NEPA Updates during the Biden Transition with Fred Wagner
Play • 45 min

Welcome back to Environmental Professionals Radio, Connecting the Environmental Professionals Community Through Conversation, with your hosts Laura Thorne and Nic Frederick!

On today’s episode, we talk with Fred Wager, partner with Venable, LLP. Fred is an environmental and natural resources attorney. His practice focuses on environmental and natural resources issues associated with major infrastructure, mining and energy project development. Read his full bio below.

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0:35 - NAEP Member Shoutouts (submit yours on the website - NOW!)
2:05 - Nic and Laura delve into their past for early-career mistakes
5:50 - Interview with Fred starts
15:10 - Fred's funny field story
18:50 - Fred talks NEPA changes during the Biden transition
26:54 - We discuss the September 2020 Final Rule

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Connect with Fred Wagner at

Guest Full Bio
Fred helps clients manage and then defend in court environmental reviews performed under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) or equivalent state statutes. He works with public agencies and private developers to secure permits and approvals from federal and state regulators under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act (CWA), the Endangered Species Act (ESA), and the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA). Fred is familiar with the full range of issues surrounding USDOT surface transportation programs, including grant management, procurement, suspension and debarment, and safety regulations. During his career, Fred has handled a wide variety of environmental litigation in federal trial and appellate courts across the country, from citizen suits, to government enforcement actions, to Administration Procedure Act (APA) challenges.

Fred was appointed Chief Counsel of the U.S. Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) during the Obama administration. He managed all legal matters involving the $40 billion Federal-Aid Highway program, including environmental and natural resources issues for highway and multimodal transportation projects. Among other high-profile projects, he oversaw the agency’s defense of the following:  New York's Tappan Zee Bridge, San Francisco's Presidio Parkway, Chicago's Elgin-O'Hare Expressway, Kentucky and Indiana's Ohio River Bridges, North Carolina's Bonner Bridge, Alabama's Birmingham Northern Beltline, Wisconsin's Zoo Interchange, and Washington's State Road 520 Bridge. He represented the FHWA on government-wide Transportation Rapid Response Team, a multi-agency task force focused on improving project delivery and environmental review reforms.

Fred began his career as a trial attorney in the Environment Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. He also served as a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Misdemeanor Trial Section of the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia. Prior to joining Venable, he spent more than 20 years in private practice at a national law firm focusing on environmental and natural resources issues.
Music Credits
Intro: Givin Me Eyes by Grace Mesa
Outro: Never Ending Soul Groove by Mattijs Mul

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