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Thomas Brugato is special counsel in the firm’s Washington, DC office. His practice focuses on environmental matters, as well as civil and administrative litigation. He has experience advising clients on a wide variety of environmental issues, including under the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, RCRA, CERCLA, EPCRA, TSCA, FIFRA, the Endangered Species Act, and the Occupational Safety and Health Act.

Mr. Brugato has extensive experience with EPA's Renewable Fuel Standard program. He also has particular expertise in advising companies on environmental-related issues arising in the context of product recalls (such as compliance with PHMSA’s hazardous materials transportation regulations), including recalls under NHTSA or CPSC jurisdiction. Finally, Mr. Brugato has significant experience advising clients on Indian law related issues, particularly relating to the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act and tribal sovereign immunity.


  • Represented the State of Minnesota, including as a member of the trial team, in natural resource damages litigation resulting in a $850 million settlement. This is believed to be the largest non-oil-spill natural resource damages recovery ever obtained. 
  • Member of the penalty phase trial team that represented BP in civil litigation arising from the Deepwater Horizon incident in the Gulf of Mexico.
  • Represented owners of a series of wind farms in California in securing a $206 million judgment for the Government’s failure to pay adequate Section 1603 grants to the wind farm owners. Alta Wind I Owner Lessor C v. United States, 128 Fed. Cl. 702 (2016).
  • Represented a defense industry company in connection with natural resource damages-related insurance litigation.
  • Defended several environmental tort lawsuits, including one involving oil transportation and storage facilities, and another involving a former mining site.


  • Advised several companies on COVID-19-related OSHA requirements, including relating to personal protective equipment, use of respirators, and recording of illnesses.
  • Advised several disinfectant manufacturers on COVID-19-related EPA pesticide issues.
  • Co-author of an extensive white paper analyzing the Renewable Fuel Standard's RIN market and EPA's potential market rule change.
  • Represented multiple entities on the regulation of products containing antimicrobial ingredients under FIFRA, including in connection with significant EPA enforcement actions.
  • Represented petroleum industry participants regarding multiple aspects of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program.
  • Advise companies regarding the environmental aspects of product recalls, including NHTSA recalls (e.g., compliance with RCRA for recalled airbag products), and CPSC (e.g., compliance with PHMSA’s hazardous materials transportation regulations for electronic devices containing lithium-ion batteries).
  • Represented Mueller Industries in connection with legacy site contamination issues, including under CERCLA and state law.
  • Represented a pharmaceutical company in obtaining a favorable interpretation letter from the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration regarding transportation of a drug for clinical trials.
  • Advised a client regarding Endangered Species Act restrictions applicable to the Vernal Pool Fairy Shrimp.
  • Represented a petroleum refinery in obtaining a New Source Review permit under the Clean Air Act for a refinery expansion.
  • Represented an alcoholic beverage storage facility in connection with fugitive emissions issues under the Clean Air Act.
  • Represented a major fertilizer company on numerous environmental compliance issues under CERCLA and RCRA.
  • Represented a mining company regarding natural resource damages claims at a former mining site.
  • Represented companies relating to EPA and NHTSA joint greenhouse gas/CAFE standards for automobiles, including potential revisions.
  • Advised companies regarding compliance under the EPA Energy Star program as well as under DOE-administered efficacy standards.
  • Advised several entities regarding ESA import-related restrictions, including regarding (1) biological substances used in drug development and (2) antique African Elephant ivory.
  • Represented an entity in connection with EPA Title VI environmental justice issues.
  • Represented companies, including a cleaning product manufacturer and an animal drug manufacturer, regarding compliance with OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard.
  • Represented a renewable energy developer on potential challenges to a Clean Water Act § 404 permit.

Indian Law

  • Represented a major gaming company in connection with multiple complex regulatory and litigation issues arising under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.

Pro Bono

  • Represented a non-profit clean water advocacy organization in negotiations with the Government and litigation relating to a sewer system consent decree governed by the Clean Water Act.
  • Represented a plaintiff in a § 1983 action against police and prosecutors in Washington Parish, Louisiana arising out of wrongful conviction and Brady violations.

Memberships and Affiliations

  • Co-Chair of the Remediation and Environmental Liability Committee within the D.C. Bar's Environment, Energy and Natural Resources Community (2019-2020)