Chuck Knauss has been repeatedly lauded by clients in Chambers USA. From 2011 through 2023, Chambers USA has reported that Chuck impresses clients with his “extraordinary strategic and analytical capabilities—he finds solutions others just cannot see … and has great understanding of how government agencies work.” For more than 30 years he has been on the frontlines of environmental law, pioneering work on behalf of clients in the US manufacturing and energy sectors. Clients call him a “legend in the field” and an “absolutely superb lawyer, top of [our] list,” “extraordinarily smart and very strategic in his thinking, … extremely creative … and … understands business needs.” His “formidable knowledge of the Clean Air Act” distinguishes him as “one of the very few top air law practitioners in the country” and among “the best air lawyers in DC today.

Peers and clients alike recognize Chuck’s ability to craft and negotiate effective regulatory and legislative solutions to intractable problems, regardless of subject matter. As a result, clients often call upon him in crisis situations in a wide array of areas ranging from financial to energy or environmental matters, seeking his input on tax, food safety, pesticides, contaminated sediments or transportation issues, among many others.

Chuck represents a wide variety of companies and trade associations in nearly every area of environmental law, helping them navigate complex federal, state and local regulations and manage high-stakes crises, negotiations, communication strategies and precedent-setting litigation. He provides strategic advice to achieve negotiated settlements with governmental regulatory and enforcement authorities and other stakeholders. His negotiation approach grounds legal and policy arguments on sound analysis of technical and engineering facts, which he couples with a fair and principled recognition of the core goals of all parties. As an example of his impressive skill in this area, Chuck obtained a consensus among EPA headquarters, EPA regional officials, state regulators and community groups on plant wide, 10-year air permits recognized by many as the most innovative ever issued.

In 2015, The National Law Journal’s inaugural list of the 51 “Energy & Environmental Trailblazers” paid tribute to “the great minds impacting the intersection of energy production and the environment.” Listed among the trailblazers, Chuck was recognized for his pioneering work as lead negotiator as Counsel to the House Energy and Commerce Committee for the landmark 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments ― the most significant environmental and economic legislation in the past 25 years with sweeping new opportunities for public oversight and enforcement of environmental laws ― as well as for his body of work implementing the statute on behalf of industrial clients.

In his book Washington at Work: Back Rooms and Clean Air, chronicling the 1990 Amendments, Richard Cohen observed: Chuck Knauss ... was probably the most influential Republican on the legislation.” In a Committee press release, Ranking Republican Norman F. Lent stated that he “relied heavily upon Chuck’s intellect, creativity and tenacity. The proof of his abilities can be demonstrated by this fact: for the first time in more than a decade we were able to produce a comprehensive revision of the Clean Air Act.” Ranking Democrat, Chairman John Dingell added that Chuck’s “intelligence and dedication earned him the respect of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle,” and Ranking Subcommittee Chairman Waxman highlighted that “[m]embers could rely on Chuck to develop creative, fair solutions to help resolve the many differences that faced the Committee.”

Chuck is admitted in the US Supreme Court, numerous US Court of Appeals Circuits, and US Tax Court.

Awards & Recognition

  • Recommended for Environment: Litigation, Legal 500 United States, 2017-2023
  • Recommended for Environment: Regulatory, Legal 500 United States, 2012, 2015, 2019-2023
  • Recommended for Energy Litigation: Oil and Gas, Legal 500 United States, 2019-2023
  • Recommended for Energy Regulation: Oil and Gas, Legal 500 United States, 2019-2023
  • Recognized as 2021 Environmental Group of the Year, Law360, January 2022
  • Selected as a member of the Lawdragon Top 500 Environmental and Energy Lawyers (2021) and Lawdragon Green 500: Leaders in Environmental Law (2023)

  • Recognized as a Leader in Climate Change, Global-wide, Chambers Global, 2021-2023
  • 2021 and 2017 Chambers USA Environment Law Firm of the Year 
  • Recognized as a Leader in Environment, District of Columbia, Chambers USA, 2003-2023        

  • Recognized as a Leader in Climate Change, USA-Nationwide, Chambers USA, 2012-2023

  • Recognized as Leader for Environment – Climate Change 2020, Who’s Who Legal, September 2020

  • Selected as a Best Lawyer for Environmental Law (since 2007) and Litigation: Environmental (since 2011), Washington DC, Best Lawyers in America
  • Selected as a Super Lawyer for Environmental Law, The Washington Post Magazine, 2008-2020, 2023