Peter Wright

Peter Wright Attorney Environmental Law Barnes and Thornburg Washington DC
Organization Profile
Professional Biography

Peter Wright leverages his experience as a former senior regulator and in-house environmental health and safety managing counsel to offer a unique and well-rounded perspective that helps his clients resolve complicated issues related to remediation, PFAS regulatory matters, corporate environmental and social governance (ESG) practices, and the environmental aspects of transactions.

In times when companies are facing increased environmental challenges and opportunities due to increased focus from regulators, stakeholders and the public on environmental issues, Peter helps clients address the push for greater corporate disclosure. He offers public and private entities an innovative and pragmatic approach to regulatory counseling and enforcement defense on a range of environmental matters under state and federal programs and international standards.

A trusted environmental outside counsel, Peter’s perspective from his time at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) combined with his nearly 28 years in-house with two heavily regulated chemical manufacturers allows him to create successful outcomes for his clients. 

Peter has successfully managed portfolios with hundreds of Superfund sites throughout his career. He has been at the forefront of addressing PFAS contamination, including working on EPA’s groundwater cleanup guidance under CERCLA and RCRA, the disposal options for PFAS, and consideration of options for tackling PFAS as a hazardous substance and hazardous waste. He is skilled at guiding clients through those processes, and understands important 21st century domestic environmental and economic needs – climate change, environmental justice, and the green economy, along with associated challenges to improving recycling infrastructure and developing the domestic sourcing of critical minerals.  

As the assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Land and Emergency Management, Peter led the team responsible for oversight and implementation of CERCLA, RCRA, Brownfields, underground storage tanks (UST), and emergency response regulations and actions, as well as related risk management planning. He and his team worked to accelerate the pace and accountability for Superfund, RCRA and UST cleanups. Peter also conceived of and started the EPA’s Office of Mountains, Deserts and Plains, and led efforts to dramatically improve recycling that culminated in EPA’s issuance of a bold recycling goal of 50 percent by 2030. 

Previously, Peter served as managing counsel of a large chemical company and was tasked with resolving long-term and highly controversial environmental issues and matters through compliance counseling, enforcement defense and auditing for RCRA, CERCLA, Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, and Toxic Substances Control Act compliance, along with corporate disclosures and sustainability. He also served as principal environmental lawyer in the sale and acquisition of globally situated businesses and manufacturing sites associated with billions of dollars of transformative transactions. He was also an environmental attorney in private practice.

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