Serving clients with Environmental and Land Use issues

 

Environmental and land use issues affect everyone. We all live on the land, travel on its roads, breathe the air, and drink the water.

Our experience encompasses the diverse range of our clients – from business owners, to municipal and special purpose governments, and large national corporations. We handle land development and environmental projects, respond to regulatory actions, perform due diligence work, develop risk management strategies, and obtain needed permits.

We use our experience and creative problem solving to help clients achieve their goals, which often include working with regulators, government officials and consultants to achieve cost effective “win-win” solutions. We vigorously litigate when necessary, and know how to pursue insurance coverage and contractual indemnities on behalf of our clients.

Please select from the list below for more information on special areas of interest.

Land Use and Development

We assist clients in project planning, pre-development review and approvals, project entitlements and permitting, and related litigation. We have significant experience advising private and public clients on substantive and procedural land use and development law, including zoning and comprehensive plan amendments; conditional use and variance permits; and residential subdivision and commercial development.

Environmental Issues

We draft environmental regulatory programs; help clients navigate the maze of federal, state, and local environmental regulations; negotiate prospective purchaser agreements; assess and manage environmental risks; assist clients in developing programs for complex environmental cleanups and the associated regulatory process; and advise on environmental restoration projects.

Introduction Power Production

We have worked with landowners, generators, and other stakeholders on an array of power projects, ranging from traditional hydropower and gas-fired turbine plants to wind farms and other alternative energy projects. These projects have enabled us to assemble an experienced team of attorneys who can effectively address the variety of siting, development, and permitting issues associated with power production plants.

Sensitive Areas Issues

We know the law on wetlands, steep slopes, restricted use lands, critical areas, and stormwater drainage. We apply our knowledge to solve problems – whether in the context of pre-development planning or post-development regulatory or enforcement actions.

Brownfield Redevelopment

We use an integrated approach to the redevelopment of “brownfields” property, combining the experience of our real estate, environmental, and land use attorneys to facilitate the reclamation and reuse of environmentally impacted properties.

Insurance

We have significant expertise in assessing insurance coverage and litigating to recover environmental expenditures. We are also skilled in evaluating and utilizing newly available environmental insurance products to actively manage the risks associated with environmental liabilities.

Litigation

We handle all phases of litigation, including public hearings before local governmental bodies, administrative appeals of land use and environmental decisions, and trials and appellate court actions. Our attorneys have a long history of making new law and successfully representing clients in court.

Governmental Representation

We have unparalleled experience in serving as special counsel to regional and local governments throughout Washington. This unique expertise is invaluable in understanding the interplay of public and private rights and finding successful solutions to seemingly intractable problems.

Tribal Environmental Law

We also have unparalleled experience in serving as special environmental counsel to tribal governments, and in helping tribes protect the quality of the Reservation environment. We pride ourselves on our work with Tribal program staff and Reservation attorneys. This unique expertise is invaluable for non-tribal clients’ interaction with tribal governments, tribally chartered corporations, and other tribal instrumentalities. Our tribal practice includes:

  • Environmental Grants and Funding,
  • Environmental Program Development,
  • Intergovernmental Cooperative Agreements,
  • Legislative Counseling,
  • Natural Resource Damage Claims,
  • National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Compliance,
  • Tribal Business Regulatory Compliance,
  • Tribal Endangered Species Act Issues,
  • Tribal Reserved Water Rights, and
  • Pollution Prevention in Economic Development

Representative Matters

Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation

OMW represents the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, the plaintiff in litigation under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA, known as the federal Superfund Act) against Teck Metals, Ltd. regarding environmental contamination in the Columbia River. In November 2011, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Washington denied Teck’s motion asking the court to determine as a matter of law that the Tribes’ co-plaintiff, the State of Washington, is a liable party under the Superfund Act. Teck argued that the State was liable as an “arranger” for permitting mining and related activities in the region under written contracts. The court disagreed, finding that the State was not liable.

OMW Obtains Settlement of Alleged Clean Water Act Violations

In October 2011, a federal court judge entered a Consent Decree resolving Clean Water Act issues involving our client, a privately held industrial corporation, and a citizen group. While aggressively defending the matter, we identified an opportunity for early settlement, ultimately resolving the matter for a nominal sum, without incurring significant attorneys’ fees or disruption to our client’s business.