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Rothschild, Lowell M.
Lowell M. Rothschild
P: +1.512.494.3616
F: +1.800.404.3970
P: +1.202.828.5817

Angela Trafton


Lowell Rothschild is an environmental litigator focusing on natural resource issues such as wetlands, endangered species, and environmental review (NEPA).

For over 20 years, he has represented private, public, governmental and quasi-governmental clients working in the oil and gas, natural resource extraction, and infrastructure development sectors in obtaining and defending permits and responding to allegations of legal noncompliance, through both internal investigations and litigation.

Lowell's practice has included cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, multiple federal circuit and district courts, and EPA and Department of the Interior administrative tribunals. Outside of his natural resources work, his litigation experience covers the range of environmental laws, including water quality, outer continental shelf lands, hazardous waste, and radiation. He has managed litigation as the primary in-house environmental counsel for the world’s largest integrated phosphate and potash (fertilizer) supplier.

As a result of his litigation experience, Lowell is also well versed in navigating the permitting and NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act) processes and frequently assists clients in obtaining the environmental authorizations necessary for their activities, particularly projects likely to be challenged in court. His experience extends to regulatory compliance and a wide range of administrative law matters, including comment and advice on rulemakings, Freedom of Information Act matters and administrative hearings. He has extensive governmental affairs experience and has provided testimony to Congress on NEPA and wetland matters.

Representative Matters

Wetlands Litigation

  • Defense of a wetland mitigation banker's banking agreement in federal litigation in Alaska and the Court of Federal Claims against allegations by a competitor that the agreement was issued in contravention of the law. 
  • Represented the Utah Department of Transportation in wetlands and NEPA litigation related to the construction of the Legacy Parkway outside of Salt Lake City.
  • Represented the Mosaic Company in litigation over a wetland permit and environmental assessment for a 10,000-acre mine expansion.
  • Litigated a wetland permit issued to O’Hare International Airport.
  • Defended the developer of a private ski resort and golf course against allegations of noncompliance with the wetland laws.
  • Represented a timber company facing allegations of noncompliance with the wetland laws.

NEPA Litigation

  • Represented the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments - the Washington, D.C. metropolitan planning organization (MPO) - in defending its actions related to the EIS for the Inter-County Connector.
  • Represented the Utah Department of Transportation in litigation regarding a road extension and new bridge to be constructed south of Salt Lake City.
  • Represented the Salt Lake City MPO (the WFRC) in litigation regarding its Long-Range Transportation Plan.
  • Represented the Nevada Department of Transportation and the Las Vegas MPO (the RTC) on the EIS for their expansion of I-95 outside of Las Vegas.
  • Represented the American Trucking Association with its defense of certain NEPA requirements for Presidential action under NAFTA, in the case that led to the Supreme Court's decision in the Public Citizen litigation.

Species Litigation

  • Litigated a critical habitat designation in California District Court on behalf of a real estate developer.
  • Participated in the litigation over the listing of the Polar Bear.
  • Represented a property developer in a criminal investigation related to the alleged “take” of a bald eagle.

Administrative Litigation

  • Representing an offshore contractor in precedent-setting litigation under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act.
  • Representing an upstream gas company in a Department of Interior royalty revenue enforcement action testing an expanded new theory of liability.
  • Represented Rhee Bros., a grocery importer, in million-dollar pesticide litigation against EPA.

Other Selected Representations

  • Represented a cast-iron pipe manufacturer in two different criminal prosecutions related to Clean Air Act permitting requirements.
  • Defended a chemical manufacturer in a criminal investigation regarding alleged OSHA and Clean Air Act violations.
  • Represented a national manufacturer in resolving a civil environmental complaint involving over 400 alleged violations at 28 different facilities in five different EPA regions across the U.S.
  • Represented, as common counsel, several different groups of potentially responsible parties litigating resolution of their Superfund liability.
  • In two separate pieces of litigation, represented different major oil companies in civil litigation related to their cleanup obligations at refineries in Texas and Virginia.

Publications and Speeches

Presenter, “Environmental Regulation of  Land Development – Recent Developments in Wetlands, Species, Historic Preservation, NEPA and Mitigation Law,” Bloomberg BNA CLE Webinar, February 17, 2016.

“Expansive New Mitigation Requirements,” Oil & Gas Financial Journal, January 2016.

"The Waters of the United States Final Rule," Houston Bar Association Environmental Section Monthly Luncheon, November 18, 2015

"Water in the West: New Challenges, New Insights," SNL Energy’s Western Power Summit, November 3, 2015

“How Environmental Groups' Evolving Anti-Fossil Fuel Strategy Makes Crude-by-Rail so Complicated,” American Fuel & Petrochemicals Association Annual Environmental Conference, October 19, 2015.

“The Waters of the United States Final Rule, Water and Energy: Challenges and Opportunities in the Nexus,” Rice University’s Baker Center for Public Policy, October 14, 2015.

“The New Waters of the United States Final Rule: Water Jurisdictions, Significant Nexus and Policy Implications,” Bloomberg BNA CLE Webinar, July 28, 2015.

"OSHA vs. PHMSA: The Tangled Web of Jurisdiction Over Midstream Operations," North American Oil & Gas Pipelines, July 20, 2015.

"Hawkes Co. and the Public Policy Rationale for Allowing Court Review of Jurisdictional Determinations," National Wetlands Newsletter, Environmental Law Institute, July/August 2015.

"Wetlands Deskbook," 4th Edition, Environmental Law Institute Press, January 2015

"Environmental Rights: Regulations to Come.  Proposed rules on endangered species and clean water will have impacts on oil and gas projects throughout the major plays in the United States.," Energy Executive Magazine, Winter/Spring 2015

"Upcoming Regulations: 8 Rule Proposals to Watch for in 2015," Energy Executive Magazine, Winter/Spring 2015

"The 8 Rule Proposals to Watch for in 2015: Environmental Regulation of the Oil and Gas Industry Continues," Bracewell Webinar, November 20, 2014

"Business Emergencies - Encountering and Responding to a Crisis," Bracewell Webinar, November 18, 2014 

"EPA in Wonderland: A Journey Down the Waters of the U.S. Rabbit Hole," Bloomberg BNA Water Law & Policy Monitor, October 16, 2014 and Response of Bracewell’s Lowell Rothschild to the NRDC’s Jon Devine, Bloomberg BNA Water Law & Policy Monitor, October 16, 2014

"Waters of the United States," 5th Law of Shale Plays Conference, September 5, 2014

"Waters of the United States," 26th Annual Texas Environmental Superconference, August 7, 2014

"Working In Water? Proposed Rule Confuses the Issue of Wet or Dry," Construction Executive, June 24, 2014

Co-author, "Strategic Delays: Keystone XL Pipeline Involves Balancing Multiple Constituencies," Energy Executive, April 7, 2014.

"Oklahoma Enters Fray of Endangered Species Sue-and-Settle," Energy Executive, April 8, 2014.

Co-author, “Environmental Roadblocks: Strategies Aim to Derail Natural Gas Infrastructure Projects,” Oil & Gas Financial Journal, November 12, 2013.

Co-author, "Environmental Implications of DOE's Approval of Fourth LNG Export Project," Oil and Gas Financial Journal, September 30, 2013.

"Practitioners' Tales: Recent Experiences With NHPA Section 106 and FHWA Section 4(f)," Transportation Research Board’s 52nd Annual Workshop on Transportation Law, July 22, 2013

"Two Polar Bear Decisions in Two Weeks," Power Magazine, June 3, 2013.

"FWS Plan Could Have Negative Impact On Development Projects," Oil & Gas Financial Journal, Vol. 10, Issue 4, April 2013

"EPA Maintains Its Focus on Climate Change," Coal Power, November/December, 2012

"Before and After Sackett v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency," The Federal Lawyer, July 2012.

Panelist, "Creative Paths to the Settlement of Complex Environmental Litigation," American Bar Association Annual Spring Meeting, Phoenix, March 30, 2012.

"New NEPA Guidance from the Council on Environmental Quality," Association of Airport Executives National Aviation Environmental Management Conference, June 15, 2010.

"Emerging U.S. Policy and Regulatory Developments in Clean Energy," AECOM Online Seminar, June 3, 2010.

"The SEC’s New Guidance on Public Company Disclosure of Climate Change Risks," Trends (ABA Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources Newsletter), May/June 2010.

"What Wetlands Are Regulated? Jurisdiction of the §404 Program," Environmental Law Reporter's News & Analysis Journal, April 2010.
"Stationary Source Greenhouse Gas Permit Requirements," Association of Corporate Counsel's Environmental, Health & Safety Committee, April 8, 2010.

"Taking the Temperature at the SEC: What the Agency's Climate Change Guidance Really Means," Association of Corporate Counsel's Environmental, Health & Safety Committee, February 16, 2010.

Wetlands Deskbook, 3rd Edition, Environmental Law Institute Press, December 2009.

"New Environmental Regulatory Developments: Greenhouse Gas Regulation, Green Chemicals, Green Contracting, and Enhanced EPA Enforcement," Federal Publications Seminars, October 21, 2009.

"The Clean Water Act: Will Legislation Clarify Muddy Waters?" Association of Airport Executives National Aviation Environmental Management Conference, February 9, 2009.

"Wetland Jurisdiction and Mitigation Update," Association of Airport Executives National Aviation Environmental Management Conference, June 23, 2008.

"Going Green: The Airport and Aviation System of the Future," American Association of Airport Executives Aviation Issues Conference, January 7, 2008.

"Wetland Basics for Land Development," National Groundwater Association Annual Groundwater and Environmental Law Conference, July 25, 2007.

"The Other Shoe Drops: Using Sarbanes-Oxley Criminal Provision, DOJ Indicts Attorney for Destroying Evidence in Advance of a Proceeding," BNA White Collar Crime Report, June 8, 2007; reprinted in BNA International World Securities Law Report, September 2007.

"Coming Soon to a Grand Jury Near You: The Broader Implications of the New Civil Rules Relating to Electronically Stored Information for Environmental Enforcement," ABA Natural Resources & Environment Winter Meeting, March 2007.

"Natural Lawyer," TRB Environmental Issues in Transportation Newsletter, January 2007-Present, Articles Contributor.



J.D., magna cum laude, University of Minnesota Law School, 1993
B.A., University of Virginia, 1990

Bar Admissions

District of Columbia

Court Admissions

U.S. Supreme Court
U.S. Courts of Appeals for the 5th, 6th, 8th, and 9th Circuits
U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia
U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota
U.S. District Court for the Northern and Central Districts of California
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas
U.S. Court of Federal Claims