Harvey M. Sheldon is currently a partner in the law firm Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP, where he concentrates primarily in environmental law. While based in Chicago, both his law and mediation practice are nationwide. He is a graduate of Harvard University Law School (1968), and Amherst College (1965).
Mr. Sheldon has extensive experience in the field of environmental law, including counseling, litigation, mediation and other dispute resolution and facilitation services. He has handled issues and litigation involving the Clean Air Act, Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, Clean Water Act, Superfund, and other important environmental laws and regulations. He is also regularly engaged in related trial, business, transactional and liability questions for clients. He has represented private clients ranging from individuals and entrepreneurial companies to Fortune 100 corporations and major financial institutions. He has appeared in both federal and state trial courts and in courts of appeals in environmental and other matters civil and criminal.
In addition to his hands on experience helping clients resolve specific environmental issues and dealing with environmental protection agencies on specific problems, Mr. Sheldon has represented major companies and public agencies in high-profile cases and important negotiations and public meetings. His range of assignments for clients has included testimony before Congress, negotiations of legislation and rules, appellate briefs and arguments, public spokesperson, catastrophic event response, environmental management program and audit development, community outreach, multi-media criminal and civil enforcement defense, and negotiations on sensitive issues in a variety of business, litigation and policy contexts.
Mr. Sheldon was the Chief of the Illinois Attorney General’s Environmental Enforcement Division in the early 1970s, supervising 20 lawyers and a staff of investigators in the representation of the State and the Illinois EPA. His work in environmental enforcement began in January 1972, before several of the major federal laws governing the subject were even enacted. He supervised a docket of hundreds of proceedings that involved air, water, and land pollution cases.
His Division was responsible for the establishment of precedent on the federal common law of water pollution in interstate waters, in cases such as Illinois v. Milwaukee, and it successfully urged the Supreme Court to require rules on prevention of significant deterioration as part of the Clean Air Act regulatory scheme (Sierra Club et al v. Ruckelshaus). He tried environmental enforcement matters in court and in administrative proceedings; he also argued a number of cases on appeal in both State and Federal court.
Mr. Sheldon was also the Regional Counsel of the United States Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 (Midwest Region) office in Chicago. As such, he was the principal USEPA attorney for six Midwestern states: Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin. Mr. Sheldon worked with state legislatures on the adoption of state water laws and programs under the Clean Water Act. He assisted enforcement attorneys and United States' attorneys in important enforcement actions. He also recommended improvements in the legislative criteria for federal grants to upgrade public water treatment plants, and he advised the Regional Administrator on numerous issues.
Once back in private practice, Mr. Sheldon served for a time as Special Counsel to the Illinois Department of Mines & Minerals, helping that Department develop the State’s surface coal mining regulation program. He also designed and taught environmental law courses in two Chicago law schools. His early public service experience Mr. Sheldon's public service experience included work as an Assistant Attorney General in the Special Prosecutions Unit of the Illinois Attorney General's office, where he participated in investigations and sought civil remedies against official corruption and organized crime.
Chemical Industry Council of Illinois, Board of Directors Former Member
Former Director, Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, and Environmental Regulation Committee, Chairman (for many years).