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Board Certified in State & Federal Government and Administrative Practice, Michael G. Cooke concentrates his practice in administrative law, including environmental, utility, and land use law. He represents industrial, agricultural, banking, government, and developer clients on matters involving clean air, climate change, electric generating facilities, renewable energy, telecommunications, utility plant and transmission line siting, water, and wastewater issues and permitting and zoning matters.

From 2003 to 2006, Michael was the Director of the Division of Air Resource Management for the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. In this position, he managed the air quality program for the State of Florida, interacting with federal and local agencies and over-seeing permitting and enforcement matters and the development of state air regulations. Michael also served as General Counsel for the Florida Public Service Commission in Tallahassee from 2006 through 2008. His responsibilities at the Public Service Commission included conduct of rate cases, rulemaking, enforcement proceedings, and decision-making involved with policy issues regarding nuclear facility site cost recovery and renewable energy.

Michael has represented clients in connection with numerous environmental regulatory matters, particularly in air permitting and compliance issues. He has represented electric utilities, manufacturing, and agricultural entities in connection with various Title V and New Source Review matters. He is well versed in CERCLA, RCRA, TSCA, water, and solid waste matters.

Michael is serving as Chair on the State & Federal Government Administrative Practice Certification Committee of The Florida Bar. Certification is the highest level of recognition by The Florida Bar of an attorney’s competency and experience within an area of law and an attorney’s commitment to professionalism and ethics in practice.


  • Environmental
  • Federal and State Air Regulation
  • Permitting and Enforcement
  • Utility and Rate Regulation
  • Land Use & Zoning
  • Energy
  • Carbon Credits
  • Climate Change



  • Advised citrus processors’ trade association in connection with New Source Review (“NSR”) compliance issues at Florida facilities, and development of amendments to state and federal NSR program.
  • Advised a U.S. manufacturer regarding environmental requirements applicable to its facilities located in Mexico and, in particular, assisted the company in developing its program for ensuring compliance with RCRA disposal requirements and other transborder issues.
  • Represented a mid-Atlantic gas pipeline company when an environmental group appealed the company’s air permit related to greenhouse gas emissions at new installation.
  • Represented electric utility in securing NSR permit for a major modification of a coal-fired generation facility.
  • Served as lead counsel to Michigan manufacturing trade association regarding adoption of environmental regulations and legislation to implement 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments; drafted proposed legislation and appeared before Michigan legislature on behalf of association.
  • Managed Florida Air Division and directed air permitting, compliance, and rulemaking, including development of state regulations implementing the federal Clean Air Interstate Rule, Clean Air Mercury Rule, Clean Air Visibility Rule, and New Source Review reform programs.
  • Frequently advise electric utilities, industrial facilities, and
  • Advised a manufacturing corporation with obtaining major source air construction permit for manufacturing facility at a greenfield site in Tennessee.
  • Defended marine transportation facility in Florida against noncompliance allegations by EPA and State with air permit.
  • Represent corporate parent of Florida utilities in rate case and other proceedings before state commission.
  • Represented trade association intervenor in electric utility rate case.
  • Represented a national metal and plastic pipe manufacturing company headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, as the lead land use attorney in the rezoning and construction of a $6 million pipe manufacturing facility in Sumter County Florida. Working with a land use consultant hired by the company, he interacted with county staff to secure rezoning approvals within a very short period of time that was dictated by a real estate purchase agreement closing deadline.
  • Lead land use attorney for the siting of a new wall board manufacturing facility in Hillsborough County, Florida. In this matter he planned and managed a rezoning petition for the company and successfully dealt with significant neighborhood opposition involving concerns about increased traffic and environmental impacts to Tampa Bay. He also negotiated a major reclaimed water agreement with the county on behalf of the company.
  • Represented Grosvenor Group Holdings, Inc., in connection with various land use matters in the City of Tampa involving the expansion and reconfiguring of WestShore Plaza. Assisted in oral argument for a certiorari petition involving an adverse decision by the City of Tampa and he drafted and filed a second tier certiorari petition for review by the Second District Court of Appeal.
  • Assisted with representation of a major source natural gas-fired merchant power plant in Florida regarding refinancing. Provided various legal opinions touching on a broad range of matters, including real estate, utility regulations, and environmental matters, including current and prospective compliance with air permitting issues.
  • Advised renewable energy developer on air permitting issues in mid-Atlantic and Southeastern states.
  • Advised coal-fired electric utility regarding greenhouse gas regulatory compliance issues in Florida.
  • General Counsel, Florida Public Service Commission (2006 through 2008) 
  • Division Director, Air Resource Management, Florida Department of Environmental Protection (2003-2006)
  • Information Policy and Legislation Specialist, Energy Information Administration, U.S. Department of Energy
  • Environmental Attorney, Office of General Counsel, General Motors Corporation (1985 - 1992)
  • Assistant Professor of Biology, University of Puget Sound, Tacoma, WA (1978 - 1980)

Recognition & Leadership

  • Listed, The Best Lawyers in America, Environmental Law, 2024
  • Listed, Florida Trend "Legal Elite," Environmental & Land Use, 2015-2018, 2021-2022
  • Team Member, a Law360 "Environmental Practice Group of the Year," 2022
  • Team Member, U.S. News - Best Lawyers®, Best Law Firms Edition, "Law Firm of the Year," Environmental Law, 2016
  • Listed, Who's Who Legal, Environmental, 2016-2018, 2020-2022
    • Global Leader, Environment, 2016-2018, 2020-2022
  • Associate Editor, Catholic University Law Review
  • Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Federal & State Government and Administrative practice
  • Rated, AV Preeminent® 5.0 out of 5.0

°AV®, AV Preeminent®, Martindale-Hubbell DistinguishedSM and Martindale-Hubbell NotableSM are certification marks used under license in accordance with the Martindale-Hubbell® certification procedures, standards and policies.

  • Member, The Florida Bar
    • Member, Administrative Law Section
      • Member, Administrative Law Executive Council
      • Public Utilities Co-Chair
    • Member, Environmental & Land Use Law Section
    • Member, Government Lawyer Section
      • Chair, State & Federal Government & Administrative Practice Certification Committee, 2021-2022 
      • Vice Chair, State & Federal Government & Administrative Practice Certification Committee, 2020-2021
        • Member, 2016-2021
  • Member, Hillsborough County Bar Association


  • J.D., The Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law, 1985
    • Associate Editor, Catholic University Law Review 
  • M.S., Biology, George Mason University
  • B.S., Biology, with distinction, George Mason University, 1974
  • Florida
  • Michigan