Cliff Rothenstein is a government affairs advisor in the firm’s public policy and law practice in Washington, D.C. He brings more than 30 years of expertise developing and executing federal environmental and transportation legislation, policies, and regulations. He has extensive experience working with businesses, national trade associations, and other clients with interests in federal environmental policies, including policies at the intersection of environment, energy, transportation, and infrastructure. Cliff brings both substantive and political expertise and has provided Congress, administration officials, and industry leaders strategic advice on Superfund and recycling policies and on other environmental and transportation-related issues.
Cliff advocates on behalf of clients on numerous environmental and transportation policy issues including: Superfund and solid waste, recycling and sustainability, PFAS and toxic chemicals, water and water resources, clean air, and environmental reviews for major transportation and energy infrastructure projects. In today’s rapidly changing political and regulatory climate, Cliff has made it a priority to stay abreast of current environmental policy developments at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and throughout the Administration, on Capitol Hill, and around the country and keeps clients informed with timely, relevant, and informative updates, political insights, and analyses. He helps clients identify and assess the risks and opportunities in response to various issues and develops and executes client-specific strategies such as drafting regulatory comments and consulting and meeting with key lawmakers and administration officials.
Cliff’s diverse public policy experience includes: serving as Deputy Assistant Administrator at the EPA under President Clinton; senior advisor to former Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Chairman, Senator Max Baucus (D-MT); and Director of Legislative Affairs and Policy Communications at the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). During his distinguished career, Cliff was the lead staff negotiator for the Senate EPW Committee on Superfund, recycling, and brownfields legislation. He also led EPA’s Superfund negotiating team resulting in amendments to Superfund and the enactment of the Brownfields law, and he led FHWA’s development and advocacy on legislation to reauthorize the nation’s surface transportation law leading to enactment of MAP-21.
Cliff has more than 30 years of congressional and federal executive experience. His diverse public policy and management experience includes service as a professional staff member for almost a decade on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee under former chairman Max Baucus. While with the committee, he advised members and congressional staff on virtually all environmental matters including Superfund, brownfields, recycling, the Clean Air Act, and on transportation issues before the committee. During his tenure with the committee, Cliff played a key role in the enactment of the 1990 amendments to the Clean Air Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act of 1986, the Pollution Prevention Act of 1990, and the Congressional Review Act of 1996.
Cliff also worked at the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency as the Deputy Assistant Administrator and the top administration official overseeing legislative reforms to the Superfund, solid and hazardous waste, brownfields, recycling, and underground storage tanks programs. His efforts resulted in enactment of the Superfund Recycling Equity Act of 1999 and the Small Business Liability Relief and Brownfields Revitalization Act in 2002. He also successfully led the agency’s implementation of provisions in the Energy Policy Act of 2005 regulating gas stations and underground storage tanks and testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee.
Cliff also served as director of the Office of Legislative Affairs and Policy Communications at the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), where he coordinated daily with senior political officials at U.S. Department of Transportation and where he served as the primary point of contact with Congress on the surface transportation reauthorization and other legislative and policy matters. During his tenure at FHWA, he led the development and advocacy efforts on legislation to reauthorize the nation’s surface transportation law including provisions to streamline project delivery and expand investments in highways, bridges, and multimodal transportation projects that were included in MAP-21. Cliff also coordinated FHWA’s discretionary grant programs for highway and bridge improvement projects and managed FHWA’s relationships with Congress on highway-specific projects and issues.
- Speaker, National Sand Stone and Gravel National Conference - Environmental Committee, Washington D.C., September 29, 2021
- Moderator, “PFAS Policy Symposium”, K&L Gates, Washington D.C., September 26, 2019
- Panelist, “Critical Materials Sustainability and Lithium-Ion Batteries”, Consumer Electronics Show, Las Vegas, Nevada, January 10, 2019
- Speaker, “Environmental Policy and Politics Mid-term Update”, New Jersey Chemistry Council, Newark, New Jersey, October 24, 2018
- Speaker, “Superfund Reimagined”, Air and Waste Management Association”, Chicago, Illinois, January 21, 2018
- Panelist, “NSSGA Legal Symposium President Trump Environmental Changes We Can Expect in 2017”, National Sand Stone and Gravel Association, Las Vegas, Nevada, March 3, 2017
- "Vacatur Of Trump Water Rule Means More Uncertainty Ahead," Law360, 29 September 2021
- Co-Author, CEQ Issues Final Greenhouse Gas Guidance Directing Federal Agencies to Consider Climate Change in Their NEPA Reviews, Pratt’s Energy Law Report, Vol. 16-9, October 2016