2012 Legal Elite Profile: LEGISLATIVE/REGULATORY/ADMINISTRATIVE
- November 29, 2012
DAVID B. GRAHAM
Kaufman & Canoles
Other legal specialties: Environmental litigation
Birthplace: Wildwood, N.J.
Education: Louisiana State University, bachelor’s degree in petroleum engineering; LSU Law Center, law degree
Children: Owen, 36; Mary, 33
Hobbies: Physical fitness, running, literature
First job as a lawyer: Defense counsel, U.S. Army
Fan of: Philadelphia Eagles
Favorite vacation spot: Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
Recently read book: “Guns, Germs and Steel” by Jared Diamond
Career mentor: The Hon. Richard D. Cudahy, 7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Have EPA regulations become too stringent in some industries?
“Without a doubt, this administration seems intent on eliminating coal as one of the nation’s energy sources.”
What was your most memorable environmental case?
“In 1990, I received a phone call on what turned out to be the most significant and interesting matter of my career. An ongoing release of petroleum-based materials was discovered from the Star Enterprise/Texaco tank farm in Fairfax, Va. The plume of contaminants was entering the groundwater under commercial properties and homeowners in a nearby neighborhood. Working with an in-house team of Texaco attorneys, I and my colleagues at Kaye Scholar began addressing remediation of the contamination while engaging in multiple negotiations with U.S. EPA, Virginia DEQ and the City of Fairfax. In the midst of these, the contamination plume forced evacuation of several homes and the situation was featured on CBS News and the subject of congressional hearings. Shortly thereafter, the homeowners filed a personal injury/property damage suit. The matter continued over the next 10 years.”
Can environmentalists and industry find common ground in protecting the environment without hurting economic growth?
“When I was at U.S. EPA in the 1970s, I thought the answer was yes. Having represented industry for the last 25 years, I recognize that I am not unbiased, but, that said, for some environmentalists, there is little in the way of a middle ground regarding issues involving the environment as, for example, efforts to end coal as an energy source, prevent offshore drilling and kill the Keystone Pipeline illustrate. This attitude has been particularly evident over the last four years as those views are reflected by the current administration.”