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Top EPA Enforcement Official Patrick D. Traylor Joins V&E in Washington, D.C.

Patrick Traylor

Patrick D. Traylor, the former Deputy Assistant Administrator for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance (OECA), has joined Vinson & Elkins as a partner in Washington, D.C.

Traylor focuses his practice on civil environmental litigation and compliance investigations under all the major federal environmental programs, particularly under the Clean Air Act. Traylor also assists clients with securing project-critical state and federal permits for the construction and expansion of complex facilities.

“Patrick brings unique insight to the firm through his experiences as a top EPA enforcement official and nearly 20 years in private practice,” said V&E Managing Partner Scott Wulfe. “He is an outstanding addition to our nationally recognized Environmental and Natural Resources practice and a natural complement to the talent in our Washington office.”

In Washington, Traylor is among several recent additions to V&E, including partners Ron Tenpas, who previously served as Assistant Attorney General for the U.S. Department of Justice’s Environment and Natural Resources Division and as the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois; Fry Wernick, who joined the firm in June after stepping down as Assistant Chief of the DOJ’s FCPA Unit; and Mike Dry, the former Deputy Chief of the Eastern District of Virginia’s Criminal Division.

Traylor joined the EPA in 2017, where he supervised the agency’s nationwide Clean Air Act civil enforcement docket. Among his many notable duties, Traylor was the principal EPA negotiator in the recently finalized Fiat Chrysler diesel engine emissions case that resulted in a settlement worth more than $800 million. In addition, during his tenure at the EPA, Traylor was substantively involved in every significant non-CERCLA civil and criminal environmental enforcement matter.

Beyond specific matters, Traylor was integrally involved in developing enforcement policy and representing OECA in reviewing every significant Clean Air Act regulation and guidance the EPA issued. He also served as the senior political appointee responsible for coordinating and communicating the agency’s oil and gas policies with a multi-lateral stakeholder group, including environmental groups, state regulators, tribes, several EPA regional offices and four EPA national programs.

“Patrick is an outstanding attorney whose addition to the firm enriches our dynamic and robust environmental litigation practice,” said V&E Environmental and Natural Resources Practice Group Leader Larry Nettles. “In an era of rapidly changing enforcement priorities and shifting regulatory requirements, Patrick’s comprehensive Clean Air Act proficiency is a valuable asset to the firm and our clients.”

Prior to his service at the EPA, Traylor spent the first two decades of his legal career at Hogan Lovells, which he joined in 1997 and rose to partner in 2004 as a member of the firm’s environmental practice. While at Hogan Lovells, he represented clients in a wide range of environmental civil enforcement and permitting matters, including:

  • Represented a bulk chemicals terminal operator in Texas in a precedent-setting EPA enforcement case under the Clean Air Act;
  • Represented a heavy-duty diesel engine manufacturer in Detroit in an EPA mobile source enforcement case under the Clean Air Act;
  • Represented a coal-fired power plant owner in New Mexico in an EPA and citizen enforcement case under the Clean Air Act’s New Source Review program;
  • Represented an LNG exporter in securing environmental permits and approvals for 30 MTPA of LNG capacity; and
  • Represented a surface coal mine operator in New Mexico in citizen suit cases under the Endangered Species Act, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, and the Clean Water Act.

“Vinson & Elkins’ footprint in the energy sector, the depth and caliber of its Environmental and Natural Resources practice, and the firm’s global reputation for excellence made it the easy choice for the next phase of my career,” said Traylor. “I am looking forward to contributing to the firm’s ongoing and future success.”

Traylor earned his bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M University in 1991. He received his law degree from South Texas College of Law in 1994, and his LL.M. in Environmental Law from George Washington University Law School in 1996.

V&E has a nationally leading Environmental and Natural Resources practice, receiving recognition in Chambers USA (2019) and Legal 500 U.S. (2019). The firm counsels a wide array of clients on state and federal environmental laws and represents them in complex environmental litigation, as well as administrative, civil and criminal enforcement matters in state and federal courts and regulatory agencies.

About Vinson & Elkins
For more than a century, Vinson & Elkins has provided outstanding client service across important industries that drive the global economy. Built on a strong culture of collaboration across 12 offices worldwide, V&E lawyers are committed to excellence, offering clients decades of legal experience in handling transactions, investments, projects and disputes across the globe. Learn more by visiting or follow us on Twitter @VinsonandElkins or connect with us on LinkedIn.

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