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Marissa Nortz focuses her practice in the often complex and ever-changing landscape of federal and state environmental regulations. Her clients, often municipalities and industrial, chemical and manufacturing companies, regularly call on Marissa for assistance with permitting, compliance, operational, and litigation needs, stemming from issues such as water and wastewater discharges, solid and hazardous waste disposal, air emissions, and other environmental and regulatory needs.

Hailing from the “Heart of the Billion Dollar Coal Field”, Marissa has inherited the blue-collar mentality of her father, a West Virginia coal miner, and funnels that mentality into the zealous representation of her clients. Marissa thrives most when working closely with her clients to deliver a hands-on result that not only resolves the issue at hand but delivers a path towards future successful, compliant, operations.

Marissa’s experience has allowed her to negotiate excessive environmental penalties issued by state and federal regulatory agencies under various environmental statutes and regulations, many of which if left unaltered could have resulted in a shuttering of operations. Marissa also regularly counsels clients on development of permitting terms and conditions, including advising on appropriate treatment technologies for continued compliance. When necessary, Marissa takes her clients concerns before state administrative boards, including the West Virginia Environmental Quality Board, to ensure that state regulatory requirements are developed to the letter of the law.

In addition to general counseling regarding compliant operations, Marissa has recently found herself emersed in emerging contaminant issues, including providing counsel on compliance with newly emerging state and federal regulations on per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (“PFAS”) and 1,4-Dioxane. As regulations are being developed, Marissa is at the forefront of the issues and has offered forward-thinking solutions for dischargers of these contaminants, including wastewater dischargers, owners of contaminated properties, airports, and other municipal, industrial, and manufacturing companies.

Marissa’s Southern West Virginia roots have translated into a practice that provides a client-centric approach to her clients’ daily environmental and regulatory needs. Whether it's assisting in the development of a new capital improvement project, completing permitting applications, representing clients against state and federal agencies, including the United States Environmental Protection Agency, United States Department of Justice, and the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection, or just lending a supportive ear, Marissa strives to ensure that her representation paves the way for her clients’ successes. 

Memberships & Awards

Super Lawyers for Environmental Law – 2019, 2020, and 2021 Rising Star
National Association of Women Lawyers
Phi Beta Kappa
WVU College of Law Moot Court Board
George C. Baker Moot Court Competition Winner
Order of the Barristers

Key Experience

Advised municipalities, public service districts, and publicly owned treatment works (POTWs) on compliance with West Virginia’s Open Governmental Proceedings Act when conducting virtual public meetings
Advised municipalities public service districts, and publicly owned treatment works (POTWs) on best management practices for the safe operation of essential services during COVID-19
Counseled municipal client through violation, appeal, and administrative hearing in front of the West Virginia Environmental Quality Board, which resulted in obtaining a waiver of the MS4 permit

Work Experience

2015 Steptoe & Johnson PLLC
2014 Summer Associate, Steptoe & Johnson PLLC
2013 Summer Associate, Steptoe & Johnson PLLC

Speaking Engagements

NPDES Compliance Training – West Virginia Rural Water Association; 2017, 2018, 2019

Legislative Update – West Virginia Rural Water Association 2018