Portrait of
Named to BTI Consulting Group's list of "Client Service All-Stars" in 2016.

Government Experience

  • U.S. Department of Justice: Environment & Natural Resources Division—Trial Attorney, Environmental Enforcement Section (1982-1985)
  • U.S. Department of the Interior—Attorney, Office of the Solicitor (1981-1982)


  • University of Wyoming, B.S. (1975) with honors
  • Georgetown University Law Center, J.D. (1979)


  • District of Columbia
  • Wyoming
John C. Martin, Partner Washington, D.C.
Phone: +1 202.624.2505
1001 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20004-2595

John Martin counsels clients and litigates complex matters involving natural resources and environmental issues.

John has litigated many cases under various environmental laws including the Clean Water Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, the Endangered Species Act, the Clean Air Act, the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act, and Superfund. He has developed a particular focus on the application of environmental regulation to the energy industry. In recent years, John has represented clients' cutting edge Clean Water Act, wildlife, offshore oil & gas, public lands, and other environmental issues on behalf of extractive industries. John has defended many enforcement cases brought by the U.S. Department of Justice and non-government organizations under various environmental statutes. He has argued several cases before U.S. Courts of Appeals, including both appeals and regulatory matters. He represents clients before the Interior Board of Land Appeals and in administrative proceedings at the Environmental Protection Agency. Over the course of his career, John has served as lead trial counsel in several trials involving energy and environmental disputes.

Early in his career, John served as an attorney in the Solicitor's Office at the Department of the Interior and, later, as a trial lawyer with the Lands and Natural Resources Division of the Department of Justice. At DOJ, John litigated cases under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act, the Clean Air Act, and the Clean Water Act, and received a Special Achievement Award.

John has testified before Congress, contributed to various publications, and has served as co-author to three environmental law texts. He is also a frequent speaker on various environmental and natural resource topics.

John has received the AV Preeminent rating, the highest rating from Martindale-Hubbell based upon reviews provided by members of the Judiciary and the Bar. Founded upon peer reviews, the organization also designated John a “Top Rated Lawyer” in Energy, Environment & Natural Resources and in Litigation. He was also chosen by members of the Bar as a “Top Rated Lawyer” for the D.C.-Baltimore area. In 2016, John was named a “Client Service All-Star” based on client recommendations received by the BTI Consulting Group and he was listed in Who's Who Legal: Environment. John was also the proud recipient, in 2016, of the Cutt Slam Certificate from the Wyoming Game & Fish for having caught each of the four subspecies of cutthroat trout in Wyoming.

Representative Reported Cases

  • Montana Env. Info. Ctr. v. Stone-Manning, 766 F.3d 1184 (9th Cir. 2014); Successfully argued to uphold state permitting decisions in an action brought under Surface Mining Control & Reclamation Act.     
  • Alaska Community Action on Toxics v. Aurora Energy Services, LLC, 940 F.Supp.2d 1005 (D. Alaska 2013), rev'd in part, 765 F.3d 1169 (9th Cir. 2014); defense of Clean Water Act case against coal port concerning claims under the Clean Water Act.
  • United States v. Brigham Oil & Gas L.P., 840 F. Supp. 2d 1202 (D.N.D. 2012); argued and won dismissal of criminal action under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act in a far-reaching decision rejecting strict liability enforcement of the MBTA for oil and gas operations.
  • Biodiversity Conservation Alliance v. Clark, 608 F.3d 709 (10th Cir. 2010); lead counsel for group of oil and gas companies in successful defense of NEPA challenge to Resource Management Plan concerning coalbed natural gas development in Wyoming's Powder River Basin.
  • Wyo. Outdoor Council v. Wyo. Dep't of Env. Quality, 225 P.3d 1054 (Wyo. 2010); represented industry intervenors in successful defense of state decision to reject petition.
  • William F. West Ranch, LLC v. Tyrrell, 206 P.3d 722 (Wyo. 2009); represented industry intervenors in defense of case brought against state engineer regarding water use for oil and gas operations.
  • Pennaco Energy, Inc. v. U.S. EPA, 692 F.Supp.2d 1297 (D.Wyo. 2009); lead counsel for a group of oil and gas companies in successful challenge to state water quality standards approved by EPA under the Clean Water Act. 
  • Northern Cheyenne Tribe v. Norton, 503 F.3d 836 (9th Cir. 2007); argued on behalf of oil and gas companies in successful defense of challenge to BLM compliance with NEPA.
  • American Petroleum Inst. v. Johnson, 541 F.Supp.2d 165 (D.D.C. 2008); argued on behalf of industry in successful challenge the extent of EPA's jurisdiction under Clean Water Act.
  • United States ex rel. Costner v. URS Consultants, Inc., 317 F.3d 228 (8th Cir. 2003); lead counsel for contractor in successful defense at trial and appeal of action against contractor at Superfund site.
  • United States v. Cello-Foil Products, Inc., 100 F.3d 1227 (6th Cir. 1996); lead counsel in successful defense of CERCLA action.
  • Marathon Oil Co. v. Lujan, 937 F.2d 498 (10th Cir. 1991); successful litigation over oil shale claims under 1872 Mining Law.
  • City of Waukesha v. EPA, 320 F.3d 228 (D.C. Cir. 2003); argued regulatory appeal of rulemaking under Safe Drinking Water Act.
  • State of Ohio v. EPA, 838 F.2d 1325 (D.C. Cir. 1988); argued CERCLA regulatory matter.

Representative Matters

  • Represent mining company in Clean Water Act and SMCRA permitting litigation for before federal and state courts as well as state administrative agency. E.g., In re: Appeal of Western Energy Co. Rosebud Mine, No. BER-2012-12-WQ (Mont. Bd. of Env. Rev. 2012); Mont. Env. Info. Ctr. & Sierra Club v. Mont. Dep't Env. Qual., et al., No. 2012-1075 (Mont. First Judical Dist. Lewis and Clark Cty).
  • Represent coalition challenging Fish & Wildlife Service violations of the Endangered Species Act and its regulations. Oklahoma et. al. v. Dep't of the Interior, Case No. 14-CV-123-JHP-PJC (N.D. Okla.).
  • Defend a SMCRA case in which adverse lower court decision was vacated by the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. M.L. Johnson Family Properties, LLC et al. v. Premier Elkhorn Coal Co., No. 14-5867 (Oct. 31, 2014), and in parallel proceedings before the Interior Board of Land Appeals.
  • Represented oil & gas trade associations concerning BLM and EPA efforts to regulate hydraulic fracturing (fracking).
  • Currently defending mining companies in several cases brought by advocacy organizations under the Clean Water Act.
  • Lead confidential investigation of purported environmental violation by Fortune 500 company. 
  • Represented major oil companies before federal agencies concerning environmental regulatory issues arising from BP Macondo Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico for offshore oil and gas operations.
  • Represented Texas municipality in NEPA challenge to locating of federal wildlife refuge where it would preclude source of municipal water.
  • Defended and resolved some of the most significant enforcement actions brought by EPA against mining companies for permit violations alleged under the Clean Water Act (2007-2015).
  • Resolved EPA action against oil and gas concern for spills and asserted violations of spill plan requirements under Clean Water Act (2005-2008).
  • Defended chemical company against major administrative enforcement action under Toxic Substances Control Act; resolved in administrative settlement with EPA (2005).
  • Testified before Congressional task force concerning revisions to NEPA (September 2005).
  • Participated in defense of criminal investigations under federal environmental statutes (2003-present).
  • Represented State of Wyoming in Clean Water Act and Endangered Species Act matters (2004-2005).
  • Represent oil and gas concerns in a series of NEPA actions arising from coalbed natural gas operations in Wyoming and Montana; cases venued in Wyoming and Montana (2004-2010).
  • Successful resolution of major Clean Air Act enforcement action against Ohio agricultural concern (2004).
  • Defended and resolved significant Clean Water Act action brought against major municipality (2003).
  • Participated in permitting major offshore Alaska exploration project and successfully defended challenges in 9th Circuit, Federal District Court, and Interior Board of Land Appeals (2002).

Professional Affiliations

  • Bar Association of the District of Columbia
  • American Bar Association, Natural Resources Law Section
  • Wyoming Bar Association

Awards and Honors

Special Achievement Award, Department of Justice


Admitted to practice: District of Columbia, Wyoming, U.S. Supreme Court, U.S. Courts of Appeals for the District of Columbia, 5th, 6th, 8th, 9th, and 10th Circuits, U.S. District Courts for the District of Columbia and Wyoming

Highlights, News & Knowledge

Speeches & Presentations

  • "Environmental Infrastructure Development: What is the Proper Scope of Review for NEPA?" Annual Midstream Conference, Institute for Energy Law, Houston, TX (December 4, 2014). Panelist: John C. Martin.
  • "So What’s Wrong with Sue & Settle?" Annual Meeting, Kansas Independent Oil & Gas Association, Wichita, KS (August 2014). Speaker: John C. Martin.
  • "Laws Governing Technical Innovations in Shale Plays: Horizontal Drilling, Hydraulic Fracturing, and Water Use Innovations—Driving the Boom and Generating Litigation ," Development Issues in Major Shale Plays - What's on the Horizon? (May 1-2, 2014). Presenter: John C. Martin.
  • "Current and Anticipated Federal Regulation of Hydraulic Fracturing Operation," Special Institute on Development Issues in the Major Shale Plays,” Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation & Eastern Mineral Law Foundation (December 2010). Presenter: John C. Martin.
  • "Shale Plays in the Intermountain West: Legal & Policy Issues," Natural Resources Law Center, University of Colorado (November 2010). Panelist on "The Evolving Policy": John C. Martin.
  • "The Gulf Coast Oil Spill," Columbus School of Law, The Catholic University of America (October 2010). Panelist: John C. Martin.
  • "The NEPA Reform Debate," American Bar Association, Section of Environment, Energy and Resources (Oct. 2006). Panelist: John C. Martin.


  • "The Migratory Bird Treaty Act: An Overview," (2015). Co-Authors: Thomas R. Lundquist, John C. Martin, Kirsten L. Nathanson, and Sarah Bordelon.
  • "Environmental Challenges in Midstream Infrastructure Development: What Is The Proper Scope of Review for Midstream Projects Under NEPA? Annual Midstream Conference, Institute for Energy Law, Houston, TX (December 4, 2014). Co-Authors: John C. Martin and Preetha Chakrabarti.
  • "Laws Governing Technical Innovations in Shale Plays: Horizontal Drilling, Hydraulic Fracturing, and Water Use Innovations—Driving the Boom and Generating Litigation "Development Issues in Major Shale Plays: What's on the Horizon?," Paper 2, Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation (2014). Co-Authors: John C. Martin, Susan M. Mathiascheck, and Dawn Miller.
  • "The Endangered Species Act: An Overview," (2013). Co-Authors: Thomas R. Lundquist, John C. Martin, and Sarah Bordelon.
  • Chapter 27: "Axing Access: Emergent Limits on Public Lands Development," 57th Annual Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Institute (July 23, 2011). Co-Authors: John C. Martin and Sarah Bordelon.
  • "Fractured Fairy Tales: The Context and Regulatory Constraints for Hydraulic Fracturing Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation & Eastern Mineral Law Foundation, Special Institute in the Major Shale Plays (December 2010). Co-Authors: John C. Martin, Susan M. Mathiascheck & Sarah Gleich.
  • "Not A Drop Unregulated National Law Journal (May 2008). Co-Authors: John C. Martin and Amy B. Chasanov.
  • "NEPA and SAFETEA-LU: Limits on the Statute of Limitations? Environment Reporter (April 21, 2006). Co-Authors: John C. Martin and Susan M. Mathiascheck.
  • "NEPA Compliance and Coalbed Methane Development: The Powder River Experience Fifty-Sixth Annual Institute on Oil and Gas Law (2005). Author: John C. Martin.
  • The Environmental Law Handbook, Bureau of National Affairs; chapters on NEPA, the Endangered Species Act, and CERCLA (1994). Contributing Author: John C. Martin.

Client Alerts & Newsletters

In the News

Firm News & Announcements

Feb.24.2016 Four Crowell & Moring Attorneys Recognized Among "2016 Client Service All-Stars" by BTI Consulting Group
Jun.24.2013 Crowell & Moring Recognized by National Law Journal as Washington, D.C. "General Civil Litigation" Department of the Year
Apr.09.2013 Litigation Victory for Aurora Energy Services in Clean Water Act Case
Aug.19.2009 Crowell & Moring's Environment & Natural Resources Group Gains Seven Senior Lawyers, Expands Reach Into Energy Sector
Background image