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Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP

F. William Brownell

F. William Brownell

Partner

Expertise

  • Air
  • Climate Change Law and Policy
  • Energy and Environmental Litigation
  • Climate Change

WSG Practice Industries

Activity

Profile

Described as “absolutely one of the leaders in the field,” by Chambers USA, 2016, Bill Brownell is highly sought for his consummate understanding of environmental law.

Bill has been lead counsel for some of the most important and precedent-setting environmental law cases of his time, including regulatory challenges on greenhouse gases, air toxics regulation and cost/benefit analysis. Bill and his team litigate environmental cases before the US Court of Appeals and the US Supreme Court, manage proceedings before federal and state agencies and courts, and speak regularly before Congress. He also represents clients before State Attorneys General around the country. 

Beginning his legal career shortly after the enactment of the Clean Air Act, Bill has been on the forefront of every critical Clean Air regulatory proceeding facing the energy sector since then. He partners with Fortune 500 clients to promote sound regulation, to challenge regulatory overreach, and to build dynamic strategies for their future growth and success. Bill and his environmental team, represent trade associations, energy and manufacturing clients, and States and municipalities.

Bill is recognized for his groundbreaking work in environmental law related to litigation, regulation and counseling, and assists clients with matters relating to environmental regulation and litigation, climate change law, clean air regulation, environmental licensing and auditing, and waste management and clean water issues.

Colleagues in other law firms consult Bill for advice on case strategy and legal analysis. According to Law360, 2010, he is widely regarded as one of the most admired attorneys in the environmental legal community not only by clients, but by his peers.

Bill has chaired the firm’s executive committee, and is former head of its administrative law and environmental practice groups.

Relevant Experience

  • Serves as lead counsel in significant appellate cases challenging and defending EPA and other rulemaking, including DC Circuit challenges to EPA’s greenhouse gas rules, Clean Air Act New Source Review rules, revised air quality standards, and other regulations.
  • Defends companies in citizen suits brought under the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.
  • Defends companies in EPA enforcement actions, including the Clean Air Act New Source Review enforcement initiative. Provides advice on responding to administrative orders, subpoenas and inspections.
  • Defends companies in suits seeking damages and injunctive relief for emissions of greenhouse gases.
  • Defends companies in environmental nuisance litigation.
  • Advises companies on Clean Air Act permitting and compliance issues, and represents companies in related litigation.
  • Advises companies on national and international environmental compliance programs.
  • Advises companies on environmental management, disclosure and compliance issues, including issues related to greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Represents companies in rulemakings addressing environmental and natural resource issues.
  • Provides counsel on protection of confidential business information and trade secrets, and on Freedom of Information Act issues and litigation.

Bar Admissions

  • District of Columbia

Education

BS, Georgetown University, 1974
Areas of Practice

Air | Climate Change | Climate Change Law and Policy | Coal | Energy and Environmental Litigation | Energy Litigation | Environmental | Environmental Compliance, Litigation and Defense | Natural Resources | NEPA | PFAS Interdisciplinary Team

Professional Career

Significant Accomplishments

  • Defends companies in suits seeking damages and injunctive relief for emissions of greenhouse gases. Representative cases include Am. Elec. Power Co., Inc. v. Connecticut, 131 S. Ct. 2527 (2011); Comer v. Murphy Oil USA, 607 F.3d 1049 (5th Cir. 2010); and Native Village of Kivalina v. ExxonMobil Corp., 696 F.3d 849 (9th Cir. 2012).
  • Defends companies in environmental nuisance litigation. Representative cases include North Carolina v. Tennessee Valley Auth., 615 F.3d 291 (2010).
  • Serves as lead counsel in significant appellate cases challenging EPA and other rulemaking, including D.C. Circuit challenges to EPA’s Clean Air Act New Source Review rules, revised air quality standards, and other regulations. Representative cases include UARG v. EPA, Nos. 12-1146, et al. (U.S. Supreme Court, argued February 24, 2014); Mississippi v. EPA, No. 08-1200, 2013 WL 6486930 (D.C. Cir. July 23, 2013, reissued Dec. 11, 2013); New York v. EPA, No. 06-1148 (D.C. Cir. Sept. 4, 2009) (order granting unopposed motion for voluntary remand without vacatur); New York v. EPA, 443 F.3d 880 (D.C. Cir. 2006); New York v. U.S. EPA, 413 F.3d 3 (D.C. Cir. 2005); and Whitman v. Am. Trucking Ass’ns, 531 U.S. 457 (2001), on remand, 283 F.3d 355 (D.C. Cir. 2002).
  • Defends companies in EPA enforcement actions, including the Clean Air Act New Source Review enforcement initiative. Provides advice on responding to administrative orders, subpoenas and inspections. Representative cases include U.S. v. DTE Energy, 711 F.3d 643 (6th Cir. 2013); United States v. Duke Energy Corp., 278 F. Supp. 2d 619 (M.D.N.C. 2003), aff’d on other grounds, 411 F.3d 539 (4th Cir. 2005), vacated by Environmental Defense v. Duke Energy Corp., 549 U.S. 561 (2007); and Tennessee Valley Auth. v. U.S. EPA, 278 F.3d 1184 (11th Cir. 2002), withdrawn in part, Tennessee Valley Auth. v. Whitman, 336 F.3d 1236 (11th Cir. 2003).
  • Advises companies on Clean Air Act permitting and compliance issues, and represents companies in related litigation.
  • Advises companies on national and international environmental compliance programs.
  • Advises companies on environmental management, disclosure and compliance issues, including issues related to greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Represents companies in rulemakings addressing environmental and natural resource issues.
  • Provides counsel on protection of confidential business information and trade secrets, and on Freedom of Information Act issues and litigation.


Professional Associations

  • Member, bars of the US Supreme Court, US Courts of Appeals for the DC, Second, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, Ninth, Tenth and Eleventh Circuits and various district courts
  • Board Chair, National Park Trust
  • Member, Executive Committee, National Coal Council
  • Member, Environmental Law Advisory Committee, National Chamber Litigation Center, US Chamber of Commerce
  • Member, American College of Environmental Lawyers
  • Member, Litigation Counsel of America
  • Member, American Bar Association

Professional Activities and Experience

  • 2017 Chambers USA Environment Law Firm of the Year
  • Listed for Environment: Litigation, Legal 500, 2015 and 2016
  • Listed as a Local Litigation Star in Environmental Law, District of Columbia, Benchmark Litigation, 2015 and 2016
  • Named among the Energy & Environmental Trailblazers, National Law Journal, 2015
  • Recognized as a Leader in Environmental Law, District of Columbia, Chambers USA, 2010-present
  • Recognized as a Leader in Climate Change, National, Chambers USA, 2008-present
  • Recognized as a Leader in Climate Change, Chambers Global, 2015
  • 2015 Recipient of Burton Award for Distinguished Legal Writing (Law Firm), Burton Foundation in association with the US Library of Congress.
  • Selected as an Environmental MVP, Law360, 2014
  • Named among the Five Most Admired Environmental Attorneys, Law360, 2010 
  • Named among Groundbreaking Lawyers, Public Utilities Fortnightly, 2009
  • Named among the Top Lawyers for Environmental Law, Washingtonian magazine, 2009–present
  • Selected as a Best Lawyer and Best Lawyer for Litigation: Environmental Law (since 2011), Washington DC, Best Lawyers in America, 2006-present. A description of the selection methodology can be found on Best Lawyers’ webpage.

Articles

  • State Common Law of Public Nuisance in the Modern Administrative State, ABA Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources, Natural Resources & Environment
  • New EPA Enforcement Chief Promises Criminal Prosecutions: Challenge for Corporate Managers, Executive Counsel, Volume 3 Number 5
  • The Hard Reality for International Climate Agreements in the United States, Atlantic Council
  • EME Homer City Generation v. EPA: The DC Circuit’s Ruling and Implications for Future Rulemaking, Washington Legal Foundation
  • Another Path to Greenhouse Gas Regulation: Clean Air Act Has Teeth, Executive Counsel
  • CO2 Control Under Clean Air Act: Headed for a Glorious Mess?, Washington Legal Foundation Legal Opinion Letter, Vol. 18 No. 29
  • Environmental Planning and Risk Assessment in a New Administration, chapter, Inside the Minds: The Legal Impact of Climate Change, Aspatore Books
  • Mercury Regulation: Fact and Fiction, Environmental Law Institute
  • Climate Exposure, Fortnightly's Spark
  • Clean Air Act chapter of the Environmental Law Handbook (20th ed.), Government Institutes
  • Is CO2 regulated under federal law? Implications of Georgia Court ruling, Washington Legal Foundation Legal Opinion Letter, Vol. 18
  • Insurance Coverage for Climate Change Lawsuits, Executive Counsel, Volume 8/Number 6
  • Managing Coal: How to Achieve Reasonable Risk with an Essential Resource, Vermont Journal of Env’l Law, Vol. 13
  • Understanding Carbon Markets, Executive Counsel

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