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Longtime Dow Counsel Joins Barnes & Thornburg From Senior Position at Environmental Protection Agency

July 7, 2021 Washington, D.C.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Barnes & Thornburg has added Peter Wright as a partner in its Washington, D.C., office, where he will counsel clients on liability related to Superfund sites and PFAS, support the environmental aspects of transactions, and advise on environmental, social and governance issues. Wright most recently served as Assistant Administrator for the Office of Land and Emergency Management at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and before that spent almost 20 years at Dow providing a broad range of environmental counseling and legal oversight for hundreds of Superfund sites.

During his time at the EPA, Wright worked to accelerate the pace of Superfund and other program cleanups, and promoted the development of underserved communities by incorporating Opportunity Zones status in scoring for Brownfield grants. In this role, he drew upon his vast experience at Dow, where he provided strategic counsel on high-profile cleanup matters involving historic manufacturing facilities. He most notably led the successful resolution of one of Dow’s largest environmental matters. 

“Peter’s experience as both an in-house environmental lawyer and senior leader at the EPA brings an invaluable perspective to our clients as they face the current emphasis on environmental issues from federal and state agencies,” said Roscoe Howard, Washington, D.C. office managing partner. “Clients turn to the talented practitioners on our team in D.C. who understand the ins-and-outs of governmental agencies and impending regulations. Peter no doubt fills that role, and we’re thrilled to have him on board.”   

Wright’s experience also includes creating the EPA’s Office of Mountains Deserts and Plains to address abandoned mines in the western United States and other environmental challenges unique to the western states. He led the EPA’s recycling revitalization efforts that established an ambitious national recycling goal. He also made strides in addressing PFAS contamination in the environment by issuing guidance on how federal cleanup programs should address PFAS contamination of drinking water sources and seeking comment on what regulatory steps the EPA might take to address PFAS chemicals under its authorities under the Superfund cleanup statute (CERCLA) and the hazardous waste regulation statute (RCRA).

“Climate change and environmental justice continue to be a national focus, and the Biden administration is actively reviewing federal efforts on PFAS regulation,” said Erika Powers, chair of the firm’s Environmental Law Department. “Peter has the strategic know-how and deep understanding of the environmental landscape that our clients value when preparing for these challenges and opportunities.”

Wright earned his J.D. from Indiana University School of Law and his A.B. from Wabash College.

With more than 700 attorneys and other legal professionals, Barnes & Thornburg is one of the largest law firms in the country. The firm serves clients worldwide from offices in Atlanta, Boston, California, Chicago, Delaware, Indiana, Michigan, Minneapolis, New York, Ohio, Raleigh, Salt Lake City, Texas and Washington, D.C. For more information, visit us online at www.btlaw.com or on Twitter @BTLawNews. 

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