Chuck Knauss

Washington, DC Office
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Chuck Knauss is co-head of Katten’s Environmental practice and a member of the firm’s Board of Directors. He is a nationally recognized authority on the Clean Air Act (CAA) and represents companies and trade associations in environmental permitting, rulemaking, litigation, commercial and legislative matters. His clients include large corporations in the manufacturing and energy sectors, including automotive, aerospace, pharmaceutical, chemical, paper, refinery, conventional and renewable power generation and utilities companies. With more than 30 years of experience, including several years as counsel to the US House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce, where he figured prominently in the development of the comprehensive 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments, Chuck is well-suited to address all aspects of the CAA.

He is described as “the best air lawyer in D.C. today” by Chambers USA, which added that he is an “absolutely superb lawyer, top of the list, extraordinarily knowledgeable in clean air issues and extremely intelligent and analytical.”

Chuck maintains a broad practice beyond air quality issues, covering risk assessment and characterization, data quality, sediments remediation and improvements to environmental statutes and regulations generally. He provides strategic advice to achieve negotiated settlements with governmental regulatory and enforcement authorities and other stakeholders. His negotiation approach grounds legal and policy arguments on a sound analysis of technical and engineering facts, coupled with a fair and principled recognition of the core goals of all parties. For example, Chuck obtained a consensus among Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) headquarters, EPA regional officials, state regulators and community groups on plant-wide, 10-year air permits recognized by many as the most innovative ever issued. He settled a New Source Review enforcement action against a utility, and obtained a “no action” enforcement decision for a large industrial facility after enforcement authorities had issued a notice of violation. Chuck is often selected by large ad hoc industry coalitions reflecting diverse interests to coordinate the group and present its views to other stakeholders and EPA.

Chuck founded and is counsel to the Air Permitting Forum, a group of Fortune 100 companies that develops practical and effective advice for all aspects of the permit process, including applications, negotiations, permit terms, certifications, appeals, revisions and remedies. EPA Administrator Michael Leavitt appointed him to serve on the Clean Air Act Advisory Committee (CAAAC), a senior-level policy committee established to advise the agency on issues related to implementing the Act. Chuck also founded the National Sediments Coalition, a public policy advocacy group composed of companies interested in finding and implementing better approaches to addressing contaminated sediments.

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Best Lawyers in America, 2007–2014
Chambers USA, 1996–2013
Super Lawyers, 2008–2013
AV Preeminent Peer Review Rating by LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell, 2013
Legal 500, 2012
Co-author, Managing Your Title V Permit, The Clean Air Act Handbook, American Bar Association, 3rd. ed.
Co-author, Life After Title V Permit Issuance: You've Received Your Permit, Now What Do You Do?, The Clean Air Act Handbook, American Bar Association, 2nd. ed.
Co-author, The Clean Air Act Operating Permit Program: A Handbook for Counsel, Environmental Managers and Plant Managers, American Bar Association
Speaking Engagements
December 1, 2010
"Clean Air: Law Policy and Practice (Title V Permitting)," Washington, DC
October 1, 2010
"Understanding the New Air Pollution Rules," Environmental Law Institutes Fall Practice Seminar, Washington, DC
May 1, 2010
Senior Practitioners Forum on Climate Change Law, Cambridge International Forums, Charlottesville, Virginia
March 1, 2007
Clearing the Air, 36th Annual Conference on Environmental Law, Keystone, Colorado
March 1, 2007
"Shaping a Secure Energy Future," NPRA Annual Meeting, San Antonio, Texas
February 1, 2007
"Understanding the Renewable Fuels Standard Program and What it Means for You," National Ethanol Conference, Tucson, Arizona


  • JD, University of Michigan Law School
  • BA, Brown University

Court Admissions

  • US Supreme Court
  • US Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit
  • US Tax Court
  • US Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit


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