Don Gallo is a partner in Axley’s Environmental practice group. He has more than 28 years of legal experience and more than 40 years of experience specializing in environmental engineering. Mr. Gallo assists clients on a broad range of environmental issues. He has dealt with cases involving wetland and waterway permitting, air permitting, hazardous waste compliance, insurance remediation cost cap coverage, and transactional issues. Additionally, Mr. Gallo has been successful in assisting owners and developers by working with them on numerous brownfield development projects. He has also assisted clients in obtaining state and federal brownfield grants, zero-interest loan funding and often insurance coverage for environmental cleanup.
- Obtained insurance approval to cover remedial costs, demolition, and asbestos/lead abatement costs of over $500,000 to clean up a former dry cleaner in Green Bay. The site is located in the middle of an area currently experiencing a resurgence of commercial growth. We prepared a claim to insurance to cover costs to demolish the large building to provide access for removal of nearly all of the contamination. The property saw significantly increased marketability.
- Recovered insurance award of nearly $900,000 to cover remedial costs and attorney’s fees for a gasoline spill. We used forensic fingerprinting to establish the amount of gasoline from previous spills versus a new spill eligible under the insurance policy. We negotiated the allocation of 65/35, where insurance agreed to cover 65% of the remedial costs attributable to the recent spill. The other 35% was under a prior spill covered by PECFA.
- Coordinated several funding sources to redevelop a blighted and underutilized corner in De Pere, Wisconsin that became highly visible after a roundabout was put in. Historical releases of gasoline and dry cleaning solvents affected the marketability and reuse of the property. Two brownfield grants were awarded for a total of $317,000, state dry cleaning funds contributed $16,000, and a City TIF of $175,000 financed the removal of all soil contamination and nearly all of the groundwater impacts. This extraordinary cleanup exceeding state requirements satisfied a national retailer enough to construct a business on a site that otherwise would not have been considered. The developer and all future owners of the property are now protected under the state’s Volunteer Party Liability Exemption Certificate of Completion.
- Negotiated a remediation agreement between our client and a national non-profit organization seeking to redevelop a highly contaminated but commercially valuable site. The buyer wanted the dry cleaning solvent impacts to be cleaned up to higher standards than the state otherwise required. The state dry cleaning fund reimbursed costs of $500,000, but we assisted the buyer in securing a brownfield grant for $388,000 for them to remove considerably more contamination. The client was then able to construct a highly visible and thriving retail store.
- Obtained insurance approval to cover remedial costs of $50,000 to date plus an anticipated $500,000 clean-up for a low-income housing complex for disabled adults. Before abandoning the property in the early 1980’s, the manufacturing facility had released significant chlorinated solvents into the ground, and the City of Milwaukee took ownership without conducting any cleanup and sold it for redevelopment for low-income handicap housing.
- Pursued pre-1985 insurance policies to provide $100,000 of coverage for remedial costs and additional investigative and oversight costs (including attorney’s fees) for a former dry cleaner. After exceeding the maximum amount allowed under the state dry cleaning fund of $536,000, the site was still ineligible for DNR closure. We anticipate that the site will obtain DNR closure by the end of 2018 under the insurance coverage cap.
- Succeeded in obtaining insurance coverage for a shopping center owner of a former dry cleaning site owned by a development company that did not the cause the contamination. DERF has covered approximately $300,000, and Insurance has been reimbursing for attorney’s fees for defense and remedial oversight as well as the state dry cleaning fund deductibles for nearly $80,000 to date.
- Received the State of Wisconsin’s first Ready for Reuse sixteen-year zero-interest loan for $352,000 on behalf of our client to redevelop three-quarters of a city block at a prominent intersection. The state’s dry cleaning fund will be responsible for the repayment of the loan. The development included a national retailer and a multi-unit single story mall. We also obtained the state’s Volunteer Party Liability Exemption Certificate of Completion for the property. The project included soil and water and vapor solvent cleanup, asbestos/lead abatement, and demolition of a large central dry cleaning plant, an industrial building, and a vacant church.
Mr. Gallo’s experience also includes several hundred petroleum convenient stores, bulk plants and petroleum terminal cleanups; a total of 78 dry-cleaning solvent cleanups, 38 of which are DNR closed dry-cleaner sites; and many industrial cleanups, expansions, redevelopments, and environmental regulatory compliance including:
- Petroleum marketers,
- Dry cleaners and commercial laundries,
- Metal platters,
- Metal smelters,
- Water adaptive management and water quality trading,
- Asphalt plants,
- Liquefied natural gas facilities,
- Solid waste (hazardous and non-hazardous) management and recycling operations,
- Historic community landfills,
- Pre-cast pre-stress concrete manufacturers,
- Polyurethane manufacturers facilities,
- Chemical manufacturers,
- Railyard cleanups,
- Aggregate surface mines and quarries,
- The initial Menomonee Valley site investigation and remedial plan,
- Wisconsin Center District multi-block redevelopment,
- Milwaukee Brewers County Stadium demolition, asbestos abatement, and remedial cleanup,
- Land conservation, lake management districts, and lake associations,
- Food and Agriculture operations, farmland preservation.
Mr. Gallo served as an Advisory Committee member for the development of several Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and Department of Commerce regulations. He is also the author of several brownfields initiatives in the 1997 Act 27 Budget Bill, the 1999 Budget Bill, the Drycleaning Environmental Repair Fund for the Wisconsin Fabricare Institute with the Wisconsin DNR and the Pollution Prevention partnership for the Illinois State Fabricare Association with the Illinois EPA, and the recent ATCP 93 storage tank system regulations.
Mr. Gallo represents the international Polyurethane Manufacturers Association regarding environmental compliance, safe-use of regulated chemicals, and TSCA and REACH registration risk analysis and prioritization regulations. Currently, he represents them in defense of these EPA regulations in the D.C., 9th, and 4th Circuit Courts of Appeals.
Admitted to practice in the State Courts of Wisconsin, Federal Courts for the Eastern and Western Districts of Wisconsin, and United States Courts of Appeals for the Third, Seventh, Ninth, and D.C. Circuits.
EducationJ.D., Marquette University Law School, 1990, cum laude
M.S.C.E., Environmental Engineering, The University of Akron, 1977
B.S.C.E., Tri-State University College of Engineering, 1975, with honors
Involvement & Recognition
- Member, Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce Environmental Committee
- Member, Waukesha County Business Alliance Infrastructure Committee
- Member, Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce
- Member, Mayor’s Club – Tom Barrett
- Member, Chenequa Country Club
- Board Member, Clean Water Association for Lake Country
- Member, Farmer’s for Lake Country
- Member, Steer Committee for Oconomowoc Adaptive Management Program
- President, Tall Pines Conservancy
- President, Keep Greater Milwaukee Beautiful/Greening Milwaukee
- MKE lifestyle Environmental Game Changers
- 2019 Leader in the Law Recipient by Wisconsin Law Journal
- Martindale-Hubbell PreeminentSM Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Ratings™
- Recognized in The Best Lawyers in America© (2010-2022 Edition) – Environmental Law
- Recognized in The Best Lawyers in America© (2011-2022 Edition) – Litigation – Environmental
- Named to the 2012-2021 Wisconsin Super Lawyers Lists