Moore & Van Allen Law Firm, Attorneys
Practice Areas
  • J.D., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2007, with honors
  • B.A., Duke University, 2004
  • North Carolina, 2007
  • South Carolina, 2008
100 North Tryon Street
Suite 4700
Charlotte, NC 28202-4003

Mary Katherine H. Stukes

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Mary Katherine Stukes is Co-Head of the firm’s Environmental Practice. She advises clients on environmental issues involved in a wide variety of business transactions, as well as regulatory compliance issues and environmental litigation.  Ranked in Chambers Partners USA since 2017, clients describe her as a “zealous but practical advocate.”

Mary Katherine regularly leads real estate developers, governmental entities, and non-profit corporations through the process of obtaining Brownfields agreements for redevelopment of contaminated properties. She negotiates agreements with environmental agencies and counsels clients on eligibility, assessment, tax benefits, and effective structuring of associated real estate and financing transactions. Her projects include agreements for the development of various multifamily residential, hotel, office, governmental, hospitality, community development, and industrial projects, including high-density developments in the urban cores of the major cities in the Carolinas, a minor league baseball stadium, a free-standing emergency department, a police station, a large-scale youth soccer complex, a national craft brewery, and other adaptive reuse projects.

In addition, Mary Katherine helps manufacturers, real estate developers, lenders, utilities, renewable energy companies, automotive dealerships, local governments, and other clients find creative solutions in real estate, financing, and corporate transactions involving environmental risk. She routinely negotiates agreements to allocate environmental responsibility and risk between multiple parties and also provides support in due diligence reviews and assistance with permit transfers on such transactions.

She also counsels lenders, manufacturers, and other corporate clients on a broad range of environmental risk and compliance issues. Her work in this area includes release investigation and remediation oversight, incident closure, environmental permitting, audits, reporting, and self-disclosure, responses to CERCLA (Superfund) Section 104 information requests, participation in CERCLA potentially responsible party (PRP) negotiations, appeals of agency orders, defense of notices of violation and enforcement actions, startup and shutdown requirements, waste and materials handling and disposal practices, and other aspects of regulatory compliance across a variety of state and federal regulatory programs.

Mary Katherine is an experienced litigator in federal, state, and administrative courts. She has represented clients in disputes over contamination, asbestos-containing materials, underground storage tanks, landfills, water and air quality, and other environmental issues.

“She’s practical, knows the substance very well, and could get down to the issues quickly,” one of Mary Katherine’s clients told Chambers USA. Another client praised her ability to navigate what can be a complex regulatory landscape: “Mary Katherine helped break down the walls and get the process moving.”

Of Note

  • Chambers USA – North Carolina, Environmental Law, 2017-2020
  • The Best Lawyers in America, Environmental Law, 2020-2021
  • Business North Carolina’s, Legal Elite, 2015-2016, 2018-2020

Representative Matters

  • Obtained numerous Brownfields agreements and associated tax incentives on behalf of clients redeveloping contaminated sites, including high-density commercial sites in the downtown cores of Charlotte, Raleigh, Durham, and Greensboro, each valued between $50 million and more than $300 million
  • Advised lenders on environmental aspects of loan initiation, foreclosure, and bank-owned property portfolios
  • Guided a manufacturer in the acquisition of a company subject to an EPA consent order in connection with its use of certain Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) “new chemicals”
  • Assisted a manufacturer in the purchase of a World War I-era manufacturing site with numerous Solid Waste Management Units (SWMUs) and ongoing remediation
  • Guided renewable energy developers and investors on environmental issues in connection with large-scale renewable energy project portfolios
  • Counseled clients on a broad variety of environmental subjects, including endangered species and wetlands issues, Section 401 water quality certifications, wastewater discharge issues, hazardous waste handling and disposal issues, remediation under various statutory frameworks, requests for Coastal Area Management Act (CAMA) variances, administration of North Carolina's Dry Cleaning Solvent Cleanup Act Program, issues involving underground and aboveground storage tanks and pre-regulatory landfills, and statutory environmental property transfer requirements
  • Negotiated numerous complex indemnity agreements, access agreements, tolling agreements, beneficial reuse agreements, escrow and remediation agreements, land-based and subaqueous easements, and settlement agreements and releases
  • Represented a county in a hotly contested and highly publicized dispute concerning water quality, water rights, and the relicensing of hydropower operations during six-week trial that ended in the county's favor
  • Represented a national waste services company in several odor litigation matters concerning a municipal solid waste landfill. As part of the litigation, the South Carolina Supreme Court handed down an opinion that fundamentally changed the legal landscape for environmental torts in South Carolina, severely limiting claims and damages that may be asserted against industries in the state and holding that South Carolina does not recognize a trespass or negligence claim for odors

Professional Affiliations

  • North Carolina Bar Association Environment, Energy and Natural Resources Law Section, Council Member, Newsletter Co-Editor, Annual Meeting CLE Co-Planner
  • Community Link, Board of Directors; Marketing & Development Committee, Former Co-Chair
  • Myers Park Presbyterian Church, Stewardship Committee & Former Annual Campaign Co-Chair
  • Mint Museum Auxiliary