McGrath, William J.

Bill draws on his legal and government experience to navigate the private sector through the legislative, regulatory, and congressional oversight processes. He deploys proven strategies to overcome the toughest obstacles that arise when government and industry converge, and leverages his expertise to proactively identify business opportunities and forge pathways to profitability. As a member of the firm’s Energy, Environment and Resource Strategies (EERS) Group, he drives complex natural resources and infrastructure projects through the federal permitting process and streamlines them by providing strategic insight in the early planning stages and by engaging agency officials to generate and preserve momentum. Bill’s methods deliver results; his representation has contributed to the successful permitting of multiple largescale infrastructure ventures, from mining to renewable energy. He is also adept at positioning clients looking to contract with the federal government on recreation projects, and navigates competing third-party interests to prevent roadblocks.

Prior to joining the firm, Bill served as the staff director for the Interior, Energy and Environment Subcommittee of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. There he engaged on some of the country’s most high-profile natural resources issues, including serving as the lead investigator into the Flint water crisis, spearheading the committee’s investigation into the KeystoneXL pipeline and exposing the flawed rulemaking process underpinning the Clean Water Rule. He also worked alongside officials at the Department of the Interior, Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Forest Service on energy and environmental policy matters.

In addition to his tenure in government, Bill worked as legislative counsel for a non-profit organization, representing the group on environmental and administrative law cases involving the Endangered Species Act, the National Environmental Policy Act and the Federal Land Policy and Management Act.

Representative Matters
News & Events

National Advisory Board member for Romney for President (2012)

Executive Committee, World Forum on Shooting Activities (2014)

Publications & Presentations
  • EPA Releases Revised Rule Impacting Federal Jurisdiction Over Waters
    Brownstein Client Alert, January 24, 2020

  • Bipartisan Bill Could Increase Renewable Energy Development on Public Lands

    Renewable energy on public lands may receive a boost from legislation introduced by Reps. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) and Mike Levin (D-CA) on July 17.

    The Public Land Renewable Energy Development Act (H.R. 3794), or PLREDA, seeks to balance renewable energy production with conservation and thereby promote increased development of wind, solar and geothermal energy on federal lands. The legislation’s key provisions include:

    • Revenue sharing: the legislation creates a revenue-sharing mechanism whereby affected stakeholders will benefit
      • States – 25% to the states where projects are located
      • Counties – 25% to the counties where projects are located
      • Sportsmen and Conservation – 25% into a fund for sportsmen and conservation purposes including increased access to outdoor recreation
      • Permitting – 15% to be used for finding permitting efficiencies and reducing current backlog
      • Deficit reduction – 10% for deficit reduction
    • Renewable energy goal: places a goal for the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) to permit 25 gigawatts by 2025
    • BLM personnel: requires the Bureau of Land Management to designate specific employees who will be responsible for monitoring, planning and permitting renewable energy projects
    • Renewable Energy Coordination Office: seeks to improve management of project permitting through the creation of a Renewable Energy Coordination Office
    • DOI fees discretion: allows DOI authority to reduce rental rates and capacity fees to encourage development
    Congressional Support

    The legislation has broad bipartisan support within the House of Representative including both the House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Raul Grijalva (AZ-3) and Ranking Member Rob Bishop (UT-1). At present, it has 15 Republican and 12 Democratic cosponsors:




    Mark Amodei (NV-2)

    Donald Beyer (VA-8)

    Andy Biggs (AZ-5)

    Matt Cartwright (PA-8)

    Rob Bishop (UT-1)

    Ed Case (HI-1)

    Paul Cook (CA-8)

    Suzan DelBene (WA-1)

    Matt Gaetz (FL-1)

    Debbie Dingell (MI-12)

    Greg Gianforte (MT-At Large)

    Debra Haaland (NM-1)

    Dour LaMalfa (CA-1)

    Jared Huffman (CA-2)

    Roger Marshall (KS-1)

    Mike Levin (CA-49)

    Dan Newhouse (WA-4)

    Alan Lowenthal (CA-47)

    David Schweikert (AZ-6)

    Ben Ray Lujan (NM-3)

    Michael Simpson (ID-2)

    Doris Matsui (CA-6)

    Peter Stauber (MN-8)

    Mike Thompson (CA-5)

    Chris Stewart (UT-2)


    Scott Tipton (CO-3


    Don Young (AK-At Large)



    Stakeholder Support

    The legislation has broad support from a range of industry, environmental and conservation stakeholders including EDF Renewables, National Association of Counties, American Sportfishing Association, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, Wilderness Society, the Natural Resources Defense Council and Solar Energy Industries Association.


    Currently, 40% of the total geothermal electric generating capacity and 5% of utility-scale wind and solar energy capacity comes from public lands. PLREDA seeks to change this dynamic and encourage local, state and federal governments as well as renewable energy companies to invest in renewable energy projects on federal lands. Unlike many energy issues in Washington, PLREDA enjoys bipartisan support and conveys a desire by both sides of the aisle to work toward a common goal of increasing renewable energy’s percentage in the country’s energy mix. This early, bipartisan support has caught the attention of the House Natural Resources Committee where the legislation is scheduled to have a hearing on Thursday, July 25 before the Energy and Minerals Resources Subcommittee. While the legislation will need to be marked up before it can proceed to a vote of the committee and sent to the full House of Representatives, the support of both Chairman Grijalva and Ranking Member Bishop bode well for the legislation’s potential passage.

  • The Nondelegation Doctrine And Enviro Regs, Post-Gundy
    Co-author, Law360, July 18, 2019

  • Under the Gavel: What Every Company Needs to Know About Oversight in the New Congress
    Brownstein Client Alert, November 29, 2018

  • J.D., George Mason University School of Law
  • B.A., Williams College
  • Washington, D.C.
  • Virginia

Uinta Basin Energy Summit Keynote Speaker (2015)

SAF Defender of Liberty Award (2014)

Virginia Business Legal Elite (2012)