Stephen E. O’Day is Partner and Head of the Environmental Law, Sustainability and Cannabis Practices at Smith, Gambrell & Russell, LLP.
The Environmental Practice Group handles all aspects of traditional environmental legal issues and OSHA compliance. SGR’s Sustainability Practice Group provides focused legal advice and representation to companies and entities regarding sustainability initiatives, sustainable businesses and business practices, renewable energy, business issues, planning and litigation.
Mr. O’Day has handled environmental litigation, consultation and negotiations for over 35 years. He advises clients in connection with the full range of environmental issues, including National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits and Clean Water Act compliance, Clean Air Act permits and compliance, Resource Conservation and Recovery Act permitting and compliance including solid and hazardous waste treatment, disposal and cleanups, Superfund cleanups, toxic tort claims, Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act permitting and compliance, Toxic Substances Control Act compliance, OSHA compliance, water law and other environmental matters. He handles administrative proceedings at state and federal levels in connection with issues ranging from usage of real property to compliance with federal and state environmental and safety laws. He represents clients in litigation across the country involving environmental matters such as toxic tort litigation, nuisance litigation, hazardous waste cleanups, including sites both on and off the NPL, Clean Water Act citizen suits and compliance litigation, facilities compliance with the Resource, Conservation and Recovery Act, mold litigation, landfill issues and OSHA citation appeals and whistleblower proceedings. He also assists clients in environmental issues in real property acquisition and development and the acquisition and sale of operating manufacturing, renewable energy, and other entities and projects.
Mr. O’Day is a frequent speaker at seminars concerning sustainability, environmental liability and compliance and risk management. He frequently speaks at educational symposia and conferences with panel discussions that explore cannabis industry issues including regulatory matters, investment opportunities, product development, and environmental and sustainability concerns, and highlights the astonishing economic opportunities that are emerging as cannabis moves mainstream. He has been selected for inclusion in Georgia Super Lawyers and Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business in the area of environmental law since the inception of those lists. He has been named as a Best Environmental Lawyer in Corporate Counsel magazine and recognized as one of The Best Lawyers in America® in environmental law. Mr. O’Day received the Chattahoochee Riverkeeper’s highest honor, the River Guardian Award, for years of community service in protecting the river that provides Metropolitan Atlanta’s water supply, as well as the James S. Dockery, Jr. Southern Environmental Leadership Award from the Southern Environmental Law Center. He was also recognized with the Ogden Doremus Award for Excellence in Environmental Law. In 2014, Mr. O’Day received the Award for Service to the Profession of Environmental Law presented by the State Bar of Georgia, Environmental Law Section, of which he formerly served as Vice Chairman.
Mr. O’Day is now serving on the Green Chamber of the South Foundation Board. He is active in the Litigation, Environment, Energy and Resources, and Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Sections of the American Bar Association.
Mr. O’Day served as Chairman of the Environmental Advisory Council for Georgia’s Lieutenant Governor for eight years and on an Advisory Committee to the Georgia Pollution Prevention Assistance Division and the Governor’s Rivercare 2000 Task Force. He also served on the State of Georgia’s Solid Waste Planning Task Force, on the Atlanta Chamber of Commerce’s Water Quality Task Force and as Chairman of the Solid Waste Task Force. He led the Environmental Collaborative of the Atlanta Regional Commission’s award-winning Vision 2020 long term planning effort. He was also instrumental in a multi-party collaborative effort to craft Georgia’s General NPDES permit for storm water discharges from construction activities. Mr. O’Day currently serves on the Executive Advisory Council for Greenprint Midtown, the sustainability initiative for Midtown Atlanta, being implemented by Midtown Alliance. He is a founding and current Board member, and immediate past Chair of the Board of Trustees for the Southern Environmental Law Center, serves on the Board of the Chattahoochee Riverkeeper, is a founding member and continues to serve on the Board of the Georgia Property Rights Council and is a member of Leadership Atlanta, and teaches environmental law as a part-time instructor at the Georgia Institute of Technology.
He studied Civil Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology and earned a B.A. degree, summa cum laude, in Political Science from Furman University in 1976. He received his J.D. degree, cum laude, from Harvard Law School in 1979. While at Harvard, Mr. O’Day served as Chairman of the Harvard Environmental Law Society.
Metropolitan Atlanta Chamber of Commerce
Southern Environmental Law Center
Upper Chattahoochee Riverkeeper
Midtown Alliance – Greenprint Midtown, Executive Advisory Council
Southeast Rainwater Harvesting Systems Association Board
Green Chamber of the South Foundation Board
Litigation, Environment, Energy and Resources, and Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Sections, American Bar Association
Georgia Property Rights Council
Quoted, “Georgia Power Getting Into Solar Panel Financing Business,” Atlanta Progressive News, June 26, 2015
Quoted, “Updated: Georgia Power Moving Into Rooftop Solar Market This Summer,” IndustryDive, May 28, 2015.
Presenter – “Beyond Compliance: How Businesses Address Environmental Compliance Through Sustainability,” Georgia Tech Business School’s class: Business Strategies on Sustainability, January 23, 2013.
“Georgia Gets More Time to Work On Water Conservation, But Water Wars Not Over,” Atlanta Business Chronicle’s “Saporta Report.”
“Managing the Transition under OSHA’s Updated Hazard Communication Standard,” Georgia Forestry Today, June 2014.
Presenter – 2012 Heathcare Design Conference, November 2-6, 2012.
Presenter – GAWP 2012 Annual Conference & Expo, Savannah, Georgia, July 16, 2012.