June 04, 2007

Environmental-Regulatory Attorneys Douglas Green and William Weissman Join Venable, Bringing Major Utility Industry Experience in Chemical, Solid and Hazardous Waste

5 min

Practice includes regulatory, litigation and government affairs work for leading utility consortium USWAG and other industry trade groups; Green-Weissman regularly consult on federal environmental policy and legislation


WASHINGTON, DC (June 4, 2007) – Venable LLP announced that longtime Washington environmental and regulatory attorneys Douglas H. Green and William R. Weissman have joined as partners in the firm’s Environmental Practice Group.  They join from the Washington, DC office of DLA Piper.

In more than two decades of working together, Messrs Green and Weissman have developed one of the country’s leading legal and regulatory practices for the utility industry on matters involving solid and hazardous waste and chemical product management.  The pair represents the Utility Solid Waste Activities Group (USWAG), a national consortium representing more than 80 utility companies and related utility trade associations.

Mr. Weissman began representing USWAG in 1979 and was joined by Mr. Green in 1986. The pair handles the consortium’s complete range of legal matters concerning waste management, site remediation, hazardous materials transportation and management of chemicals and petroleum products, including litigation, regulatory issues, congressional affairs, and compliance.

Mr. Green is also expected to contribute to Venable’s well-established environmental group, and its homeland security practice, part of which assists utilities, chemical manufacturers and transporters of hazardous materials to comply with federal anti-terrorism regulations.

“Doug and Bill bring a tremendous base of knowledge and work experience in environmental law, particularly as it governs chemical products and solid and hazardous waste management generated by the nation’s electric utility industry,” said Brock Landry, Chairman of Venable’s Government Division.

“We are well positioned to play a significant role in utility industry compliance, litigation and legislation, and Doug and Bill bring pivotal strengths in each of these areas,” Mr. Landry added. “They are as adept at negotiating the legal ins and outs of chemical and waste-disposal management issues as they are dealing with government regulators and policymakers. The frequency with which they are invited to present on Capitol Hill is a testament to their mastery of this complex area of law and government policy.”

“We are pleased to have Bill and Doug join our environmental practice group now nearly 20 lawyers strong,” says Jud Starr, who heads Venable's Environmental practice and is one of three former high-ranking environmental officials from the Department of Justice at Venable.  “They round out a great team in providing clients the best of service and make our group one of the most experienced in the country.”

Although Mr. Green and Mr. Weissman represent numerous corporations and trade groups in the waste and chemical industries, they devote a substantial portion of their practice to USWAG, which they described as a “pro-active client involved in cutting-edge issues of policy and legislation.”

USWAG acts as a technical and legal resource for its members, as well as a national point organization on utility industry environmental issues.  USWAG members represent 85 percent of the total electrical generating capacity in the U.S. and more than 95 percent of U.S. electricity customers.  In addition to the 80-plus utility companies on its roster, USWAG members include the Edison Electric Institute, National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, American Public Power Association, and American Gas Association.

Messrs. Green and Weissman said that Venable’s strong Washington presence and well-established trade association practice were key factors in their decision to join the firm.

“Venable is perfect for a large industry organization such as USWAG, which demands a broad skill set in litigation, regulatory counseling and government matters, all of which our new firm has in abundance” said Mr. Weissman.  “Venable’s government and regulatory practices are first-rate, and the firm is well known as for its work on behalf of leading trade associations. Bringing our clients to Venable was just like sliding a hand into a perfectly fitting glove.”

Both attorneys believe the chemical and waste industries are facing near- and long-term change and are positioning their clients to meet those challenges.  Among possible changes is Congress's updating of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) for the first time in 30 years.  Also, the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to rule on United States v. Atlantic Research sometime in June.  That decision could set Superfund precedent regarding shared financial liability for cleanup of contaminated sites.  Mr. Weissman participated in drafting an amicus curiae brief for an industry coalition in that case.

According to Messrs. Green and Weissman, front-burner issues facing the utility industry include:  development of cost-effective regulation for the management and transportation of hazardous waste; regulation of PCBs; and management of coal combustion products, which are generated through the combustion of coal during the generation of electricity.  While coal combustion products are increasingly recycled, challenges include newer materials resulting from wider use of cleaner-burning coal and newly installed air emission controls.

Mr. Weissman has represented pesticide producers before trial and appellate courts, as well as the U.S. Supreme Court, in cases involving the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act, and has filed numerous amicus briefs with the U.S. Supreme Court in a wide range of cases.  Most recently, he filed an amicus brief for 70 members of Congress in the Supreme Court supporting school integration plans adopted by school boards in Seattle and Louisville.  The Supreme Court is expected to rule on those plans later in June.

Mr. Weissman began his career as a trial attorney in the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, DC. He then moved into private practice, doing regulatory antitrust and telecommunications work before switching over to environmental work in the late 1970s. He has also represented individual companies and trade associations before Congress.  He earned his J.D., cum laude, from Columbia Law School in 1965 and a B.A. from Columbia University in 1962.

Mr. Green received his J.D., with honors, from George Washington University in 1983 and a B.A., cum laude, from Connecticut College in 1979.  In addition to his regulatory practice, Mr. Green has an active federal court litigation practice.

One of the American Lawyer’s top 100 law firms, Venable LLP has attorneys practicing in all areas of corporate and business law, complex litigation, intellectual property and government affairs. Venable serves corporate, institutional, governmental, nonprofit and individual clients throughout the U.S. and around the world from its headquarters in Washington, D.C. and offices in California, Maryland, New York and Virginia.