President Barack Obama moved to fill a key job at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, nominating Avi Garbow to serve as general counsel.
Garabow, who has been deputy general counsel since 2009, previously spent five years at Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll, where he was a partner. Before that, he was a junior partner at Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr, where he worked from 2002 to 2005.
If confirmed, Garabow would fill the spot vacated when Scott Fulton stepped down in January to become a visiting scholar at the Environmental Law Institute before joining Beveridge & Diamond as a partner in late March.
Brenda Mallory has been as acting general counsel in the interim. She was a partner at Beveridge & Diamond before she joined the EPA in 2005.
Garabow earned his law degree from the University of Virginia School of Law. From 1992 to 1995, he was an attorney and special assistant to the assistant administrator for enforcement and compliance assurance at the EPA. From there, he joined the Department of Justice as a trial attorney, working in the Environmental Crimes and Wildlife and Marine Resources Sections.
Gina McCarthy has been nominated to head the EPA, but her nomination has stalled in the Senate. One issue Republicans have seized on is the agency’s so-called “sue and settle” agreements.
“These settlement agreements are often accomplished in a closed door fashion that contravenes the Executive Branch's solemn obligation to defend the law, avoids transparency and accountability, excludes impacted parties, and often results in the federal government paying the legal bills of these special interest groups at taxpayer expense,” David Vitter (R – La.) and Jeff Sessions (R – Ala.) wrote to McCarthy on April 1. Vitter is the top Republican on the Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works.