John Wittenborn is a partner in the firm’s Washington, D.C. office and co-chair of the Energy practice. He focuses his practice on environmental and energy regulatory and litigation matters at the federal and state levels throughout the United States.
Mr. Wittenborn has more than 30 years of experience providing a wide spectrum of strategic advice, counseling and litigation services to individual corporate clients, major national trade associations, energy companies and government agencies. He serves as general environmental counsel to the Steel Manufacturers Association, Specialty Steel Industry of North America, Leather Industries of America, Inc., Copper & Brass Fabricators Council, Textile Rental Services Association, Metals Industries Recycling Coalition and other associations and coalitions.
Prior to joining the firm, Mr. Wittenborn served as assistant chief in the Environmental Enforcement Section of the U.S. Department of Justice, supervising all federal enforcement litigation in Regions I, II, and VI of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). He also previously served as chief of the Environmental Law Division in the Office of the Judge Advocate General of the United States Air Force.
Served as litigation counsel to oil and energy companies, leather tanneries, steel mills and other facilities facing civil, judicial or administrative enforcement actions for alleged violations of the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, Occupational Health and Safety Act, and other major environmental statutes; negotiated creative settlements, including innovative supplemental environmental projects.
Serves as counsel to three national steel trade associations in the development of Hazardous Air Pollutant and Greenhouse Gas (GHG) regulations.
Represented steel industry trade association in litigation over EPA GHG regulations and Endorsement Finding.
Serves as counsel to large manufacturing companies and trade associations in challenges to major Clean Air Act rulemaking litigation, including New Source Review reform; regulation of carbon dioxide as a criteria pollutant; and maximum achievable control technology (MACT) rules affecting iron and steel producers, leather tanning and finishing, shipbuilding and foundries.
Served as counsel to BP Products North America, Inc. in defense of an EPA Administrative Order seeking remediation and national resource damages at Newtown Creek.
Represents steel, copper and nickel producers in litigation over EPA’s Definition of Solid Waste Rule that distinguishes recycling from waste management.
Serves as litigation common counsel for a group of generator potentially responsible party (PRP) defendants at two major Superfund sites in New York.
Served as litigation counsel for 36 steel companies at a Superfund site in Pennsylvania that resulted in the first comprehensive de minimis settlement involving all generator defendants.
Represented two national trade associations of textile service companies that resulted in the first-ever decision by EPA to withdraw a proposed industrial effluent limitation guideline regulation.
Represented two major steel trade associations regarding EPA’s National Steel Minimill Audit Initiative, including managing voluntary industry participation by 21 steel mills in evaluating compliance with Clean Air Act prevention of significant deterioration (PSD) requirements, hazardous waste management and other significant compliance issues.
Represented clients in regulatory development and litigation of the proposed and final rules on occupational exposures to hexavalent chromium.
Conducted and supervised environmental compliance audits at more than 50 industrial facilities throughout the United States.
Represented facilities undergoing risk-based corrective action, including management of the risk assessment process, resulting in favorable cost-effective remediation outcomes.
Served as counsel to a large Midwest municipality performing brownfields assessments and remediation of former industrial facilities for redevelopment for recreational, civic and commercial uses.
Appointed as a special assistant Attorney General for Nebraska in defense of a $150 million litigation matter challenging the state’s decision to deny a license for a low-level radioactive waste disposal facility.
Serves as counsel to the Chrome Coalition, Metals Industries Recycling Coalition and Steel Slag Coalition on regulatory, policy and legislative issues affecting the metals industries.
Memberships & Associations
American Bar Association, Section of Environment, Energy and Resources
Honors & Awards
Selected as one of The Best Lawyers in America in the Environmental Law and Litigation - Environmental areas, 2007-2015.
Recognized as a leading Environment and Environmental Litigation attorney by Washington D.C. Super Lawyers, 2011-2015.