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E. Donald Elliott
E. Donald Elliott
Senior Of Counsel
Washington +1 202 662 5631 delliott@cov.com Download V-card

Don Elliott, co-chair of the firm’s Environmental Practice, 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.  According to Chambers, Mr. Elliott “brings a vast amount of experience to his broad environmental practice” while Who’s Who Legal notes that he is a “key figure” in the US and provides clients with “concise and practical” advice.

  • 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.
  • Assisted Atlas Holdings in its acquisition of Finch Paper, a deal that involved the sale of 161,000 acres of woodlands to the New York Nature Conservancy, the largest private conservation deal in its history.
  • Represented coalitions of electric utilities, air tour operators, trade associations and companies on environmental legislation, in EPA and DOI rulemakings, at OMB and in related litigation.
  • Testified in House and Senate supporting the Class Action Fairness Act, and filed amicus brief in U.S. Supreme Court on its interpretation (Standard Fire Ins. v. Knowles).
  • Successful policy advocacy on behalf of the American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) at EPA and OMB regarding revisions to the Boiler air toxics MACT standard.  EPA subsequently revised the rule to exempt 99 percent of boilers from numerical standards in favor of less stringent "tune-ups."

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
  • Mr. Elliott is a frequent contributor to articles relating to energy policy issues.  He recently was interviewed in the ENDS Europe Daily article, "EU Regulation of Fracking Could Reassure Public" (06/13/2013).

Previous Experience

  • Environmental Protection Agency, Assistant Administrator and General Counsel
  • General Electric Company, Special Litigation Counsel, Corporate Environmental Programs
  • Mr. Elliott co-authored the chapter “Greater TTIP Ambition in Chemicals: Why and How” in the book Rule-Makers or Rule Takers? Exploring the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership which was ranked “Best Policy Study Report Produced by a Think Tank” in 2015 in the University of Pennsylvania’s annual global think tank rankings.
  • National Law Journal, “Top 25 Environmental Attorneys in the US”
  • International Corporate Law, “Top 400 Worldwide”
  • Best Lawyers in America
  • Chambers USA
  • Legal 500 US
  • Martindale-Hubbell, AV Preeminent Peer Review Rated
  • Washington DC Super Lawyers
  • Who’s Who in American Law
  • Who's Who of Business Lawyers
  • Who's Who of Environmental Lawyers
  • Who’s Who in the World