Jim Wedeking

Wedeking, Jim


Washington, D.C. +1 202 736 8281

1501 K Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20005
+1 202 736 8281

jwedeking@sidley.com jwedeking@sidley.com

Admissions & Certifications

Jim Wedeking


JIM WEDEKING is an environmental litigator, representing large companies in the defense of criminal and civil enforcement actions, toxic tort defense and complex civil litigation. Jim’s toxic tort work has included defending claims of product defects, failure to warn, public and private nuisance and trespass. A key aspect of Jim’s practice includes developing an involved understanding of how a client’s facilities function, given the complex scientific and technical issues that are typically the subject of litigation. These clients have included large companies in the oil and gas, electric power, chemical manufacturing, mining and agricultural industries.

Selected representations include:

  • Lead counsel for a commodities trading company in toxic tort litigation involving alleged MTBE contamination in California, New Jersey and New York.
  • Represented an electric power company in a federal criminal investigation into coal ash discharges and NPDES permit violations.
  • Defending a mining company from claims of CERCLA liability and natural resource damages allegedly related to mining activities dating back 150 years. 

Jim has significant experience aiding clients in criminal and civil investigations, including responses to grand jury subpoenas and federal agency information requests. This experience helps reduce the burden of response for clients while targeted internal investigations aid in resolving potential compliance issues. Jim’s work on environmental litigation has earned him recognition as a Rising Star in environmental litigation in 2014 and 2015 by Washington D.C. Super Lawyers magazine.


Jim is one of the founding authors of The Sidley Shale and Hydraulic Fracturing Report which provides updates on the fast moving legal developments related to this emerging energy resource. He is frequently quoted in various news sources including but not limited to Law360, PowerMag and Environment & Energy News. Jim’s recent publications include:

  • David Buente, Peter Steenland and Jim Wedeking, “Congress Adopts NEPA Reforms for Major Infrastructure Projects,” Westlaw Journal (February 17, 2016).
  • Quoted in, “Enviros Score Major Win in Final EPA Effluent Rules,” Law360 (Sept. 30, 2015).
  • Quoted in, “Water Pollution: Rule Could Force Ash Pond Closures,” E&E News (Sept. 30, 2015).
  • Quoted in, “EPA Finalizes Steam Electric Power Plant Effluent Guidelines,” PowerMag (Sept. 30, 2015).
  • Quoted in, “Water Pollution: All Eyes Turn to EPA on New Power Plant Toxics Rule,” E&E News (Sept. 29, 2015).
  • Jim Wedeking, “Courts May Be Shifting Review Of Preliminary Injunctions,” Law360 (Sep. 21, 2015).
  • Jim Wedeking, “Maximum Contaminant Levels and Environmental Injuries,” 28 J. Contemp. Health L. & Pol’y 183 (2012).
  • Jim Wedeking, “Environmental Federalism,” in Jim May, Ed., Principles of Environmental Constitutional Law (ABA/ELI, 2011).
Memberships & Activities
  • Former Chair, Constitutional Law Committee, American Bar Association, Section on Environment, Energy and Resources
  • Member, Defense Research Institute, Toxic Torts & Environmental Law Committee
Pro Bono

Jim is a part of the Sidley Environmental team that is representing non-government organizations (NGOs) in challenges to West Virginia National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) and surface mining permits for a proposed shale mine as amicus in litigation in Maryland over public access to the Potomac River, and a challenge to a federal institution’s NPDES permit for a discharge into the Potomac. Jim, with Davie Buente recently brought  a Clean Water Act citizen’s enforcement suit in Maryland over sewage pollution which was successfully settled. For their work Jim and David received the Potomac River Protection Award for 2016 by The Potomac Riverkeeper.

  • Jim Wedeking, “Up In the Air: The Future of Environmental Management for Hydraulic Fracturing Will be About Air, Not Water,” 49 Idaho Law Rev. 437 (2013), presented at Legal Aspects of Hydraulic Fracturing: An Idaho Law Review Symposium (Mar. 29, 2013)