Brian Israel is chair of the firm's Environmental practice group. Mr. Israel's practice focuses broadly on environmental litigation and counseling and he is one of the nation's leading lawyers for Natural Resource Damages (NRD) claims. Mr. Israel is lead counsel to BP in relation to the Deepwater Horizon NRD claim, and also he was one of the trial attorneys at the Deepwater Horizon Clean Water Act (CWA) penalty trial. Mr. Israel represents several Fortune 500 companies at some of the largest and most complex NRD matters across the country. He also represents clients in regulatory enforcement matters and contaminated properties, including toxic tort lawsuits.

Prior to joining the firm, Mr. Israel was an Honors Trial Attorney in the Environmental Enforcement Section of the US Department of Justice (DOJ). While at the DOJ, he handled several high-profile environmental cases, including a large Natural Resource Damages claim related to the impacts of dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane (DDT) disposal. In 1998, Mr. Israel was awarded the Distinguished Service Award for his accomplishments in a Clean Air Act jury trial. He also litigated claims on behalf of the US Environmental Protection Agency pursuant to the Clean Water Act; the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA); and the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA).

Mr. Israel has spoken and written extensively about environmental law issues. He serves as co-chair of the annual NRD conference hosted by Law Seminars International. He is the author of the Natural Resource Damages chapter in the Environmental Law Practice Guide (Gerrard, ed.), which includes a comprehensive, 50-state guide of NRD programs. He has also written several articles regarding corporate liability issues. Mr. Israel's student note, "An Environmental Justice Critique of Risk Assessment," is published in the NYU Environmental Law Journal.

Experience

  • BP, as lead counsel, in NRD matters relating to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, overseeing all legal aspects of defense, including a large team of lawyers and experts. Mr. Israel successfully negotiated with the US Department of Justice, Department of Interior, NOAA, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, and Texas, resulting in a final consent decree resolving BP's NRD and CWA liability.
  • Honeywell International, as lead counsel for its Syracuse portfolio, including Onondaga Lake, one of the largest lake Superfund sites in the United States. Mr. Israel represents the company in all aspects of its environmental activities in Syracuse including natural resource damage claims being asserted by federal and state trustees.
  • Dow Chemical, as lead NRD counsel, representing the company at the Tittabawassee River and Saginaw River outside of Midland, Michigan.
  • Multi-national agricultural corporation related to potential NRD claims resulting from phosphate mining operations in the western United States.
  • Solutia/Eastman Chemical, as lead counsel, with respect to potential NRD liability at PCB manufacturing plants in Alabama and Illinois.
  • CBS, as lead counsel, for natural resource damages claims at the Palmerton Zinc Superfund Site near the Appalachian Trail in Palmerton, Pennsylvania. Mr. Israel has led the company's defense of the claim including successful negotiations with the trustees and negotiation of a final consent decree.
  • Motorola, as lead counsel, for a successfully resolved natural resource damages case in Puerto Rico.
  • While at the US Department of Justice, Mr. Israel was one of the lead government lawyers prosecuting the Montrose DDT litigation which alleged massive natural resource damages off the coast of the Palos Verdes shelf.

Perspectives

Getting Down to Business: EPA's Superfund Task Force Report Seeks to Streamline and Rejuvenate the Program
Advisory
Trump's Environmental Agenda: The 1st 100 Days
Energy Law360, Environmental Law360, Native American Law360, Project Finance Law360, Public Policy Law360
Chapter 11: Legal Obstacles for Contingent Valuation Methods in Environmental Litigation (pdf)
Contingent Valuation of Environmental Goods A Comprehensive Critique; Source: Elgar Online
State-by-State Guide to NRD Programs in All 50 States and Puerto Rico (pdf)
Arnold & Porter Book
Practitioner Insights: Judge Gorsuch on Administrative and Environmental Law (pdf)
Bloomberg BNA Daily Environment Report
More

Recognition

The Legal 500 US
Environment: Litigation (2016-2017)
Environment: Regulatory (2016-2017)
The National Law Journal
Energy & Environmental Trailblazer (2017)
Chambers USA
Environment (DC) (2013-2017)

Credentials

Education
  • JD, New York University, 1995, cum laude
  • BA, Environmental Philosophy, New College, University of South Florida, 1991
Admissions
  • District of Columbia
  • New York
Government and Military Service
  • Honors Trial Attorney, Environmental Enforcement Section, US Department of Justice
Clerkships
  • US District Court, Western District of Tennessee, The Honorable Julia S. Gibbons
Activities
  • Member, District of Columbia Bar Association

  • Member, New York Bar Association

  • Co-chair, Annual Natural Resource Damages Conference, Law Seminars International

Overview

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