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Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP

Karma B. Brown

Karma B. Brown

Counsel

Expertise

  • Environmental
  • Natural Resources
  • Energy and Environmental Litigation
  • Energy Litigation

WSG Practice Industries

Activity

Profile

Clients rely on Karma’s extensive experience with permitting and litigation under the Clean Water Act, the National Environmental Policy Act and the Endangered Species Act.

Karma has over fifteen years of experience litigating high profile, complex cases across the country. She represents clients across industries on a wide range of environmental and administrative law issues, with an emphasis on litigation and regulatory compliance with the Clean Water Act (CWA), the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the Endangered Species Act (ESA), and on CERCLA and hazardous waste cases throughout the country. Clients value Karma’s ability to work collaboratively with industry coalitions, states, the federal government and technical consultants.

Karma’s representative clients include water agencies, oil and natural gas pipeline companies, trade associations, solid waste companies and developers. She routinely represents cross-industry coalitions on key issues such as the scope of federally regulated “waters of the United States” under the CWA and the criteria for designation of critical habitat and listing decisions under the ESA, and is widely regarded for her ability to negotiate settlements with the Department of Justice in controversial matters. On the regulatory side, Karma has significant experience drafting comments on administrative rulemakings and advising clients and their technical consultants on the preparation of NEPA, ESA and CWA permitting documents, including keeping clients apprised of continually evolving policy and regulatory clarifications.

Karma has undertaken significant pro bono work, representing detainees at Guantánamo Bay in habeas corpus proceedings and numerous asylum applicants before the Department of Homeland Security. She served as a member of the firm’s pro bono committee and charitable giving committee and received the firm’s E. Randolph Williams Award for Outstanding Pro Bono Service.

Karma was an adjunct professor at The George Washington University Law School from 2007 to 2009. Before joining the firm, she was an attorney-advisor in the Solicitor’s Honors Program at the US Department of the Interior, Office of the Solicitor, and a judicial law clerk to the Honorable Francis M. Allegra of the US Court of Federal Claims, Washington, DC.

Relevant Experience

  • Counsel to energy company in successful defense of challenge to a National Park Service authorization and related ESA and NEPA analyses.
  • Represent coalition of national agricultural and industry associations in litigation challenging rules issued by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the US Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) under CWA section 404 and the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) under the ESA.
  • Counsel to national trade associations in successful defense of FWS listing decisions.
  • Regularly assist clients on issues relating to Corps jurisdictional determinations and the use of general and individual CWA permits, including administrative appeals under the Corps regulations and defense of permits and NEPA and ESA analyses in federal district and appellate courts.
  • Represent coalition of trade associations in federal litigation challenging the Corps’ Nationwide Permit 12.
  • Prepare cross-industry amicus briefs on influential CWA and ESA cases before the US Supreme Court and US Courts of Appeals.
  • Negotiate settlements of litigation arising under section 404 of the CWA and challenges to ESA regulations, and advise clients on compliance with complex consent decrees.
  • Prepare comments on EPA and Corps CWA rulemakings and FWS and NMFS ESA rulemakings.
  • Advise natural gas pipeline company, electric utility, and industry groups regarding compliance counseling and permitting under Rivers and Harbors Act section 408.
  • Represent major waste management company in CERCLA and natural resource damages litigation and alternative dispute resolution proceedings.

Bar Admissions

  • District of Columbia
  • Maryland

Education

BA, Northwestern University, 1996
Areas of Practice

Endangered Species Act | Energy and Environmental Litigation | Energy Litigation | Environmental | Natural Resources | Waste | Water

Professional Career

Significant Accomplishments

  • Represent coalition of national agricultural and industry associations in litigation challenging rules issued by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) under CWA section 404.
  • Represent coalition of trade associations in litigation challenging the Corps’ Nationwide Permit 12. 
  • Represent large landholder in administrative appeal of Corps jurisdictional determination.
  • Prepare amicus briefs for various industry and agricultural interests on CWA and ESA cases before the U.S. Supreme Court and U.S. Courts of Appeals.
  • Represent major waste management company in CERCLA and Natural Resource Damages litigation and alternative dispute resolution proceedings.
  • Negotiate settlement of litigation arising under Section 404 of the CWA and advise clients on compliance with complex consent decrees.
  • Prepare comments on EPA and Corps rulemakings and guidance under the CWA and Fish & Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service rulemakings under the ESA.
  • Represent land developers on issues relating to Corps jurisdictional determinations and the use of general permits under Section 404 of the CWA.
  • Advise natural gas pipeline company regarding abandonment in place of offshore pipelines.


Professional Associations

  • Member, Legal Action Committee, National Association of Home Builders, 2012 to present
  • Member, Legal Affairs Committee, National Association of Clean Water Agencies
  • Vice Chair, Endangered Species Committee, American Bar Association Section on Environment, Energy, and Resources, 2008 to 2010
  • Adjunct Professor, The George Washington University Law School, 2007 to 2009
  • Member, American Bar Association Section on Environment, Energy, and Resources
  • Member, Northern Virginia Home Builders Association
  • Member, Legal Action Network for Development Strategies

Professional Activities and Experience

  • 2017 Chambers USA Environment Law Firm of the Year
  • Selected as Environmental “Super Lawyer” by Washington, DC Super Lawyers Magazine, 2013 to 2017
  • Named among Law360 Environmental Rising Stars, 2012
  • Beacon of Justice Award, National Legal Aid & Defender Association, 2007
  • E. Randolph Williams Award for Outstanding Pro Bono Service, Hunton & Williams LLP, 2003 to 2008

Articles

  • EPA's Unprecedented Exercise of Authority Under Clean Water Act Section 404(c), American Bar Association Section on Environment, Energy, and Resources, In-House Counsel Committee Newsletter
  • Update on the EPA and Corps Unlawful Attempts to Expand Their Clean Water Act Jurisdiction Without Following Proper Rulemaking Procedures, Maryland-National Capital Building Industry Association
  • Behind Closed Doors: The Quiet Expansion of the Wetlands Landscape, National Wetlands Newsletter, Vol. 35, No. 4
  • Final Critical Habitat Rules and Policy May Result in Substantial Impacts to Land Use Without Commensurate Wildlife Benefits, American Bar Association Trends

WSG's members are independent firms and are not affiliated in the joint practice of professional services. Each member exercises its own individual judgments on all client matters.

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