Fox Rothschild LLP

M. Joel Bolstein


Warrington, PA


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Named as one of the leading environmental attorneys in Pennsylvania by Chambers USA, Joel’s practice focuses on brownfields redevelopment, the environmental aspects of corporate and real estate transactions, regulatory compliance counseling and environmental litigation. Joel advises on:

  •  Permit procurement
  •  Permit and enforcement actions
  •  Environmental assessments and remediation
  •  Litigation
  •  Regulatory compliance
  •  Corporate and real estate transactions
  •  Marcellus Shale leasing, permitting and related development

In his Marcellus Shale practice, Joel also represents clients looking to obtain permits to treat and beneficially reuse frac water and drill cuttings. He also helps clients navigate the complex federal and state laws and regulations that govern all aspects of the Marcellus Shale.

Before Fox Rothschild

As Deputy Secretary for Special Projects at the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, Joel was involved in permit and enforcement decisions, development of policies, and regulatory initiatives, including:

  • trouble-shooting between the Department and the regulated community
  • the reuse of industrial sites
  • promoting economic development
  • managing the implementation of Pennsylvania’s Land Recycling Act (Act 2 of 1995)
  • writing regulations for the land-recycling program
  • representing the Commonwealth in the Republican Governors Association Task Force on CERCLA reform

At The George Washington University Law School, Joel was a member of the Order of the Coif and an associate of the Law Review.

Beyond Fox Rothschild

Joel is a member of Pennsylvania’s Cleanup Standards Scientific Advisory Board, which provides advice to PADEP on policy and regulatory matters related to Act 2. Joel is also Co-Chair of the Government and Private Sector Innovation Committee of the American Bar Association Section on Natural Resources, Energy and Environmental Law (SEER).

In September 2012, Joel was appointed to the Pennsylvania Infrastructure and Investment Authority (PENNVEST) board by Governor Tom Corbett. PENNVEST funds sewer, storm water and drinking water projects with low cost financial assistance throughout the state, and also assists businesses in locating and expanding operations to create permanent, well-paying jobs in Pennsylvania.

He served three terms on the National Advisory Council for Environmental Policy and Technology (NACEPT) for six years, which advises the EPA on domestic and international environmental policy issues. 

Joel is a former member of the Standing Committee on Environmental Law of the American Bar Association. He is also a past officer in the ABA’s Section on Natural Resources, Energy, and Environmental Law (now SEER).

Joel is serving his third term as Commissioner on Pennsylvania’s Human Relations Commission, which develops state policy and regulations and adjudicates claims alleging discrimination in housing, employment, and educational opportunities.

Client Resources

PA Brownfields Environmental Law
Joel Bolstein writes about the reuse of industrial sites on his PA Brownfields Environmental Law Blog (, which was nominated as one of the Top 50 Environmental Law and Climate Change Blogs for 2011. Joel is the former Deputy Secretary of the PADEP who helped manage the implementation of PA Act 2, including the development of the Act 2 regulations and technical guidance manual, and he has worked on many Brownfield redevelopment projects since returning to private practice in 1997 at Fox Rothschild. Some of the topics Joel covers on the blog include Brownfield success stories, useful tips for completing Brownfield projects, working with PADEP, the MOA between PADEP and USEPA, obtaining federal and state funding, the best ways of working with your local redevelopment authority, new and evolving policies, such as vapor intrusion, navigating the management of fill policy, using Buyer/Seller Agreements and SIA Agreements, deed notices and institutional controls. Readers are invited to submit comments and have a dialog with others interested in Brownfield redevelopment.

Honors and Awards

• Included in the The International Who's Who of Environment Lawyers (2011)
• Named as one of the leading environment attorneys in Pennsylvania, Chambers USA (2004-2013)
• Included in the list of “The Best Lawyers in America” in the area of Environmental Law and Environmental Litigation (2003-2014)
• Included in the list of "Super Lawyers" by Philadelphia Magazine and Law & Politics Magazine (2004-2010)
• Recipient, Excellence in Environmental Achievement Award, Bethlehem Steel Company, 1999
• Recipient, Award for Excellence, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, 1995  



Practice Areas

Government Relations
Marcellus Shale
Real Estate
Zoning & Land Use
Bar Admissions



J.D., George Washington University Law School

B.A., George Washington University


American Bar Association

Co-Chair, ABA, Natural Resources, Energy, and Environmental Law (SEER) Government and Private Sector Innovation Committee

Board of Directors

National Kidney Foundation

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