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Margaret E. Peloso
Margaret E. Peloso
Partner — Environmental & Natural Resources
Partner — Environmental & Natural Resources

Margaret E. Peloso

Margaret E. Peloso
Washington

2200 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Suite 500 West
Washington, DC 20037

New York

The Grace Building
1114 Avenue of the Americas
32nd Floor
New York, NY 10036

Margaret E. Peloso

Margaret’s areas of practice are environmental law and climate change. With respect to climate change, she handles a variety of matters, including advising on climate change risk management, with a particular emphasis on the changing regulatory environment, and climate change adaptation issues. Margaret works on a variety of complex environmental litigation matters, with a particular focus on issues related to expert witnesses and the use of scientific evidence in litigation. She also deals extensively with the notice and comment process on a wide range of federal environmental regulations.

Prior to joining Vinson & Elkins, Margaret completed her Ph.D. in environment at Duke University, where she wrote her doctoral dissertation on legal and policy issues associated with sea-level rise adaptation. Margaret has authored several articles on climate change and environmental law, and presented papers on a variety of climate change topics at academic and industry conferences, as well as before various federal agency groups exploring climate change adaptation.

Experience Highlights

  • Advising client on EPA’s proposed financial assurance requirements for the hard rock mining industry 

  • Advising client on litigation and expert witness strategy related to one of the Nation’s largest Superfund sediment sites 

  • Advising client on EPA’s rulemaking regarding waters of the United States 

  • Prepared legal analyses regarding CERCLA and common law theories of liability for contaminated sediment sites 

  • Advised manufacturer of industrial explosives regarding potential emission control technologies that could be applied to a new ammonia plant, including analysis of the status of its anhydrous ammonia facility under EPA’s GHG permitting guidance and an assessment of the types of GHG controls that could be selected in a PSD permitting process 

  • Prepared legal analysis and materials for negotiations with EPA regarding adjustment of environmental sampling data 

  • Represented industry trade association in a federal district court challenge by national environmental groups to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s decision not to list the dunes sagebrush lizard under the Endangered Species Act 

  • Assisted in the preparation of expert witness, depositions of adverse witnesses, and preparation of Daubert motions in soil contamination case

  • Advising global commodities merchant with respect to the creation of procedures for vetting transactions and managing reporting, and on the creation of renewable fuels obligations and trading mechanisms to realize value of renewable fuels credits 

  • Advised downstream energy company in connection with shareholder resolution to defer the purchase of Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) credits, including guidance on how best to balance obligations under U.S. tax code to maintain status as a MLP while meeting renewable fuels standards 

  • Advising association of U.S. shareholder-owned electric companies regarding EPA’s proposed revisions to the Guideline on Air Quality Modeling 

  • Advise clients on legal issues related to climate change adaptation and flood resilience 

  • Advise client on the potential impacts of proposed existing source performance standards, including the potential energy efficiency or emissions reductions measures that may be required in state implementation plans, on client’s assets across the United States 

  • Advising biomass producer regarding implementation of the Clean Power Plan, including comments on EPA’s model trading rules and advice on potential treatment of biomass as carbon neutral 

  • Advised publicly traded energy and services company on a number of complex issues related to acquisition of electric utility, including the impact of the Clean Power Plan on asset valuation and the risks posed by sea-level rise to coastal power plants 

  • Advised private equity firm through bidding and initial contract negotiations for the purchase of a refinery on the West Coast, including drafting contract provisions to ensure compliance with the Renewable Fuel Standards and state cap-and-trade program 

  • Advised biomass producer in response to environmental non-governmental organization (NGO) report alleging inadequate climate change disclosures 

  • Provided environmental and climate change due diligence on transactional matters for the power and chemical manufacturing industries 

Credentials

  • Duke University, Ph.D., Environment, 2010 (Dissertation: Adapting to Rising Sea Levels)
  • Stanford Law School, J.D. with distinction, 2009 (Editor in Chief, Stanford Journal of Law, Science & Policy; Article Review Board Chair, Stanford Environmental Law Journal)
  • Duke University, Masters of Environmental Management, Environmental Economics and Policy; Coastal Environmental Management, 2006
  • Duke University, B.S., Biology summa cum laude, 2005 (Phi Beta Kappa)
  • Law360, Rising Star, 2019
  • Chambers USA, Climate Change (Nationwide), 2015–2020; Star Associate in Climate Change (Nationwide), 2016 and 2017; Up and Coming in Climate Change (Nationwide), 2018 and 2019; Environment (District of Columbia), 2018-2020; Associate to Watch in Environment (District of Columbia), 2016 and 2017; Up and Coming in Environment (District of Columbia), 2018 and 2019
  • American Bar Association On the Rise – Top 40 Young Lawyer, 2017
  • Selected to the Washington, D.C. Rising Stars list, Super Lawyers (Thomson Reuters), 2019 and 2020
  • Legal 500 U.S., Environment: Litigation, 2019 and 2020; Environment: Regulatory, 2019 and 2020
  • Expert Guides, “Rising Star”  in Environment, 2020
  • American Bar Association
    • Section Council: Section of Environment, Energy and Resources (2017-2020)
    • Chair: Section of Environment, Energy and Resources 46th Spring Conference (2017)
    • Chair: Special Committee on Public Service of the American Bar Association’s Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources
    • Chair: Climate Change Sustainable Development and Ecosystems Committee (2012–2014)
  • Member: Law360 Environmental Editorial Advisory Board (2013-2014)
  • Board Member: Women’s Energy Network, Washington, D.C. Chapter (2014-2016)
  • Member: Women’s Energy Network, National Advisory Council
  • New York
  • District of Columbia
  • Spanish (conversational)
  • “Taming Nature’s Fury: Electric Companies and Extreme Weather Events,” Edison Electric Institute EEI 2019 Conference, June 11, 2019 (panelist)
  • “Navigating the Burgeoning Climate Disclosure Landscape,” Climate Leadership Conference, March 20, 2019 (panelist)
  • “The New Governance: Navigating the Rising ESG Tide,” V&E Houston Office, December 12, 2018 (speaker)
  • “Applications of the Public Trust Doctrine: Part II,” 2018 J.B. & Maurice C. Shapiro Environmental Law Symposium: The Public Trust Doctrine in the 21st Century, March 15, 2018 (panelist)
  • “Legal Considerations for Corporate Climate Scenario Analysis,” March 12, 2018 (speaker)
  • Adapting to Rising Sea Levels: Legal Challenges and Opportunities,Carolina Academic Press, October 2017
  • “Responding Effectively to Environmental Shareholder Activism,” V&E Energy Series, V&E Houston Office, July 11, 2017 (panelist)
  • “How will Brexit impact the energy policy?,” Lexis®PSL Environment, June 26, 2017
  • “New Pressure for Energy Over Environment?,” The National Law Journal, May 3, 2017 (co-author)
  • “Local Government Efforts to Mitigate and Adapt to Climate Change,” Addressing the Challenge of Climate Change: The Role of the Law and Lawyers, Philadelphia, PA, November 16, 2016 (panelist)
  • “Oil and Gas Beware, Regulations Are in the Air,” V&E Environmental Law Update E-communication, November 10, 2016 (co-author)
  • “A New Slew of Oil and Gas Regulations: What You Need to Know,” V&E Environmental Law Update E-communication, May 18, 2016 (co-author)
  • “Pennsylvania Governor Announces Plan for Regulating Methane Emissions from the Oil and Gas Industry,” V&E Environmental Law Update E-communication, January 26, 2016 (co-author)
  • “Year in Review 2015,” ABA Section of Energy Environment, and Resources, May 2016 (panelist)
  • “BLM Wants Royalties for Natural Gas Lost to Venting, Flaring, and Leaks on Federal Land,” V&E Environmental Law Update E-communication, January 26, 2016 (co-author)
  • “The Clean Power Plan,” V&E Energy Series, September 16, 2015 (panelist)
  • “Year in Review 2014,” ABA Section of Energy Environment, and Resources, May 2015 (panelist)
  • “Using the Clean Air Act to Address Ocean Acidification,” in Climate Change Impacts on Coastal and Ocean Law, Randall S. Abate, ed., Oxford University Press, January 28, 2015
  • “The Most Important Current Research Questions in Urban Ecosystem Services,” Duke Environmental Law & Policy Forum, Fall 2014 (contributing author)
  • “The Insurance and Business Implications of Climate Change,” Women’s Bar Association of DC, Washington, D.C., October 22, 2014 (panelist)
  • “Business Challenges in Adapting to Sea Level Rise,” ABA Section of Energy Environment, and Resources 22nd Fall Conference, Miami, Florida, October 9, 2014
  • “Addressing Legal and Policy Implications of Sea Level Rise Adaptation Planning,” 2014 Rising Seas Summit, New York, New York, September 25, 2014 (panelist)
  • “Climate Change Updates,” V&E Energy Industry Series, November 21, 2013 (co-presenter)
  • “Legal Barriers & Bridges to Climate Change Adaptation,” Carbon Management Technology Conference, Alexandria, Virginia, October 23, 2013 (panelist)
  • “Governance Issues Associated with Sea Level Rise Adaptation,” U.S. Global Change Research Program Seminar Series, Washington, D.C., February 7, 2013
  • “Governance Issues Associated with Sea Level Rise Adaptation: An Examination of Federal Disaster Relief and the Case for Multiperil Insurance,” Interagency Climate Change Impacts and Adaptations Forum, Washington, D.C., January 29, 2013
  • “Greenhouse Gas PSD Permitting: The Year in Review,” 42 Texas Environmental Law Journal 3, 2012 (co-author), (cited in Utility Air Group v. EPA, 134 S. Ct. 2427 (2014))
  • “Dynamic Property Rights: The Public Trust Doctrine and Takings in a Changing Climate,” Restore America’s Estuaries 6th National Conference on Coastal and Estuarine Habitat Restoration, Tampa, Florida, October 23, 2014 (panelist)
  • “Moving Beyond Compliance: Using Ecosystem Services to Meet Legal Obligations” Selected “Best Paper” for the American Bar Association 41st Annual Conference on Environmental Law, Salt Lake City, Utah, March 22-24, 2012 (co-author)
  • “Governance Challenges in Adaptation to Sea Level Rise” Carbon Management Technology Conference, Orlando, Florida, February 7–9, 2012
  • “The Potential Effect of Environmental Regulations, Citizen Suits on the Costs of Doing Business in the Arctic: A Comparison of U.S. and Norwegian Approaches,” Oil, Gas & Energy Law Intelligence Special Issue, Volume 10, Issue 2, February 2012 (co-author)
  • “For Now, Durban Platform Is Just A Stepping Stone,”Law360, January 4, 2012 (co-author)
  • “Vulnerability and Governance for Adapting to Sea Level Rise,” Sea Level Rise and Coastal Infrastructure: Prediction, Risks, and Solutions, American Society of Civil Engineers Council on Disaster Risk Management Monograph No. 6, January 2012
  • “The Trouble With Atmospheric Public Trust Claims,” Law360, June 2, 2011 (co-author)
  • “Dynamic Property Rights: The Public Trust Doctrine and Takings in a Changing Climate,” Stanford Environmental Law Journal, Vol. 30 No. 1, February 2011 (co-author)
  • “An Effective Law and Policy Framework for Coastal Adaptation,” presented at the National Council on Science and the Environment’s Our Changing Oceans Conference, Washington, D.C., January 19–21, 2011 (panelist and co-organizer of the session)
  • “Creating Space for Coastal Habitats: Set Backs, Rolling Easements, and Other Legal Tools to Avoid Coastal Squeeze,” Restore America’s Estuaries 5th National Conference on Coastal and Estuarine Habitat Restoration, Galveston, Texas, November 15, 2010 (panelist)
  • “Challenges Plaintiffs Face in Litigating Federal Common Law Climate Change Claims,” Environmental Law Reporter, September 2010 (40 Environmental Law Reporter 10845), (co-author)
  • “Introduction to Legal and Policy Issues Associated with Promoting Coastal Resilience,” Sea Level Rise 2010, Galveston, Texas, March 2010
  • “Towards Best Practices in Biobanking,” Stanford Journal of Law, Science, & Policy, Spring 2009
  •  “Designing Coastal Governance to Promote Resiliency to Climate Change,” Coastal Zone 2009, Boston, Massachusetts, July 23, 2009
  • “National Law & Climate Change Adaptation: A Comparative Analysis with Implications for Response to Sea Level Rise,” poster presentation, IARU Scientific Congress: Climate Change, Global Risks, Challenges and Decisions, Copenhagen, Denmark, March 2009 (co-author)
  • “The Need to Mainstream Climate Change Adaptation Funding,” poster presentation, IARU Scientific Congress: Climate Change: Global Risks, Challenges, and Decisions, Copenhagen, Denmark, March 2009
  • “The Need to Bring Climate Adaption into the Mainstream of Development Assistance,” 16th Ph.D. Workshop on International Climate Policy, Mannheim, Germany, May 2, 2008
  • “The Creation of a Regulatory Regime for Offshore Wind Energy in the United States,” Master’s Thesis, Spring 2006