Professionals / Richard S. Davis
Richard S. Davis
1350 I Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20005-3311
Bar Admissions & Memberships
Richard S. Davis has practiced almost exclusively under the federal Clean Water Act and its state analogues since he joined Beveridge & Diamond, P.C. in 1981. Chairing or co-chairing the firm’s Clean Water Practice Group for more than 15 years, Mr. Davis helps to direct one of the most innovative and dynamic clean water practices in the United States. His individual practice includes active representation of major clean water agencies on issues including permitting, TMDLs, CSO and other enforcement defense, and regulatory planning to take advantage of innovations such as water quality trading and EPA’s Green Infrastructure initiative. Mr. Davis also represents individual industrial dischargers as well as industry groups, including groups representing the nation’s airlines and manufacturers of recreational vessels. As state and federal regulatory programs continue to reach out to address these and other industries in novel and provocative ways, his practice will continue to present opportunities to shape regulatory programs to meet the needs of important public and private enterprises.
Accomplishments of which he is particularly proud include his ongoing representation of a coastal Florida community whose incomparable natural resources were threatened by massive releases of contaminated water from Lake Okeechobee. Working firmly but cooperatively with the Corps of Engineers and other stakeholders, Mr. Davis has given his client a voice in directing those releases, and has successfully reduced the likelihood of damaging future releases by supporting a program of controlled draw-downs that are biologically sound.
In another notable case, Mr. Davis was successful in his effort to re-write an existing federal consent decree so that a struggling New England community could reduce the size and cost of a decree-mandated wastewater treatment plant by roughly half; re-site the plant from the center of town to the site of a military facility that was in the process of being abandoned; and extend the project schedule so that newly-available reduced- and zero-interest loans could finance the majority of the project’s remaining costs.
One final recent achievement was Mr. Davis’ successful representation of the recreational boating industry when it faced the prospect of having its sales decimated by a federal court decision that for the first time would have required all private boat owners to obtain federal discharge permits. Employing a strategy that included protective litigation, constructive engagement with EPA at the regulatory level and a legislative component, Mr. Davis helped to lead an effort that culminated in the passage of the federal Clean Boating Act of 2008. The Act protected recreational vessels from permitting under an NPDES program better suited to address industrial dischargers and instead placed recreational boating under the control of a joint EPA/Coast Guard program modeled on the successful program that regulates discharges from U.S. Navy vessels.
Mr. Davis clerked for the Honorable H. Emory Widener, Jr., U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, from 1980 to 1981. He has authored numerous articles on subjects of interest under the federal Clean Water Act. He was the principal author of M. Bender’s Environmental Law Practice Guide on water pollution, and authored and continues to edit the storm water chapter of the ABA’s publication, Environmental Aspects of Real Estate and Commercial Transactions. He has also been a Professorial Lecturer at Columbus School of Law, Catholic University of America.
Mr. Davis received his J.D. from Catholic University Columbus School of Law and his B.A. from Syracuse University.