Karen C. Bennett is a partner in the Washington, D.C. office of Lewis Brisbois and co-chair of the Sustainability and Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) Practice, Environment, Land, & Natural Resources Law Practice, Administrative Law & Regulatory Practice, and the Government Relations Group. A recognized “inside the beltway” strategist, Karen represents clients and industry sectors before the Administration, federal regulatory agencies, and Congress in obtaining strategic federal regulatory policy and legislative goals. She provides businesses and investors with legal guidance on project development including siting, environmental analysis and land use approvals and mitigation, historic preservation, and tribal consultation. She advises on compliance with federal environmental laws and regulations, obtaining and defending permits and appeals. Karen also regularly presents on infrastructure issues to local and national organizations.

Recent representative matters include:

  • Represent industrial minerals manufacturer in obtaining federal funding for implementation of greenhouse gas reducing technologies under the Inflation Reduction Act
  • Represent renewable energy developer in obtaining first-ever approval of Department of the Interior, a Tribal Energy Development Organization (TEDO)
  • Represent fertilizer manufacturer in obtaining Environmental Protection Agency approval of alternative use of mining by-products under the Clean Air Act
  • Represent utility company before the Department of Energy in obtaining a Presidential permit and favorable recommendations from the U.S. Departments of State and Defense for a transmission line to deliver hydro-electric power from the Canadian border to New England
  • Represent aggregates producer in obtaining CWA Section 404 dredge permits from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
  • Represent renewable energy developer in wind and solar projects on tribal lands
  • Provide regulatory advice to hydrogen producer in development efforts in several states
  • Provide strategic advice to industry trade association on ESG reporting and greenwashing
  • Provide environmental due diligence for real estate transactions, including sites designated under Brownfields programs
  • Represent marina concessionaires in obtaining lease expansion authorizations on U.S. Army Corps water project in challenging regulatory environment
  • Represent extractive industry and land development clients in obtaining critical and time-sensitive federal project authorizations, overcoming robust opposition group challenges under the Clean Water Act, the National Historic Preservation Act, and the National Environmental Policy Act
  • Represent industry and developer clients in multi-stakeholder consultations under the National Historic Preservation Act and the National Environmental Policy Act
  • Represent mitigation bank industry interests in federal mitigation policy and regulatory matters with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
  • Provide strategic advice on national environmental regulatory policy, environmental justice and tribal consultationto national trade groups representing major mining, developer, and manufacturing industry sectors
  • Represent clients in FEMA cost recovery actions, administrative appeals, and federal court litigation

Prior to entering private practice, Karen was Vice President for Environmental Affairs at the National Mining Association (NMA), the Washington, D.C. based trade association that represents the coal and hardrock mining industry before Congress, the Administration, and regulatory agencies.

Karen also has experience working with the U.S. Department of the Interior's Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) on the creation of Tribal Energy Development Organizations (TEDOs), obtaining the first-ever approval from the BIA for the creation of a TEDO, in partnership with the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians.


  • Co-author, “Federal Regulatory Reform Update,” Texas A&M Law Journal, December 2018
  • Co-author, “White House Deregulation Push Is Just Getting Started,” Law360, January 2018
  • Author, “CWA Citizen Suits Seek to Erode the Permit Shield,” National Association of Clean Water Agencies Legal Perspective, July 2016
  • Author, “Avoid Project Delays by Understanding the National Historic Preservation Act,” NSSGA Magazine, April 2016
  • Author, “Obama’s Coal Moratorium Likely To Have Long-Term Effects,” Law360, February 11, 2016
  • Co-author, “Redefining ‘Waters of the United States’: Is EPA Undermining Cooperative Federalism?” The Federalist Society for Law & Public Policy Studies, Engage Volume 16, Issue 1, May 5, 2015

Professional Presentations

  • Keynote Speaker, "Bipartisan Infrastructure Law: New Opportunities for Investment in the U.S. for Italian Companies," American Chamber of Commerce in Italy, January 26, 2022
  • Speaker, Clean Water Act Law & Environment Seminar: "ESG & Sustainability Reports Pressure Rising," National Association of Clean Water Agencies, November 18, 2021
  • Speaker, CARES Act for Coalition of Franchisee Association Webinar, April 1, 2020
  • Speaker, “Redefining Waters of the United States: What Does This Important New Development Mean for Your Business,” Webinar, Karen C. Bennett and Jane Luxton, April 8, 2019
  • Speaker, “Wetlands Banking, Mining Industry Perspective,” National Wetlands Banking Conference, May 8, 2019
  • Speaker, “Waters of the United States Rulemaking Update,” The National Lime Association Annual Conference, June 10, 2019
  • Speaker, “National Historic Preservation Act: Update on Efforts to Clarify Implementation,” American Exploration & Mining Association, December 5, 2018
  • Speaker, “Wetlands Law and Compliance,” The American Institute of Architects Continuing Education Systems, June 14, 2018
  • Speaker, “Regulatory Reform: Now What?” Energy Mineral Law Foundation, Kentucky Mineral Law Conference, October 18-19, 2017
  • Speaker, “Changing the Regulatory Landscape Through Executive Action,” Tennessee Mining Association, October 2, 2017
  • Speaker, “Leveraging Natural Capital to Manage Risks and Create Opportunities for U.S. Sites,” Webinar, Karen C. Bennett and Jane C. Luxton, September 28, 2017
  • Speaker, “NEPA, Dealing with Potholes in the Regulatory Road,” ACEC Environment and Energy Committee Summer Meeting, August 23-24, 2017
  • Speaker, “The State of Compensatory Mitigation,” 2017 National Wetlands Awards, Environmental Law Institute, May 18, 2017
  • Speaker, ACEC Environment & Energy Committee Winter Meeting
  • Speaker, “Nexus Between Water Quality and Quantity,” Arizona Rock Products Association, Critical Issues Forum, December 15, 2016
  • Speaker, 2016 National Clean Water Law Seminar, November 1, 2016
  • Speaker, “The EPA’s Growing Influence Over State and Federal Section 404 Permits,” October 19, 2016
  • Speaker, “Hot Topics in Clean Water Law,” National Association of Clean Water Agencies, June 15, 2016
  • Speaker, “Waters of the U.S. Impose New Impacts on Project Planning,” EBI Fall Strategy Summit, October 2, 2015
  • Speaker, “Avoiding National Historic Preservation Act Problems,” Environment Committee Meeting, National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association (NSSGA), September 17, 2015
  • Guest, Joe Miller Radio Show, “Redefining Waters of the United States: Is EPA Undermining Cooperative Federalism?” May 19, 2015
  • Speaker, Proposed “Waters of the U.S.” Rule, US House of Representatives, Committee on Science, Space and Technology, Washington, DC, April 2, 2014
  • Speaker, Changing Clean Water Act Jurisdiction Implication on Permitting, ICSC Strategic Leadership Summit, Washington, D.C. March 24, 2015


  • State Bar Admissions
    • District of Columbia
  • United States District Courts
    • United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida
  • United States Courts of Appeals
    • United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
    • United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
    • United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit


District of Columbia

U.S. District Ct., District of Columbia

United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida

U.S. Court of Appeals, D.C. Circuit

U.S. Court of Appeals, 4th Circuit

U.S. Court of Appeals, 6th Circuit


  • Board of Trustees, Energy Mineral Law Foundation (EMLF)
  • Member, Executive Committee, Federalist Society
  • Member, District of Columbia Bar Association

Awards & Honors

  • Chambers USA – Band 5, Environment, District of Columbia, 2021-2022
  • ESG Legal Summit: Balancing ESG Mitigation Strategies, October 27, 2021


University of Denver, Sturm College of Law

Juris Doctor, 1997 

  • Editor, Water Court Reporter

University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point

Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, 1993

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