Charles F. Becker

Chuck Becker offers his clients critical, strategic legal advice that protects against costly litigation from governments, class actions, or individuals. Environmental regulation means that anyone operating a business or owning/leasing real estate could find themselves in litigation. Chuck is a multidisciplinary problem solver with more than 30 years' practice experience, primarily in the areas of environmental law, real estate, land use and trial law.

Environmental Law and Litigation

Chuck regularly represents parties in environmental matters, including major corporations, developers, environmental groups, drainage/levee districts, municipalities and individuals. Among other representation, he has acted as lead environmental counsel on two nationally significant environmental matters: a class action air emission case ("Freeman et al vs. GPC"); and a Clean Water Act case affecting farmers (Board of Water Works Trustees of the City of Des Moines vs. Sac County Board of Supervisors et al).

Chuck provides legal counseling to corporations on regulatory compliance, air and water permits, site cleanups, land use, floodplain development, green development, archeological compliance, and other environmental issues.  Chuck is regularly involved in administrative actions and litigation involving all of the following areas: environmental cleanup and superfund, hazardous waste spills, civil enforcement actions, underground storage tank cleanup, Clean Water and Clean Air Act cases, environmental permits, administrative rulemaking and land use/zoning litigation.

Chuck advises corporate clients on environmental regulations and permit requirements in all aspects of business, including manufacturing, real estate, construction, and development. His areas of practice include environmental investigations and due diligence; the purchase, sale, and leasing of contaminated properties; defense of class actions for environmental claims; storm water discharge permitting; permits under Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, RCRA, and other federal and state environmental laws; lending issues and lender liability; regulatory compliance; UST and AST permits; closures and cleanups; zoning and land use planning; impact fee litigation; wetlands mitigation; archeological reviews; environmental audits; and financial reporting.

Chuck regularly negotiates on behalf of corporations with governmental agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Justice, the Iowa Attorney General's Office, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, the State Historical Preservation Office, municipalities, counties, and state pollution control agencies. Chuck assists clients with federal and state regulations regarding NPDES permitting, air quality, hazardous and solid waste, water and wetlands, land use, land development/zoning; floodplain regulation and archeological issues.

Real Estate

Chuck's practice has included advising clients regarding varied aspects of real estate transactions, including acquisition and sales, challenges to municipal regulation and impact fees, subdivision platting, storm water regulation, and condominium and townhome developments. His clients include developers, lenders, landlords, tenants and other business entities that become involved in real estate transactions in connection with the operation of their businesses or because of environmental issues.


Following graduation from the University of Iowa College of Law, Chuck served as a judicial clerk to Justice Clay LeGrand of the Iowa Supreme Court (1979-80) and Judge Donald E. O'Brien of the U.S. District Court for the Northern and Southern Districts of Iowa (1980-82). Chuck and his wife have three adult children.

Honors and Accomplishments

American College of Environmental Lawyers (Fellow)

Recognized in The Best Lawyers in America® in the areas of Environmental Law, Litigation - Environmental Law, and Real Estate Law

The Best Lawyers' Des Moines Environmental Law Lawyer of the Year

AVPeer® Review Rating by Martindale-Hubbell

Recognized by Super Lawyers in Environmental, Litigation Law

Recognized by Chambers and Partners for his Real Estate practice

Community & Professional Activities

Iowa State Bar Association (Environmental and Natural Resources Law Council, Chairperson, 1993-94, 1996-98, 2009-2010, and Council Member, 1992-2001, 2004-2010)

Polk County Bar Association (Member)

American Bar Association (Member, Natural Resources Law Section)

Iowa Association of Business and Industry (Member, Environmental Committee, 1989 to present)

Board of Director of Legal Services of Polk County (Past Member)

Board of Directors of Civic Music Association of Greater Des Moines (Past Member)

Civic Music Association of Greater Des Moines (President, 2004–05)

Greater Des Moines Leadership Institute (Member, Class of 2002–03; Curriculum Committee, 2003–04)

Publications and Presentations

"Ditches, Drainage, and Drama" Belin McCormick Seminar Series (May 18, 2017).

"Subcontractors Can't Be Sued--For Now" BUILD Des Moines (May 2014, ppg 36).

"Phase II Storm Water Regulations and Compliance in Iowa," used at Lorman Seminars (2006 - 2012).

"Brownfields: A Comprehensive Guide to Redeveloping Contaminated Property," American Bar Association (author of chapter on Iowa law).

"Guide To Iowa Environmental Laws And Regulations," Author, two-volume treatise published by the Iowa Association of Business and Industry.

"Environmental and Land Use Issues Affecting Cities," American Planning Association (2006).

"Major Issues In Iowa Land Use Law," Nat'l Business Institute (2002, 2003, 2004, 2006).

"Environmental Considerations For Real Property," University of Iowa, College of Law (2001, 2003, 2005).

"Storm Water Permitting For Construction Activities," Iowa Association of Business and Industry (2005).

"Brownfields: Your Community's Untapped Resource," Iowa Dept. of Economic Development (2003).

"Environmental Factors in Business Acquisitions," Lorman Seminars (2002).

"Environmental Liability for Officers, Directors and Shareholders," Iowa State Bar Association (2002).

"Environmental Issues in Mergers and Acquisitions," Iowa State Bar Association Environmental and Natural Resources Law Seminar (2000).

"Prospective Insurance Coverage for Environmental Contamination," Iowa State Bar Association Environmental and Natural Resources Law Seminar (1999).

"The General Practitioner's Guide to Environmental Law," University of Iowa College of Law (1999).

"The Iowa Environmental Audit Privilege and Immunity Act," Iowa State Bar Association (1998).

"Making A Molehill Out Of A Mountain," Iowa Commerce Magazine (1996).

"Liability of Lenders and Fiduciaries for Environmental Contamination of Real Property," University of Iowa College of Law (1996).

"Minimizing Environmental Problems for Iowa Business," The Cambridge Institute (1993, 1994 and 1996).

"Damages and Remedies In Environmental Actions," Iowa State Bar Association Annual Meeting (1996).