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Environmental and Natural Resources

The Environmental and Natural Resources Group has played a key part in addressing some of the region’s toughest and most challenging issues. Our group’s clients include utilities, international pulp and paper manufacturers, petroleum companies, regional energy companies, airlines and airfreight carriers, steel manufacturers, waste management companies, technology businesses, real estate development partnerships, private landowners and some of the state's leading environmental groups.
Chair:  Loren R. Dunn

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Our Skills

We have a broad range of experience handling the toughest projects and cases. Our work falls into the following areas:

Pollution

We maintain a national practice in pollution control permitting, compliance and enforcement matters. We handle air quality compliance matters, including defense of enforcement actions and citizen suits, throughout the country. We have worked on some of the most challenging water issues in the nation.

Environmental Remediation and Restoration Projects/Superfund

Our attorneys are among the region's leaders in handling complex environmental remediation and restoration projects. We have pioneered the successful use of multi-party mediation to secure faster, more efficient resolution and cleanup of large Superfund sites. We have extensive experience in defending efficiently and settling successfully large natural resource damages claims.

Natural Resource and Public Lands Law

We provide counsel to our clients on all aspects of federal and state natural resource development matters. We have significant experience with all of the major federal and state statutory and regulatory schemes, including the Endangered Species Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, the State Environmental Policy Act, the Growth Management Act, the Shoreline Management Act, the National Forest Management Act, the Marine Mammal Protection Act, the Coastal Zone Management Act, the Submerged Lands Act, mining laws, takings and water rights.

Hazardous and Solid Waste

We advise clients on compliance with hazardous waste management regulations and related matters, including the siting and operation of industrial landfills, incinerators and other facilities. We have defended a number of RCRA enforcement actions, and have handled challenges to federal hazardous waste regulations.

Facility Siting and Relocation Projects

We have helped our clients with a wide variety of new facilities siting projects. Our work has included advice on land use, growth management, discharge permit acquisition and SEPA/NEPA review and approvals.

Corporate Transactions and Compliance Audits

Our attorneys regularly support our business lawyers on transactions that involve an environmental and regulatory component. We provide key strategic advice on how to allocate environmental risks that may attach to major corporate and business transactions. We have also assisted in the development of new environmental audit and risk assessment techniques, and work effectively with top environmental risk assessment consultants.

Land Use and Growth Management

Our land use practice covers all facets of the governmental permit process, including zoning, SEPA review and environmental impact statements, subdivision, shorelines and wetland issues.

Insurance and Risk Management

Attorneys in our Insurance Practice Group originated the concept, and helped to draft Washington’s landmark environmental insurance claims regulations. They have litigated and negotiated a broad range of claims on behalf of policyholders under property, liability and specialty policies.

Our Experience

The following are a few of our group’s representative projects:

  • For a Fortune 1000 publicly traded utility, served as a lead negotiator in the design and successful conclusion of a complex, 80+ party cost allocation process for one of the first major Superfund aquatic site cleanup projects. Served as a lead negotiator for conclusion of consent decrees for performance of cleanup at the site
  • For one of the nation's largest polystyrene manufacturing operations, negotiated complex air quality permits for multiple sites around the country. As part of this project, we devised and implemented a defense strategy for multiple enforcement actions, and developed and implemented a national strategy for defending against demands for new and expanded air quality control technology requirements
  • Counseled major international air carrier on compliance with air quality regulations at facilities all over the United States. Defended against related permit and compliance enforcement actions
  • For one of the nation's leading specialty wood products manufacturers, developed and implemented the nation's first natural resources damages mitigation bank. This bank was the key part of a successful strategy for a comprehensive settlement of federal, state and tribal natural resource damages liability for 20 parties at one of the country’s largest aquatic Superfund sites
  • Managed a long-term collaboration between a major manufacturing client and Native American tribes, national environmental groups, federal resource agencies and the State’s Congressional delegation to develop the Elwha River Ecosystem and Fisheries Restoration Act and secure numerous Congressional appropriations bills to restore anadromous fish stocks on the Elwha River
  • Represented the largest investor-owned utility in the State of Idaho in defending claims by the Nez Perce Tribe that the company’s hydroelectric dams on the Snake River destroyed anadromous fish runs from the 1950’s to present
  • Represented leading state environmental organizations in path-breaking litigation regarding the application of CERCLA to the trans-boundary migration of hazardous materials from operating facilities in Canada

Our Clients

Clients for whom we have handled publicly filed or disclosed matters include:

  • Puget Sound Energy
  • United Airlines
  • Nippon Paper
  • Oregon Steel
  • Northwest Natural Gas
  • Premier Industries, Inc.
  • Reynolds Metals
  • Portland General Electric
  • Idaho Power
  • Cummins Northwest
  • Basin Disposal
  • AMG Aluminum North America LLC
  • APTCO, LLC
  • Plastic Sales & Service

Presentations and Publications

Our attorneys are frequent speakers at national and regional programs, and have published widely.