Don Elliott has over 30 years of experience in environmental law, administrative law and product liability and toxic torts, including having served as Assistant Administrator and General Counsel of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and as national coordinating counsel in litigation for several companies. He advises companies and investors in both the EU and the US on environmental and litigation aspects of complex corporate and real estate sales, acquisitions, and reorganizations and also represents companies and trade associations on major regulatory policy issues in Congress, at OMB, before the agency and in the courts. He also represents companies in environmental enforcement litigation, and in class actions, product liability and toxic tort litigation. Mr. Elliott’s practice also includes advising several event-driven investors and hedge funds on these issues.
Mr. Elliott has extensive experience in crisis management involving product and site contamination issues, as well as environmental and legislative advocacy for companies, trade associations and governments. He has successfully defended automotive, energy, mining, real estate, and pharmaceutical companies in major government environmental enforcement cases and in private litigation, including toxic tort and product liability. Many of his cases have involved asbestos, silica, lead, chemicals, special nuclear material and mining waste.
Mr. Elliott has extensive regulatory experience in Clean Air, water, wetlands, waste and chemical regulation. During his tenure at EPA, Mr. Elliott played a crucial role in drafting and implementing the Oil Pollution Act and the 1990 amendments to the Clean Air Act, including helping to draft the acid rain permit trading statute and regulations. He was also responsible for negotiating two out of the first three contracts for tradable rights for acid rain in private practice. The acid rain program has become the model for carbon trading worldwide. Mr. Elliott also has significant experience in class actions, civil justice reform and complex product liability and toxic tort litigations. He advises several companies on labeling issues, particularly anti-microbial and green marketing claims.
Mr. Elliott has worked on many complex domestic and international corporate transactions, legislative and regulatory matters, audits and enforcement cases and SEC disclosure issues. He has advised companies in over 50 significant transactions, including private equity, mergers, asset and real estate sales, reorganizations, IPOs and other public and private offerings.
Mr. Elliott's clients have included major automotive, energy, utility, chemical, financial services, oil, engineering life sciences and pharmaceutical companies, as well as trade associations and manufacturers of a wide variety of products.
Mr. Elliott also has expertise in Food & Drug and energy law, representing energy companies, biotechnology, pharmaceutical, and medical device companies in transactions.
Advised Bloomberg LP concerning construction of solar power project for data center in Skillman, NJ, including preservation of items of historical and cultural significance.
Assisted AstraZeneca in developing its worldwide corporate risk management policy.
Represents Mueller Industries and other mining and metal companies in legacy mining, manufacturing and smelter site contamination issues involving state and federal governments and private claimants.
Lead negotiator on the $1.1 billion, five plant NSR settlement between a Midwestern power company, EPA, and 3 states, which the New York Times called “one of the most significant settlements ever for cleaning the air.”
Lead negotiator in the $1.8 billion civil and criminal consent decrees between the Puerto Rico Aqueduct and Sewer Authority and the federal government.
Represented the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico in the clean-up of unexploded ordnance (UXO) at the Vieques bombing range.
Served as lead punitive damage defense counsel in Abate v. GAF, a 8,800-plaintiff asbestos case.
Assisted Aearo Technologies, a safety equipment company, in several private equity transactions culminating in its $1.2 billion acquisition by 3M Company.
More Representative Matters
Environmental Protection Agency, Assistant Administrator and General Counsel
General Electric Company, Special Litigation Counsel, Corporate Environmental Programs
HONORS AND RANKINGS
National Law Journal, “Top 25 Environmental Attorneys in the US”
International Corporate Law, “Top 400 Worldwide”
Best Lawyers in America
Who’s Who in American Law
Who’s Who in the World
Martindale-Hubbell, AV Preeminent Peer Review Rated
MEMBERSHIPS AND AFFILIATIONS
Fellow, American College of Environmental Lawyers
Yale Law School, Adjunct Professor of environmental and administrative law, food and drug law, renewable energy policy, civil procedure and complex civil litigation
Administrative Conference of the United States, Senior Fellow
Member, Board of Directors, Environmental Law Institute
Member, Board of Directors, Center for Clean Air Policy
Member of the advisory boards for the NYU Institute for Policy Integrity (Chair), the Environment Reporter, the Journal of Industrial Ecology, and the Carnegie Mellon University Center for the Study and Improvement of Regulation.
National Academy of Sciences Board on Environmental Studies and Toxicology, Former Member
Formerly served on the Regulation Committee of the Administrative Conference of the United States, the OTA Committee on Innovative Regulatory Techniques, the Federal Courts Study Committee, the Carnegie Commission on Science, Technology and Government and Yale’s "Next Generation Project.”
National Environmental Policy Institute, Former Sector Chair
American Bar Association’s Administrative Law & SONREEL Committees, Former Vice Chair
PUBLICATIONS AND SPEECHES
"Regulatory Lag and Trying to Plan Our Energy Future," American College of Environmental Lawyers Blog (4/3/2013), Author
"Why the United States Does Not Have a Renewable Energy Policy," 43 Environmental Law Reporter 10095 (February 2013), Author
"Rule 4 and Incentives for Litigation Abuse," 8th Annual Meeting of the American College of Business Court Judges (12/9/2012)
E. Donald Elliott is Professor (Adjunct) of Law at Yale Law School and a leading academic scholar, as well as practitioner, in the fields of administrative and environmental law. He is "one of the most well-known, well-regarded environmental law professors in the nation," according to John Cruden, former President of the Environmental Law Institute, and now Assistant Attorney General, Environment and Natural Resources Division, U.S. Department of Justice. Elliott has been on the Yale Law faculty since 1981 and currently teaches courses in environmental law, energy law, administrative law and civil procedure. He is also senior of counsel in the Washington D.C. office of Covington & Burling LLP, and co-chair of the firm's Environmental Practice Group. From 2003 until he joined Covington in 2013, he was a partner in Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP, chairing the firm’s worldwide Environment, Health and Safety Department.
From 1989 to 1991, Elliott served as Assistant Administrator and General Counsel of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In 1993, he was named to the first endowed chair in environmental law and policy at any major American law school, the Julien and Virginia Cornell Chair in Environmental Law and Litigation at Yale Law School. From 2003-2009, he was a member of the National Academy of Sciences Board on Environmental Studies and Toxicology, which advises the federal government on environmental issues. Elliott also testifies frequently in Congress on environmental issues.
He has served as a consultant on improving the relationship of law and science to the Federal Courts Study Committee, which was chartered by Congress to make recommendations for improving the federal courts, and to the Carnegie Commission for Law, Science and Government. He co-chaired the National Environmental Policy Institute’s Committee on Improving Science at EPA.
He earned both his B.A., summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, and his J.D. from Yale. Following graduation, he was a law clerk for Gerhard Gesell in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, and for Chief Judge David Bazelon of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
J.D., Yale, 1974
B.A., Yale, 1970