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. She resolves regulatory problems, focusing primarily on permitting, compliance, litigation, and legislative and regulatory policy under:

  • Clean Water Act (CWA)
  • Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA)
  • Federal Emergency Management Act (FEMA)
  • National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)
  • National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA)
  • Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act (SMCRA)

Recent representative matters include:

  • Represent fertilizer manufacturer in obtaining Environmental Protection Agency approval of a petition for other use of phosphogypsum 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 mining client in federal land exchange with U.S. Forest Service
  • Represent aggregates producer in obtaining dredge permits from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
  • Represent extractive industry in federal rulemaking proceedings under CERCLA 108 (b) rulemaking, obtaining favorable final EPA determination that no additional federal financial assurance obligations on the hardrock mining industry are necessary
  • Represent marina concessionaire in obtaining lease expansion authorization 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 to national trade groups representing major mining, developer, and manufacturing industry sectors
  • Represent major shoreline development project in complex, multi-jurisdictional permitting actions and environmental review
  • Represent homeowner association 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.


  • 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

  • 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


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