprocating Internal Combustion Engines (“RICE MACT”) under Section 112 of the Clean Air Act.
  • Advised agricultural industry client with regard to compliance with the requirements of the Miscellaneous Organic Chemical Manufacturing NESHAP (“MON Rule”) at a manufacturing facility.
  • On behalf of agricultural industry client, provided comments on the USEPA rulemaking for the proposed National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants for Major Sources: Industrial, Commercial, and Institutional Boilers and Process Heaters (“Boiler MACT”) under Section 112 of the Clean Air Act.
  • Assisted in defense of refinery client in multimedia enforcement action brought on behalf of USEPA, including alleged violation of NESHAP, NSPS, and Title V permit requirements


  • Representation of a steel manufacturing client regarding remediation and redevelopment of a former steel manufacturing site into a mixed-use development, representing the largest brownfield redevelopment project in the City of Chicago. The representation included pursuing multiple applications for “no further remediation” letters under the state risk-based remediation program, and negotiating provisions of environmental insurance.
  • For a former petroleum bulk storage facility, assisted in negotiations with NYSDEC regarding a facility decommissioning and remediation plan, including negotiation of the environmental provisions of the sale and redevelopment agreement.
  • Assisted a manufacturing client in obtaining two “no further remediation” letters under the Illinois Site Remediation Program in a one-year period to facilitate the sale of a strategic business unit.
  • Representation of a utility client in remedial actions and related enforcement proceedings and tort actions concerning former manufactured gas plants.
  • Advised a chemical industry client on implications of RCRA corrective action activities covering multiple facilities for an insurance recovery suit.
  • Representation of industrial clients in all aspects of large toxic tort actions related to environmental contamination.
  • Representation of clients identified as PRPs in CERCLA litigation and/or responsible parties in RCRA citizen suits.


  • Represented a resort client in initial permitting and subsequent expansion of a new wastewater treatment system, including negotiation of permit terms, legal oversight of engineers, and management of the citizen participation process.
  • Negotiated a state water permit in settlement of an enforcement action and variance proceeding for an energy industry client’s wastewater handling system.
  • Represented an energy industry client in a federal suit filed by a national environmental citizens group under the Clean Water Act alleging National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit violations. Negotiated a favorable settlement.

Renewable Energy

  • Advised both developer and financing clients with regard to environmental issues in connection with the development of numerous renewable energy projects, including wind, solar energy, biomass, and “clean coal” projects.
  • Assisted biodiesel manufacturing client in establishing procedures and achieving compliance with Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs) reporting requirements under the Renewable Fuel Standard Program.


  • Advised chemical manufacturing client on compliance with requirements of the Toxic Substance Control Act, including labeling and notification requirements, compliance with Significant New Use Rule requirements (SNUR), and export notification requirements.

Environmental Issues in Transactions

  • Advised numerous clients on environmental liabilities in corporate and real estate transactions, including mergers, stock purchases, securitizations, debt offerings, and credit transactions.

Pro Bono Litigation

  • Represented an institutionalized client in a contested conditional release proceeding in Illinois state court. Prevailed at trial after a four-day hearing. Prevailed on appeal before the Illinois Appellate Court. Successfully contested a petition for leave to appeal. Successfully continued representation in a subsequent hearing. People v. Robin, 728 N.E.2d 736 (1st Dist. 2000), app. den., 734 N.E.2d 897, 248 (Ill. Jul 05, 2000) (Table, No. 89440), discussed in Case Law Updates: Criminal Commitment/Release, 24 Mental & Physical Disability L. Rep. 389 (American Bar Association 2000).
  • Represented members of the executive board of a religious organization named as defendants in a suit asserting claims for defamation, alleged financial improprieties, and violations of the Illinois Not-for-Profit Corporation Act. Negotiated a unique mediation/arbitration agreement leading to dismissal of the action.


  • "EPA's Mercury Rule Cost Analysis Tees Up New Battles," Law360, 19 April 2016
  • "4 Big Sticking Points Of The Clean Power Plan," Law360, 22 October 2015
  • "EPA Ignores Costs," Rapid News Network, 4 July 2015
  • "High Court's View of EPA Deference Unclear After Mercury Pollution, Health Care Rulings," Bloomberg BNA Daily Environment Report, 1 July 2015
  • "Judges Skeptical of Challenge to Proposed E.P.A. Rule on Climate Change," The New York Times, 16 April 2015
  • "EPA To Use Standing As Shield In Attack On Carbon Authority," Law360, 14 April 2015
  • "Environmental Law in Corporate and Real Estate Transactions (2014)," Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education, 28 March 2014
  • "EPA Cribs From High Court To Shield Expansive CWA Rule," Law360, 26 March 2014
  • "EPA Response To 8th Circ. Ruling Invites Legal Trouble," Law360, 3 December 2013
  • "EPA Poised To Drastically Expand Water Jurisdiction," Law360, 20 November 2013
  • "Greenhouse gas limits reinforced at existing facilities; NSPS still a big concern," Power Engineering, 6 July 2012
  • "Environmental Law in Real Estate Transactions (2007; Update 2011)," Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education, 30 December 2011
  • "FWS Unveils Guidelines For Assessing Wildlife Impacts," North American Windpower, 18 May 2011
  • "Shaping the Renewable Fuels Industry Beyond 2010," Energy Law360, 2009

Professional and Community Involvement

  • Federal Bar Association, Chicago Chapter, Board of Directors
  • Federal Bar Association, Section on Environment, Energy, and Natural Resources, Board of Directors

Professional Experience

  • Partner, Troutman Sanders LLP, 2016-present
  • Partner, Mayer Brown LLP, 1997-2016
  • Attorney-Assistant, Illinois Pollution Control Board, 1994-1997



  • Pace University, J.D., 1992
    Articles Editor, Pace Environmental Law Review
  • Cornell University, B.S., 1988

Bar Admissions

  • Illinois
  • New York
  • New Jersey

Court Admissions

  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
  • U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit