Robert W. Whetzel

Director

302.651.7634
302.651.7701 (fax)
whetzel@rlf.com

Robert Whetzel, chair of the firm’s Litigation Department, handles a wide range of business and commercial matters, with an emphasis on technology, environmental, energy and intellectual property disputes. Bob represents clients in the petrochemical, energy, technology, entertainment, finance, higher education, municipal and manufacturing sectors in litigation, arbitration and regulatory matters. He also has extensive experience with federal and state environmental agencies, in enforcement, permitting and transactional matters.

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Robert W. Whetzel, chair of the firm’s Litigation Department, advises a wide range of clients on issues arising under federal and state environmental laws. Bob represents clients across the full range of environmental issues, including air, water, solid and hazardous waste, site acquisition and development, and site remediation. His practice includes permitting, compliance counseling, enforcement, and litigation, and he also advises on environmental issues in real estate and business transactions. He regularly appears before state and federal courts, administrative agencies, and other regulatory bodies.
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Robert W. Whetzel, chair of the firm’s Litigation Department, advises a wide range of clients on issues arising under federal and state environmental laws. Bob represents clients across the full range of environmental issues, including air, water, solid and hazardous waste, site acquisition and development, and site remediation. His practice includes permitting, compliance counseling, enforcement, and litigation, and he also advises on environmental issues in real estate and business transactions. He regularly appears before state and federal courts, administrative agencies, and other regulatory bodies.

Bob’s recent engagements have included compliance counseling for major chemical manufacturers, defense of EPA multimedia enforcement actions, appeals of TMDL regulations and water quality standards, appeals of Delaware’s Coastal Zone Act regulations, and numerous permit appeals and enforcement actions. Bob has also recently handled several litigation matters involving post-closing disputes over environmental claims, and he recently assisted a debtor in a chapter 11 proceeding in resolution of complex, multi-state environmental claims involving regulators, insurers, and other responsible parties. Bob has also advised a major research university on the acquisition and redevelopment of a former auto assembly plant, and he is advising clients on issues relating to climate change and sea level rise. Bob represents both new and existing businesses in permitting matters, recently handling permitting issues for manufacturing, recycling companies, energy companies, and utilities. He also counsels clients in connection with Delaware’s newly adopted Coastal Zone Conversion Permit Act and the Delaware business sustainability statute.

Bob is active in legislative affairs in the State of Delaware, testifying and commenting on numerous environmental proposals. He is a registered lobbyist in the State of Delaware, and frequently testifies on environmental legislation on behalf of business organizations. Bob is a member of the American College of Environmental Lawyers, and is active in the ABA and Delaware State Bar Associations.

Bob has served on numerous regulatory advisory committees, including the Coastal Zone Act Conversion Permit Regulatory Advisory Committee, the Brownfields Advisory Committee, the Chronic Violators Regulatory Development Committee, the Hazardous Substance Cleanup Act Advisory Group, and the Title V Fee Advisory Committee. A frequent speaker at conferences and seminars on environmental issues, Bob was recently a panelist at a program entitled “The Delaware Coastal Zone Act Conversion Permit Act.”

Experience

A list of representative clients and matters is available upon request.

Publications

  • "Practical Considerations for Commercial Lenders Regarding Environmental Liability," Delaware Banker, Spring 2019   View >
  • "Tank Trap? Lender Liability Reform and Expanded Scope of Underground Storage Tank Liability for Owners and Operators," Delaware Banker, Summer 2014   View >
  • "Dispute Resolution 2014: Delaware," Getting the Deal Through, June 2014   View >
  • "Delaware Grants Authority to State Environmental Agency to Impose Environmental Liens to Recover Investigation and Clean-up Costs," Delaware Banker, Summer 2013   View >
  • "Dispute Resolution 2013: Delaware," Getting the Deal Through, June 2013   View >

Presentations

  • "The Delaware Coastal Zone Act at 40: Past, Present, and Future," September 30, 2011
  • "Environmental Law 2010 - Sponsored by the Environmental Law Section of the Delaware State Bar Association," June 16, 2010
  • "Turning Ideas to Dollars: Marketing Intellectual Property," June 5, 2010
  • Environmental Law 2013 - Sponsored by the Environmental Law Section of the Delaware State Bar Association

Awards

  •  Benchmark Litigation, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015
  • The Best Lawyers in America, since 2008
  • Best Lawyers’ Wilmington, DE Environmental Lawyer of the Year, 2015, 2012
  • Super Lawyers, since 2009
  • Delaware Today Top Lawyer, Environmental Law, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2010; Top Vote Getter, 2014, 2013

Leadership

  • American College of Environmental Lawyers, Founding Member
  • Delaware State Chamber of Commerce, Environmental Committee, Chair 
  • Delaware State Chamber of Commerce, Board of Directors
  • Delaware State Bar Association, Environmental Law Section, Past Chair
  • The Stroud Center, Board of Directors

Education

  • J.D., cum laude, Villanova University School of Law, Order of the Coif, 1984
  • B.S., Chemical Engineering, University of Delaware, 1981

Admitted to Practice

  • Delaware, 1984
  • United States Patent and Trademark Office, 1984

Practices

  • Alternative Dispute Resolution
  • Litigation
  • Intellectual Property
  • Environmental
  • Administrative Law
  • Energy
  • Delaware Rapid Arbitration
  • Sustainability
  • Real Estate Services

Experience

A list of representative clients and matters is available upon request.

Education

  • J.D., cum laude, Villanova University School of Law, Order of the Coif, 1984
  • B.S., Chemical Engineering, University of Delaware, 1981

Publications

  • "Practical Considerations for Commercial Lenders Regarding Environmental Liability," Delaware Banker, Spring 2019   View >
  • "Tank Trap? Lender Liability Reform and Expanded Scope of Underground Storage Tank Liability for Owners and Operators," Delaware Banker, Summer 2014   View >
  • "Dispute Resolution 2014: Delaware," Getting the Deal Through, June 2014   View >
  • "Delaware Grants Authority to State Environmental Agency to Impose Environmental Liens to Recover Investigation and Clean-up Costs," Delaware Banker, Summer 2013   View >
  • "Dispute Resolution 2013: Delaware," Getting the Deal Through, June 2013   View >

Presentations

  • "The Delaware Coastal Zone Act at 40: Past, Present, and Future," September 30, 2011
  • "Environmental Law 2010 - Sponsored by the Environmental Law Section of the Delaware State Bar Association," June 16, 2010
  • "Turning Ideas to Dollars: Marketing Intellectual Property," June 5, 2010
  • Environmental Law 2013 - Sponsored by the Environmental Law Section of the Delaware State Bar Association

Awards

  •  Benchmark Litigation, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015
  • The Best Lawyers in America, since 2008
  • Best Lawyers’ Wilmington, DE Environmental Lawyer of the Year, 2015, 2012
  • Super Lawyers, since 2009
  • Delaware Today Top Lawyer, Environmental Law, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2010; Top Vote Getter, 2014, 2013

Leadership

  • American College of Environmental Lawyers, Founding Member
  • Delaware State Chamber of Commerce, Environmental Committee, Chair 
  • Delaware State Chamber of Commerce, Board of Directors
  • Delaware State Bar Association, Environmental Law Section, Past Chair
  • The Stroud Center, Board of Directors