Erik’s practice centers on providing effective legal advocacy and advice on environmental, workplace, and product regulations, laws, and litigation involving chemicals, hazardous waste, product stewardship, transportation of articles, endangered species, air emissions, discharges to water, and pesticides. Erik is known and acclaimed for his savvy at creating successful advocacy strategies and submissions for desired regulatory outcomes, his litigation instincts and talent for presenting highly persuasive arguments to the courts, his deep understanding of not only the regulations but also the regulators, his endless efforts to generate value for clients while working efficiently and effectively, and his ability to translate his strong interpersonal skills to work constructively with regulators and legislators of all affiliations.
Erik employs his expertise in environment and safety laws—including the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), the Clean Air Act (CAA), the Clean Water Act (CWA), the Endangered Species Act (ESA), the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act), and the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA)—to represent clients on matters involving regulations, litigation, enforcement, and compliance.
Erik is the former Deputy Assistant Administrator in the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention and the former Senior Deputy General Counsel in the Office of General Counsel at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). With senior leadership experience in both program and legal offices at EPA, Erik possesses unparalleled insight into which arguments are persuasive to key decision-makers, what offices within EPA have equities in certain rulemakings and adjudications, and how to leverage other parts of the government to achieve success.
While serving in EPA leadership, Erik implemented groundbreaking TSCA rulemakings and policies, reformed EPA’s new chemical review process, directed EPA’s litigation, worked on regulations for greenhouse gas emissions from stationary and mobile sources, advised EPA leadership on biofuels policy, helped craft EPA’s Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) Action Plan, served on the White House’s Endangered Species Act Interagency Working Group, supervised the agency’s decisions under FIFRA, and led EPA’s responses to a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee investigation.
Recognized as a leader in his field, Erik is frequently asked to speak at conferences, meetings, and programs about recent and upcoming developments in environmental laws, regulations, litigation, enforcement, and policies. These speaking engagements have included events hosted by The Wall Street Journal, the American Bar Association, and Chemical Watch.
As a son of immigrants, Erik has dedicated significant time to ensure that the American Dream is realized by all. His pro bono work includes fighting for a minor to obtain asylum, representing the best interests of a child in court proceedings and protecting the integrity of the guardian ad litem program, securing lifetime disability benefits for a client, and advocating for a student with special needs before the U.S. Supreme Court. Erik has also volunteered his time to promote the common good, including teaching English as a Second Language, speaking out against gun violence in public schools, and building affordable homes for those in need.
- Representing and advocating on behalf of manufacturers and trade associations in response to EPA’s TSCA risk evaluation of a critical chemical.
- Litigating on behalf of numerous trade associations to challenge EPA’s regulation under TSCA that sought to prohibit a widely used chemical within 60 days.
- Defending client in significant, contested multi-party CERCLA litigation involving electronics recycling.
- Representing and advising client on widespread chemical substance for which EPA is conducting a TSCA risk evaluation.
- Representing and advising client on CWA discharge issue.
- Represents manufacturers, retailers, and environmental stewardship organizations in regulatory, enforcement, and legislative matters at the federal, state, and local levels relating to recycling, pollution regulation, transportation safety, occupational health, and product stewardship, with a focus on batteries, electronic devices, electrical components, automobiles, aviation, and appliances.
- Drafts comments, letters, and other documents in response to EPA’s proposed rules and regulations under TSCA and the CAA.
- Represents clients from the scientific assessment phase through the final rulemaking process on matters relating to TSCA and the CAA.
- Successfully defended multiple clients who were subject to investigations by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for alleged violations of FAA’s regulations.
- Advises and advocates on behalf of clients on rules and regulations proposed and implemented by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), including the Hazard Communication Standard and the General Duty Clause.
- Successfully defended global manufacturer of heavy equipment in a billion-dollar class action lawsuit, including multiple appeals.
- Defended international trading company in U.S. Department of Justice investigation into alleged False Claims Act violations.
- Defended large pharmaceutical company in nationwide U.S. Department of Justice investigation into alleged False Claims act violations.
- Drafted and submitted amicus brief on behalf of numerous trade associations in support of EPA’s TSCA Dust-Lead Hazard Standards.
- Advises clients on TSCA enforcement and compliance questions.
- Advises clients on EPA’s TSCA risk evaluations, rulemakings, and new chemical review process.
- Assists clients on compliance matters under FIFRA and the ESA in accordance with legal requirements and court orders.
- Provides legal counsel and technical support to clients on EPA’s Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) Program and California’s Low-Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS).
- Counsels clients on regulations relating to fuels, motor vehicles, and motor vehicle engines.
- Experienced in advising senior Administration officials on regulations for greenhouse gas emissions from stationary and mobile sources.
- Deputy Assistant Administrator for Law and Policy, Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention (OCSPP), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) (2018-2019)
- Senior Deputy General Counsel, Office of General Counsel, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) (2017-2018)
- Senior Counsel, The American Petroleum Institute (API) (2011-2017)
- Attorney-Advisor, Office of Enforcement, Division of Investigations, The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) (2009-2011)
- Associate, Trial Department, Private Global Law Firm (2004-2009)
- Judicial Extern, The Honorable Ricardo M. Urbina, U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia (2002-2003)
- Judicial Intern, The Honorable Eric T. Washington, D.C. Court of Appeals (2002)
- Named to Law360’s Environmental Editorial Advisory Board (2020, 2021)
J.D., The George Washington University Law School
B.A., Vanderbilt University
Member, The George Washington International Law Review
Bar and Court Memberships
- District of Columbia Bar
- U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Third, Ninth, and District of Columbia Circuits
- Supreme Court of the United States
Related News & Insights
- EventToxic Substances Control Act: New EPA Review Procedures, Unilateral Orders, Current LitigationStraffordSeptember 14, 2021
- Media MentionErik Baptist Says Industry May Support Federal PFAS Rules to Preempt State PatchworkInside EPA's Inside TSCAJuly 29, 2021
- Media MentionErik Baptist Discusses TSCA Reporting ObligationsChemical WatchJuly 27, 2021
- Blog PostWill Your Company Be “Fit for 55”?: An Overview of Proposals to Implement the European Green DealThe WELLErik C. Baptist, Brett MarstonJuly 27, 2021