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Rachel Toenjes Zander

Rachel practices in Davis Brown’s business division assisting clients in often-highly regulated industries on a variety of environmental and real estate matters. She joined the firm in 2019 after several years at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). 

Rachel helps Davis Brown clients stay in compliance with state and federal environmental laws by assessing environmental liability for buyers, lenders, or facility owners or operators. Rachel also advises and represents clients in their interaction with state and federal agencies, from permitting to inspections to handling allegations of violations. 

Real Estate

Rachel advises clients in assessing and managing environmental risk associated with real estate transactions. She identifies when an environmental site assessment (ESA) would benefit the client and reviews Phase I and II ESAs for compliance with federal standards. Rachel ensures the assessments are designed to reveal the property’s potential environmental issues. Using the assessment, Rachel also counsels clients on actual risks and advises them on how to secure liability protection.

Regulated Entities

Rachel advises clients in regulated industries including manufacturing, agriculture, mining, construction, healthcare, dry cleaning, electric utilities, and transportation, as well as municipalities and educational facilities. Rachel helps clients avoid enforcement proceedings and litigation by advising on compliance with state and federal environmental regulations and statutes, including assistance with environmental audits. 

She helps clients prepare for state or federal inspections and represents clients in communication with state and federal agencies regarding alleged violations and settlement negotiations. When needed, Rachel defends clients against enforcement actions, both from the government and individuals.

Rachel also advises clients regarding permitting and represents clients in permit applications and appeals. She handles brownfield cleanups, consent orders, and cost-recovery under Superfund and oil-spill laws. While at EPA, Rachel served as the lead attorney for the USS Lead Superfund Site, a large residential lead site in East Chicago, Indiana. 

Rachel represents clients before U.S. EPA regional offices, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Food and Drug Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation, U.S. Coast Guard, and state and local agencies and offices including the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and Iowa Department of Agriculture. 

Emergency Preparedness

Rachel is trained in environmental emergency response management and is an EPA-certified Liaison Officer. She was on EPA’s Region 5 incident management team—a core group of people trained to manage staff and volunteers during a high-level emergency. 

Rachel helps municipalities and companies identify and comply with any federal or state-required response planning, plan for business continuity in the face of natural disasters, as well as ensure their own preparedness for worst-case scenarios involving releases of hazardous substances or oil. Her knowledge of emergency response applies to large scale incidents, such as a ruptured oil pipeline or tornado or hurricane response, but also applies to more localized incidents, such as a flash flood or a tanker spill on a highway. Rachel can help a municipality or company develop its response plans, or navigate the real situation, reducing environmental liability and saving money.