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David T. Buente, Jr.

Partner

DAVID BUENTE, head of Sidley’s Environmental Group, has a broad practice, representing clients in complex environmental litigation and rulemaking matters, with an emphasis on Clean Air Act (CAA), Clean Water Act, CERCLA (Superfund) and RCRA, environmental criminal and toxic tort matters. Building upon his 15 years as an environmental prosecutor, including at the Department of Justice (DOJ), corporations—including American Electric Power, Cinergy, Duke Energy, Exxon Mobil, General Electric, Georgia Pacific, Ford Motors, Honeywell, Norfolk Southern, Tyson Foods and Verizon —turn to David for representation in complex federal environmental enforcement matters with DOJ and EPA. He also advises trade associations on diverse legislative, regulatory and litigation environmental issues.

Recognized in The Legal 500 US (2012) “one of the best environmental lawyers anywhere,” David has tried over 80 evidentiary cases and handled numerous appeals in federal and state courts. His recent experience includes:

  • Handling CERCLA cases for remedial costs and natural resource damage claims.
  • Defending a number of companies in Clean Air Act New Source Review enforcement litigation with DOJ/EPA, State AGs and NGOs. 
  • Representing companies and trade associations in successfully defending against precedent-setting common law torts-based claims over carbon dioxide emissions. 
  • Convincing federal prosecutors to decline pursuit of environmental criminal investigations for several clients.

A recognized leader in his field, David has been named the Best Lawyers’ 2015 Washington, D.C. Environmental Law “Lawyer of the Year,” an accolade awarded to only a single lawyer in each practice area and geographic region; he also received this recognition in 2013 and 2012. He has been named by Chambers USA as one of the nation’s Leading Lawyers since 2006. The 2014 edition of Chambers includes David in its top-tier of Washington, D.C.’s environmental lawyers, noting that “According to his peers, in the area of civil and criminal enforcement, ‘no one has as much knowledge of the issues and history of those issues as’ David Buente.” Chambers also includes David in its nationwide list of top Product Liability & Mass Torts lawyers, acknowledging that he “is highly regarded throughout the market, earning praise as a fantastic litigator.”

David also regularly is named in other surveys of private sector lawyers, including: Who’s Who Legal USA: Environment, PLC: Which Lawyer? and The Legal 500 US. David is an elected member of the American College of Environmental Lawyers and the National Trial Lawyers “Top 100.”

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