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United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

Office of the Chief Counsel

About the Office

The Office of Chief Counsel serves as legal advisor to the PHMSA Administrator.  The Office of Chief Counsel provides a comprehensive program of legal services and representation relating to all aspects of PHMSA’s safety program activities and PHMSA administration and management. 

Office of the Chief Counsel Divisions

General Law

The attorneys in this division provide a broad spectrum of advice and legal support to PHMSA on general law matters affecting the policies and programs of PHMSA and the manner in which PHMSA program offices perform their functions.  This division advises and counsels on a variety of matters, including ethics, tort claims, privacy, FOIA, employment, labor relations, procurement, grants and appropriations law.

Regulatory Affairs

The attorneys in this division provide legal advice and support for all rulemakings and regulatory matters. This division provides legal services and representation of PHMSA’s safety programs with a primary focus on advising the program offices regarding the Administrative Procedures Act, Paperwork Reduction Act, Regulatory Flexibility Act and the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act and executive orders and guidance.

Hazardous Materials Safety Law

The attorneys in this division provide legal support to the Hazardous Materials Safety Program and all legal services and representation for PHMSA in matters related to the Hazardous Materials Safety Program, including as it relates to the enforcement of regulations governing the safe transport of hazardous materials across all modes of transportation.  This division also advises and counsels on a variety of matters, including emergency orders, special permits, guidance, interpretations, legal proceedings, rulemaking, and legislation.

Pipeline Safety Law

The attorneys in this division provide legal support to the Office of Pipeline Safety and all legal services and representation for PHMSA in matters related to the Pipeline Safety Program, including as it relates to the enforcement of pipeline regulations governing the safe operation and maintenance of pipelines throughout the country. This division also advises and counsels on a variety of matters, including emergency orders, special permits, guidance, interpretations, legal proceedings, rulemaking and legislation.

Management

Chief Counsel
Paul Roberti

Deputy Chief Counsel
Vasiliki Tsaganos

Assistant Chief Counsel, General Law Division
Brandon Hollingshead

Assistant Chief Counsel, Pipeline Safety Law Division
James Pates

Assistant Chief Counsel, Hazardous Materials Safety Law Division
Christina Tackett

Assistant Chief Counsel, Regulatory Affairs Division
Stephen Gordon

Last updated: Friday, March 30, 2018