O’Melveny Worldwide

Eric B. Rothenberg co-leads the Firm’s Environmental, Safety, and Health Practices. He represents business and financial institutions in a broad range of adversarial matters, including superfund proceedings, toxic tort claims, private cost recovery actions, and administrative proceedings. Drawing upon his experience as a graduate-degree environmental engineer, Eric also directs diligence and documentation of transactions, financings, and restructurings/reorganizations involving industrial and commercial properties. He also serves as lead counsel and court-appointed allocation counsel at National Priorities List superfund sites. Eric also co-leads the Firm’s, ESG task force group.

He is a frequent speaker and author of numerous publications including current US and International Environmental Law summaries for the PLI Corporate Legal Counsel series and LexisNexis compliance guides. He is recognized by Chambers USA, Best Lawyers in America, Super Lawyers, and International Who’s Who as a leading US environmental lawyer.

Litigation and Regulatory Proceedings

  • Chemical Distributor Litigation: Represented Chemical Leaman Tank Lines (now Carriers Distribution Inc.) in Bridgeport NJ and William Dick Pa NPL superfund site proceedings and defense of toxic exposure claims by residents adjacent to Louisiana and West Virginia tank wash facilities.
  • American Airlines, JFK Litigation: Defense of NYDEC enforcement proceeding related to remediation portion of US$1 billion redevelopment of JFK terminals 8&9. Counsel on related contribution actions for estimated US$100 million remediation expense.
  • Chemical Manufacturer Litigation: Represented Chemtura as national environmental litigation counsel for regulatory enforcement and civil litigation in federal and state courts all over the country, including a high-profile regulatory enforcement and class action/aggregated litigation arising out of the largest groundwater contamination case in Pennsylvania’s history.
  • Lennar Corp.: Represented Lennar Corporation in environmental cases relating to its redevelopment of former military bases in the Bay Area and the development of the Hunters’ Point Shipyard in San Francisco; and alleging violations of California’s Proposition 65, the Clean Air Act, and the Clean Water Act, resulting in the dismissal of both actions.
  • Passaic River NPL site: Represented Passaic Joint Defense Group, 150 private third-party defendants, in the US$35 million settlement against manufacturers of DDT and Agent Orange products. On April 12, 2013, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and the New Jersey Attorney General announced and posted a public notice of settlement with 280 private and public third-party defendants joined in litigation filed in 2005 against manufacturers of DDT and Agent Orange products, which are alleged to have contaminated the Passaic River and Newark Bay area. The settlement resolves the States’ claims for over US$500 million in past and future cleanup costs, as well as natural resource damage assessment expenses, economic and other damages. New Jersey Dept. Envtl. Prot. v. Occidental Chemical Corp., 2012 WL 1392597 (N.J. App. Div., 2012).
  • Radioactive waste proceeding: Represented QSA Global in United States v. Halliburton Energy Services, a suit filed by the US and the state of Texas over US$30 million in cleanup costs relating to three Texas sites contaminated with radioactive waste.
  • Tulalip NPL site: Represented Seattle Disposal Co. in negotiating a Costs and Natural Resource Damage consent decrees regarding the Tulalip Landfill NPL Site in Washington.
  • Commencement Bay NPL site: Together with LECG, O’Melveny provided joint representation and completed an allocation for a group of 80 parties in connection with a US$40 million sediment removal/capping project for Thea Foss Waterway and Tacoma Harbor. On behalf of the group, we coordinated a de minimis settlement and recalcitrant enforcement efforts with EPA Region X.
  • Combe Fill South NPL site: Represented, as common counsel, 14 defendants sued in 1998 by EPA and the State of New Jersey in connection with a US$200 million landfill remedy.

Transactions and Financings

  • Apollo Global Management and its portfolio company, Talos Energy Offshore LLC, in the US$200 million acquisition of certain Gulf of Mexico off-shore, shallow zone oil and gas properties from Stone Energy Corp. 
  • Apollo Global Management and portfolio companies Borden Chemical, Inc., Resolution Performance Products LLC and Resolution Specialty Materials LLC in the formation of Hexion Specialty Chemicals, Inc. and subsequent tuck-in acquisitions of specialty chemical businesses of Akzo, Eastman, Orica, Rhodia, and Reutgers
  • Apollo Global Management and the Texas Pacific Group LLC in their US$15.1 billion acquisition of Caesar's/Harrah's Entertainment Inc.
  • Apollo Global Management in its acquisition of certain assets of Hostess Brands, Inc.'s baked snack foods business for US$410 million in cash
  • Apollo Global Management in its acquisition of Houston-based oilfield services company, Express Energy Services
  • Apollo Global Management in its acquisition of Taminco Corp. (Taminco), the world's largest producer of alkylamines and alkylamine derivatives, and the US$2.8 billion sale of Taminco to Eastman Chemical Company, a global producer of specialty chemicals
  • Apollo Global Management in its acquisition of, and US$1.85 billion secured load and high yield note and bridge financing in connection with its acquisition, of Berry Plastics
  • Apollo Global Management in its acquisitions of Claire's Stores and The Michaels Companies Inc.
  • Apollo Global Management in its US$1 billion investment in Norwegian Cruise Lines Corporation Ltd. and subsequent US$3 billion merger with Prestige Cruises International
  • Apollo Global Management in its US$1.15 billion acquisition of Xstrata Aluminum (now Noranda)
  • Apollo Global Management in its US$1.48 billion acquisition of the business and assets of the logistics division of TNT N.V., the Dutch parent company of TNT Logistics North America (now CEVA)
  • Apollo Global Management in its US$1.8 billion acquisition of the Bighorn oil and gas assets of Encana Corp. in Canada's Alberta Deep Basin
  • Apollo Global Management in its US$1.825 billion acquisition of Rexnord plumbing and machine products and US$1.25 billion acquisition of Jacuzzi Brands, Inc.
  • Apollo Global Management in its US$2.5 billion purchase of McGraw-Hill's education unit
  • Apollo Global Management in its US$3.8 billion acquisition of the plastics, resins, silicones and quartz (Advanced Materials) division of General Electric Co.
  • Apollo Global Management in its US$4.3 billion acquisition of Rackspace data hosting systems
  • Apollo Global Management in its US$400 million acquisition of Pitney Bowes Management Services
  • Apollo Global Management in its US$703 million acquisition of Wisconsin water park property owner and manager Great Wolf Resorts Inc.
  • Apollo Global Management in partnering with Caelus Energy Alaska LLC in its US$300 million acquisition of the Alaskan oil and gas business of Pioneer Natural Resources
  • Apollo Global Management in its acquisitions of Diamond International and Hilton Grand interval ownership resorts
  • Apollo Global Management in its US$2.5 billion acquisition of Direct ChassisLink Inc, a rail and truck container chassis provider
  • Apollo Global Management in its acquisition of Paris-based portfolio company, Constellium NV, a global aluminum fabricator, as well as the US$1.4 billion tuck in acquisition of privately held Wise Metals Group LLC, a leading producer of aluminum can stock for the beverage and food industries
  • Apollo Global Management in its US$7.1 billion acquisition of auto parts maker Tenneco Inc.
  • Apollo Global Management in its US$7.15 billion acquisition of El Paso Corporation's oil and gas exploration units
  • Apollo Management LP in its acquisition of ABC Technologies, an automotive plastics firm with facilities across the US and Mexico
  • CI Capital Partners in its acquisition and later sale of building products distributor, FBM, to Lone Star for US$560 million
  • CI Capital Partners in its acquisition and later sale of chemicals firm KIK Custom Products to Centerbridge Partners for US$780 million
  • CI Capital Partners in its acquisition of specialty packaging company IntraPac
  • CI Capital Partners in its acquisition of Valley National Gases Incorporated
  • Elementis in its acquisition of Deuchem
  • Francisco Partners in its investment in Data Connection Limited
  • International Game Technology in its acquisition of Cyberview Technology, Inc.
  • KIK Custom Products, Inc., a portfolio company of CI Capital Partners, in its US$300 million acquisition of the BioLab pool care additives business of Chemtura Corporation
  • Kohlberg & Company, LLC in its acquisition of SM&P Utility Resources, Inc. and Central Locating Service, Ltd.
  • Palladium Equity Partners in its acquisition of American Gilsonite Co.
  • QSA Holdings Ltd., a portfolio company of Coller Capital Ltd., in the sale of its wholly-owned subsidiary, QSA Global Inc., to an undisclosed purchaser
  • Taminco Corp. in its US$190 million acquisition of the formic acid business of Kemira
  • TCW Global Project Fund II, Ltd. in its investment in a hydroelectric power plant in Puebla, Mexico
  • TCW Group in the merger of GSC Acquisition Company with Complete Energy
  • Tegra with respect to the diligence and documentation for the roll up acquisition of a sportswear manufacturer
  • The Carlyle Group in its acquisition, along with other investors, in a majority stake in Luxembourg-based metals trader, the Traxys Group
  • Verso Paper in its US$1.4 billion acquisition of NewPage, a privately held producer of specialty paper products and subsequent restructuring proceedings


Bar Admissions

  • New York
  • Missouri

Court Admissions

  • US Supreme Court


  • Northeastern University, J.D., 1981
  • Harvard University School of Public Health, M.S., 1976
  • Harvard University, A.B., 1975: magna cum laude

Honors & Awards

  • Recognized by Best Lawyers® for Environmental Law in New York, NY (2022-2024); Eric has been listed in Best Lawyers® since 2008
  • Recognized by Chambers USA as a Leading Lawyer for Environment: Mainly Transactional (2012-2024)
  • Recognized by The Legal 500 US as a Leading Lawyer for Environment: Transactional (2019-2024) 
  • Recognized by Who’s Who Legal: Environment & Climate Change (2022-24)
  • Recognized by Super Lawyers in the Environmental Litigation section (2007-2024)
  • Recognized by Who’s Who Legal: Environment (2009-2024)
  • Recognized by AmLaw as a Top Rated Lawyer in Energy/Environmental (2013-2018)
  • Recognized as one of the New York Area’s Top Lawyers by New York Magazine (2009, 2011)
  • PLC Cross-border Environmental Handbook - Recommended in Environment: Corporate Section in NY (2011/2012, 2009/2010 and 2008/2009)

Professional Activities


  • American Bar Association
  • The Bar of the City of New York
  • American Industrial Hygiene Association
  • Environmental Editorial Advisory Board, Law 360


  • “Impact of New PFAS Reporting Requirements on Consumer Product Greenwashing Litigation” (November 29, 2023)
  • “California Legislature Passes Climate Disclosure Bills” (September 14, 2023)
  • “Maritime Environmental Law Update” (August 9, 2023)
  • “Environmental Justice Update” (August 7, 2023)
  • “California Streamlines CEQA Process for Infrastructure Projects” (August 2, 2023)
  • “EU Proposes New “Green Claims Directive” Targeting Greenwashing in Consumer Products” (April 18, 2023)
  • “Proposed Regulations for 30D Clean Vehicle Credit” (April 7, 2023)
  • “Mining Company Agrees to Pay US$56 Million to Settle SEC ESG Disclosure Suit” (March 31, 2023)
  • “Environmental Justice Update” (March 16, 2023)
  • “Maritime Environmental Law Update” (March 13, 2023)
  • “IRS Issues Guidance on the Code Section 48C Advanced Energy Project Investment Tax Credit“ (February 27, 2023)
  • “Practice What You Preach: As ESG Expectations Rise, So Do the Risks of Not Measuring Up”  (February 13, 2023)
  • “EU to Impose Carbon Border Tax on Imported Products” (January 10, 2023)
  • “Impact of New PFAS Reporting Requirements on Consumer Product Greenwashing Litigation” (November 29, 2023)
  • “SEC Sues Mining Company Based on ESG Disclosures,” Insights: The Corporate & Securities Law Advisor (July 2022)
  • “Companies Face Demand for Third-Party CSR Certifications,” CFO.com (November 26, 2019)
  • “Hydraulic Fracturing Developments,” Pratt’s Energy Law Report (Quarterly 2015-2017)
  • “International Environmental Law,” International Corporate Practice: A Practitioner's Guide To Global Success, PLI (Annual updates 2014-current)
  • “Specific Corporate Compliance Challenges By Practice Area: Environment,” Corporate Compliance Practice Guide: The Next Generation (LexisNexis, August 2009-current)
  • “Latest Developments in International Maritime Environmental Regulation,” The Tulane Maritime Law Journal (winter ed., 2008)
  • “The Greening of Older Buildings,” New York Law Journal (September 29, 2008)
  • “Successfully Minimizing Risk” in Environmental Law Deal Strategies (Aspatore Books 2008)
  • “Exploring the Carbon Trading Landscape,” New York Law Journal (July 16, 2007)
  • “USEPA and State Brownfield Programs,” RTM/BNA Contaminated Property Transaction Symposium, Washington DC (April 11-12, 2007)
  • “Overview of Environmental Law,” Corporate Legal Departments, PLI, 6th ed. (2006)
  • “Federal and State Superfund Laws Affecting Business and Financial Transaction,” New York State Bar Association Annual Environmental Conference (July 2005)

Speaking Engagements

  • Panelist, “ESG: The Role of Lawyers Today and in the Future”, International Bar Association, NY (March 1, 2023)
  • Tackling Business and Environmental Risk Challenges in the Covid-19 World (June 11, 2020)


  • “Turbulent Times,” Aviation Industry Review, Euroasia Industry magazine (May 2012)


  • “Environmental Risk Management: A Desk Reference,” Risk Management Technologies, Inc., 2d ed. (1998)


  • Instructor, Fordham Law School Corporate Counsel Program: Superfund and Brownfield Development Law (2015-2022) 
  • Instructor, Cornell Law/Johnson Business School Combined Degree Program – Environmental Law Litigation/Insurance (2008-12)
  • Research Assistant Professor, Harvard University School of Public Health (1976-77)