About Vickie Patton

Vickie Patton

General Counsel


Areas of expertise:

Climate change, global warming, air quality


Vickie serves as Environmental Defense Fund’s General Counsel and leads its U.S. Clean Air Program. For over thirty years, she has worked with partners to secure landmark national and state protections addressing climate and air pollution, participated in numerous successful climate and clean air cases to protect human health and the environment, and testified before congressional and state legislative committees.


Prior to EDF, she served in the Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of General Counsel where she implemented the historic 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments and received the Gold Medal for Exceptional Service. She has received the Air & Waste Management Association’s Richard Beatty Mellon Environmental Stewardship Award, the Wirth Chair Award for Creative Collaborations in Sustainability, and the Healthy Community Award received from her local health department for her efforts to address mercury air pollution. Vickie is a co-founder of Moms Clean Air Force, serves on the Boards of the Environmental Law Institute and Earthshot, and in 2013 was inducted as a Fellow of the American College of Environmental Lawyers.

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).