Karen C. Bennett


  • location icon Washington, D.C.
    2200 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
    4th Floor
    Washington, D.C. 20037

Karen C. Bennett is a partner in the Washington, D.C. office of Lewis Brisbois and a member of the Environmental & Administrative Law Practice where she represents clients on environmental and administrative law matters, focusing primarily on permitting, compliance, litigation and legislative and regulatory policy under the Clean Water Act (CWA), the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act (SMCRA), the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), and the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA). Karen has also guided clients through Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) cost recovery actions and appeals.

Karen is recognized as a skilled strategist, with experience in obtaining federal approvals for complex projects that face multi-front regulatory hurdles and public scrutiny, and often-times, conflict between state and federal regulatory agencies.

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 earned her J.D. from the University of Denver, College of Law, where she was the Editor of the Water Court Reporter, and is licensed to practice in the District of Columbia.


  • Co-author, "White House Deregulation Push Is Just Getting Started," Law 360, 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
  • Co-author, Lessons Learned from Coal, Oil & Gas Financial Journal, October 2012
  • Co-author, Environmental Update: Keeping the Issues Straight in the Mining Industry, Institute Proceedings, July 2012

Professional Presentations

  • 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 US" 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.


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


District of Columbia

U.S. District Ct., District of Columbia

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

U.S. Court of Appeals, 4th Circuit


  • Board of Trustees, Energy Mineral Law Foundation (EMLF)
  • Member, Board of Directors, Women’s Energy Network (WEN)
  • Member, Executive Committee, Federalist Society
  • Member, District of Columbia Bar Association


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

arrow Back to Attorneys