Don Baur, a partner in the firm’s Environment, Energy and Resources practice, has over 35 years of experience in environmental and natural resources law. He served as an attorney in the Office of the Solicitor of the U.S. Department of the Interior and as General Counsel of the U.S. Marine Mammal Commission before joining Perkins Coie in 1987.
Don provides federal-policy-level and project-specific counseling as well as legislative and litigation assistance in a wide range of environmental and natural resources areas, with a special emphasis on water law, wildlife and endangered species, public land and energy resources, protected areas, coastal/ocean law, and Indian law. Don regularly counsels his clients on various land management transactions and regulatory proceedings arising under public land laws, the Endangered Species Act (ESA), the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), the Clean Water Act (CWA), coastal/ocean and public land laws, and all natural resource and Native American laws in Alaska. He has an extensive background in using proactive conservation initiatives to solve species-related concerns, including precedent-setting habitat conservation plans (HCPs) and other conservation agreements under the ESA (e.g., candidate conservation agreements for the Pacific fisher, multi-species HCP for Colorado River, bird and bat conservation strategies for solar projects). A significant portion of Don's practice is also devoted to various Indian law issues, including trust land and gaming transactions, tribal acknowledgment, and development of contracts between the private sector, local and state governments and tribes.
Don has negotiated and achieved approval of legal transactions and permits involving: large-scale renewable energy projects; transmission line and pipeline rights-of-way and infrastructure; offshore oil and gas leases; private timber land management and development; habitat conservation plans and incidental take authorizations under the ESA; avian protection plans and compliance under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) and the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act (BGEPA); marine species conservation plans and permits; water resource project development; tribal/local government intergovernmental agreements for Indian trust lands; federal land exchanges; royalty fee determinations; wetlands project development and mitigation banking; and project development on tribal lands. Don has successfully defended many of these decisions in litigation. In addition to permitting and litigation, Don has represented clients in congressional and executive branch deliberations and rulemaking proceedings involving the CWA, ESA, MMPA, Indian lands, water resource projects, and numerous energy and public lands matters.
Don is a frequent speaker, instructor and author on environmental and natural resources law topics. He is lead editor and author of the American Bar Association’s books on The Endangered Species Act: Law, Policy (2010) and Perspectives and Ocean and Coastal Law and Policy (2015). Chambers rated in Environmental Law, he serves on the Environmental Law Institute Leadership Council, has served on the faculty of the Environmental Law Center at the Vermont Law School since 1998, and leads the firm’s Chambers-ranked Native American Law and Policy Group. He serves on the Board of Trustees for the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation and the Shenandoah National Park Trust.
- Ranked by Chambers USA, as “America’s Leading Environmental Lawyers," 2014 - 2016
- Listed in The Best Lawyers in America 2008 - Present: Environmental Law; Litigation - Environmental; Natural Resources Law
- Transition Team Advisor Obama Administration, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)/ocean policy issues
- Trustee, National Marine Sanctuary Foundation
- Trustee, Shenandoah National Park Trust
- Member, Environmental Leadership Council, Environmental Law Institute
- 1872 Award for Service to National Parks, Coalition of National Park Service Retirees (2009)
- Marine Wildlife Conservation Award, Center for Marine Conservation (1995)
- American Bar Association, Section on Environment, Energy and Natural Resources, Vice Chair, Book Committee
- American Bar Association, Section on Environment, Energy and Natural Resources
- District of Columbia Bar Association, Environmental, Energy and Natural Resources Division
- Society for Marine Mammalogy
- Co-Chair and Moderator, American Law Institute and American Bar Association, Endangered Species Act Program (2006, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2015)
- Keystone Center Working Group on Endangered Species Act Reform
- Vermont Law School, Adjunct Professor, Environmental Law Center, 1998 - present
- Environmental Law Institute, Instructor, Environmental Law Boot Camp, 2002 - present
- Golden Gate School of Law, Adjunct Professor, Natural Resources and Wildlife Law, 1997
- U.S. Marine Mammal Commission, Washington, D.C., General Counsel, 1984 - 1987
- U.S. Department of the Interior, Division of Conservation and Wildlife, Office of the Solicitor, Washington, D.C., Attorney, 1980 - 1984, Honors Program, 1979 - 1980