Our attorneys live and breathe environmental law. We have decades of experience advising clients on environmental regulations, including those that affect development projects, govern ongoing businesses activities, or impose liability for environmental contamination. We help our clients navigate complex and sometimes conflicting environmental standards, develop successful strategies for securing environmental permits and approvals, and negotiate agreements with federal, state, and local regulators to minimize and resolve environmental risk and liability, including consent decrees and administrative orders. Our clients include individuals, small businesses, developers, community organizations, government agencies, and companies in a variety of enterprises, including maritime, oil and gas, electric, lending, and chemical distribution, both in Washington State and across the United States. We handle large and small projects for clients, ranging from releases of heating oil from residential underground storage tank systems to releases of multiple hazardous substances over decades at the largest Superfund sites in the United States.

We have a nationwide environmental litigation practice, defending claims brought against our clients by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology), the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), and other state and local agencies across the country under federal, state, and local environmental laws, such as the Clean Water Act (CWA), the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), and the Washington Model Toxics Control Act (MTCA), and claims brought in tort for nuisance, trespass, and negligence. We defend claims asserted by parties alleging injury from environmental contamination, enforcement actions initiated by government agencies, and complex class actions involving large numbers of plaintiffs, and represent clients in both private and court-ordered allocations of response and remedial costs under CERCLA and state equivalents.

We often pursue insurance coverage and cost recovery claims for clients to offset the cost of investigating and cleaning up contaminated sites. Insurance is sometimes available in historic commercial general liability policies and other business policies. We help clients identify potential insurance assets and develop strategies to trigger defense and indemnity under insurance policies. We have successfully recovered millions of dollars for clients from insurance companies, oil companies, railroads, dry cleaners, and other polluters. These claims are often resolved through negotiation, without the need for litigation, but we will file lawsuits where necessary to resolve a claim. We have extensive experience litigating claims in federal and state courts, and resolving them through dispute resolution procedures, including mediation and arbitration.

For more information about our environmental regulation practice group, please contact Michelle Rosenthal or Howard Jensen.


We are especially adept at quarterbacking environmental issues for our developer clients, starting with identifying viable acquisition properties, drafting and negotiating terms for purchase and sale agreements and escrow holdback agreements, conducting environmental due diligence, including Phase I and Phase II Environmental Site Assessments, identifying and selecting feasible, affordable cleanup actions, and quantifying in economic terms the environmental risk associated with a transaction.