Kirsten L. Nathanson

Partner
knathanson@crowell.com
+1.202.624.2887
Recognized as a leading environmental lawyer
in Washington, D.C.
by Chambers and Partners

Kirsten L. Nathanson is a partner and co-chair of the firm's Environment & Natural Resources Group, focusing on environmental litigation, mediation, enforcement defense, risk assessment, and regulatory counseling under the major federal environmental and public lands statutes. In addition to representing clients across a broad range of regulatory enforcement and litigation matters, she serves as a strategic counselor on areas of emerging risk, including climate change, environmental justice, and environmental, social, and governance (ESG) considerations. She is also a member of the firm's Management Board and Strategic Growth Committee.

Her litigation experience covers the Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act, Endangered Species Act, FIFRA, NEPA, SMCRA, RCRA, and CERCLA, encompassing citizen suit defense, regulatory challenges, remediation cost recovery and defense, Administrative Procedure Act actions, and EPA enforcement. Her practice also includes a focus in consensus-based dispute resolution, including multilateral negotiations and mediation.

Her 2022 Chambers and Partners review states that “she is particularly notable for her Superfund work,” and clients described her to Chambers as “a strong strategic thinker" and “a fabulous environmental litigator."

Current representative engagements include:

  • Serving as federal environmental counsel to several corporations across multiple facilities and CERCLA sites, including significant landfill and contaminated sediment waterway sites and allocation mediation proceedings.
  • Providing strategic counseling on Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) standards for ESG disclosures, particularly with regard to endangered species.
  • Representing a Fortune 10 energy company in CERCLA contribution litigation against the United States.
  • Representing leading crop protection companies and national trade associations across a docket of litigation challenging product registrations under FIFRA, the Endangered Species Act, and CEQA in California and D.C. federal district, state, and appellate courts.
  • Serving as federal environmental regulatory and litigation counsel to multiple national trade associations.
  • Representing a major transportation company in defending a CERCLA cost recovery claim by the United States.
  • Representing a Fortune 50 company in the strategic management of legacy environmental liabilities.

Prior engagements of note include:

  • Defending a large natural gas producer in avoiding threatened Clean Water Act citizen suits related to hydraulic fracturing operations in the Marcellus shale.
  • Litigating the first Endangered Species Act citizen suit against a wind energy project.
  • Providing strategic and compliance counseling to a major power generating facility on federal environmental regulatory requirements, such as on EPA's Coal Combustion Residual (CCR) Rule, including enforcement schemes and related litigation risk.
  • Representing a major mining company in multiple citizen suit litigation matters under NEPA and other federal law challenging federal leasing and mine plan approval actions.
  • Defending a Fortune 50 company in a citizen group challenge to the company's environmental remediation activities at a historical industrial facility.
  • Representing a coal company in a citizen suit brought under RCRA and SMCRA related to the company's handling and disposal of coal ash.
  • Defending a Clean Water Act criminal enforcement action against a private wastewater treatment corporation.
  • Litigating through trial a Clean Water Act citizen suit for a major animal agriculture corporation.
  • Serving as national coordinating counsel to a Fortune 10 company in its toxic tort litigation.
  • Conducting an internal Clean Water Act investigation for a corporation related to historical development activities in wetlands.
  • Regulatory litigation for the National Mining Association under SMCRA, and for agricultural trade associations under the Clean Water Act and Clean Air Act.
  • Conducting an internal investigation and risk assessment for a Fortune 100 corporation related to the company's remediation activities.
  • Defending EPA enforcement actions under CERCLA, including defense of unilateral administrative orders. 
  • NEPA litigation for a land developer requiring public lands access for a planned resort development.

Her experience includes federal district court motions and trial practice and federal appellate oral arguments. She is admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court and numerous federal appellate and district courts nationwide. 

Kirsten was a founding president of the Washington, D.C. Chapter of the Women's Energy Network and currently serves on the Executive Advisory Council for WEN DC. She is also on the Leadership Council of the Environmental Law Institute (ELI) and a former co-chair of the Environmental Litigation & Toxic Tort Committee for ABA SEER, and was recently elected a fellow of the American Bar Foundation. Kirsten formerly served as co-chair of the firm's Diversity Council and has also led the Crowell & Moring Women Attorneys' Network. She is a past president and a member of the Board of Trustees of the Energy & Mineral Law Foundation.

Kirsten has been recognized as a best lawyer in environmental litigation in the 2023 edition of The Best Lawyers in America, and a leading environmental lawyer in Washington, D.C. by Chambers and Partners USA since 2013. She was also listed as a leading environmental lawyer in Euromoney's Women in Business Law and named by Lawdragon as one of "500 Leading U.S. Environmental & Energy Lawyers."



Affiliations

Admitted to practice: District of Columbia, Maryland, Supreme Court of the United States, U.S. Court of Appeals, D.C. Circuit, U.S. Court of Appeals, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 9th, and 10th Circuits, U.S. District Court, Colorado, U.S. District Court, D.C., and U.S. District Court, Maryland

Memberships:

  • Past President, Women's Energy Network, Washington, D.C. Chapter
  • Past President, Energy & Mineral Law Foundation
  • Member, American Bar Association, Section on Environment, Energy & Resources


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Firm News & Announcements

August 18, 2022 The Best Lawyers in America 2023 Recognizes 54 Crowell & Moring Attorneys, Three Selected as Lawyer of the Year
June 29, 2022 Crowell & Moring Named Among Seramount’s ‘Best Law Firms for Women’ for 11th Consecutive Year and Earns Hall of Fame Designation
June 1, 2022 Chambers USA 2022 Ranks 70 Crowell & Moring Lawyers and 37 Practice Areas Among Best in U.S.
July 9, 2021 Crowell & Moring Named Among Working Mother’s 'Best Law Firms for Women' for Tenth Consecutive Year and Earns Hall of Fame Designation
May 20, 2021 Chambers USA 2021 Ranks 63 Crowell & Moring Lawyers and 30 Practice Areas Among Best in U.S.
January 8, 2021 Law Firms Unite to Defend Constitutional Democracy
January 7, 2021 In Defense of Constitutional Democracy
July 21, 2020 Crowell & Moring’s Environment & Natural Resources Co-Chair Kirsten Nathanson Named Member of the Environmental Law Institute’s Leadership Council
April 23, 2020 Chambers USA 2020 Ranks 53 Crowell & Moring Lawyers and 21 Practice Areas Among Best in U.S.
November 6, 2019 WomenInc. Names Crowell & Moring a Top Law Firm for Women
April 29, 2019 Chambers USA 2019 Ranks 53 Crowell & Moring Lawyers and 21 Practice Areas Among Best in U.S.
March 18, 2019 Crowell & Moring’s Kirsten Nathanson Named a Washington Emerging Woman Leader in Private Practice
May 9, 2018 Chambers USA 2018 Ranks 52 Crowell & Moring Lawyers and 24 Practice Areas Among Best in U.S.
May 26, 2017 Chambers USA 2017 Ranks 53 Crowell & Moring Lawyers and 23 Practice Areas Among Best in U.S.
May 27, 2016 Chambers USA Ranks 56 Crowell & Moring Attorneys and 19 Leading Practice Areas Among Best in U.S.
May 19, 2015 Chambers USA Ranks 53 Crowell & Moring Attorneys and 20 Leading Practice Areas Among Best in U.S.
May 23, 2014 Chambers USA Ranks 51 Crowell & Moring Attorneys and 19 Leading Practice Areas Among Best in U.S.
May 24, 2013 Chambers USA Ranks 45 Crowell & Moring Attorneys and 19 Leading Practice Areas Among Best in U.S.
December 4, 2007 DC Circuit Upholds EPA Consent Agreement With America’s Farms
May 4, 2005 Second Circuit Denies Environmental Petitioners' Request for Rehearing of Clean Water Act Case
April 2, 2003 Crowell & Moring Obtains a Win For the Mining Industry