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Kirsten L. Nathanson

Phone: +1 202.624.2887
1001 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20004-2595

Recognized as a leading environmental lawyer
in Washington, D.C.
by Chambers and Partners

Kirsten L. Nathanson is a partner and co-chair of the firm's Environment & Natural Resources Group, focusing on environmental litigation, enforcement defense, risk assessment, and regulatory counseling under the major federal environmental and public lands statutes. She is also a member of the firm's Management Board.

Her litigation experience covers the Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act, Endangered Species Act, FIFRA, NEPA, SMCRA, RCRA, and CERCLA, encompassing citizen suit defense, regulatory challenges, remediation cost recovery and defense, Administrative Procedure Act actions, and EPA enforcement.

Her 2020 Chambers and Partners review states, “She is particularly notable for her Superfund work. Clients describe her as ‘an outstanding CERCLA environmental lawyer, her skills in communication and negotiation are amazing.’”

Current representative engagements include:

  • Representing a Fortune 10 energy company in CERCLA contribution litigation against the United States.
  • Serving as federal environmental counsel to several corporations across multiple facilities and CERCLA sites, including significant landfill and contaminated sediment waterway sites.
  • Representing leading crop protection companies and national trade associations in multiple pieces of ESA-FIFRA litigation challenging product registrations in both California and D.C. federal district and appellate courts.
  • Serving as Clean Water Act regulatory and litigation counsel to multiple national trade associations.
  • Representing a major coal producer in multiple citizen suit litigation matters challenging federal leasing and mine plan approval actions.
  • Representing a Fortune 50 company in the strategic management of legacy environmental liabilities.

Prior engagements of note include:

  • Defending a large natural gas producer in avoiding threatened Clean Water Act citizen suits related to hydraulic fracturing operations in the Marcellus shale.
  • Litigating the first Endangered Species Act citizen suit against a wind energy project.
  • Providing strategic and compliance counseling to a major power generating facility on federal environmental regulatory requirements, such as on EPA's Coal Combustion Residual (CCR) Rule, including enforcement schemes and related litigation risk.
  • Defending a Fortune 50 company in a citizen group challenge to the company's environmental remediation activities at a historical industrial facility.
  • Representing a coal company in a citizen suit brought under RCRA and SMCRA related to the company's handling and disposal of coal ash.
  • Defending a Clean Water Act criminal enforcement action against a private wastewater treatment corporation.
  • Litigating through trial a Clean Water Act citizen suit for a major animal agriculture corporation.
  • Serving as national coordinating counsel to a Fortune 10 company in its toxic tort litigation.
  • Conducting an internal Clean Water Act investigation for a corporation related to historical development activities in wetlands.
  • Regulatory litigation for the National Mining Association under SMCRA, and for agricultural trade associations under the Clean Water Act and Clean Air Act.
  • Conducting an internal investigation and risk assessment for a Fortune 100 corporation related to the company's remediation activities.
  • Defending EPA enforcement actions under CERCLA, including defense of unilateral administrative orders. 
  • NEPA litigation for a land developer requiring public lands access for a planned resort development.

Her experience includes federal district court motions and trial practice and federal appellate oral arguments. She is admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court and numerous federal appellate and district courts nationwide. 

Kirsten was a founding President of the Washington, D.C. Chapter of the Women's Energy Network and currently serves on the Executive Advisory Council for WEN DC. She is also on the Leadership Council of the Environmental Law Institute (ELI) and a former co-chair of the Environmental Litigation & Toxic Tort Committee for ABA SEER, and was recently elected a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation. Kirsten formerly served as co-chair of the firm's Diversity Council and has also led the Crowell & Moring Women Attorneys' Network. She is a past president and a member of the Board of Trustees of the Energy & Mineral Law Foundation.

Kirsten has been recognized as a leading environmental lawyer in Washington, D.C. by Chambers and Partners USA since 2013. She was also listed as a leading environmental lawyer in Euromoney's Women in Business Law 2017.


  • University of Pennsylvania, B.A. (1992) cum laude
  • The George Washington University Law School, J.D. (1998) with high honors, The Order of the Coif


Admitted to practice: District of Columbia, Maryland, Supreme Court of the United States, U.S. Court of Appeals, D.C. Circuit, U.S. Court of Appeals, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 9th, and 10th Circuits, U.S. District Court, Colorado, U.S. District Court, D.C., and U.S. District Court, Maryland


  • Past President, Women's Energy Network, Washington, D.C. Chapter
  • Past President, Energy & Mineral Law Foundation
  • Member, American Bar Association, Section on Environment, Energy & Resources
  • Member, Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation

View More

Crowell & Moring’s Environment & Natural Resources Co-Chair Kirsten Nathanson Named Member of the Environmental Law Institute’s Leadership Council (Jul.21.2020)
Firm News / Announcement
"No, the Supreme Court’s Decision in Atlantic Richfield Co. v. Christian Will Probably Not Open Pandora’s Box, But…," Environment & Natural Resources Law Alert (May 6, 2020). Contacts: Peter Gray, Elliott P. Laws, Kirsten L. Nathanson, Jennifer A. Giblin
Client Alert / Newsletter
Chambers USA 2020 Ranks 53 Crowell & Moring Lawyers and 21 Practice Areas Among Best in U.S. (Apr.23.2020)
Firm News / Announcement
"Environmental Cleanup During A Pandemic – Q&A Summary of EPA’s Guidance," Environment & Natural Resources Law Alert (April 13, 2020). Contacts: Kirsten L. Nathanson, Peter Gray
Client Alert / Newsletter
"Managing Environmental Compliance and Exposure to Liability During the Coronavirus Crisis," Crowell & Moring Webinar (April 8, 2020). Presenters: David Chung, Peter Gray, Robert Meyers, Kirsten L. Nathanson, Byron R. Brown, and Paul Freeman.
"COVID-19 Benchmarking Survey for Trade Associations Survey Results," Environment & Natural Resources Law Alert (March 30, 2020). Contacts: David Chung, Thomas A. Lorenzen, Kirsten L. Nathanson
Client Alert / Newsletter
"EPA Issues Policy On Conditions For Enforcement Discretion During the Coronavirus Crisis," (March 27, 2020). Contacts: David Chung, Peter Gray, Warren Lehrenbaum, Thomas A. Lorenzen, Robert Meyers, Kirsten L. Nathanson, Byron R. Brown, Paul Freeman, Jennifer A. Giblin, Leland P. Frost
Client Alert / Newsletter
"COVID-19 Benchmarking Survey for Trade Associations," Trade Associations Alert (March 19, 2020). Contacts: David Chung, Thomas A. Lorenzen, Kirsten L. Nathanson
Client Alert / Newsletter
"How Environmental NGOs Are Targeting Plastic Pollution," Law360 (March 2, 2020). Authors: David Chung, Kirsten L. Nathanson, Byron R. Brown, and Elizabeth B. Dawson.
"Citizen Suit Alert: Environmental NGOs Set Their Sights on Plastics," Environment & Natural Resources Law Alert (February 11, 2020). Contacts: David Chung, Kirsten L. Nathanson, Byron R. Brown, Elizabeth B. Dawson
Client Alert / Newsletter

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Crowell & Moring LLP is an international law firm with more than 500 lawyers representing clients in litigation and arbitration, regulatory, and transactional matters. The firm is internationally recognized for its representation of Fortune 500 companies in high-stakes litigation, as well as its ongoing commitment to pro bono service and diversity. The firm has offices in Washington, DC, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Orange County, London, Brussels, and Shanghai.

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