Richard E. Schwartz, Partner Washington, D.C.
rschwartz@crowell.com
Phone: +1 202.624.2905
1001 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20004-2595

Richard E. Schwartz has concentrated in environmental law since 1973, primarily working with the Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act, Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), and the Superfund Act. He focuses on environmental and toxic tort litigation and has extensive experience dealing with a wide range of scientific and technical issues in a trial and litigation context.

He has been selected annually by his peers to be included in The Best Lawyers in America in the area of environmental law since 2007. He was also selected as a "Best Lawyer" for natural resources law from 2009 to 2016. He was named a Washington, D.C. “Super Lawyer” in environmental litigation in 2016. In addition, Richard was selected for inclusion in The International Who's Who of Environment Lawyers 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, and 2016. He was named in the Chambers USA 2004 "The Client's Guide" as one of America's leading water quality litigators. In 2008, 2010, 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016, Chambers USA ranked him among the best environmental lawyers in the District of Columbia, noting in 2008 that "Commentators identify him as 'a talented and articulate lawyer.'" In the latest ranking, Chambers wrote that "Sources say Richard Schwartz is 'absolutely exceptional, practical and smart.'"

Some of his most important matters are listed below:

Following years of complex negotiations, in 2015, Richard successfully settled a major CERCLA natural resource damages (NRD) action brought by federal trustees from the Department of Interior (Bureau of Land Management), the U.S. Forest Service, and the State of New Mexico, involving a large molybdenum mine in northern New Mexico. The settlement was approved by the federal district court in New Mexico over the intense opposition of numerous environmental groups. 

In 2011, Richard headed a Crowell & Moring team that coordinated the common briefing on behalf of a group that included industry parties, local governmental bodies, and the State of Florida in a challenge in federal district court to U.S. EPA water quality regulations. EPA's regulations had established numeric criteria for nitrogen and phosphorous in most of Florida's streams, lakes, and springs. In 2012 Richard presented the oral argument for the group on common issues. The court vacated EPA's stream criteria, which were the focus of Richard's argument, and the central issue in the case. (Florida Wildlife Federation v. EPA, N.D. Fla. No. 4:08cv324 (February 18, 2012).

In 2011, Richard led a team of Crowell & Moring lawyers in a two-week evidentiary hearing before an administrative law judge of the State of Florida defending a Lockheed Martin ground water remediation plan against a challenge by a local citizen group. After the close of the hearing, the judge issued a detailed order recommending that the Florida Department of Environmental Protection adopt Lockheed Martin's position on every single issue (of dozens) raised by the opposing parties.

In 2010, Richard successfully argued before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit that the Clean Water Act does not authorize EPA to compel an animal feeding operation to obtain a permit because it "proposes" to discharge. The Court's opinion cited an explanation in Richard's oral argument as a key basis for its decision. The Fifth Circuit also agreed that the Clean Water Act does not empower EPA to impose penalties on any facility simply for not having a permit. The Fifth Circuit vacated the EPA regulations that provided otherwise. National Pork Producers Council v. EPA (No. 08-6193; decided March 15, 2011).

Rich was selected as the lead negotiator for a joint defense group of four of the nation's largest home builders in a comprehensive federal Clean Water Act enforcement action over storm water discharges from construction sites. The negotiations successfully avoided litigation and in 2008 culminated in a common national consent decree used by all four companies.

On January 31, 2005, EPA published in the Federal Register an "Animal Feeding Operations Consent Agreement and Final Order" that Richard negotiated with EPA on behalf of a livestock and poultry industry coalition. This unprecedented consent agreement, which took several years to negotiate, allows animal feeding operations in the hog, egg, and (if they meet certain requirements) poultry and dairy industries to obtain temporary protection from enforcement of the Clean Air Act and CERCLA and EPCRA in exchange for funding a monitoring study of their emissions. Representing intervenors, Richard helped successfully defend that agreement in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Association of Irritated Residents v. EPA (D.C. Cir., decided July 17, 2007).

In December 2004, Richard argued before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit that the Clean Water Act does not empower EPA to require an NPDES permit for a facility unless it is actually discharging. He appeared on behalf of industry petitioners challenging EPA regulations for concentrated animal feeding operations. In February 2005, the court adopted his analysis and invalidated EPA's "duty to apply" provisions on precisely this ground. Waterkeeper Alliance v. EPA, (2d Cir., decided 2/28/05). This analysis places important limits on EPA's permitting and enforcement authorities under the Clean Water Act.

In 2003, in Barrick Goldstrike Mines, Inc. v. Browner, he obtained an order from Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson invalidating EPA's "toxic release inventory" program requirement that mining companies report their movement of rocks (to expose ore) as "releases" of "hazardous substances." That requirement had made the mining industry appear to be the most polluting industry in America.

In 2001, he represented LAC Minerals at the hearing where the New Mexico Water Quality Commission granted the first variances to ground water remediation standards ever granted in the State of New Mexico.

His cases have also involved broader issues of administrative law. On behalf of the steel industry, he developed and argued the successful industry position in AFL-CIO v. OSHA, the 1992 decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals that vacated 428 OSHA standards. In 1999, he negotiated a unique "Compliance Audit Program" enforcement agreement with U.S. EPA for hog farms nationwide. In 2000, he persuaded the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to unanimously reverse the district court and allow judicial review of EPA preambles, guidance documents and a letter that EPA used to implement its "toxic release inventory" program. This decision, Barrick Goldstrike Mines, Inc. v. Browner, established a precedent that should help companies seeking judicial review of informal agency action.

Richard has defended companies in numerous "citizen suits" by environmental groups, including the following:

In 1997, he obtained the outright dismissal of a Clean Water Act citizen suit against a mining company. The case, Amigos Bravos v. Molycorp, Inc., was dismissed on the ground that exclusive jurisdiction lay in the U.S. Court of Appeals, barring the citizen suit. The dismissal was affirmed by the Tenth Circuit.

In 1995, he developed defenses to a citizen suit in New Mexico under the Clean Water Act and RCRA that resulted in the outright dismissal of four of the counts of the complaint on summary judgment. The fifth count was severely limited, and the companies settled the remainder of the case on favorable terms. The case, Friends of Santa Fe County v. Lac Minerals et al., created unusually favorable legal precedent for industry in a difficult area.

In 1992, he obtained an order from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit requiring EPA to remove a newly-listed dump site from the Superfund "National Priorities List."

Since 1980, Richard has routinely advised industrial clients on the federal and state hazardous waste laws. He has also advised clients regarding the Superfund Act, and defended them in Superfund litigation. In the Conservation Chemical Company Superfund case in Kansas City, he spoke for the approximately 160 third-party defendants in oral argument before the court on a number of occasions. He also represented that group in settlement negotiations and helped devise their internal liability allocation agreement.

For the leather tanning industry, Richard won its first Clean Water Act effluent limitations guidelines lawsuit in 1975; convinced EPA to abandon proposed Clean Water Act pretreatment standards in 1979; obtained delisting under RCRA of its solid wastes in 1980; and obtained a favorable settlement in its second effluent discharge limitations case in 1983.

He represented the steel industry in three lawsuits challenging EPA's effluent discharge limitations for that industry. A successful 1983 settlement of one of these suits was praised by the Washington Post as a "creative solution" to a difficult dispute.

In 1974, Richard represented the steel industry in the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) first toxic pollutant hearings under the Clean Water Act. From 1974 to 1984, he argued industry's position on numerous occasions during the many stages of the ensuing litigation.

Richard has handled litigation throughout his legal career. Many of his cases (involving a variety of environmental laws) have been in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, but Richard has also tried or argued cases in the Southern, Eastern, and Western Districts of New York; in federal district courts in Alaska, Florida, Maine, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, and Texas; and in state courts in Florida, New York, New Jersey, and Tennessee. He has argued before the First, Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Ninth, Eleventh, and the District of Columbia Circuits. The Molycorp case (discussed above) was affirmed on the briefs in the Tenth Circuit.



Affiliations

Admitted to practice: District of Columbia



Highlights, News & Knowledge


Speeches & Presentations



Publications

  • "The Potentially Sweeping Effects of EPA's Chesapeake Plan," Law360 (February 12, 2016). Authors: Richard E. Schwartz, David Chung, and Tyler O'Connor.
  • "The Nutrient Wars," The Environmental Forum, Vol. 31, No. 5 (September/October 2014). Co-Authors: Richard E. Schwartz and David Chung.
  • "Nutrients in the Courts: Cooperative Federalism Entangles EPA Actions on Nitrogen and Phosphorus," Environmental Law Reporter (March 2014). Co-Authors: Richard E. Schwartz, David Chung, and Tony Mendoza.
  • "Fallout From TVA v. Whitman: When Do EPA Orders Deny Due Process?," ABA Environmental Enforcement and Crimes Committee Newsletter, Vol. 8, No. 2 (February 2007). Co-Authors: Richard E. Schwartz and Kirsten Nathanson.
  • "Waterkeeper Alliance, Inc. v. EPA: A View From The Farm Groups' Perspective," Water Quality and Wetlands Committee Newsletter, Vol. 6, No. 2 (August 2005). Co-Authors: Ellen Steen, Richard E. Schwartz and Kirsten Nathanson.
  • "An Uncertain Outlook for General Permitting Under the Clean Water Act NPDES Program," Crowell & Moring Mining Law Monitor, Vol. 22, Issue 1 (Spring 2005). Co-Authors: Rich E. Schwartz, Ellen Steen and Kirsten Nathanson.
  • "A Clean Water Act Primer For the Mining Industry, in Water Quality and Wetlands Mineral Law Series, Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation (2002). Course Paper Co-Authors: Richard E. Schwartz and Ellen Steen.
  • "RCRA Hazardous Wastes Handbook Government Institutes, 12th Ed. (2001). Co-Authors: Ridgway M. Hall, Jr., Robert C. Davis, Jr., Richard E. Schwartz, Nancy S. Bryson, and R. Timothy McCrum.
  • "Navigating the New Contours of the Clean Water Act Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation Symposium (Fall 2000). Co-Authors: Richard E. Schwartz, Ellen Steen and Mark Koehn.
  • "Final Agency Action" and "Ripe For Judicial Review," D.C. Circuit Holds, EPA Guidance Documents For The TRI Program (August 2000). Co-Authors: Richard Schwartz, Tim Means and Kirsten L. Nathanson.
  • "EPA Guidance Documents for the TRI Program Are "Final Agency Action" and Ripe for Judicial Review, D.C. Circuit Holds," C&M Mining Law Monitor, (August 2000). Co-Authors: Tim Means, Richard Schwartz and Kirsten Nathanson.
  • "Aggressive Self-Auditing Earns Industry An Enforcement Break," Crowell & Moring Mining Law Monitor (July 1999). Co-Authors: Richard E. Schwartz and Ellen Steen.
  • "Encouraging Self-Auditing Within the Pork Industry: The Nationwide Clean Water Act Enforcement Agreement for Agriculture's First Industry-Wide Environmental Auditing Program 29 Environmental Law Reporter 10395 (1999). Co-Authors: Richard E. Schwartz, Steven P. Quarles and Ellen Steen.
  • "The Superfund Manual Government Institutes, 6th Ed. (1997). Co-Authors: Ridgway M. Hall Jr., Richard E. Schwartz, Robert C. Davis, Jr., Nancy S. Bryson and R. Timothy McCrum.
  • "Citizen Suits Against Private Industry Under the Clean Water Act The Environmental Law Manual, American Bar Association (1992). Author: Richard E. Schwartz.
  • "Getting Specific With OSHA Legal Times (September 14, 1992). Author: Richard E. Schwartz.
  • "Navigating EPS's Informational Sea Natural Resources & Environment, Vol. 4, No. 3, American Bar Association (Winter 1990). Author: Richard E. Schwartz.
  • "The Federal-State 'Partnership' in Superfund Cleanups: Whose Dump Is This, Anyway? Environmental Hazards: The Superfund, RCRA and Toxic Tort Law Advisor, (September 1989). Co-Authors: William L. Anderson and Richard E. Schwartz.
  • "Structured Settlement Financing For Superfund Site Cleanups Environmental Hazards, Vol. 1, No. 1 (July 1989). Author: Richard E. Schwartz.
  • "Citizens Suits Against Private Industry Under the Clean Water Act Natural Resources Lawyer, Vol. XVII, No. 3 (1984). Author: Richard E. Schwartz.
  • "New Water Quality Standards Regulations." American Bar Association," National Resources Law Newsletter, Vol. 16, No. 2 (1984). Author: Richard E. Schwartz.
  • "Attorneys' Fee Awards: When Is 'Whenever Appropriate' Appropriate? Federal Bar News & Journal, Vol. 31, No. 2 (February 1984). Author: Richard E. Schwartz.


Client Alerts & Newsletters



In the News



Firm News & Announcements

Nov.30.2016 Super Lawyers Recognizes 71 Crowell & Moring Lawyers Across United States
Sep.07.2016 Crowell & Moring Pro Bono: Lawyers’ Committee Files Federal Voting Rights Lawsuit Challenging Discriminatory Method of Electing Judges to Highest Courts in State of Alabama
Aug.18.2016 The Best Lawyers in America 2017 Recognizes 38 Crowell & Moring Attorneys
May.27.2016 Chambers USA Ranks 56 Crowell & Moring Attorneys and 19 Leading Practice Areas Among Best in U.S.
Aug.25.2015 The Best Lawyers in America 2016 Recognizes 39 Crowell & Moring Attorneys
May.19.2015 Chambers USA Ranks 53 Crowell & Moring Attorneys and 20 Leading Practice Areas Among Best in U.S.
Aug.28.2014 The Best Lawyers In America 2015 Recognizes 40 Crowell & Moring Attorneys
May.23.2014 Chambers USA Ranks 51 Crowell & Moring Attorneys and 19 Leading Practice Areas Among Best in U.S.
Sep.03.2013 The Best Lawyers In America 2014 Recognizes 41 Crowell & Moring Attorneys
May.24.2013 Chambers USA Ranks 45 Crowell & Moring Attorneys and 19 Leading Practice Areas Among Best in U.S.
Sep.04.2012 The Best Lawyers in America 2013 Recognizes 44 Crowell & Moring Attorneys
Jun.07.2012 Chambers USA Ranks 45 Crowell & Moring Attorneys and 18 Leading Practice Areas Among Best in U.S.
Jun.01.2012 26 Crowell & Moring Lawyers Recognized by The International Who's Who of Business Lawyers 2012
Aug.30.2011 The Best Lawyers in America 2012 Recognizes 43 Crowell & Moring Attorneys
Jun.10.2011 Chambers USA Ranks Crowell & Moring Attorneys and Leading Practice Areas Among Best in U.S.
Jun.01.2011 28 Crowell & Moring Lawyers Recognized by The International Who's Who of Business Lawyers 2011
Aug.03.2010 The Best Lawyers in America 2011 Recognizes 44 Crowell & Moring Attorneys
Jul.01.2010 28 Crowell & Moring Lawyers Recognized by The International Who's Who of Business Lawyers 2010
Jun.11.2010 Chambers USA Ranks 42 Crowell & Moring Attorneys and 14 Practice Areas as Among Best In Class
May.01.2010 Ten Crowell & Moring Lawyers and Nine Practice Areas Ranked in PLC Which Lawyer?
Jul.01.2009 21 Crowell & Moring Lawyers Recognized by The International Who's Who of Business Lawyers 2009
Jul.23.2008 16 Crowell & Moring Lawyers Recognized by The International Who's Who of Business Lawyers 2008
Jun.13.2008 Chambers USA Ranks 33 Crowell & Moring Attorneys and 13 Practice Areas as Among Best In Class
Mar.27.2008 Eight Crowell & Moring Lawyers Ranked In PLC Which Lawyer? Yearbook
Dec.04.2007 DC Circuit Upholds EPA Consent Agreement With America’s Farms
Sep.11.2007 The Best Lawyers in America 2008 Recognizes 34 Crowell & Moring Attorneys
Apr.12.2007 Seven Crowell & Moring Attorneys Ranked in PLC Which Lawyer? Yearbook
May.04.2005 Second Circuit Denies Environmental Petitioners' Request for Rehearing of Clean Water Act Case
Jun.04.2003 Crowell & Moring Attorneys to Speak at 49th Rocky Mt. Mineral Law Institute
Apr.02.2003 Crowell & Moring Obtains a Win For the Mining Industry
Background image