August 5, 2020

Volume X, Number 218

Robert Brager

Robert Brager is recognized as one of the country’s top environmental lawyers, providing counseling, litigation, and negotiation services for Beveridge & Diamond clients since 1981.

Both a litigator and a counselor who uses his decades of experience in environmental law to help clients make reasoned judgments in complicated and difficult situations, Rob provides dispassionate, analytical thinking based on unbiased facts that have survived skeptical challenge.

Mr. Brager chose a career in environmental law due to the interplay of science with bias and the variability and breadth of the environmental law practice. Early in his career, a partner gave Rob two ten-hour assignments with a deadline of fewer than twenty hours. Despite the seeming mathematical impossibility of completing both assignments on time, he was able to do so without difficulty, and he learned a valuable lesson about dealing skeptically with the impossible.

Accomplishments of which Rob is particularly proud include a case where his opponents asked the court to find that the Clean Air Act required EPA to set a zero rather than a one in a million risk standard. Had that argument prevailed, Rob’s clients would have been forced to close their facilities. He explained why it was impossible to differentiate zero risk from one in a million risk due to complexities in animal testing and the limits inherent in statistical analysis. The court relied on Rob’s explanations to rule in his clients’ favor.

In another notable matter, EPA issued a Clean Water Act permit without a mixing zone by relying on a state certification that was withdrawn shortly after issuance. Rob convinced the court that this action was irrational, and it reversed EPA’s decision even though it held that EPA had the authority to do as it had done.

Rob is a former B&D Managing Principal. He lectures and publishes articles on the air toxics, permitting, and enforcement provisions of the Clean Air Act, as well as on cost-effective means of avoiding and defending against enforcement actions and prosecuting and defending cost recovery and natural resource damages litigation.

Rob served as law clerk for Judge Aubrey E. Robinson, Jr. of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia.

Articles in the National Law Review database by Robert Brager

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