Michael W. Steinberg

Michael W. Steinberg is special counsel in Morgan Lewis's Litigation Practice. Mr. Steinberg’s practice focuses exclusively on environmental law matters, with special emphasis on litigation and counseling involving (1) hazardous waste issues under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, (2) contaminated site issues under the federal Superfund law, and (3) environmental justice issues under federal and state civil rights laws.

In the RCRA hazardous waste area, Mr. Steinberg has filed numerous challenges to EPA rules and decisions in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. He achieved a major victory in Shell Oil Company. v. EPA, 950 F.2d 741 (D.C. Cir. 1991), by persuading the D.C. Circuit to overturn EPA’s 1980 'mixture rule.' Mr. Steinberg also won a key ruling in Dithiocarbamate Task Force v. EPA, 98 F.3d 1394 (D.C. Cir. 1998), which limited EPA’s authority to list wastes as hazardous under RCRA. He serves as outside counsel to the American Chemistry Council on its RCRA regulatory and litigation advocacy.

In the Superfund area, Mr. Steinberg has an extensive background with litigation, rulemaking, and legislative advocacy. Among his best-known cases is United States v. Olin Corp., 927 F. Supp. 1502 (S.D. Ala. 1996), rev’d, 107 F.3d 1506 (11th Cir. 1997), where the trial court declared Superfund unconstitutional as applied to purely intrastate contamination. As lead counsel in Rollins Environmental Services v. United States (D.N.J.), Mr. Steinberg negotiated a settlement in which the U.S. Department of Defense agreed to pay most of the $300+ million in cleanup costs at the Bridgeport Rental & Oil Services (BROS) site. Mr. Steinberg has testified before Congress on several occasions regarding Superfund liability and enforcement issues. He serves as outside counsel to the Superfund Settlements Project.

In the environmental justice area, Mr. Steinberg litigated the landmark 1995 case in which EPA’s Environmental Appeals Board established important principles governing consideration of environmental justice issues in the RCRA permitting process. In re Chemical Waste Management of Indiana, Inc., 1995 EPA App. LEXIS 25 (EAB June 29, 1995). More recently, he filed briefs amicus curiae for the National Association of Manufacturers, the American Chemistry Council, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in several key Supreme Court and other appellate cases. Among these cases are Alexander v. Sandoval, 532 U.S. 275 (2001), which questioned the use of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to prohibit disparate impacts, and South Camden Citizens in Action v. NJDEP, 274 F.3d 771 (3d Cir. 2001), which overturned a preliminary injunction blocking the operation of a new industrial facility based on violations of Title VI. Mr. Steinberg serves as outside counsel to the Business Network for Environmental Justice.

Mr. Steinberg has dealt with federal and state environmental law, with an emphasis on litigation, for more than 20 years. Before he rejoined the Firm in 1987, he was Assistant Chief of the Environmental Defense Section at the U.S. Department of Justice, where he supervised and handled litigation against EPA under all of the federal environmental statutes.

Mr. Steinberg served as a law clerk to Judge Alfred L. Luongo of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

Mr. Steinberg is admitted to practice in the District of Columbia.

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Good to know

Areas of Practice 1) Environmental, 2) Environmental Regulatory Matters, 3) Environmental Litigation, 4) Environmental Crimes, 5) Litigation, 6) Appellate, 7) Mass Torts and 8) Washington Strategic Government Relations and Counseling
Law School University of Pennsylvania Law School, 1977
Education Yale University, 1974, B.A.
Bar Member / Association State Bar Of District of Columbia
Most recent firm Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP
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