Matthew Z. Leopold

Professional Biography

Matt advises and defends clients across industries with the strategic insights as former General Counsel for the US Environmental Protection Agency, former General Counsel for the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and a former environmental litigator at the US Department of Justice.

Matt provides his clients with in-depth experience and knowledge respecting the pivotal recent changes in environmental regulation. As EPA General Counsel, he counseled on the development and defense of virtually every significant regulation proposed by EPA since 2017 and was personally involved in the highest profile environmental cases during that time, including two precedent setting environmental cases in the Supreme Court, County of Maui v. Hawaii Wildlife Fund and Atlantic Richfield Co. v. Christian. At EPA, Matt helped draft the Affordable Clean Energy Rule (the repeal and replacement of the Clean Power Plan) and the Navigable Waters Protection Rule (the new definition of the Waters of the United States (WOTUS)), the Clean Water Act Section 401 Certification Rule, the Safe Affordable Fuel-Efficient (SAFE) Vehicles Rule (regulating tailpipe emissions from passenger cars and light duty trucks), and other rulemakings. Additionally, Matt served as the chief attorney at the Florida Department Environmental Protection advising on state policy and regulatory matters in regard to air, water, waste and public lands for the Department Secretary and the Governor’s Office. In light of this experience, Matt is able to provide deep insight into the regulatory processes of federal and state agencies in advising clients in permitting, compliance, and enforcement defense matters.

Matt has experience in an wide array of major federal environmental statutes, including the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, the Superfund Law (CERCLA), the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), and the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), as well the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the Endangered Species Act (ESA). In the chemical regulation space, he assisted in implementing the new the Toxic Substances Control Act framework, working on the first set of chemical risk evaluations required under the new statute, and he counseled on major pesticide registration decisions, litigation and ESA consultations under FIFRA. Matt also assisted on EPA’s Recent PFAS Action Plan, to chart a course on regulatory actions to address issues with respect to manufacturing, cleanup, and drinking water protection.

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