Bar Admissions

  • District of Columbia


  • J.D., University of Virginia School of Law, 1987
  • Tufts University, 1984

    Phi Beta Kappa


  • National Association of Environmental Professionals

    Transportation Research Board
    - Chair, Environmental Issues in Transportation Law
    - Legal Resources Executive Board
    - Special Task Force on Climate Change and Energy

    American Public Transportation Association
    - Legal Affairs Committee

    Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation
T +1 202.344.4032
F +1 202.344.8300

Fred R. Wagner


Fred Wagner is a partner in Venable's Environmental Group with 30 years of government and private practice experience in infrastructure development and environmental law. He focuses his practice on major projects and infrastructure developments, including environmental reviews, permitting and approvals from federal and state natural resources agencies, and litigation defense of project decisions and policies.

From 2011 to 2014, Fred served as Chief Counsel of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), where he worked with Department of Transportation leadership on high-priority legislative and regulatory issues, and partnered with the Department of Justice on litigation challenging transportation projects. In this role, he managed legal matters involving the $40 billion Federal-Aid Highway program, including environmental and natural resources issues for highway and multi-modal transportation projects. He represented FHWA on the Obama administration’s Transportation Rapid Response Team, a multi-agency task force focused on project delivery and environmental review reforms.

During his tenure with FHWA, Fred worked on numerous high-profile national projects across the country, including the Ohio River Bridges in Kentucky and Indiana, the Bonner Bridge in North Carolina, the Tappan Zee Bridge in New York, the Birmingham Northern Beltline in Alabama, the Zoo Interchange in Wisconsin, the State Road 520 Bridge and HOV project in Washington State, the Presidio Parkway in San Francisco, and the Elgin-O'Hare Expressway in Chicago.

Fred began his career as a trial attorney in the Environment Division of the U.S. Department of Justice and served as a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Misdemeanor Trial Section of the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia. Prior to joining Venable, he spent over 20 years in private practice at a national law firm focusing on environmental and natural resources issues.

Significant Matters

  • Served as Special Counsel to the Ohio and Maryland Departments of Transportation, successfully defending numerous transportation projects in federal district and appellate courts.
  • Served as a Special Assistant Attorney General to the State of North Dakota Water Commission on a nationally significant water delivery project.
  • Served as counsel to the City of New Orleans, successfully defending the City's efforts to rebuild a new downtown medical center complex following Hurricane Katrina.
  • Partnered with public and private sector clients on transformational projects such as the Americana Bayside community and golf course in Sussex County, Delaware, and the Verizon Center in downtown Washington, DC.
  • Worked with an international copper mining company to conclude and defend large land exchanges in Arizona with the federal government, allowing the expansion of two of the world's largest copper mines.
  • Assisted the U.S. General Services Administration in the permitting and defense of agency relocation projects, such as the consolidation of the Patent and Trademark Office headquarters to Alexandria, Virginia, the Department of Transportation headquarters to Southeast, Washington, DC, and the new Food and Drug Administration offices and laboratories in Silver Spring, Maryland.
  • Counseled numerous private developers seeking Army Corps Section 404 wetlands permits.
  • Co-authored a Supreme Court amicus brief on behalf of a coalition of seven major real estate associations in the controversial Rapanos case involving the definition of "waters of the United States."
  • Served as lead litigation counsel for the City of Alexandria on its major land use and zoning cases.