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AREAS OF PRACTICE

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

 

  • Environmental Remediation and Restoration
  • Air Quality
  • Water Quality
  • Hazardous and Solid Waste
  • Chemicals Regulation
  • Corporate Transactions
  • Pro Bono Publico

AREAS OF PRACTICE

Environmental Remediation and Restoration Projects/Superfund
Our attorneys are national 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.  Our team has extensive experience in successfully and efficiently prosecuting, defending, and settling large Superfund cost recovery and natural resource damages claims.

Representative Matters

  • We serve as the co-chair of the Alternative Dispute Resolution process for the Portland Harbor Superfund Site – the largest Superfund site west of the Mississippi – while representing two key firm clients. Our team is responsible for leading a group of nearly 100 parties in developing defenses and negotiating with the Environmental Protection Agency over an aquatic sediments cleanup estimated to cost more than $1 billion. We helped to manage the design and implementation of an allocation process with the goal of achieving a negotiated performance offer and settlement with EPA.
  • We represent a major regional waste hauling company in the defense and prosecution of federal litigation related to a large and complex landfill Superfund site where cleanup costs are expected to exceed $75 million. We also lead a group of potentially responsible parties in technical and regulatory negotiations with various agencies over interim and final cleanup actions.

 

Air Quality
Our team maintains a national air quality and climate change practice. We represent clients in connection with enforcement proceedings, agency rulemaking, and permitting issues under the Clean Air Act and similar state air laws and regulations. We have handled a wide range of Clean Air Act compliance issues, including Title V, NSR/PSD, NSPS and NESHAP/MACT issues. We also have significant experience in matters related to the regulation of mobile and off-road sources, such as California’s off-road diesel and large spark-ignition regulations.

Representative Matters

  • We serve as outside counsel to a major international air carrier regarding compliance with air quality regulations at facilities throughout the United States. We have defended against related permit and compliance enforcement actions in multiple jurisdictions.
  • We have negotiated complex air quality permits at multiple sites around the country for one of the nation’s largest polystyrene manufacturing operations. As part of this project, we devised and implemented a defense strategy for multiple enforcement actions, and we developed and implemented a national strategy for defending against demands for new and expanded air quality control technology requirements.

 

Water Quality
We have significant experience with NPDES permit issues – including applications, renewals, modifications, permit shield issues, and defense of citizen suits – primarily on the West Coast. We have also worked on cases involving impaired water body designations.

Representative Matters

  • We are counsel to a large, privately-owned wine company in the Northwest with operations in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho.  Its operations include wineries and vineyards.  We advise our client on a wide range of issues, including water rights issues for vineyard operations and waste water disposal issues for wineries.
  • We have successfully defended multiple parties in citizen suit actions under the Clean Water Act, including suits brought against a Washington municipal sewer district, an international agricultural processor, and a plastic film manufacturer.  We have also successfully challenged a comprehensive municipal NPDES stormwater permit over conditions that insufficiently protected receiving water bodies.

 

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.

Representative Matters

  • We have served as counsel to a Fortune 500 metals manufacturing company on hazardous waste compliance issues, including a citizen suit regarding waste disposal practices and federal litigation challenging hazardous waste disposal and recycling regulations.
  • We have served as counsel to a major producer of kraft paper packaging, advising on RCRA compliance and waste management matters.

 

Chemical Regulation
We have experience in addressing environmental issues associated with chemicals used in consumer and industrial products. Such work has included matters involving California’s Proposition 65 chemical warning law, as well as federal and state OSHA regulations.

Representative Matters

  • We have advised multiple manufacturing clients on compliance with federal OSHA workplace health and safety standards, with a focus on compliance with the Hazard Communication Standard and the corresponding California and Washington state regulations.
  • We regularly represent manufacturers in litigation related to California’s Proposition 65, and we participate in public regulatory actions affecting our clients’ interests.

 

Corporate Transactions and Compliance Audits
We regularly support the Riddell Williams corporate law team on transactions that involve or implicate environmental issues. We provide 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 we work effectively with top environmental risk assessment consultants.

Representative Matters

  • For numerous clients, we have supervised and evaluated the conduct of environmental audits to assist companies in developing operation and management procedures that control or avoid environmental impacts leading to liabilities.
  • For numerous clients, we have managed environmental due diligence processes in various transactions, including real property transfers, asset purchases, stock purchases, mergers, and leases.

 

Pro Bono Publico
We have an established history of pro-bono representation in significant environmental cases and other matters.

Representative Matters

  • We represent a commercial fishing organization on a pro bono basis in a closely-watched case pending before the Washington State Supreme Court. The case will shape application of a statute with important implications for the use and management of the state’s coastal resources.
  • We represented Washington’s leading environmental organizations in pathbreaking litigation regarding the application of the federal Superfund law to the trans-boundary migration of hazardous materials from facilities operating in Canada.

PROFESSIONAL LEADERSHIP AND COMMENTARY

Leadership

  • Emerson Hilton was recently selected to participate in the 2016-2017 Leadership Development Program of the American Bar Association’s Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources.  This highly selective, national program invites only twelve lawyers per year to participate.
  • Katie Yuen was recently elected to serve on the Executive Committee of the King County Bar Association (KCBA) Environmental and Land Use Law Section for the 2016-2017 term.  Gus Winkes was Secretary of the KCBA Environmental and Land Use Section from 2014 to 2016.
  • David Weber, Gus Winkes, and Emerson Hilton serve as EPA Region 10 Reporters for the Air Quality Committee Newsletter published by the American Bar Association’s Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources.