Government Experience

  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency—Associate Deputy General Counsel (2004-2006)
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency—Deputy General Counsel (2006)


  • Boston College, B.A. political science (1990) cum laude
  • Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law, J.D. (1993)


  • District of Columbia
  • Maryland
Chet M. Thompson, Partner Washington, D.C.
Phone: +1 202.624.2655
1001 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, D.C. 20004-2595

Chet M. Thompson is a partner in the Washington, D.C. office of Crowell and Moring and the chair of the firm's Environment & Natural Resources Group. Chet is the former deputy general counsel and associate deputy general counsel of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), positions he held between 2004 and 2006. His practice includes counseling, litigation, enforcement defense, appellate advocacy, and regulatory and legislative representation of a wide array of clients under the major environmental statutes, including the Clean Air Act (CAA), the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), and the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, Liability, and Recovery Act (CERCLA).

As EPA's deputy general counsel, Chet provided legal advice to the EPA administrator, the general counsel, and various program offices, particularly the Office of Air and Radiation (OAR), the Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance (OECA), and the Office of Solid Waste (OSW). During his tenure, Chet oversaw the agency's air and radiation law office and the legal aspects of many of EPA's then hallmark CAA initiatives, including off-road engine and low-sulfur diesel standards, the Clean Air Interstate Rule (CAIR), the Clean Air Mercury Rule (CAMR), New Source Review (NSR) reforms, designations and implementation of the revised national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS) for ozone and particulate matter, and implementation of the CAA's residual risk program. He also supervised the agency's legal defense and appellate dockets and the day-to-day legal support of EPA's CAA title V, New Source Performance Standards (NSPS), and the NSR and prevention of significant deterioration (PSD) programs. Additionally, Chet provided legal counseling on a number of energy issues, including permitting of oil and gas exploration and processing plants, coal-fired power plants, and liquefied natural gas facilities.

Chet also supervised the agency's solid waste and emergency response law office, which provides legal support for CERCLA and RCRA issues. He was the United States' lead negotiator in multi-year negotiations that culminated in a landmark settlement with a Canadian mining company over the extraterritorial application of CERCLA and liability associated with the historic contamination of the Upper Columbia River in Washington State. The settlement guaranteed full-funding for a comprehensive, multi-year study of human health and ecological risks at the site and avoided years of protracted litigation between the United States and Canada that could have had negative ramifications for U.S. industries.

Chet received a B.A. in political science, cum laude, from Boston College in 1990 and his J.D. from Catholic University, the Columbus School of Law, in 1993, graduating in the top five percent of his class. He is admitted to the bars of the District of Columbia and Maryland.

Representative Engagements

  • Represented General Electric in a CERCLA cost recovery action against the United States related to a former uranium mine in New Mexico (United Nuclear Corporation v. United States of America, No. 1:10-CV-00404-MCA (D. New Mexico, Sept. 6, 2011)(order approving Partial Consent Decree and Settlement).
  • Represent owner of an electric utility in Pennsylvania against a Clean Air Act enforcement action brought by the United States, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York for alleged New Source Review violations.  The federal district court granted the facility’s motion to dismiss the claims.  (United States v. EME Homer City Generation, L.P., Case Nos. 11-4406, 11-4407, and 11-4408 (W.D. Pennsylvania 2011).)
  • Represent the nation’s largest cement manufacturer in multistate Clean Air Act enforcement actions brought by EPA for alleged violations of the Prevention of Significant Deterioration program.  (United States v. CEMEX California Cement, LLC, ED-CV-07-00223-GW(C.D. Cal. 2009); United States v. CEMEX, Inc., No. 3:11-CV-00037-WHR (S.D. Ohio 2011); United States v. CEMEX, Inc., No. 1-09-CV-00019-MSK (D. Colo.).)  
  • Represent American Iron and Steel Institute and Gerdau Ameristeel in challenges to EPA’s suite of greenhouse gas regulations.  (Coalition for Responsible Regulation, Inc. et al. v. EPA (D.C. Cir. 2012).)
  • Represent American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers in challenge to EPA's approval of E15 fuel waiver. (Grocery Manufacturers Association v. EPA, No. 10-1380 (D.C. Cir. 2012).)
  • Provide legal counsel to several national trade associations on Clean Air Act issues.
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