Earth & Water Group makes big splash with January launch of virtual enviro firm!

Earth & Water Group makes big splash with January launch of virtual enviro firm!

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Former EPA officials launch ‘virtual’ enviro firm
Robin Bravender, E&E reporter
Published: Tuesday, January 19, 2016

A group of former government officials — including former high-ranking U.S. EPA staffers — has launched a new environmental law firm.

The Washington, D.C.-based Earth & Water Group officially started operating last week, providing legal and strategic counseling to clients including trade groups, businesses and others affected by environmental rules. The firm is operating as a “virtual” law firm, according to Earth & Water Group Chairman Brent Fewell, meaning its staff does much of its work remotely.

Fewell, who was a deputy to EPA’s then-water chief, Ben Grumbles, during the George W. Bush administration, started the firm with several other EPA alumni.

He’s joined by Rick Otis, deputy associate administrator in EPA’s policy office during the Bush administration; Alex Beehler, who worked on environmental issues at the Defense Department, the Justice Department, EPA and Koch Industries Inc.; D. Randall Benn, former attorney adviser in EPA’s water office; Michael Curley, who served on EPA’s Environmental Financial Advisory Board; and Ken Maynard, who worked in the Clinton White House as special assistant to the Cabinet secretary.

Expect more hires at the firm. “We’re looking to grow,” Fewell said in a recent interview.

By working as a virtual law firm without the overhead costs of traditional practices, Fewell said his firm can charge clients less. “We think it’s the future of legal services,” he said.

“We are very excited to offer this new platform to our clients and to help a broad array of regulated entities who quite simply haven’t had access to top-tier environmental legal and strategic support,” said Fewell, who was a partner at Troutman Sanders LP before launching the new firm.

Among the services the firm offers is advice about regulatory compliance, environmental permitting and water issues.

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