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Defining "Waters of the United States": What is at Stake?

Speaker(s): James T. Banks
Recorded on: Oct. 2, 2014
PLI Program #: 61445

Jim Banks represents clients before the federal courts, in agency permitting actions and regulatory proceedings at the federal and state levels, and before the U.S. Congress. His experience includes design/implementation of environmental compliance systems and audits; interstate water resources litigation; defense of Clean Water Act enforcement cases; National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) counseling and litigation; wetlands permitting; Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) cost recovery, contribution and reimbursement cases; National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permitting; and pretreatment standards issues. In addition, Jim has managed large-scale environmental due diligence efforts in connection with various transactions. He has been heavily involved in Congressional reauthorization of major environmental statutes, and in a wide variety of U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rulemaking proceedings on clean water, hazardous waste, ocean dumping, solid waste, incineration, underground injection, and other issues. Jim joined the firm following a decade of service in private industry, including several years as general counsel of a large corporation, and nearly 10 years as a public-interest environmental lawyer.

As the Chief Legal Officer for Chemical Waste Management, Inc., Jim was responsible for the defense of major criminal, civil, and debarment actions and the management of numerous CERCLA actions. He was integrally involved in designing the company’s environmental compliance program, widely recognized as one of the most advanced programs in any industry. He also served as General Counsel to the company’s radioactive waste management subsidiary, Chem-Nuclear Systems, Inc. (CNSI), and supported CNSI’s efforts to site and develop low-level waste disposal sites in several states.

As a public-interest advocate, Jim earned a national reputation for his work in the water pollution area. In his role as head of the Natural Resources Defense Council’s Clean Water Project, he undertook landmark litigation against EPA, which resulted in the first effluent guidelines for industrial toxic water pollutants. In a poll of former EPA attorneys referenced in the Winter 1996 issue of The Amicus Journal, these cases were considered to have had the single greatest impact on the Agency’s policies and administration. He also led national lobbying coalitions of NGOs in reforming the Clean Water Act and other federal laws.

Hogan Lovells Publications

20 May 2014
"EPA Issues Final Cooling Water Intake Structure 316(b) Rule for Existing Facilities."
Environment Alert, Hogan Lovells

27 March 2014
"EPA and Army Corps of Engineers Issue Proposed Clean Water Act Jurisdiction Rule."
Environment Alert, Hogan Lovells

18 March 2014
"Upcoming EPA Rulemaking on Cooling Water Intake Structures."
Environment Alert, Hogan Lovells

13 August 2009
"Executive Order Takes Aim At Industries and Operating Practices Affecting Chesapeake Bay Protection and Restoration."
Environmental Update, Hogan & Hartson LLP

25 May 2004
"EPA Announces Enforcement Initiative Against Hospitals."
Environmental Update, Hogan & Hartson LLP


  • Environment
  • Environmental Litigation
  • Water Resources/Pollution, Including Wetlands
  • Environmental Enforcement and Debarment Defense
  • Audits and Compliance Programs
  • Hazardous Waste, Solid Waste, and Superfund Issues

  • J.D., University of Michigan Law School, 1975
  • B.S. Civil Engineering, University of Kansas, 1972

  • Chambers USA, Environment, 2005-2014
  • Legal 500 US, Environment: Litigation, 2013-2014
  • Who's Who Legal, International Environment Lawyers, 2013
  • Washington, D.C. Super Lawyers, Environmental; Environmental Litigation, 2007-2014; Administrative Law, 2013-2014
  • The Best Lawyers in America, Environmental Law, 2006-2013; Environmental Litigation, 2013
  • Washingtonian, Washington's Top Lawyers: Environmental, 2011-2012, 2014
  • PLC Which Lawyer?, Environment Super League 2011

  • District of Columbia
  • Michigan

  • U.S. Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Third Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit
  • U.S. Supreme Court