Ellen Steen is a partner specializing in environmental and natural resources law. She has represented a broad range of industrial, mining, timber, and agricultural clients in matters involving the Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act, Endangered Species Act, Superfund, Resource Conservation and Recovery Act ("RCRA"), Emergency Protection and Community Right-to-Know Act ("EPCRA"), Toxic Substances Control Act ("TSCA"), Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act ("FIFRA"), and the National Environmental Policy Act ("NEPA").
Ellen's litigation practice has included a wide range of cases concerning the scope of EPA's regulatory authority (both challenging and defending EPA regulations), as well as enforcement actions by EPA and citizens groups. She has litigated Clean Water Act cases involving National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System ("NPDES") permitting, including storm water permitting, as well as section 404 wetlands ("dredge and fill") permitting, antidegradation policies, the total maximum daily load ("TMDL") program, state water quality certification requirements, and Endangered Species Act consultation in connection with EPA action under the Clean Water Act. Some of the more significant policy-related Clean Water Act cases include the successful challenge to aspects of EPA's NPDES regulations for concentrated animal feeding operations ("CAFOs"), Waterkeeper Alliance, Inc. v. EPA, 399 F.3d 486 (2nd Cir. 2005), the successful defense of EPA's current general permit for construction-related storm water discharges, Texas Independent Royalty Producers and Owners Ass'n v. EPA, 410 F.3d 964 (7th Cir. 2005), and on-going litigation concerning EPA's 2008 revised CAFO rules, National Pork Producers Council, et al. v. EPA, No. 08-61093 (5th Cir.), and administrative reporting exemption from EPCRA release reporting requirements, Waterkeeper Alliance, et al. v. EPA, No. 09-1017 (D.C. Cir.). Ellen has defended against numerous administrative and judicial enforcement actions under the Clean Water Act and other environmental laws, including citizens' suits alleging violations of hazardous substance release reporting requirements, as well as citizen claims for RCRA "imminent and substantial endangerment" and open dumping. She has litigated NEPA cases, defending federal projects from challenges to the adequacy of environmental impact analyses, and has extensive experience in Superfund contribution and cost recovery litigation.
Ellen's regulatory counseling and permitting expertise includes Clean Water Act permitting and compliance (related to both NPDES and section 404 dredge and fill regulation), as well as counseling on a variety of issues concerning the regulation of chemical substances, site remediation under the Superfund National Contingency Plan, hazardous substance release reporting, hazardous waste management, and pesticide regulation. She regularly prepares formal comments and engages in administrative advocacy related to EPA initiatives concerning NPDES permitting rules and permit issuance, water quality standards, effluent limitations guidelines, and TMDLs.
She serves as a vice-chair of the Agricultural Management Committee within the ABA's Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources. She is a member of the bars of the Supreme Court of the United States, various federal appellate courts, the District of Columbia, and North Carolina.