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Carlton Fields Congratulates Matt Leopold on his Nomination to be EPA General Counsel

Environmental Regulation & Litigation   |   Government Law & Consulting   |   September 5, 2017

Tallahassee, Fla. – In a statement issued on September 2 by the White House, President Trump announced his intent to nominate Matthew Z. Leopold to be General Counsel of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). His nomination is subject to confirmation by the United States Senate. If confirmed, Leopold would serve as the highest ranking lawyer and chief legal advisor to the EPA, the federal agency with primary responsibility for implementing the nation’s environmental laws. 

Mr. Leopold has practiced in Carlton Fields’ Tallahassee office since 2015, focusing on environmental, energy, and water law. Over the course of his legal career, he has worked on environment and natural resource issues almost exclusively. Prior to joining the firm, Leopold had a 10-year career in government, working at both state and federal agencies. He practiced at the U.S. Department of Justice Environment and Natural Resources Division and as the General Counsel for the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).  

“Matt Leopold is superbly qualified to serve as General Counsel for the EPA,” said Carlton Fields President and CEO Gary L. Sasso. “He is an intelligent, thoughtful, and talented attorney with deep expertise from his service to the State of Florida and the Department of Justice. He is an incredible asset to our clients, and we will be sorry to give him up, but we are gratified that he may return to public service in this distinguished capacity. We wish him the very best.”

During his time as General Counsel for the Florida DEP, Leopold advised on a wide range of matters including regulatory requirements and state policy for air, water, waste, and public lands. Among the highlights, he assisted in filing Florida v. Georgia in the U.S. Supreme Court, a case seeking to address water use and natural resource protection in the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint river basin; advised on legal matters related to federal-state partnership to restore the Everglades; and dealt with energy siting projects.

At the DOJ Environment and Natural Resources Division, he handled a broad range of environmental and natural resource issues. Notably, he represented the United States Government in the civil enforcement action against BP, Transocean, and other defendants in the 2010 Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Leopold also counseled federal agencies on oil spill matters and legal issues raised by high-profile policy initiatives such as the National Oceans Policy.

“Matt has a masterful understanding of environmental law,” added Nancy Linnan, head of Carlton Fields’ Government Law and Consulting practice group. “Throughout his time with the firm, he has been an invaluable resource for our clients. I would be sad to see him go but would look forward to what he could accomplish at the EPA.”

Carlton Fields congratulates Mr. Leopold on his nomination and wishes him success in working to protect America’s air, waters, and lands should he be confirmed. Notice of Mr. Leopold’s nomination is available at https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/nominations-and-appointments.

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