Preston Bryant is a senior vice president at McGuireWoods Consulting where he works in the firm’s Infrastructure and Economic Development group. He has served in local, state, and federal elected and appointed office. His expertise lies in waste, wastewater, and energy generation projects, and he advises clients on project site selection and regulatory affairs.
He also represents numerous public and private colleges and universities. In addition, Preston works with private equity investors and portfolio companies to help them understand the implications of state-level environmental policy decisions and market trends for their investment and business decision.
For the past 25 years, Preston’s experience in environmental, energy, infrastructure, and higher education matters has developed from his work in the public and private sectors. Preston was a partner for a decade in a Virginia-based civil engineering, surveying, and planning firm.
Preston served for two years on Lynchburg (Va.) City Council. He served for 10 years (1996-2006) in the Virginia House of Delegates, where he focused on environmental and capital infrastructure matters. He passed landmark environmental legislation leading to billions of dollars in investments in water quality infrastructure. He also played a key role in passing Virginia’s nationally recognized public-private partnership procurement statute, which also has led to billions of dollars invested in public infrastructure.
In 2006, Preston was appointed by Gov. Timothy M. Kaine to serve as Virginia’s secretary of natural resources, where he led the state’s six environmental, recreational, and historic resources agencies. He also helped write Virginia’s first statewide energy plan.
President Obama appointed Preston in 2009 to serve as chairman of the National Capital Planning Commission, the U.S. government’s central planning agency for all federal-owned lands and buildings in Washington, DC, and its Virginia and Maryland environs. Preston served in this role for nine years (2009-2018).
McGuireWoods Consulting LLC (“MWC”) is a wholly owned subsidiary of the McGuireWoods LLP law firm. From time to time, various McGuireWoods lawyers provide non-legal services to MWC clients, but MWC cannot provide legal services or advice. Therefore, any work MWC performs for a client does not give rise to an attorney-client relationship or privilege. Should you require legal services from McGuireWoods, as well as consulting services from MWC, you must engage the law firm separately.
- Provided government relations and lobbying services to the City of Lynchburg (Va.) in successfully obtaining $25 million state appropriation of American Rescue Act Plan funds to support combined sewer overflow projects.
- Provided government relations and lobbying services to Alexandria Renew Enterprises (aka, Alexandria Virginia Sanitation Authority) in successfully obtaining $50 million state appropriation of American Rescue Act Plan funds to support combined sewer overflow project.
- Provides government relations and lobbying services to the Council of Independent Colleges in Virginia, focusing on legislative and appropriations support for 27 private non-profit colleges and universities.
- Provides government relations and lobbying services to the Virginia Association of Municipal Wastewater Agencies.
- Provides government relations and lobbying services to the Virginia Municipal Drinking Water Association.
- Provides government relations, regulatory advising, and lobbying services to Fairfax County (Va.) Water Authority.
- Provides legislative services to the Virginia Resources Authority, an independent state financing agency supporting local government infrastructure projects.
- Provided mediation services in August-November 2017 to Virginia Governor’s Office and Department of Environmental Quality on rulemaking among energy, environmental, industrial, and local government stakeholders for proposed carbon-trading regulations and Virginia possibly joining the nine-state Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI).
- Provided government relations, regulatory advising, and negotiation
support over a two-year period to E.I. DuPont de Nemours & Company in a
$50 million Natural Resources Damages Act settlement with the Commonwealth
of Virginia and the U.S. Department of Interior on legacy mercury
contamination of more than 100 miles of rivers. This was the largest NRDA
settlement in Virginia history and the eighth-largest in the nation.
- Provided government relations consulting services to Duke Energy in
Virginia on matters relating to its 2014 coal ash spill in the Dan River.
- Provide ongoing government relations services to Virginia Commonwealth
University before the Governor’s Office and General Assembly.
- Provided consulting services to HDR Engineering (and to the Hampton Roads
Planning District Commission) on a year-long feasibility study on
wastewater collection system consolidation of some 15 local governments;
consulting team identified potential savings of more than $900 million over
- Provide ongoing government relations and regulatory advisory services to
James City Service Authority before the General Assembly and state
regulatory agencies on groundwater and surface water permitting, including
for a potential new $130 million water treatment facility.
- Provided Virginia and federal government relations and regulatory
advising to Hampton Roads (Va.) Sanitation District on a proposed $1.2
billion, 120 MGD Potomac Aquifer injection/recharge project that also may
reduce wastewater discharge into surface waters by some 90 percent.
Represented HRSD before the General Assembly, Governor’s Office, and state
- Provided government relations and regulatory permitting consulting
services to Apex Clean Energy for Virginia’s first utility-scale wind power
generation project (85 MW, up to 25 turbines).
- Provided government relations consulting services to a major East Coast
cell tower developer; successfully sited on government-owned property more
than a dozen towers in Virginia localities; included private-to-public
revenue sharing agreements.
- Provided representation to Virginia Municipal League before the General
Assembly and Governor’s Office on environmental legislative and policy
- Provide ongoing government relations and environmental policy consulting
services to a major environmental consulting firm on public-private
partnerships to design and construct municipal stormwater infrastructure.
- Provide ongoing government relations and legislative advisory services to
the Virginia Water and Waste Authorities Association, comprised of more
than 40 water, wastewater, and stormwater public service authorities.
- Provide ongoing government relations consulting services to Hampton Roads
(Va.) Planning District Commission (comprised of 16 local governments),
focusing on stormwater and other environmental matters.
- Provide government relations and advisory services to a major developer
on federal and state historic rehabilitation tax credits on a $175 million
residential and commercial development in Fairfax County, Va.
- Provide ongoing general government relations and strategic advisory
services to the Virginia Resources Authority, a state financing entity to
local governments for infrastructure projects.
- Provided government relations and economic development incentives
negotiations consulting services to Vireol Bio Energy, establishing the
largest ethanol manufacturing facility on the East Coast; secured nearly $5
million in state and local economic development support.
- Provided government relations and environmental policy consulting
services to the Economic Development Authority of the City of Richmond
(Va.) on a potential new minor league baseball stadium in downtown
- Provided strategic advice to a major national bank on federal and state
environmental policy (in six states) regarding coal mining operations,
focusing on the Clean Water Act.
- Provided government relations and environmental policy consulting
services to Columbia Gas of Maryland (NiSource) on the design and
construction of an approximately 25-mile natural gas transmission line in
- Provided government relations consulting services and assisted in
economic development incentives negotiations to Lumber Liquidators for a
new distribution center in Henrico County, Va.
- Provided government relations services to Louisa County (Va.) Water
Authority in securing a $1.6 million state grant for a wastewater treatment
- Royal Holloway, University of LondonMAModern British Literature1990
- University of RichmondMHumHumanities1988
- Randolph-Macon CollegeBAEnglish1986
Honorary Fellow, Royal Holloway College, University of London, 2011
George C. Marshall Visitors Program, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Federal Republic of Austria, 2011
Recipient, Outstanding Civilian Service Medal, U.S. Department of the Army, 2010
Recipient, Honorary LLD, Lynchburg College, 2008
Named a Distinguished Alumnus, Society of Alumni, Randolph-Macon College, 2008
Recipient, Public Officials Award, Virginia Water Environment Association, 2006
Named “Legislator of the Year,” Virginia Sheriffs Association, 2004
Recipient, Scales of Justice Award, Virginia Legal Aid Society, 2002
Named “Legislator of the Year,” Chesapeake Bay Foundation 2000
Recipient, Outstanding Young Alumnus, Society of Alumni, Randolph-Macon College, 1997
- Author, Local Limits on Small-Scale Solar Projects Clash With Virginia Energy Policy, McGuireWoods Legal Alert, June 24, 2021
- Author, "Getting to Know the American Rescue Act Plan of 2021", Virginia Municipal League Town and City Magazine, June 2021
- Author, "Biden Should Deepen Ties with Vietnam in Resetting China Policy", Oxford Political Review, December 3, 2020
- Author, "Three Steps Forward for Environmental Justice in Virginia", Virginia Municipal League Town and City Magazine, November 2020
- Co-author, "Mark Warner’s Diligence Led to the Great American Outdoors Act", Richmond Times-Dispatch, September 7, 2020
- Author, Virginia Clean Economy Act Promises to Increase Development of Distributed Renewables, McGuireWoods Legal Alert, July 1, 2020
- Author, Virginia’s New Solar Project Development Laws Offer Opportunities and Potential Risks, McGuireWoods Legal Alert, May 5, 2020
- Author, State Environmental Enforcement Policies During COVID-19 and Response to EPA “Discretion” Policy, McGuireWoods Legal Alert, April 2, 2020
- Author, "Understanding the Virginia Clean Economy Act", Virginia Municipal League Town and City Magazine, April 2020
- Author, EPA Indicates that It May Relax Enforcement Measures for Narrow Categories of Environmental Legal Obligations Occurring After March 13, 2020, if Pandemic Causes Inability to Comply, McGuireWoods Legal Alert, March 30, 2020
- Author, Key Takeaways From McGuireWoods’ 2020 Virginia Data Centers Event, McGuireWoods Legal Alert, March 5, 2020
- Co-author, "Gerald Baliles’ Work to Protect Virginia’s Environment is Central to His Legacy", Richmond Times-Dispatch, October 20, 2019
- Author, "Electrifying Virginia: Over a Century of Progress to Make Our Lights Burn Brighter", Virginia Municipal League Town and City Magazine, June 2019
- Author, "Powering Up for the Future", Virginia Municipal League Town and City Magazine, June 2018
- Author, "Virginia Will Grow. Its Infrastructure Must, Too. And That Means Big Costs.", Virginia Municipal League Town and City Magazine, March 30, 2018
- Author, Virginia 2016 General Assembly Update for Water Utilities, McGuireWoods Legal Alert, April 26, 2016
- Author, EPA and Municipalities Respond to Increased Concerns About Lead in Drinking Water, McGuireWoods Legal Alert, March 8, 2016
- Author, Third Circuit Upholds Chesapeake Bay TMDL, McGuireWoods Legal Alert, July 10, 2015
- Author, Law Amends Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Programs in Virginia, McGuireWoods Legal Alert, March 27, 2015
- Author, "Finding Out What Lies Beneath: Richmond, Washington Coming Together on Offshore Energy Production", Lynchburg News & Advance, July 27, 2014
- Co-author, "Public-Private Collaboration Remains the Key to Securing Virginia’s Energy Future", Richmond Times-Dispatch, October 15, 2013
- Author, Dominion Virginia Power Wins Offshore Lease Auction, McGuireWoods Legal Alert, September 5, 2013
- Author, "Red, White and Green: A Federal Sustainability Vision for the National Capital", William & Mary Environmental Law and Policy Review, 37.1 (2012): 1-24
- Author, "Congress Must Modernize the Clean Water Act", Richmond Times-Dispatch, October 23, 2012
- Co-author, "District Energy and Virginia Law", Journal of Local Government Law, Spring 2012
- Author, "Stormwater Utlities Key to Bay Cleanup", Richmond Times-Dispatch, January 9, 2011
- Author, "Restart for Nuclear Power Plants", Raleigh News & Observer, December 30, 2010
- Author, "Government, Industry Aligning to Develop Offshore Wind Farms", Virginian Pilot, June 27, 2010
- Author, "Universities are Leading the Sustainability Revolution", University of Richmond Alumni Magazine, Summer 2010
- Author, "Climate Change", Richmond Times-Dispatch, July 17, 2009
- Author, "How the Kaine Administration is Moving Towards a More Sustainable Virginia", Virginia Environmental Law Journal, 2009
- Co-author, "On Climate, Obama Must Hurry", Richmond Times-Dispatch, December 17, 2008
- Author, "State Commission Grapples With Climate Change", Richmond Times-Dispatch, February 22, 2008
Board of Trustees, The Library of Virginia, 2016-present; Chair, 2019-2021
Advisory Committee, Division of Earth & Life Studies, National Academy of Sciences, 2012-2018
Board of Trustees, Randolph-Macon College, 2010-2022
Board of Directors, James River Association, 2010-2012
Chairman and Member, National Capital Planning Commission, 2009-2018 (appointed by President Obama, October 2009)
Board of Directors, American Foundation for Royal Holloway & Bedford New College, Inc. (University of London), 2008-2022
Board of Directors, Capitol Square Civil Rights Memorial Foundation, Inc., 2005-2007
Board of Trustees, Inger and Walter Rice Center for Environmental Life Sciences, Virginia Commonwealth University, 2003-2007
Board Member, Vice-Chair, Chair, Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, 1994-2000; 2001-2007
Advisory Board Member, Virginia Institute of Government, University of Virginia, 1998-2006
Board Member, Opera on the James, 2005-2006
Member, Randolph-Macon College Board of Associates, 1994-2004
Board Member, Vice-President, President, National Kidney Foundation of Virginia, 1997-2001
Board Member, Central Virginia Community Services, 1994-1995
- Speaker, Internet Infrastructure Issues, Webinar, May 6, 2020
- Speaker, Internet Infrastructure Issues, Webinar, April 22, 2020
- Panelist, Update on Virginia’s Renewable Energy Market, Webinar, September 12, 2019
- Speaker, "Getting Projects Approved in the Age of Social Media", Land Use in the 21st Century: Getting Projects Approved in the Age of Social Media, November 2016
- Speaker, EcoDistricts: Pathway to a Resilient Community, McGuireWoods LLP Seminar and Webinar, March 2016
- Co-presenter, "Biosolids: Legal Challenges to Land Application and Policy Considerations for Utilities of the Future", Hot Topics in Clean Water Law, NACWA Web Seminar, January 2014
- Speaker, "Federal Triangle South: Redeveloping Underutilized Federal Property Through Public-Private Partnerships", U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management, November 2013
- Speaker, "CDFA Intro Public-Private Partnership (P3) Finance Course", 2013 National Development Finance Summit, August 2013
- Keynote Speaker, "Annual Sustainability Lecture", Center for Research Into Sustainability, Royal Holloway College, University of London, November 2012
- Speaker, "The Future of the National Mall", Testimony on the Future of the National Mall, Testimony, June 2012
- Speaker, Virginia Offshore Wind Conference 2011, June 22, 2011
- Speaker, "Chesapeake Bay Restoration", Testimony on Chesapeake Bay Restoration, U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment, Testimony, September 2009
- Keynote Speaker, Energy2020 Conference, September 2009
- Keynote Speaker, Environment Virginia Conference, April 2009
- Panelist, Transatlantic Conference on Climate and Energy Policy, Federal Foreign Office and Federal Ministry of the Environment, September 2008
- Speaker, Convocation Address, Longwood University, August 2008
- Speaker, Commencement Address, Lynchburg College, May 2008
- Speaker, Commencement Address, Randolph-Macon College, May 2007