Rachel Jacobson is a member of the Council on Strategic Risks Board of Directors. Rachel Jacobson joined WilmerHale in 2017 following a long career with the federal government. Rachel’s area of expertise involves the laws and policies surrounding environmental, energy, and natural resource issues, and includes Superfund cleanup, emerging contaminants, natural resource damages, endangered species and wildlife management, land use, water management, vehicle fuel emissions, and energy development. While she was with the federal government, Rachel handled some of the largest environmental cases in US history and held senior positions at the US Department of Justice (DOJ), Department of the Interior (DOI) and Department of Defense (DoD).
Immediately before joining the firm, Rachel served as the Pentagon’s top environmental lawyer in the position of Deputy General Counsel of Environment, Energy and Installations at DoD. In this capacity, Rachel advised senior-level officials in DoD and its military departments on a broad array of environmental, energy, and natural resource matters, including compliance and cleanup obligations, natural resource management, endangered species protection, renewable energy procurement and siting, military construction, and historic preservation.
Prior to joining DoD, Rachel served at DOI from 2009–2014. As Principal Deputy Solicitor, she led the negotiation of the $1 billion early restoration settlement agreement with BP following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Rachel was later appointed Acting Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks, where she oversaw policy for the US Fish and Wildlife Service and National Park Service and led DOI’s planning effort for $750,000 of post-spill early restoration projects in the Gulf of Mexico. She served as the lead DOI official on ecosystem restoration for the Great Lakes and the Everglades, and she led the US World Heritage program.
From 2008–2009, Rachel served as Director of the Impact-Directed Environmental Accounts program at the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, managing a mitigation fund for environmental restoration and habitat conservation. Rachel spent the majority of her career at DOJ’s Environment and Natural Resources Division where she worked jointly with states and tribes to enforce federal environmental laws.