KEITH MATTHEWS, a former Director of the Biopesticides and Pollution Prevention Division (BPPD) in the U.S. EPA’s Office of Pesticide Programs (OPP), has 20 years of private sector and government experience in environmental and chemicals regulation law. Keith provides clients with counsel and advice grounded in his extensive knowledge and experience with a wide range of statutes, including the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA), the Food Quality Protection Act (FQPA), the Toxics Substances Control Act (TSCA), the Endangered Species Act, the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the Clean Air Act, the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act (EPCRA), the Atomic Energy Act, the WIPP Land Withdrawal Act, the Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act, the Uranium Mill Tailings Radiation Control Act, the Regulatory Flexibility Act, and SBREFA.
As Director of the Biopesticides and Pollution Prevention Division, Keith was responsible for and led all activities relevant and related to the Federal regulatory program for biochemical and microbial pesticides, genetically engineered pesticidal organisms, and pesticides produced by genetically engineered plants. During his tenure, BPPD conducted the first ever comprehensive evaluation of all transgenic genetically modified corn plants registered by EPA and, at his direction, implemented a regulatory scheme granting longer registration periods for constructs with greater durability. During this time, BPPD registered the first blended refuge products, the first fusion protein PIPs, and expanded approvals for “natural refuges” for cotton PIPs. Keith’s training in chemistry and molecular biology, combined with his extensive practice experience in FIFRA and FFDCA enabled him to lead BPPD to ensure public safety while imposing the minimum regulatory burden appropriate under the law. Keith brings this comprehensive approach to his law practice -- understanding the science that ultimately underlies legal issues, having an intimate familiarity with environmental regulations, and being keenly aware of the limits of statutory authority.
While Director of BPPD, Keith was closely involved with numerous matters arising under NEPA and the Endangered Species Act. Many of these matters required inter-agency deliberations between EPA and Federal partners. Endangered Species Act jurisprudence is in a rapidly evolving state that requires broad understanding of the scope and interaction of court decisions, changing agency policies, and the science behind species and habitat degradation. Keith’s broad and longstanding experience with application of the ESA in many different regulatory contexts related to chemicals enables him to provide clients with legal advice and advocacy that incorporates a broad perspective on how this statute should be applied in specific situations.
Prior to taking on a leadership position in the Office of Pesticide Programs, Keith was a staff attorney and then Assistant General Counsel in EPA’s Office of General Counsel (OGC), where he provided legal counsel to a number of Agency clients, including BPPD, the Office of Air and Radiation, the Office of Environmental Information, and the Office of Research and Development. Keith specialized in serving as the lead attorney on highly technical issues of first impression under FIFRA, TSCA, and the Agency’s Air Program. He was the sole attorney providing legal advice to the Office of Pesticide Programs in responding to a petition by Greenpeace to cancel all transgenic GMO registrations. EPA’s response to the petition resulted in the accompanying case in U.S. District Court being dismissed as moot. Keith also provided primary legal counsel to the Office of Radiation and Indoor Air (ORIA) in EPA’s certification of the Department of Energy’s Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) transuranic radioactive waste repository in Carlsbad, New Mexico. This action is the only instance of EPA’s regulating a Federal radioactive waste facility and, hence, raised numerous novel legal issues. EPA’s certification of the WIPP was challenged in the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and was upheld in its entirety. In addition, Keith also provided primary legal counsel to ORIA in promulgating radioactive waste disposal standards applicable to the high-level radioactive waste repository at Yucca Mountain. The Yucca Mountain rule also was challenged in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and was upheld in nearly all respects. Keith was the primary attorney providing advice to the Office of Pesticide Programs in a number of instances where unapproved varieties of GMO foods were found in commerce. These situations required substantial interactions with regulatory officials and counsel from numerous Federal agencies. Keith also provided almost exclusive legal support to the Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics (OPPT) in responding to a petition to regulate formaldehyde under TSCA. EPA determined that the regulatory approach sought by the petition was not supported by science and undertook a rulemaking to regulate formaldehyde in a manner more in concert with its TSCA authority.
Keith also was an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Environmental Science and Engineering Fellow, and served as the only AAAS fellow ever selected to work with EPA’s Office of General Counsel. In that role he applied his broad understanding of molecular biology to a comprehensive legal assessment of the scope of EPA’s authority under FIFRA to regulate the introduction into the environment of plants producing transgenic pesticides.
In addition to his legal training at the Georgetown University Law Center, Keith earned an M.S. in Biology from the California Institute of Technology, where he conducted graduate work in molecular developmental neurobiology.