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Hon. Roger Martella Jr.

Partner, Sidley Austin LLP

ROGER MARTELLA is a partner in the Environmental Practice Group at Sidley Austin LLP. He recently rejoined Sidley Austin LLP after serving as the General Counsel of the United States Environmental Protection Agency, concluding 10 years of litigating and handling complex environmental and natural resource matters at the Department of Justice and EPA.

Mr. Martella's practice focuses on three primary areas. First, Mr. Martella advises companies on developing strategic approaches to achieve their goals in light of rapidly developing demands to address climate change, promote sustainability, and utilize clean energy. Second, Mr. Martella handles a broad range of environmental and natural resource litigation and mediation. Third, Mr. Martella advises multinational companies on compliance with environmental laws in the United States, China, the European Union, and other nations.

Mr. Martella was unanimously confirmed by the United States Senate as EPA General Counsel. In that role, Mr. Martella served as EPA's chief legal advisor supervising an office of 350 attorneys and staff in Washington and 10 regional offices. At EPA, Mr. Martella served as Agency counsel on six Supreme Court decisions, including Massachusetts v. EPA (climate change); Defenders of Wildlife v. EPA (finding no Endangered Species Act duty to consult when approving state water program); EPA v. Rapanos and Maine v. S.D. Warren (landmark decisions addressing federal jurisdiction over waters of the United States); Environmental Defense v. Duke Energy (addressing Clean Air Act enforcement against powerplants); and U.S. v. Atlantic Research Corp. (the Court's most recent decision regarding CERCLA).

In particular, Mr. Martella lead the team responsible for developing for the first time under the Clean Air Act the federal government's climate change legal framework and options in response to the landmark Supreme Court decision Massachusetts v. EPA, which held greenhouse gases to be air pollutants under the Clean Air Act. His efforts included developing a full range of legal options for decision makers related to greenhouse gas regulation, alternative and renewable fuels, the development of regulatory carbon sequestration controls, and the intersection of climate change and natural resource issues including the National Environmental Policy Act and the Endangered Species Act. Recognized for his knowledge on legal approaches to addressing climate change, Mr. Martella focuses specifically on dissecting the extraordinarily complex and interrelated ramifications of climate change on numerous provisions of the Clean Air Act relating to mobile and stationary sources, as well as other laws, such as the ESA and NEPA. Mr. Martella's experience in this area enables him to work to forecast for clients the likelihood of upcoming regulations and controls in the area of climate change, clean energy, and sustainability, and to develop strategic approaches to be best prepared for such controls. Mr. Martella also focuses on international climate issues, working with Chinese institutes on climate and clean energy issues and advocating for conformity between United States climate rules with the European Union. Since the April 2007 Massachusetts decision, Mr. Martella has been invited to address climate change regulation more than twenty-five times in the United States and abroad.

In addition to climate change responsibilities, Mr. Martella focuses on the challenges in adapting existing and frequently outdated environmental law tools toward new and complex environmental challenges of national and international sustainability, including the increasing demands on industry to promote environmentally sustainable development protecting air, water, land, and human health.

Recognizing deficiencies in the China environmental law framework and the challenges for multinational organizations in understanding the laws on the books, Mr. Martella created the China Environmental Law Initiative in 2007. As part of the initiative, Mr. Martella created the only known website devoted to China environmental laws and organized with the State Environmental Protection Agency (now the Ministry of Environmental Protection) two separate symposia in China. Mr. Martella has served as a visiting professor at the Environmental Law Institute of Wuhan University and the State Environmental Protection Agency, and at Tsinghua University, working with academics, officials and students on developing environmental law frameworks for China. Mr. Martella has testified as an expert on this issue before the United States Congress, worked with numerous government officials at the national and provincial level in China, and has lectured with academics and students at leading universities and think tanks in both nations.

Prior to joining EPA, Mr. Martella most recently served as the Principal Counsel for Complex Litigation at the Justice Department's Natural Resources Section, where he focused on defending federal decisions relating to public lands, national forests, minerals, federal and tribal water rights and allocations, endangered species, NEPA, and Native American property and reservations. During nearly eight years at the Department of Justice, Mr. Martella maintained an unbroken record of successfully litigating every case he brought to court. His first chair trial responsibility included a 12 week jury trial that returned a $36.9 million verdict, a seven week bench trial that resulted in a $247.9 million judgment, an unbroken record of successfully defending against numerous emergency injunctions brought against timber and mining projects, and successfully defending the Secretary of Interior from a contempt motion at trial. Mr. Martella's responsibilities in the Natural Resources and the Indian Resources Sections related to federal land use decisions and policy; defense of federal statutes, regulations, and agency action under the APA, ESA, NEPA, and other statutes; competing assertions of jurisdiction and land use control among various government entities; federal programs relating to natural, cultural, wildlife, and marine resources; pollution control issues under Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, CERCLA, RCRA, TSCA, FIFRA, and EPCRA; and issues related to water, hunting, fishing, and treaty rights. Mr. Martella received among the highest honors at the Department of Justice including the John Marshall Award and the Assistant Attorney General's Excellence Award.

Education
  • Vanderbilt University Law School
    (J.D., 1995)
  • Cornell University
    (B.S., 1992)

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Upcoming Events
Regulation or Strangulation: The EPA's Impact on West Virginia
West Virginia Lawyers Chapter
August 25, 2014
Publications and Multimedia
Environmental Law and Regulation - Event Audio/Video
First Annual Executive Branch Review Conference
June 14, 2013
EPA: An Agency Gone Wild or Just Doing Its Job? - Event Audio/Video
2010 National Lawyers Convention
November 20, 2010
Regulation by Litigation: Boon or Bane? - Event Audio
Center for Business Law & Regulation at the Case Western Reserve University School of Law, Administrative Law Practice Group, and Litigation Practice Group
March 17, 2009