Our Professionals


Karen C. Bennett is a partner in the Washington, D.C. office of E&W Law. A recognized “inside the beltway” strategist, Karen represents clients and industry sectors before the Administration, federal regulatory agencies, and Congress in obtaining strategic federal regulatory, policy and legislative goals. She provides businesses and investors with legal guidance on project development, including siting, environmental analysis and land use approvals and mitigation, historic preservation, environmental justice and tribal consultation. She advises on compliance with federal environmental laws and regulations, obtaining and defending permits and appeals. Karen also provides counsel to clients seeking federal funding from the Department of Energy under energy and infrastructure funding laws. She regularly presents on infrastructure development and funding issues to local and national organizations.
Prior to entering private practice, Karen was Vice President for Environmental Affairs at the National Mining Association, the Washington, D.C. based trade association that represents the coal and hardrock mining industry before Congress, the Administration, and regulatory agencies.

Karen also has experience working with the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) on the creation of Tribal Energy Development Organizations (TEDOs), obtaining the first-ever approval from the BIA for the creation of a TEDO, in partnership with the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians, with the Department of Energy, U.S. Departments of State and Defense in securing a Presidential permit authorizing cross-border transmission project, and with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in obtaining Clean Water Act Section 404 permits for controversial, complex, multi-jurisdictional energy and marina projects.

Karen graduated from the University of Wisconsin and received her J.D. from University of Denver, Sturm College of Law, where she was Editor of the Water Court Reporter. She presents and publishes regularly on federal regulatory topics of interest to industry. She is a four-time Ironman triathlete and member of the Waterford Foundation Board of Directors.
Karen is a member of the District of Columbia bar; U.S. District Court, District of Columbia; U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia; U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida; U.S. Court of Appeals, D.C. Circuit; U.S. Court of Appeals, 4th Circuit; and, the U.S. Court of Appeals, 6th Circuit.

Representative Matters

  • Represent industrial minerals manufacturer in obtaining federal funding for implementation of greenhouse gas reducing technologies under U.S. Department of Energy funding opportunities.
  • Represent renewable energy developer in obtaining first-ever approval of Department of the Interior, a Tribal Energy Development Organization (TEDO).
  • 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.
  • Provide regulatory advice to hydrogen producer in development efforts in several states.
  • Provide strategic advice to industry trade association on ESG reporting and greenwashing.
  • Represent marina concessionaires in obtaining lease expansion authorizations 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, the National Environmental Policy Act and Environmental Justice policies.
  • Represent clients in FEMA cost recovery actions, administrative appeals, and federal court litigation.

Primary Areas of Practice

  • Environment, Land and Natural Resources Regulatory Practice Sustainability and Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG)
  • Federal Government Relations & Advocacy
  • FEMA Disaster Recovery Assistance

Honors & Awards

  • Chambers USA 2021-2022