Brooks Smith is an environmental and natural resources partner at Troutman Sanders. He is deeply involved in matters arising under the Clean Water Act, including national rulemakings, policies and litigation, state permit proceedings and appeals, complex civil and criminal investigations, enforcement actions, and citizen lawsuits. Brooks has handled scores of TMDL proceedings around the country, as well as administrative and judicial appeals of TMDLs and TMDL-based permits. Brooks has also helped to develop and implement market-based approaches to water quality restoration, including an interstate trading program for the Ohio River Basin and trading/offset initiatives within the Chesapeake Bay and Long Island Sound. In addition to his water work, Brooks regularly counsels clients on internal compliance and assurance programs. He has helped to develop and implement these programs for a range of different industries. He has also participated in hundreds of audits, and helped clients to respond to audit findings, including agency self-disclosures where appropriate.
In his day-to-day work, Brooks represents a diverse array of clients, including national and regional trade groups, ad hoc coalitions, electric utilities, coal companies, manufacturers, water and wastewater authorities, developers and farmers.
Brooks is also focused on executing firm strategic initiatives focused on environmental markets, sustainability, coal, energy, water, and compliance assurance.
Brooks has written and spoken extensively on developments arising under the Clean Water Act and other environmental laws. In addition, he has chaired several national conferences and given more than 50 presentations to audiences across the United States and Canada.
- Defended regulated parties in criminal and civil investigations, administrative enforcement proceedings and civil lawsuits arising under federal and state environmental laws.
- Advised corporate clients on environmental management systems, internal audit programs and corporate social responsibility.
- Assisted in the voluntary detection, prevention and correction of thousands of environmental issues arising under all major air, water and waste programs.
- Led national and state discharger coalitions in rulemakings and appeals arising under the Clean Water Act and related state laws.
- Represented dischargers in NPDES and other Clean Water Act permit proceedings and appeals involving complex factual and legal issues, such as TMDL-based permit limits, narrative water quality standards, wetlands and stormwater.
- Obtained critical path environmental permits for new projects involving power plants, coal mines, manufacturing facilities, water and wastewater plants, and all types of land development.
- Counseled clients involved in site remediation, including sites with intersecting air, water and waste obligations.
Presentations and Speaking Engagements
- Speaker, Annual Professional Engineers in Mining Seminar, Virginia Coal and Energy Alliance, Inc., March 30, 2017, Lebanon, Virginia.
- Panelist, 2016 Ward Kershaw Symposium "Halftime for the Chesapeake Bay TMDL”, the Center for Progressive Reform and the Environmental Law Program at the University of Maryland Carey School of Law, November 9, 2016.
- Speaker, “In the Cross Hairs – Toxic Tort in Latin America,” NewFields Legal Challenges to Business in Latin America Series, Online, June 23, 2015.
- Speaker, “Next Generation Compliance (NextGen)”, Edison Electric Institute Water Executive Advisory Committee Meeting, New Orleans, LA, June 9, 2015.
- Speaker, “Trends in Citizen Enforcement Against Electric Utilities”, Edison Electric Institute Water Resources Subcommittee Meeting, New Orleans, LA, June 8, 2015.
- Speaker, “Business Trends Driving Sustainability”, Virginia Chamber of Commerce Energy & Sustainability Conference, Richmond, VA, April 14, 2015.
- Speaker, “Environmental Permitting for Natural Gas Pipelines,” Energy and Mineral Law Foundation Understanding Appalachian Basin Midstream Assets Special Institute, Canonsburg, PA, April 20, 2015.
- Panelist, “The Chesapeake Bay TMDL Litigation,” What’s In Your Water? A Discussion of Threats to Virginia’s Water Quality, Presented by William & Mary School of Law’s Environmental Law and Policy Review Virginia Coastal Policy Clinic, Williamsburg, VA, April 29, 2014.
- Speaker, “2015 Environmental Regulatory and Litigation Update,” Virginia Coal & Energy Alliance Professional Engineers in Mining Seminar, Abingdon, VA, March 3, 2015.
- Speaker, “Upcoming Water and Wastewater Regulatory Challenges; Key Considerations,” Virginia Water Environment Association Annual Industrial Waste and Pretreatment Seminar, Charlottesville, VA, March 2-3, 2015.
- Speaker, “Moving Toward Risk-based EHS Compliance Auditing”, The Auditing Roundtable Winter National Meeting, Phoenix, AZ, February 23-24, 2015.
- Panelist, “A Model for Success? The Water Quality Credits Market”, Conservation Finance Workshop, Credit Suisse, New York, NY, January 23, 2015.
- Panelist, “Achieving Water Quality in the Chesapeake Bay: Lessons for the Nation”, Association of American Law Schools Annual Meeting, Annapolis, MD, January 5, 2015.
- Speaker, “Enhanced Data Analytics and Technology: What Does It Mean for Business?”, Global Environmental Management Initiative Senior Advisory Council Meeting, “The Business of Sustainability – Strategic Solutions Now!”, Arlington, VA, November 18-19, 2014.
- Speaker, “The Next Frontier: Water Quality Trading and Mitigation Banking,” The American Law Institute Continuing Legal Education Clean Water Act Law and Regulation Conference, Washington D.C., November 17-18, 2014.
- Presenter, “ Water Trading: New and Emerging Opportunities to Improve Water Quality at Reduced Costs,” Bloomberg BNA Webinar, November 13, 2014.
- Speaker, “Boss in the Slammer: What You Need to Know About Compliance (and Why Auditing Really Matters)”, The Auditing Roundtable National Meeting, Charlotte, NC, September 16, 2014.
- Panelist, “Implementing the Clean Water Act’s Antidegradation Policy”, presented by the American Bar Association Section of Environment, Energy and Resources, August 6, 2014.
- Speaker, “Beyond Stormwater Runoff: Tips to Manage Process and Wash Water”, Associated General Contractors of America Environmental Conference, Arlington, VA, June 12-13, 2014.
- Speaker, Clean Rivers, Clean Lake Conference, May 1, 2014.
- Panelist, “Chaos, Disruption and Opportunity”, Commonwealth Land’s 5th Annual Virginia Land Forum, Richmond, VA, April 29, 2014.
- Panelist, “The Northwest Experience with Water Quality Trading for Compliance”, U.S. Water Alliance, Washington D.C., April 8, 2014.
- Speaker, "Gaining Ground: The Power, Potential and Occasional Perils of Water Quality Trading," NACWA (National Association of Clean Water Agencies) – CWA Jurisdiction, Water Quality Trading, March 19, 2014.
- Speaker, “2014 Environmental Regulatory and Litigation Update,” Virginia Coal & Energy Alliance Professional Engineers in Mining Seminar, March 5, 2014.
- Speaker, Virginia Professional Engineers in Mining Seminar, March 5, 2014.
- Speaker, “Upcoming Water & Wastewater Regulatory Challenges; Key Consideration,” VWEA (Virginia Water Environment Association) – 2014 Industrial Waste and Pretreatment Seminar, March 3-4, 2014.
- Speaker, Virginia Water Environment Association Industrial Conference, March 3, 2014.
- Panelist, “Quantified Conservation and Water Quality Trading for Compliance,” The Freshwater Trust, Portland, Oregon, February 28, 2014.
- Panelist, “The State of the Environment in the Chesapeake Bay”, The American University Washington College of Law, Washington D.C., February 4, 2014.
- Speaker, National Clean Water Law Seminar, November 2013.
- Speaker, Fall 2013 Environmental Conference, MD-DC Utilities Association, October 2013.
- Speaker, National Network For Consistency and Integrity in Water Quality Trading, October 2013.
- Speaker, “Water Sustainability in a Changing Climate,” One Water Leadership Summit, September 2013.
- Speaker, National Water Quality Trading Roundtable, July 18, 2013.
- Speaker, Coal Company Internal Environmental Conference, April 17, 2013.
- Speaker, 2013 Environmental Considerations in Energy Production Symposium, April 17, 2013.
- Speaker, Virginia Military Institute Environment Virginia Symposium, April 11, 2013.
- Speaker, VWEA Industrial Waste and Pretreatment Seminar, March 5, 2013.
- Speaker, NACWA, Developments in Clean Water Law Conference, November 15, 2012.
- Quoted, "Water Quality Trading Needs Restrictions, Group Says in Lawsuit," Bloomberg BNA, February 14, 2017.
- Quoted, "Can Trump deliver on immense energy, climate promises?" Greenwire, November 14, 2016.
- Quoted, "Will Trump target estuary's 'pollution diet'? Greenwire, November 11, 2016.
- Author, “The Case for Water Quality Trading,” National Water Quality Trading Alliance, July 27, 2016.
- Author, "Multidistrict Transfer and Consolidation – WOTUS Cases,” American Bar Association’s Natural Resources & Environment Journal, Spring 2016.
- Quoted, “Infrared Camera Use Growing in Oil and Gas Sector,” Bloomberg BNA, March 30, 2016.
- Quoted, “Clash Over Mining Rules Ahead,” Bloomberg BNA, Online, January 12, 2016.
- Mention, “Environmental Cases to Watch in 2016,” Law360, December 24, 2015.
- Mentioned, “Discharge Permit Renewal Makes Appeal Moot,” Bloomberg BNA, December 15, 2015.
- Mentioned, “War Over ‘Waters of the U.S.’ Rule,” Law360, October 13, 2015.
- Quoted, “Red River Coal Co. Scores Win In Virginia CWA Suit”, Law360, April 14, 2014.
- Mentioned, “Federal Court Defers to Va. Agency, Rules Coal Company Didn’t Violate NPDES Permit,” Bloomberg BNA, April 14, 2015.
- Co-author, “The Clean Water Act Permit Shield—Recent Battles” 29 ABA Natural Resources & Environment 15 (2015)
- Quoted, “EPA Says State, Not Federal, Rules Needed to Encourage Water Trading”, Inside Washington Publishers, December 15, 2014.
- Quoted, “Attorneys Say Determining Trading Baseline for Water From Nonpoint Sources Is Difficult”, Commonwealth BNA Daily Environment Report, November 19, 2014.
- Quoted, “Three States Should Lose Primary Authority Over Pollutant Discharges, Petitioners Say”, Bloomberg BNA Water Law & Policy Monitor, September 3, 2014.
- Quoted, “Fourth Circuit Holds Virginia Coal Company Liable for Unpermitted Selenium Discharges,” BNA Snapshot, July 14, 2014.
- Quoted, “Regulations’ impact on electric rates is unclear,” Richmond Times Dispatch, June 3, 2014.
- Quoted, “Permits,” Bloomberg Law Water Law & Policy Monitor, May 14, 2014.
- Quoted, “Water quality experts convene to discuss challenges and opportunities to fix rivers faster,” The Freshwater Trust, May 29, 2014.
- Quoted, “EPA to Require Best Management Practices to Curb Erosion at Construction Sites,” Bloomberg BNA Environmental Due Diligence Guide Report, March 20, 2014.
- Quoted, “EPA Defers Stormwater Rulemaking in Lieu of Incentives for Communities”, Bloomberg BNA Water Law & Policy Monitor, March 19, 2014.
- Co-author, “Environmental Compliance and Commitment From the Top,” Corporate Counsel, March 17, 2014.
- Quoted, “New Alliance Aims to ‘Champion’ Water Quality Trading,” InsideEPA.com’s Daily Briefing, February 19, 2014.
- Quoted, “New Alliance Aims to Serve As ‘Champion’ for Water Quality Trading,” Bloomberg BNA Water Law & Policy Monitor, February 10, 2014.
- Quoted, “Alliance Urges EPA to Explicitly Authorize Trading to Meet Water Quality Objectives,” Bloomberg BNA Water Law & Policy Monitor, January 22, 2014.
- Quoted, “Omnibus Funding Bill Would Increase EPA Spending from Post-Sequester Levels,” Bloomberg BNA Water Law & Policy Monitor, January 22, 2014.
- Quoted, “Coal Company Says Permit Shield Defense Should Bar Suits Over Selenium Discharges,” Bloomberg BNA Environment Reporter, January 2, 2014.
- Quoted, “Attorneys Say Bay Restoration Plan Could Serve As Model for Other Watersheds,” Bloomberg BNA Water Law & Policy Monitor, November 27, 2013.
- Co-author, “The truth about mercury TMDLs,” Trends, ABA Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources Newsletter, Vol. 44 No. 3, January/February 2013.
- Author, “Should ‘Daily’ Really Mean ‘Daily’ in TMDL?,” Water Environment Laboratory Solutions, October 1, 2007.
- Author, “UAAs and the Standards-Setting Process,” ASABE Fourth Conference on Watershed Management to Meet Water Quality Standards and TMDLs, March 2007.
Professional and Community Involvement
- Board Member, Art on Wheels
- Member, Legal Affairs Committee, Association of Clean Water Administrators
- Co-Chair, Legislative/Regulatory Committee, Auditing Roundtable
- Co-Founder, Capital Region Land Conservancy
- Trustee, Energy & Mineral Law Foundation
- Member, Falls of the James Scenic River Advisory Committee
- Past Chair, Richmond Business Council, Greater Richmond Chamber of Commerce
- Member, Executive Committee, Law Practice Management
- Board Member, Maymont Foundation
- Legal Affiliate, National Association of Clean Water Agencies
- Member, National Mining Association
- Former Board Member, Podium Foundation
- Past Chair, Richmond CultureWorks
- Past Chair, Richmond Public Library Foundation
- Board Member, Richmond Valentine Museum
- Member, Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation
- Member, Business Advisory Council, U.S. Water Alliance
- Chair, VCU Rice Center for Environmental Life Sciences
- Immediate Past Chair, Administrative Law Section, Virginia Bar Association
- Division, Virginia Bar Association
- Past Chair, Environmental Law Section, Virginia Bar Association
- Member, Administrative Law Advisory Committee, Virginia Code Commission
- Treasurer, Virginia Forever
- Trustee, Virginia Land Conservation Foundation
- Past Chair, Environmental Law Section, Virginia State Bar
- Chair, Storm Water Task Force, Water Environment Federation
- Board Member, Willow Oaks
Rankings and Recognition
- Team Member of 2015 U.S. Water Prize Awarded to Electric Power Research Institute, Ohio River Basin Project, 2015.
- Named among inaugural list of "50 Energy & Environment Trailblazers," National Law Journal, 2015.
- Named a 2015 “Virginia Leader in the Law,” Virginia Lawyers Weekly, 2015.
- The International Who's Who of Environment Lawyers, 2013, 2014, 2015.
- The International Who's Who of Business Lawyers, 2013.
- Leader in the Field, Environmental Law, Virginia, Chambers USA: Guide to America's Leading Lawyers for Business, 2005-Present ("Band 1").
- Recognized by Best Lawyers in America®: Environmental Law Richmond Lawyer of the Year, 2017.
- Recognized by Best Lawyers in America®: Administrative/Regulatory Law Richmond Lawyer of the Year, 2016.
- Recognized by Best Lawyers in America®: Water Law Richmond Lawyer of the Year, 2015.
- Selected for inclusion as a “Best Lawyer," Environmental Law, The Best Lawyers in America, 2015-present.
- Selected for inclusion as a “Best Lawyer," Water Law, The Best Lawyers in America, 2008-Present.
- Selected for inclusion as a “Best Lawyer," Administrative/Regulatory Law, The Best Lawyers in America, 2012-Present.
- Selected for inclusion as a "Super Lawyer," Environmental Law, Virginia Super Lawyers magazine, 2006-Present.
- Named among "Virginia's Legal Elite," Virginia Business magazine, 2004-Present.
- Selected for inclusion in the "Top 40 Under Forty," Richmond magazine, 2008.
- Richmond Water Law Lawyer of the Year, Best Lawyers, 2012.
- Partner, Troutman Sanders LLP
- Environmental Practice Co-Chair and Partner, Hunton & Williams
- Vermont Law School, J.D., cum laude, 1996
- University of Richmond, B.A., 1992
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia
U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia
U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia