V. Randall Tinsley, Brooks Pierce Photo

V. Randall Tinsley



Randy Tinsley works with business and industry, local governments, and others in achieving their goals in environmental compliance, permitting, and litigation. His experience in water quality, water rights, and wetlands matters is unusually comprehensive.

My Practices

  • Randy provides sound legal advice and strong advocacy in matters involving: water quality, wastewater permitting, pretreatment, water rights, non-licensee rights in FERC hydropower matters, EIS preparation, state and federal wetlands permitting, mining, reservoir construction, erosion control, endangered species, essential fish habitat impacts, Coastal Area Management Act permitting, groundwater contamination, underground storage tanks, hazardous waste, administrative litigation, appellate advocacy, and stakeholder representation in rulemaking.

    Randy works with clients to obtain all types of environmental permits and authorizations, and has extensive litigation experience in federal and state courts and before administrative agencies.

  • Randy advises businesses and local governments on a myriad of water law issues, including water quality, wastewater permitting, water rights, and Clean Water Act compliance.

  • Randy works with local governments on complex legal issues related to their water supply systems and wastewater collection and treatment systems. His experience includes helping clients comply with wastewater permits and Safe Water Drinking Act requirements, resolving water rights disputes for local governments, and consolidating local governments' water and sewer systems.

  • Randy has advised and represented mining entities on a variety of environmental compliance and permitting issues.




  • Successful protection of local governments’ water rights in litigation in federal court in one case and through informal FERC procedures in another case.
  • Successful management of licensing process, use of administrative procedures, and federal litigation to obtain State and federal protections of a local government’s water supply infrastructure.
  • Successful permitting and litigation in support of a phosphate mining and processing operation.
  • Negotiation of a Clean Water Act administrative agreement with EPA that prevented the debarment of an agribusiness company.
  • Establishment of an environmental management system for an industrial client’s facilities in four states.
  • Obtain environmental permits and exemptions for municipal, industrial, commercial, and agricultural clients, most often for projects that are complex and controversial.
  • Successful defense of a variety of permittees in third-party challenges of their 404 permits, 401 water quality certifications, NPDES permits and other environmental permits.
  • Environmental counsel for the City of Wilson's Buckhorn Reservoir project, including 404 permitting and reversal of a Fish and Wildlife Service Endangered Species Act jeopardy opinion.
  • Expansion of a town's water intake facilities in the Catawba River basin, including regulatory approvals and successful rejection of withdrawal caps and other forms of control demanded by owner of FERC-licensed reservoir in federal litigation.
  • Avoidance of substantial costs of a planned Interbasin Transfer (IBT) certificate process for a city by obtaining a favorable administrative interpretation.
  • Expedited permitting of a city's new pumping station and raw water line during drought emergency.


Honors & Recognitions

Selected by his peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© in Environmental Law and Environmental Litigation (2005-2024); ranked as Greensboro Litigation—Environmental “Lawyer of the Year” (2015, 2017) and Greensboro Environmental Law “Lawyer of the Year” (2022)

Recognized by Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business for Environmental Law (2008-2023)

Recognized by his peers for inclusion in Business North Carolina's "Legal Elite" in Environmental Law (2007, 2014, 2023)


University of Virginia School of Law, J.D., 1987

Virginia Tech, M.S., 1984

Ohio State University, B.S., 1980, with distinction


North Carolina

U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th and D.C. Circuits

U.S. District Court for the Western, Middle, and Eastern Districts of North Carolina



Speaking Engagements

Professional & Civic

Professional & Civic Activities

Member, Environment, Energy & Natural Resources Law Section, North Carolina Bar Association (1987-present) (past Council member and committee chairman)

Member, Administrative Law Section, North Carolina Bar Association (1987-present)

Member, America Water Works Association (1996-present)

Member, American Water Resources Association (2009-present)

Graduate, Triad Leadership Network (1995)

Co-Chairman, Town of Summerfield Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee (2007-2010)

About Me

I thoroughly enjoy the work we do for our environmental clients at Brooks Pierce. I was a scientist before I studied law. I am passionate about understanding our clients' needs and goals and digging and fighting for the best possible outcomes for our clients.

  • 1
    1 favorite way to relax: weightlighting
  • 1
    1 favorite hobby: target shooting
  • 1
    1 favorite vacation: Bahamas pole spear fishing
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