Long considered an expert in natural resources and environmental matters, Mr. Sansonetti has served as one of the top leaders in the Department of Justice and also has held the third-ranking position in the Department of the Interior. He has argued before the U.S. Supreme Court and in several Federal Circuit Courts of Appeal, and has served as a federal prosecutor in environmental crimes cases.
A longtime litigator and project team leader, Mr. Sansonetti helps clients permit and develop projects with potential obstacles in mind. Long before a lawsuit can threaten a project, Mr. Sansonetti counsels clients on how to develop effective plans of action that will meet government environmental permitting requirements and stand up to judicial scrutiny when those clients' projects are challenged in court.
As the Assistant Attorney General for the Environment and Natural Resources Division (ENRD) of the Department of Justice from December 2001-April 2005, Mr. Sansonetti was responsible for overseeing the litigation strategy in federal district and appellate courts on behalf of eight cabinet secretaries including those in charge of Interior, EPA, Energy and Agriculture. He managed a budget of $115 million and supervised 650 employees, including a legal staff of 425 attorneys located in eight cities across the United States. Mr. Sansonetti rejoined Holland & Hart's Cheyenne office on May 1, 2005.
From 1990 to 1993, Mr. Sansonetti was Solicitor of the Department of the Interior. During his tenure, he signed the $1.1B Exxon Valdez oil spill settlement, having served as one of the six federal negotiators, and was Counsel to the Endangered Species Committee for the Spotted Owl hearings in Oregon. His clients included the Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Bureau of Reclamation, Fish & Wildlife Service, Minerals Management Service and the Office of Surface Mining.
Mr. Sansonetti is a recognized expert in Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act issues; water rights; the Endangered Species Act; surface mining development and reclamation; Indian law; development of renewable energy projects, including geothermal, solar, and wind projects; oil and natural gas permitting; public lands management; and many other areas of energy and natural resources law.
Active in politics, Mr. Sansonetti was the Administrative Assistant and Legislative Director for Wyoming Congressman Craig Thomas during the 101st Congress and was appointed Associate Solicitor for Energy and Resources by Interior Secretary Don Hodel during the last two years of the Reagan administration. He also served as Wyoming's Republican National Committeeman (1996-2001) and as General Counsel for the Republican National Committee (2001). He was the Chairman of the Republican Party in Wyoming from 1983-1987.