V&E logo

Chambers USA 2009 recognizes Carol as a "Star Performer" in environmental law, saying: Carol Dinkins is an environment legend in Texas. She also enjoys recognition on a national level, particularly for regulatory and enforcement matters within the energy industry.
Home > Lawyers > Carol E. Dinkins

Carol E. Dinkins

Experience     |     Education     |     Recognition     |     Activities      |     Publications

Dinkins, Carol E.

Carol handles all aspects of client counseling on business transactions and permit matters, as well as civil litigation, mediation, and criminal defense. Carol has represented chemical, refining, and energy companies; developers; timber, utilities, pipelines, and transportation interests; and a variety of municipal and governmental entities in proceedings under state and federal environmental and natural resources laws.

Carol has negotiated and resolved matters arising under RCRA, CERCLA, CWA, CAA, TSCA, and EPCRA, including judicial and administrative actions and permits and other authorizations for new projects; federal and state civil and criminal enforcement actions; environmental claims; projects and cases involving remediation; and cases involving NEPA, wetlands, cultural resources, and endangered species. Carol has served in one position of Gubernatorial and four of Presidential appointment with Senate confirmation.

Carol left the partnership twice in the 1980s to serve in government. From 1981 to 1983, she served as Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the Department of Justice, where she supervised the government's litigation in all federal environmental, natural resources, and Indian and public lands cases. In 1984-1985, Carol served as the Deputy Attorney General of the United States, the second-ranking official in the Department of Justice. Her responsibilities included working with members of Congress, the White House, the Cabinet, and subcabinet officers on policy, legislation, and litigation.

A former member of the Firm's Management Committee, Carol serves as the Environmental Practice Group Leader. She maintains offices in Houston and Washington, DC.

Representative Experience
Environmental Litigation and Settlement
View All
  • Served as lead negotiator to resolve a case involving characterization and remediation of PCBs and other substances at 60 sites in over a dozen states and half a dozen EPA regions within the right-of-way of an interstate natural gas transmission pipeline
  • Lead counsel in pipeline spill in a sensitive environment to negotiate disposition of a grand jury investigation via a Plea Agreement under the CWA and to negotiate a federal consent decree with the U.S. Department of Justice, EPA, and PHMSA under the CWA, CAA, and Federal Pipeline Safety Laws
  • Lead negotiator for a federal-state consent decree in EPA Region 2 for remediation of dioxin and other chemicals; an Administrative Order on Consent for a remedial investigation and feasibility study of six miles of contaminated sediments in a northeastern river; an additional Administrative Order on Consent for RI/FS on a Bay; an Administrative Order on Consent for an early Removal Action; an Administrative Order on Consent for a CSO/SSO study; Cooperative Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Funding Agreements and response to a Unilateral Administrative Order
Environmental Permitting
View All
  • Represented navigation interests in obtaining permits for a major port expansion, including channel deepening, that required an EIS under NEPA, as well as implicated ESA, NHPA, and the Marine Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries Act
  • Permitted development in a Puerto Rican resort with roads, hotel and condominium sites, and a golf course, including successfully negotiating a substantial reduction in the wetlands delineation, review of the biological assessment for an endangered sea turtle, and a Department of the Interior decision not to list a plant species after a Federal Register notice that proposed listing under the Endangered Species Act
  • Permitted numerous pipelines, including for a major petrochemical plant to ship products from Corpus to Houston across numerous rivers, streams, and wetlands with various endangered species issues
Environmental Counseling
  • Counsels clients on corporate environmental management systems, policies and procedures, and assesses the status of company compliance activities for management
Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.

Education and Professional Background
  • University of Houston Law Center, J.D., 1971
  • University of Texas, B.S. Ed., 1968
  • Admitted to practice: Texas, 1971; United States Supreme Court; U.S. Claims Court; federal district courts in Texas and Arkansas; most federal circuit courts of appeal
Professional Recognition
View All
  • Inaugural recipient of the Terry Hershey Award, Audubon's Texas Women in Conservation Program, 2015
  • BTI Client Service All-Star (February 2014)
  • Recognized in Texas Bar Journal as a Trailblazer (February 2014)
Activities and Affiliations
View All
  • American College of Environmental Lawyers, inducted into first class of Fellows 2008; President, 2010 - 2011
  • Life Member, American Law Institute
  • American Bar Association, Member, Board of Governors (2005 - 2008); Chair, Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary (2002 - 2003), Member (1997 - 1998); House of Delegates: Member (1998 - 2008), Nominating Committee (1998 - 2005, 1994 - 1997); Chair, Rules and Calendar Committee (2000 - 2002), Member (1996 - 1998); Chair, Board of Editors, ABA Journal (2003 - 2007), Member (1998 - 2007); Chair, Nominating Committee, Section Officers Conference, (1995 - 1996); Section Chair, Section of State and Local Government Law (1991 - 1992), Various officer positions, (1987 - 1991), Section Council (1985 - 1987); Chair, Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources, (1997 - 1998), Delegate and Member of Executive Committee, (1998 - 2004), Officer (1995 - 1997), Section Council (1991 - 1994); Chair, Environmental Litigation Committee, Litigation Section (1989 - 1992); Special Committee on Energy Law (1983 - 1984); President-Elect, Shestack's Appointments Committee (1996 - 1997), President-Elect Greco's Appointment Committee (2004 - 2005), and Chair, President-Elect Mathis' Appointment Committee (2005 - 2006); Member, ABA Council of Fund for Justice and Education (2003 - 2005); Member, Task Force on Preservation of the Judicial System (2010 - 2012)
Publications and Presentations
View All
  • "What Can Happen When Things Go Wrong: Balancing Duties to Shareholders, Customers and Public," Keynote Presentation at Industry Environmental Compliance Conference, Stegner Center, Salt Lake City, Utah, November 21, 2014
  • "Crisis Management of Safety and Environmental Incidents: Planning, Responding, Defending," Environmental Regulation 2013, Practising Law Institute, New York, NY, December 6, 2013
  • "What Every Environmental and Natural Resources Lawyer Should Know About What’s Going on in the Arctic," 42nd Spring Conference, ABA Section of Environment, Energy and Resources, Salt Lake City, UT, March 2013

<< Back to Top

Site Map    Contact Us    Extranet    Disclaimer & Legal Notice     ©1999- Vinson & Elkins LLP

Full Biography
Print Page

Carol E. Dinkins
1001 Fannin Street
Suite 2500
Houston, TX 77002-6760

Tel  +1.713.758.2528
Fax  +1.713.615.5311

Alternate Office
2200 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Suite 500 West
Washington, DC 20037-1701
Tel  +1.202.639.6548
Fax  +1.202.639.8848

Arbitration and ADR


Environmental Litigation and Enforcement

Environmental Regulation and Permitting


White Collar Criminal Defense

Chambers USA 2009 recognizes Carol as a "Star Performer" in environmental law, saying: Carol Dinkins is an environment legend in Texas. She also enjoys recognition on a national level, particularly for regulatory and enforcement matters within the energy industry.