Robert N. Steinwurtzel

Partner

Washington, D.C.
T +1.202.861.1708
F +1.202.861.1783

"He has great insight and an ability to look at the big picture of where we [clients] are, what we want and how to get there. He helps us construct an effective plan to achieve that."

— Chambers USA 2015

Overview

Rob Steinwurtzel, leader of BakerHostetler's national Environmental team, handles regulatory and litigation matters for multiple industry sectors across all the major environmental statutory and regulatory programs. Rob's involvement with environmental issues dates back to the mid-1970s, when he served as a Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife Service and National Parks at the Department of the Interior, and subsequently as an attorney with the Enforcement Division at the Environmental Protection Agency, where he was responsible for the establishment of a national wetlands enforcement program. Rob brings extensive experience and knowledge to resolving significant and varied environmental claims and is valued for his business-oriented approach in achieving solutions.

Rob is a frequent speaker on environmental and health and safety issues, having lectured at the National Law Center at George Washington University on the Clean Water Act and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. He also has published several articles and served on the Board of Editors of Hazardous Substances magazine. Rob is also the co-author of the chapter on "Environmental Law" in Mergers and Acquisitions in the United States: A Practical Guide for Non-U.S. Buyers, a treatise for Aspen Publishers.

Select Experience

  • Represented multiple landowners in the defense and settlement of a lawsuit filed by EPA seeking injunctive relief and penalties arising under the Clean Water Act for the alleged illegal discharge of dredged and fill material into approximately 95 acres of wetlands. As part of the settlement, negotiated a Scope of Work comprised of approximately 100 pages to restore, mitigate and preserve wetlands owned and controlled by the clients. Negotiated the payment of a significantly reduced penalty to be paid by the clients over a period of time.
  • Represented energy services company in administrative litigation against the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) relating to a request to close process waste water ponds that serviced the company’s manufacturing plant. Client attempted to comply and proceed with in-situ closure plan, but ADEQ refused to approve in-place closure, contending that implementation of closure plan without a solid waste permit would violate state law. Client filed a petition to compel ADEQ to approve closure plan. Client successfully defended multiple substantive and evidentiary motions filed by ADEQ. ADEQ subsequently agreed in a settlement to approve in-place closure of ponds without requiring a permit.
  • Represented lead recycling organization against lawsuit brought by environmental organizations seeking to ban lead ammunition under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), as lead produced by members of the organization is sold for use in products such as lead bullets and shot. Client argued that lawsuit was barred by the statute of limitations. Lawsuit was dismissed in a ruling from the bench after oral argument.
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Experience

  • Represented multiple landowners in the defense and settlement of a lawsuit filed by EPA seeking injunctive relief and penalties arising under the Clean Water Act for the alleged illegal discharge of dredged and fill material into approximately 95 acres of wetlands. As part of the settlement, negotiated a Scope of Work comprised of approximately 100 pages to restore, mitigate and preserve wetlands owned and controlled by the clients. Negotiated the payment of a significantly reduced penalty to be paid by the clients over a period of time.
  • Represented energy services company in administrative litigation against the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) relating to a request to close process waste water ponds that serviced the company’s manufacturing plant. Client attempted to comply and proceed with in-situ closure plan, but ADEQ refused to approve in-place closure, contending that implementation of closure plan without a solid waste permit would violate state law. Client filed a petition to compel ADEQ to approve closure plan. Client successfully defended multiple substantive and evidentiary motions filed by ADEQ. ADEQ subsequently agreed in a settlement to approve in-place closure of ponds without requiring a permit.
  • Represented lead recycling organization against lawsuit brought by environmental organizations seeking to ban lead ammunition under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), as lead produced by members of the organization is sold for use in products such as lead bullets and shot. Client argued that lawsuit was barred by the statute of limitations. Lawsuit was dismissed in a ruling from the bench after oral argument.
  • Represented lead recycling organization in filing an administrative petition for reconsideration concerning EPA's revisions to the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants for the Secondary Lead Smelting Industry promulgated pursuant to the Clean Air Act. EPA granted the petition.
  • Represented a group of potentially responsible parties required to clean-up a site in Alabama in connection with a ground water remedy that could cost millions of dollars. Negotiated new water remedy that would be more cost-effective for client.  EPA amended the Record of Decision to implement the new remedy.
  • Represented potentially responsible parties in connection with the clean-up related to a contaminated site. Negotiated with Department of Justice and EPA to craft and execute settlement agreement that would obligate companies to perform work. Structured agreement with government to support and coordinate litigation filed by the private parties against recalcitrant parties who declined to voluntarily clean-up the site which resulted in the recovery of funds.
  • Negotiated the issuance of the first permanent variance from a health standard before OSHA.

Recognitions and Memberships

Recognitions

  • Chambers USA: Environment in the District of Columbia (2015 to 2017)
    • Recognized Practitioner (2014)
  • The Legal 500 United States (2017)
    • Recommended in Environment Litigation
  • Martindale-Hubbell: AV Preeminent
  • Washington, D.C. "Super Lawyer" (2014 to 2017)
  • Mentor Foundation USA Mentoring Program: Certificate of Achievement (2015 to 2016)

Community

  • Franklin and Marshall College
    • Established Steinwurtzel Legal Fellowship in 2013
    • Board of Trustees
  • Anti-Defamation League: Governing Board Member 
  • World Wildlife Fund
    • Species Leadership Committee Member
    • National Council Member
  • National Geographic Society
    • Grovesnor Council Member
    • Established sea turtle conservation grant program (2010)
  • Established land/freshwater turtle grant program with Turtle Conservation Fund (2012)

Industries

Prior Positions

  • EPA: Enforcement Division
  • Department of the Interior: Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife Service and National Parks

Admissions

  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit
  • U.S. District Court, District of Columbia
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit
  • District of Columbia

Education

  • J.D., The George Washington University Law School, 1978
  • B.A., Franklin & Marshall College, 1975, magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Gamma Mu, Thomas Gilmore Apple Award recipient