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Michael B. Wigmore

Michael B. Wigmore Partner, Environmental & Natural Resources

Mike’s practice focuses on representing clients with respect to public lands and natural resources matters in federal and state courts and administrative agencies, including the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, and the EPA.

Mike has extensive experience in matters arising under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), Endangered Species Act (ESA), Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA), Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA), Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA), Clean Water Act (CWA), Rivers and Harbors Act, Clean Air Act (CAA), Oil Pollution Act (OPA), National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), and related state statutes.

Mike has represented clients in obtaining, and defending in court, permits and authorizations for such projects as upstream oil and gas development, industrial and manufacturing facilities, high-voltage electric transmission lines, gas and liquids pipelines, undersea fiber optic cables, and waterfront commercial developments.

According to Chambers USA, “Clients compliment [Mike’s] ability to combine ‘detailed knowledge of statutes, impending regulations and case law with sound business advice’” (2009) and “praise his ‘unbelievably good case-handling abilities’” (2010).

Experience Highlights

  • Successfully defended several oil and gas companies in litigation in federal district court and the court of appeals brought by national environmental groups against a 2,000-well natural gas project, and defeated a motion for preliminary injunctive relief seeking to halt development of the project pending review
  • Represented a major electric utility in obtaining all necessary permits for a 765-kV transmission line constructed across national forest land, a national scenic trail, an American Heritage River, and an endangered species habitat, and successfully defended the permits in litigation brought by a national environmental group
  • Representing a major oil and gas company with respect to permitting and third-party liability issues relating to the use of hydraulic fracturing for the development of oil and gas resources from shale and other unconventional formations in Pennsylvania, Texas, and the Rocky Mountain Front Region, and advising on fracking issues relating to the CWA, CAA, SDWA, ESA, FLPMA, NEPA, TSCA, and applicable state laws
  • Representing a major oil and gas company in an original jurisdiction matter before the U.S. Supreme Court regarding the company’s groundwater uses in the context of an interstate water compact dispute
  • Representing a major oil and gas company in litigation in federal district court regarding Endangered Species Act listing decisions
  • Representing investors in and developers of energy projects with respect to NEPA, ESA, MBTA, NHPA, and wetlands permitting issues

Environmental Litigation & Enforcement Defense

  • Represented the nonoperating investors in the Macondo well with respect to all federal and state environmental and natural resources issues relating to the Deepwater Horizon incident in the Gulf of Mexico
  • Representing a variety of energy and industrial facilities in defense of CWA citizen suits and challenges to CWA permits around the country
  • Represented a pulp and paper facility located in the Southeast in a Clean Air Act/New Source Review enforcement action, which the U.S. Department of Justice declined to prosecute after an enforcement referral from the EPA
  • Represented a consolidated recycling and manufacturing facility in the Southeast in a series of four RCRA/CWA citizens suits filed in state and federal court, all of which were successfully resolved on motions to dismiss

Contact Details


T +1.202.639.6778
F +1.202.330.5328
2200 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Suite 500 West
Washington, DC 20037
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Michael's Practices

  • The George Washington University Law School, J.D., with High Honors, 1990 (Order of the Coif)
  • United States Merchant Marine Academy, B.S., with Highest Honors, 1984
  • Admitted to practice: District of Columbia and New York; U.S. Supreme Court; U.S. Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit; U.S. Court of Appeals, First Circuit; U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit; U.S. Court of Appeals, Third Circuit; U.S. Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit; U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit; U.S. Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit; U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit; U.S. Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit; U.S. Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit; U.S. District Court, District of Columbia; U.S. District Court, District of Colorado
  • Nuclear Engineer, General Electric Company/Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory
    • Responsibilities included plant operations and environmental compliance for a land-based naval nuclear submarine prototype
  • Chambers USA, Environment (District of Columbia), 2009—2019
  • Legal 500 U.S., Environment Litigation, 2013–2015; Environment: Transaction & Regulatory, 2013—2014
  • The Best Lawyers in America© (Woodward/White, Inc.), "Lawyer of the Year," Litigation - Environmental, 2018 and 2020
  • The Best Lawyers in America© (Woodward/White, Inc.), Litigation: Environmental, 2013—2020
  • Member: American Bar Association
  • Member: Bar Association of the District of Columbia