Vickie Patton

General Counsel


Areas of expertise:
Climate change, global warming, air quality

Vickie Patton serves as Environmental Defense Fund’s General Counsel and manages the organization’s national and regional clean air programs.

For two decades, she has worked to protect human health and the environment from air pollution. She has been involved in numerous rulemakings under the Clean Air Act and associated cases (including several successful cases before the U.S. Supreme Court), testified before congressional and state legislative committees, and authored several articles on air quality protection and environmental policy.

She is the recipient of the Air & Waste Management Association’s 2011 Richard Beatty Mellon Environmental Stewardship Award, the 2011 Wirth Chair Award for Creative Collaborations in Sustainability, and the 2008 Healthy Community Award received from her local health department. Vickie serves as a member of EPA’s national Clean Air Act Advisory Committee.


Prior to joining Environmental Defense Fund, worked at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of General Counsel in Washington, D.C., where she provided legal counsel on a variety of national air quality initiatives.

Honors and awards

  • Honors: EPA Gold Medal for Exceptional Service; Four EPA Bronze Medals; EPA Special Achievement Award; U.S. Department of Justice Commendation
  • Awards: Air & Waste Management Association’s Richard Beatty Mellon Environmental Stewardship Award (2011); Wirth Chair Award for Creative Collaborations in Sustainability (2011); Boulder County Public Health Healthy Community Award (2008)

Bar and court admissions

  • Bar: State of Colorado
  • Courts: U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and the Ninth Circuit, U.S. Supreme Court


  • J.D., New York University School of Law
  • B.S., Hydrology, University of Arizona.


  • Contributor, The Forum: How Long Should Obama Wait?, Regulation and The Race Against Time, The Environmental Forum (ELI March/April 2009)
  • Contributor, Environmental Policies under an Obama Administration: Is Change in the Air? EM Magazine (AWMA Jan. 2009)
  • The Important Quest to Protect Health and the Environment from Interstate Air Pollution, EM Magazine (AWMA Dec. 2008)
  • Intersection of Climate Security with Energy Production and Consumption, 7 Sustainable Dev. Law & Policy 2 (Spring 2007)
  • Opportunity NOx, The Environmental Forum (ELI Nov/Dec 2001)
  • Curbing Interstate Air Pollution, 16 Forum for Applied Research and Public Policy 21 (Fall 2001)
  • Co-author, The EPA’s Regional Haze Proposal, Protecting Visibility in National Parks and Wilderness Areas, 11 Tulane Environmental Law Journal 299 (1998)
  • The New Air Quality Standards, Regional Haze, and Interstate Air Pollution Transport, 28 ELR 10155 (ELI April 1998)
  • The Visibility Protection Program, The Clean Air Act Handbook, Chapter 6 (ABA 1998)
  • A Balanced Partnership, The Environmental Forum (ELI May/June 1996).

Latest pieces

Press materials