Ronald J. Tenpas
2200 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Suite 500 West
Washington, DC 20037
Ron Tenpas is one of the country’s preeminent environmental litigators. A former Assistant Attorney General (AAG) for the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, Ron represents clients in civil and criminal investigations related to alleged environmental violations, imports and other matters. He also represents companies and trade associations in commenting on proposed regulations and in litigation challenging new regulatory provisions.
In counseling clients, Ron draws upon 12 years of experience in the Justice Department. As AAG, a title he held from 2007 until 2009, he managed a 700-person division that included 400 lawyers. He oversaw civil and criminal litigation arising under more than 150 environmental and natural resources laws.
In addition, as AAG Ron defended the government when the government was sued in connection with its own use of natural resources. Ron also advised Cabinet and White House officials on policy and litigation risks associated with the environmental laws. Under Ron’s watch, the Justice Department secured what was at the time the largest criminal penalty under the Clean Air Act.
Before he was appointed AAG, Ron served as an Associate Deputy Attorney General, as the U.S. Attorney in the Southern District of Illinois, and as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the District of Maryland and the Middle District of Florida. He investigated and tried white-collar matters related to healthcare fraud and public corruption.
A Rhodes Scholar and editor-in-chief of the Virginia Law Review, Ron served as a clerk to Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist of the U.S. Supreme Court.
Ron’s environmental practice has been recognized by Chambers USA. A source quoted by Chambers said Ron has “a unique combination of being a skilled environmental lawyer and being able to clearly communicate to his clients and develop a path forward” (2019).
- University of Virginia School of Law, 1990, J.D.
- University of Oxford, Balliol College, 1987, B.A.
- Michigan State University, 1985, B.A., with high honors
- Assistant Attorney General, U.S. Department of Justice, Environment and Natural Resources Division, Environmental Enforcement Section, 2007 – 2009
- Associate Deputy Attorney General, U.S. Department of Justice, Environment and Natural Resources Division, Environmental Enforcement Section, 2005 – 2007
- United States Attorney, U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Illinois, 2003 – 2005
- Assistant United States Attorney, U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland, 1999 – 2003
- Assistant United States Attorney, U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida, 1997 – 1999
- Judicial clerk to The Honorable Howard Holtzmann, Iran-United States Claims Tribunal – The Hague, Netherlands, 1992 – 1993
- Judicial clerk to The Honorable William H. Rehnquist, Chief Justice, U.S. Supreme Court, 1991 – 1992
- Judicial clerk to The Honorable Judge Louis H. Pollak, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, 1990 – 1991
- Chambers USA, Environment (District of Columbia), 2011–2019
- The Best Lawyers in America© (BL Rankings, LLC), Litigation – Environmental, 2017–2020
- Legal 500 U.S., Environment: Litigation, 2014, 2016, 2019; Corporate Investigations and White-Collar Criminal Defense, 2019; Environment: Regulatory, 2019
- Who’s Who Legal (Law Business Research Ltd.), Environment, 2016
- U.S. Department of Justice, Edmund J. Randolph Award for Outstanding Service, 2009
- Secretary of the Navy, Distinguished Service Award
- Council Member: American Bar Association, Section of Public Utility, Communications and Transportation (PUCAT); Chair: Environment Committee
- Member: American Association of Rhodes Scholars
- District of Columbia; Maryland
- Changes to the Treatment of Agency Guidance — Implications for Regulated Companies and Government ContractorsInsightOctober 21, 2019
V&E Government Contracts Update
- EnvironmentalSeptember 3, 2019
- Rankings & AwardsAugust 15, 2019
- The Legal 500 U.S. 2019 (Legalease, Ltd.) Recognizes V&E in 43 Practice Categories, With 185 Individual Lawyer RecommendationsRankings & AwardsMay 30, 2019
- Rankings & AwardsApril 25, 2019
- Shale & Fracking TrackerOctober 15, 2018
Tenpas Adds Depth to Firm’s National Environmental and White Collar Practices