Eric J. Fygi has served as the Deputy General Counsel since the Department of Energy's founding in October 1977, and periodically has served since then as the Department's Acting General Counsel. Together with the General Counsel, he is responsible to the Secretary of Energy for all the Department’s legal affairs and the management of a 100-plus complement of attorneys at the Department’s headquarters.
A charter member of the career Senior Executive Service, Mr. Fygi’s recognitions include four Presidential Rank Awards (two Distinguished and two Meritorious) from Presidents Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and Clinton; two formal commendations for legislative accomplishments from President Ford; the Department’s James R. Schlesinger Award for 2012; and three conferrals of the Secretary of Energy’s Gold Award, the Department of Energy’s previous highest recognition. In 2012, Mr. Fygi also received the Burton Foundation Award for Public Service in Law, conferred on behalf of the Burton and the Library of Congress.
Mr. Fygi was the legal architect of the emergency executive actions taken by Presidents Clinton and George W. Bush in January of 2001 that prevented simultaneous collapse of natural gas and electricity service throughout Northern California immediately following the bankruptcy of the region’s major utility. He also was the principal formulator of the Administration legislative initiatives that led to enactment of the Energy Policy and Conversation Act, the Department of Energy Organization Act, the charter for the Energy Information Administration that originated in the Energy Conservation and Production Act, and the patent ownership provisions of the Nonnuclear Energy Research and Development Act of 1974.
In February 1974, during the Arab oil embargo, Mr. Fygi joined the Federal Energy Office (FEO) as its Assistant General Counsel for General Law and Legislation, and became Assistant General Counsel for General Law, Legislation and Energy Resource Programs of the Federal Energy Administration (FEA) when that agency was established by statute to succeed the FEO. In March 1975, he was appointed a Deputy General Counsel of FEA. He served successively as Acting General Counsel of the FEA and the Department of Energy from February 1977 to May 1978, having been designated on October 1, 1977, by Secretary Schlesinger as Acting General Counsel of the newly-formed Department. He has served since then as the Deputy General Counsel of the Department of Energy.
Mr. Fygi came to DOE from the Department of Health, Education and Welfare, where he was General Counsel of the U.S. Office of Consumer Affairs. Previously, he served as Deputy General Counsel of the U.S. Office of Consumer Affairs, Executive Office of the President, as an attorney-adviser and Special Assistant to then-Assistant Attorney General Rehnquist in the Office of Legal Counsel of the Department of Justice, and as a judge advocate officer in the Office of the Judge Advocate General of the Army.
A native of La Jolla, California, Mr. Fygi received his B.A. degree in history from the Virginia Military Institute, and his J.D. degree from the University of California’s Hastings College of Law. He served on the Hastings Law Journal, was editor-in-chief of the Hastings Voir Dire newspaper, and president of the student body association.