Bernice (Bicky) Corman
Bernice (Bicky) Corman has three decades of experience in all aspects of environmental and energy law, litigation, regulation and policy. Her practice focuses on air, energy, climate change, stormwater, chemicals, hazardous waste and sustainability issues.
Bicky is a former Deputy General Counsel at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. In that position, she supervised the provision of legal counsel by the EPA’s Washington, DC headquarters and regional law offices on matters pertaining to hazardous wastes, chemical safety, and site remediation and on cross-cutting issues, including international, tribal, civil rights, and NEPA. Bicky also served as Senior Sustainability Advisor to the EPA Administrator. In that capacity, her leadership paved the way for EPA’s actions to embed sustainability in its core policies and programs, including its establishing sustainability as a cross-agency objective in the EPA 2014–2018 Strategic Plan.
Prior to returning to EPA, Bicky served as the General Counsel and the Acting Interim Director at the District of Columbia’s Department of Energy and the Environment. She created the District’s first environmental law office, supervising development of, or herself authoring, regulations implementing the District’s $.05 bag tax, an opinion concerning federal agency liability for stormwater fees, provisions of laws establishing the district’s Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) finance mechanism, and regulations implementing the District’s mandatory green building requirements. Bicky obtained the District’s first 8-figure settlement in a case involving discharges into the Anacostia River. She filed the District’s first environmental case against a federal agency in federal district court, and its first three affirmative environmental actions in DC Superior Court; and created its hazardous waste cleanup program. She also reviewed contracts, real estate transactions, personnel and budget matters.
Bicky also spent over a decade as a Trial Attorney in the U.S. Department of Justice’s Environmental Enforcement Section, managing complex civil litigation in U.S. District courts concerning hazardous waste, water quality, air quality, toxic substances, and natural resource damages. She litigated matters involving the EPA’s authority to favorably settle the liability of small quantity generators of municipal solid waste, the reach of RCRA’s Bevill exclusion, and states’ ability to modify Clean Water Act discharge permits. She played a significant role in the United States’ litigation against the District’s water and sewer authority, which ultimately led to a $2 billion commitment to control untreated sewage discharges.
Bicky began her career at EPA as an Assistant Regional Counsel in EPA’s New York office, enforcing environmental laws administratively and developing cases for litigation by DOJ. Her efforts led to favorable results of first impression, including the first judicial construction of CERCLA’s “on-site” permitting exemption, the development of a successful argument regarding the indivisibility of investigative costs under CERCLA, and several settlements at multi-party sites, yielding cleanups valued in the tens of millions, and commitments to restore damaged natural resources. Bicky also served as a staff attorney for the EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance, representing the agency before other federal agencies, Hill staff, and stakeholders in discussions concerning legislative and administrative reform of CERCLA and RCRA’s Remediation Waste scheme.
Bicky has also spent time on Capitol Hill, staffing the work of the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) as ranking member of the Environment and Public Works Committee’s Subcommittee on Hazardous Waste.
- Represented a national coalition of solar energy companies in the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (DPU) ruling in favor of our client and fellow distributed generator intervenors in National Grid’s General Rate Case on all four of the rate design issues in which our client held strong interests
- Represent an association of alternative energy good and services providers in administrative proceedings
- Counsel an electric vehicle manufacturer on environmental regulatory requirements
- Counsel a state government/creditor in bankruptcy proceedings involving an oil refinery
- As co-counsel to trade associations on Prop. 65 matters, obtained the first Safe Use Determination issued by California in eight years
- Suffolk University Law School, J.D., 1986
- Sophie Newcomb College of Tulane University, B.A., 1983
- Co-author, “EPA Proposes New Management Standards for Hazardous Waste Pharmaceuticals Rule” (September 14, 2015)
- Co-author, “Interpreting the Supreme Court’s Mercury Emissions Decision” (September 2015)
- Co-author, “How to Interpret the U.S. Supreme Court’s MATS Ruling” (July 8, 2015)
- Author, “Aircraft Greenhouse Gas Emissions: EPA Proposes an Endangerment Finding and Solicits Input on Future Regulations” (June 16, 2015
- Author, “New York Creates the Utility of the Future” (April 10, 2015)
- Author, “Sustainability Disclosures – In Some Places, It’s the Law” (March 31, 2015)
- Co-author, “Federal Authorities Re-Assessing Approach to Flood Risk” (March 10, 2015)
- Co-author, “New York Community Risk and Resiliency Act” (October 10, 2014)
- Author, “DC Development Activities May Be Impacted By Petition to FWS” (August 20, 2014)
- “Climate Poly Updates and Opportunities: How to Align Your Business with the New Clean Power Plan Rules,” webinar, BLR – Business and Legal Resources (December 11, 2015)
- “New Developments in DC Energy,” Energy & Environmental Law Forum (July 8, 2015)
- “Developments in DC Energy,” Energy & Environmental Law Forum (July 8, 2015)
- “Emerging Trend: Sustainability in Professional Services,” Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Council’s 2015 Summit (May 27, 2015)
- “Disaster Recovery and Resilience: Tips, Techniques and Best Practices for Public and Private Organizations” (April 28, 2015)
- “Key Challenges in Sustainability Reporting Today,” Environmental Law Institute (October 21, 2014)
- “Optimal Strategies for Responding to the Environmental Protection Agency,” Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP’s Women Client Professional Development Program (October 3, 2014)
- “Prepare for the Next Stages of the EPA’s Carbon Pollution Standards” webinar, POWER Magazine (July 16, 2015)
- “The Environmental Regulatory System and Sustainability Policy,” The New School of Social Research, New York, NY, Milano School of International Affairs and Foreign Policy (April 28, 2014)
- “The Do It for DC Challenge Launch, Going Green for DC” (March 27, 2014)
- “Georgetown International Environmental Law Review Symposium on Sustainable Development,” Georgetown University (February 24, 2014)
- “Israeli Ministry of the Environment, Sustainability and Utilities” (December 18, 2013)
- “Driving Sustainability by Leveraging Market Demand: A U.S. Perspective and Approach” (December 17, 2013)
- “Israeli Ministry of the Environment/OECD Workshop and Roundtables on National Strategies for Sustainable Consumption and Production” (December 16, 2013)
- “Sustainability and EPA, Women in Green” (September 25, 2013)
- “EPA Regulatory Update: Georgetown Law” (April 22, 2013)
- “White House Annual Women and the Environment Summit” (March 21-26, 2013)
Professional and Community Involvement
- Mayorally-appointed to the District of Columbia’s Sustainable Energy Utility – Vice Chair (2015 to present)
- Environmental Law Institute – Member
- Women’s Bar Association of the District of Columbia – Member, Energy and Environmental Law Forum (2014 to present)
- Mayoral Transition Team on Transportation, the Environment Sustainability and Infrastructure, District of Columbia (2014–2015)