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Senior Director of Government Affairs

John D. Freshman


John Freshman has worked on all of the major national environmental legislation — the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, the Solid and Hazardous Waste Acts, the Endangered Species Act and the National Environmental Policy Act. He has spent his 30-year career synthesizing, distilling and presenting complex public policy issues to decision makers in Washington, D.C. — first in government, and then on behalf of public and private clients. John’s experience includes both houses of Congress, especially the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, the White House and the Environmental Protection Agency, where he was special advisor to the administrator. He has developed relationships across the country in many disciplines, including politics, government, business, law and science.

John advises clients on legislative, regulatory and permit problems and develops and implements strategies for overcoming those problems, including advocating by drafting issue papers, using grass-roots methods, communication plans and direct lobbying.
John’s particular emphasis is water — supply, conveyance, funding projects, quality, treatment and reclamation, and recycling. He develops innovative funding strategies for water and wastewater projects, and has represented municipalities and private entities across the U.S. that are involved in water delivery, wastewater treatment and private sector investments in water. He utilizes his broad experience to assist clients with flood control protection and water supply funding for recycling projects.
While John’s focus has been on water and the environment, he has also handled health, trade and tax issues with success.

John has secured a high level of federal funding for counties and cities in California, including the County of Monterey and the cities of Los Angeles and Sacramento. John’s responsibilities for the County of Monterey and the City of Sacramento were all-encompassing: He coordinated and advocated all of the federal issues for these clients.
John is married with three grown children. He lives in Bethesda, Maryland.

*Not admitted to the practice of law.


Legislative, Regulatory and Permits

  • Achieved only amendment to Federal Clean Water Act for a public agency in Texas, resulting in reduced mass emissions of toxic (priority) pollutants
  • Worked on all aspects of legislation and implementation of Central Valley Improvement Act
  • On behalf of a California city, which has a very advantageous pre-Central Valley Project Bureau of Reclamation water supply permit, convinced Bureau not to regulate water allocation between the American and Sacramento rivers
  • On behalf of a California city, handles all federal strategy with Washington, D.C. office of FEMA for classification and mapping
  • Negotiated with National Marine Fisheries Service on steelhead issues for Carmel and Salinas rivers
  • Worked with EPA and Congress to provide extra time for San Diego outfall

Funding and Grants

  • Helped secure $500,000 in federal funding for water reclamation and reuse projects and studies for the Las Virgenes-Triunfo Joint Powers Authority's Pure Water Project.
  • Secured $100 million in funding for water pollution facilities on the West Coast to make more than 800 million gallons per day available for recycling
  • Obtained an ongoing annual appropriation of $70 million for essential flood protection in California
  • Worked in bi-partisan way with local congressmen and senators to increase, authorize and obtain funding for American River level hardening, Sacramento River bank stabilization, reop of Folsom Dam and South Sacramento streams
  • Secured $40 million for Title XVI water reclamation for a California city
  • Obtained $100 million for appropriations for rural water supply in South Dakota
  • Secured funding for Orange County water recycling and secondary treatment facility construction
  • Obtained funding for Monterey County water resources for recycling facility on Salinas River
  • Obtained initial funding for Riverside-Corona feeder for California water district
Thought Leadership


  • “Looking Ahead: Federal Drought Response,” BBKnowledge, Jan. 13, 2016
  • “Water Infrastructure Funding,” BBKnowledge, Dec. 7, 2015
  • “Drought: Congressional State of Play at the End of the Fiscal Year,” BBKnowledge, Oct. 1, 2015
  • “[VIDEO] Waters of the United States: Implications of EPA’s Regulatory Definition,” BBKnowledge, Sept. 3, 2015
  • “Dead in the Water: The Western Water and American Food Security Act,” BBKnowledge, July 17, 2015
  • “The Impact of the California Drought on Water Agencies and Treatment Districts,” BBKnowledge, July 1, 2015
  • “Changes in Congress Affect California Water Interests,” BBKnowledge, Nov. 10, 2014
  • “December 3 Deadline for Submitting Federal Water Projects,” BBKnowledge, Oct. 9, 2014
  • “Highlights from the Build America P3 Infrastructure Investment Summit,” BBKnowledge, Sept. 10, 2014
  • “President Announces Public-Private Partnership Initiative for Infrastructure Development,” BBKnowledge, July 18, 2014
  • “EPA Proposes Change to Clean Water Act Rule and Definition of the Term “Waters of the U.S.,” BBKnowledge, June 20, 2014
  • “Developments in Water Law,” BB&K Legal Alert, June 10, 2014 
  • “WIFIA: New $350 Million Water Project Federal Financing Program*,” BBKnowledge, May 23, 2014


  • "Federal Funding for Water Projects — Steadily Increasing in Volume and Availability," Argent Communication Group's Annual California Water Law & Policy Conference, June 21, 2019
  • "Water Projects: How to Successfully Navigate a Growing But Complicated Process (State Sponsored Programs, Reclamation Programs)," American Water Works Association Annual Conference and Exposition, June 13, 2018
  • "California Water Infrastructure and Federal Money," Argent Communication Group's 2018 Annual California Water Law & Policy Conference, June 11, 2018
  • "One Year into the Trump Administration and the 115th Congress: An Update on Federal Policy Changes Impacting Mid-Pacific Water Users," Mid-Pacific Region Water Users’ Conference, Jan. 17, 2018
  • "Tax Reform: What D.C.'s Actions Could Mean for Public Agencies," BB&K Webinar, Nov. 1, 2017
  • "ACWA’s Hans Doe Past Presidents’ Breakfast in Partnership with ACWA/JPIA,"  Association of California Water Agency's Fall Conference & Exhibition​, Dec. 2, 2016
  • "New EPA Definition of Waters of the U.S.," BB&K Webinar, Aug. 26, 2015

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