Ryan R. Waterman


Ryan Waterman represents clients through all phases of the land use entitlement process and CEQA/NEPA environmental review, and defends approvals against litigation in the trial and appellate courts. He is proficient in California's water supply sufficiency laws (SB 221/SB 610) and counsels clients before the State and Regional Water Boards on water quality, groundwater, industrial storm water permitting and construction storm water permitting, and site cleanup matters involving the Clean Water Act, Porter-Cologne Act and CERCLA, including developing policy issues. In addition, Ryan offers strategic advice on the California Global Warming Solutions Act (AB 32) and specializes in the state's cap-and-trade regulatory regime. He also represents clients on a range of administrative environmental compliance matters before air and water boards.

Ryan serves as the Pro Bono Coordinator for Stoel Rives' California offices and seeks to meet California's pro bono challenge every year.

Ryan is a former Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of San Diego, School of Law, where he taught an Environmental Law Seminar each spring for five years. A former Big Brother, Ryan serves on the Board of Directors of Big Brothers Big Sisters of San Diego County.

Prior to joining Stoel Rives, Ryan was an associate at Latham & Watkins LLP for six years, and served as a law clerk to the Honorable Jeanne E. Scott, United States District Judge in the Central District of Illinois.

Representative Work

Project Entitlement / Environmental Review / Litigation
  • Representing renewable energy developers in all aspects of pre-project entitlement and environmental review for projects intended to generate over 200 MW of renewable energy in San Diego County.
  • Defending commercial, residential, and renewable energy projects against CEQA and land use litigation.
  • Prosecuting NEPA violations associated with the denial of special use permit.
  • Coordinated all aspects of pre-project entitlement and environmental review for 200 MW wind project in California, including joint CEQA/NEPA review by the California Public Utilities Commission and U.S. Bureau of Land Management, and cooperating and responsible agencies including the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Army Corps of Engineers, California State Lands Commission, California Department of Fish & Game, local Native American tribes and the County of San Diego.*
  • Torrey Hills Community Coalition v. City of San Diego (2010) 186 Cal.App.4th 429. Prepared and successfully defended EIR for San Diego developer's 483-unit mixed-use project in the City of San Diego.*
  • Sierra Club v. City of Orange (2008) 163 Cal.App.4th 523. Prepared and successfully defended CEQA documents for Orange County developer's 4,000-unit residential project in the City of Orange.*
  • Represented developer in pre-project entitlement and EIR preparation for 4,000-unit, 750,000-square-foot commercial mixed-use project in the City of San Diego.*
Water, Air and Policy Matters
  • Successful defense of Clean Water Act citizen suit challenging Industrial Storm Water permit compliance of aggregate mining facility.
  • Provided strategic guidance regarding impacts of San Diego Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System Permit.
  • Successfully challenged Cleanup and Abatement Order issued to prior landowners without hearing.*
  • Successfully resolved Regional Board notice of violation and establish corrective action plan for industrial client with historic groundwater contamination.*
  • Represented shipbuilder in complex multi-party Cleanup and Abatement Order proceeding before Regional Board regarding largest bay sediment remediation project in California, including multi-party CERCLA litigation and mediation.*
  • Provided strategic guidance and comment development on State Water Board policies, including Clean Water Act Section 316(b) once-through cooling and Areas of Special Biological Significance.*
Global Climate Change Counseling
  • Provided strategic guidance to lenders, developers and electrical generating interests regarding the implications of AB 32 and cap-and-trade regulations.*

*This work was performed prior to joining Stoel Rives LLP.

Professional Honors & Activities

  • California State Bar Association; Environmental Law Section Executive Committee
  • San Diego County Bar Association
  • California Association of Environmental Professionals, San Diego Chapter
  • San Diego Chamber of Commerce, Energy and Water Subcommittee


  • Panelist, “California’s NEW Industrial Storm Water Permit: Strategy, Preparation, Compliance,” Stoel Rives LLP webinar, Sept. 24, 2014
  • Panelist, “What You Need to Know About Industrial Storm Water Permits,” California State Bar Annual Meeting, Sept. 13, 2014
  • Presenter, “Stormwater 2.0, Your SWPPP Goes Public,” California Construction and Industrial Materials Association (CalCIMA) Education Series, May-July 2014 (Sacramento, Bakersfield, Santa Maria, Pleasanton, Victorville, Corona)
  • Panelist, "Let's Do it Later: Is Deferring Formulation of CEQA Mitigation Ever OK, or Is It Just Asking for Trouble?," Association of Environmental Professionals State Conference, March 24, 2014
  • Moderator, "Glare: Lessons Learned and Practice Tips for a Rapidly Developing CEQA Issue," Association of Environmental Professionals State Conference, March 25, 2014
  • Faculty, "Advanced CEQA Workshop," presented annually to the San Diego Chapter of the Association of Environmental Professionals, Winter 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 (moderator in 2010, 2012, and 2013); state-wide curriculum development team, 2010 and 2012
  • Panelist, "Do California's Climate Planning Laws Add Up?", presented to the California Climate Action Planning Conference, Feb. 1, 2013
  • Co-presenter, "Water Supply Analysis in CEQA Documents," presented to the San Diego Chapter of the Association of Environmental Professionals, July 23, 2009
  • Faculty, "Climate Change Analysis Under CEQA," presented to the Environmental Law Section Spring Roundtables, State Bar Association of California, San Diego, June 14, 2009
  • Panelist, "Addressing Water and Climate Change in Environmental Documents — Practical Thoughts," California Water Law Conference, Pasadena, Nov. 20-21, 2008
  • Speaker, "An Economy-Wide Cap and Control Program in the West," Latham & Watkins LLP Strategic Briefing on Global Climate Change, Los Angeles, Nov. 18, 2008
  • Panelist, "How EIRs Should Account for Climate Change in Today's Uncertain Environment," LSI CEQA Workshop, Santa Monica, Sept. 19, 2008
  • Speaker, "Implementation of California's Climate Change Program, Market Mechanisms — Emissions Reductions Under AB 32 and Carbon Credits," Industrial Environmental Association, 6th Annual Environmental and Regulatory Issues Conference & Exposition, San Diego, Nov. 8, 2007
  • Panelist, "How to Account for Global Climate Change in EIRs," LSI CEQA Workshop, San Diego, Sept. 28, 2007


  • Regular contributor to the California Environmental Law Blog, www.californiaenvironmentallawblog.com.  
  • Coauthor, "California High Court Case Has Not Made CEQA Obsolete," Law360 (Aug. 25, 2014)
  • Coauthor, “California’s ‘Magic Number’: Nine Goals for 2020 and Where We May Go From There,” Environmental Law News (Spring 2014)
  • Coauthor, "Ten Things to Know About California's New Industrial Storm Water Permit" (Apr. 2014)
  • Coauthor, "CEQA Reform Bill Falls Short of Expectations," Stoel Rives LLP (Feb. 2013).
  • "Looking at CEQA's Climate Change Analysis Beyond 2020, a Trial Court Gives Weight to Executive Order S-3-05," Stoel Rives LLP (Jan. 2013).
  • CERCLA Rights and Liabilities Handbook (Gene Lucero, Kelly Richardson & Ryan Waterman eds., Latham & Watkins LLP 2007, 2008, 2009-2010, 2011)
  • Coauthor, "Court enjoins California's implementation of AB 32 greenhouse gas emissions reduction programs, including cap-and-trade program," Latham & Watkins LLP Clean Energy Law Report (Mar. 2011)
  • Coauthor, "Association of Irritated Residents ruling puts AB 32 Scoping Plan in question," Latham & Watkins LLP Clean Energy Law Report (Jan. 2011)
  • Coauthor, "Governor Schwarzenegger Signs Historic California Water Legislation into Law," Latham & Watkins LLP, Client Alert 957 (Nov. 2009)
  • Coauthor, "New York Issues Greenhouse Gas Guidance for Environmental Impact Statements Under SEQRA," The New York Environmental Lawyer (Fall 2009)
  • Coauthor, Global Climate Change Litigation chapter in Environmental Litigation: Law and Strategy (Cary Perlman ed., Am. Bar Ass'n 2009)
  • Coauthor, "Addressing Climate Change Through Land Use and Transportation Planning: California's SB 375 and SB 732 – A Legislative Trend?," Bloomberg Law Reports – Environmental Law (Mar. 2009)
  • Coauthor, "Understanding California's Draft AB 32 Road Map: Overview and Recommendations for Improvement," Latham & Watkins Client Alert 731 (July 28, 2008)
  • Coauthor, "Global Carbon Credit Markets — Issues and Opportunities," Project Fin. Int'l Intelligence, Financing Clean Energy (Apr. 2008)
  • Coauthor, "CEQA and Climate Change: One Year After AB 32," Energy Law360 (Jan. 14, 2008)
  • Coauthor, "Wetland Guidance (USACE/USEPA guidance on the U.S. Supreme Court's decisions in Rapanos/Carabell)," San Francisco Daily Journal (July 20, 2007)
  • Coauthor, "Supreme Court Rules that EPA Can Regulate Greenhouse Gases Under the Clean Air Act," Latham & Watkins Client Alert 583 (Apr. 3, 2007)
  • Coauthor, "Environmental Group Seeks Clean Water Act Regulation to Address Ocean Acidity from Carbon Dioxide," Latham & Watkins Client Alert 576 (Mar. 6, 2007)
  • Coauthor, "When a Project Uncovers Native American Human Remains: AB 2641 Revises the Process, While Preserving Landowner's Key Role," Latham & Watkins Client Alert 551 (Nov. 13, 2006)
  • Comment, "Addressing California's Uncertain Water Future by Coordinating Long-Term Land Use and Water Planning: Is a Water Element in the General Plan the Next Step?," 31 Ecology Law Quarterly 117 (2004), reprinted in California Department of Water Resources, California Water Plan Update 2005 (2006), and cited by Sonoma County Water Coalition v. Sonoma County Water Agency (2010) 189 Cal.App.4th 33, 40


  • University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, J.D., 2003
  • University of California, Berkeley, Master of City Planning, 2003
  • California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, B.S., 1996


  • California
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of California
  • U.S. District Court, Central District of California
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of California
  • U.S. District Court, Central District of Illinois
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
  • U.S. Supreme Court

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