Matthew Leopold


Hunton Andrews Kurth

Matthew Leopold


Hunton Andrews Kurth

Matt advises and defends Hunton Andrews Kurth clients across industries with the strategic insights as former General Counsel for the US Environmental Protection Agency, former General Counsel for the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and a former environmental litigator at the US Department of Justice.

Matt provides his clients with in-depth experience and knowledge respecting the pivotal recent changes in environmental regulation. As EPA General Counsel, he counseled on the development and defense of virtually every significant regulation proposed by EPA since 2017 and was personally involved in the highest profile environmental cases during that time, including two precedent setting environmental cases in the Supreme Court, County of Maui v. Hawaii Wildlife Fund and Atlantic Richfield Co. v. Christian. At EPA, Matt helped draft the Affordable Clean Energy Rule (the repeal and replacement of the Clean Power Plan) and the Navigable Waters Protection Rule (the new definition of the Waters of the United States (WOTUS)), the Clean Water Act Section 401 Certification Rule, the Safe Affordable Fuel-Efficient (SAFE) Vehicles Rule (regulating tailpipe emissions from passenger cars and light duty trucks), and other rulemakings. Additionally, Matt served as the chief attorney at the Florida Department Environmental Protection advising on state policy and regulatory matters in regard to air, water, waste and public lands for the Department Secretary and the Governor’s Office. In light of this experience, Matt is able to provide deep insight into the regulatory processes of federal and state agencies in advising clients in permitting, compliance, and enforcement defense matters.

Matt has experience in an wide array of major federal environmental statutes, including the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, the Superfund Law (CERCLA), the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), and the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), as well the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the Endangered Species Act (ESA). In the chemical regulation space, he assisted in implementing the new the Toxic Substances Control Act framework, working on the first set of chemical risk evaluations required under the new statute, and he counseled on major pesticide registration decisions, litigation and ESA consultations under FIFRA. Matt also assisted on EPA’s Recent PFAS Action Plan, to chart a course on regulatory actions to address issues with respect to manufacturing, cleanup, and drinking water protection.

Matt also has significant experience as a litigator for the government and in the private sector, with particular knowledge in developing expert testimony. At the Department of Justice, he was a member of the trial team for the largest Clean Water Act civil enforcement action in US history. In state government, he led the first enforcement action related to hydraulically fractured oil and gas extraction in the southwest Florida region and successfully argued an appeal in the 11th Circuit in the long running Everglades case. In private practice, he represented the State of Florida, in a water rights dispute with the State of Georgia before the US Supreme Court, resulting a month long trial before a court appointed special master. Matt presented and examined expert witnesses, including developing testimony on the potential sea level rise impacts of climate change. He also successfully represented an industry leading chemical company in litigation over a Clean Water Act Total Maximum Daily Load in an interstate water body.

Based on his experience in both public service and private practice, Matt is particularly well versed in the legal ramifications and the changing climate of environmental regulations affecting the oil & gas, mining, chemical, and renewable energy industries.

Matt is admitted to practice before the Supreme Court of the United States.

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Deep Dive Episode 240 – Courthouse Steps Oral Argument: Sackett v. Environmental Protection Agency

October 21, 2022

In this podcast, experts discuss the potential implications of Sackett v. EPA for defining “waters of the United States.”

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Courthouse Steps Oral Argument: Sackett v. Environmental Protection Agency

October 6, 2022

In this webinar, a panel of experts discuss the oral argument of Sackett v. EPA and the opportunity before the Supreme Court of the United States to determine the confines of “waters of the United States.”

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Deep Dive Episode 55 – Regulatory Reform Report Card: Agency General Counsel Perspective

May 28, 2019

In this episode, General Counsels from a number of federal agencies take stock of the current administration’s regulatory reform agenda two years on.

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