David Buente

Biography

DAVID BUENTE, co-leader of Sidley’s Environmental group, represents clients in complex environmental litigation and rulemaking matters, with an emphasis on Clean Air Act (CAA), Clean Water Act, CERCLA (Superfund) and RCRA, environmental criminal and toxic tort litigation. Building upon his 15 years as an environmental prosecutor, including at the Department of Justice (DOJ) where he served as Chief, Environmental Enforcement Section, corporations—including American Electric Power, CSX, Duke Energy, Exxon Mobil, General Electric, Ford Motors, Honeywell, Norfolk Southern, Tyson Foods and Verizon —turn to David for representation in complex federal environmental enforcement matters with DOJ and EPA and in defending toxic tort claims by states and private parties.

David's recent experience includes:

  • Handling CERCLA cases for remedial costs and natural resource damage claims.
  • Defending a number of companies in Clean Air Act New Source Review enforcement litigation with DOJ/EPA, State AGs and NGOs. 
  • Representing companies and trade associations in successfully defending against precedent-setting common law torts-based claims including over carbon dioxide emissions. 
  • Convincing federal prosecutors to decline pursuit of environmental criminal investigations for several clients and defending against prosecutions. 

A recognized leader in his field, David has been named the Best Lawyers’ 2015 Washington, D.C. Environmental Law “Lawyer of the Year,” an accolade awarded to only a single lawyer in each practice area and geographic region; he also received this recognition in 2012–2014. He has been named by Chambers USA as one of the nation’s Leading Lawyers since 2006. In the 2015 edition of Chambers, David is praised as “extremely well grounded in the substance of a matter, and is somebody you can turn to in a situation as he keeps his head and keeps his focus.” The Legal 500 lists David as a leading lawyer in the product liability and mass tort defense: toxic tort category. The 2015 edition of Chambers includes David in its top-tier of Washington, D.C.’s environmental lawyers, noting that “According to his peers, in the area of civil and criminal enforcement, ‘no one has as much knowledge of the issues and history of those issues as’ David Buente.” Chambers also includes David in its nationwide list of top Product Liability & Mass Torts lawyers, acknowledging that he “is highly regarded throughout the market, earning praise as a fantastic litigator.”

David also regularly is named in other surveys of private sector lawyers, including: Who’s Who Legal USA: EnvironmentPLC: Which Lawyer? and The Legal 500 US. In 2016, Who’s Who Legal named David the 2016 Environmental Lawyer of the Year. David is an elected member of the American College of Environmental Lawyers and of the National Trial Lawyers “Top 100.”


Practice Areas

  • Environmental Law

2 Courses by David Buente