Cherise M. Oram
Cherise Oram is a partner in the Environment, Land Use and Natural Resources practice group. She advises clients on federal natural resources law in complex permitting and compliance matters. Cherise has extensive experience on issues arising under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA), National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and Administrative Procedure Act (APA). Representative clients include developers and owners of hydropower dams, liquid natural gas (LNG) facilities, oil and gas facilities, and wave and tidal energy projects. She formerly worked in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Office of General Counsel representing the National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA Fisheries Service) on endangered salmon, hydropower dam and forestry issues in California.
Representative Permitting and Compliance Work
- Advised liquid natural gas (LNG) company in ESA section 7 consultation and MMPA compliance strategy related to proposed construction and operation of LNG terminal in the Pacific Northwest.
- Advised Alaska business association comprised of oil and gas, mining, forestry and other interests on Cook Inlet beluga whale ESA listing and critical habitat designation issues.
- Advised commercial fishing association on ongoing ESA and MMPA compliance issues critical to fishing activities in Hawaii and on the high seas.
- Advised wave energy developer on strategic permitting issues for wave energy project on Oregon coast, including federal licensing, ESA and MMPA permitting, and coastal zone issues; negotiated and drafted agreement with federal, state and non-governmental stakeholders resolving all issues for 35 year license term.
- Advised two oil and gas clients on Southern Resident killer whale regulatory issues, including successfully obtaining changes to final Puget Sound vessel regulations to protect existing oil and gas tanker, barge, tug and service vessel operations.
- Negotiated and drafted settlement agreements with key federal, state, tribal, local and non-governmental parties for relicensing five large hydroelectric projects in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana for up to 50 years. Agreements resolved issues ranging from fish passage, water quality and ESA issues to recreation, cultural resources and flood control.
- Advised various public and private entities on ESA compliance strategies, including wind energy developer on Indiana bat consultation issues; port on killer whale issues related to relocation of cruise ship operations; pulp and paper mill in development of ESA strategy for discharge permit; Oregon irrigation districts in development of habitat conservation plan (HCP) related to reintroduction of ESA-listed salmon; and housing developer in preparation of HCP for listed butterflies.
- At NOAA, represented NOAA Fisheries Service in ESA section 7 consultations with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Environmental Protection Agency and Bureau of Reclamation; negotiated and drafted ESA HCPs for state's fishing program, irrigation district's water diversion, and forest product company's timber management plan.
Professional Honors & Activities
- Listed in Best Lawyers in America® (currently: Energy Regulatory Law, Environmental Law), 2013
- Board Member, National Hydropower Association (NHA), 2010-present; Chair, Regulatory Affairs Committee, 2010-2011; Advisory Board Member, 2009-2010; Chair, Ocean, Tidal & New Technologies Council, 2008-2010
- Board Member, Ocean Renewable Energy Coalition, 2007-present
- Reviewer, DOE Waterpower Program Peer Review Panel, 2009, 2011
- Chair (2004-2006) and Vice Chair (2001-2004), ABA Endangered Species Committee
- Seattle Mentor of the Year, Stoel Rives LLP, 2011
- Recipient, PacifiCorp "Exceptional Leadership, Creativity and Dedication" Award in the Lewis River hydropower projects settlement process, 2004
- Recipient, Interagency Task Force to Improve Hydroelectric Licensing Process "Exceptional Performance and Dedication" Award in interagency effort involving the U.S. Departments of the Interior, Commerce, Energy and Agriculture and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 2000
- "Accelerating the Decision Making Process for MHK Facilities," GMREC, Washington, D.C., 2011
- "Working Toward Successful ESA Outcomes," NHA Annual Conference, Washington, D.C., 2011 (moderator)
- "ESA and NEPA Developments: Impacts on Natural Resource Development in Alaska," Alaska Oil & Gas Congress, Anchorage, 2010
- "The Water-Energy Nexus: Licensing Non-Federal Hydropower and Hydrokinetic Projects," 17th Annual Western Water Law Conference, Seattle, 2010
- "Overcoming Barriers and Offering Incentives: Ocean Energy's Infrastructure, Regulatory and Financing Needs," Capitol Hill Ocean Week, Washington, D.C., 2010
- "Adaptive Management Case Studies," NOAA and Coastal States Organization's Marine and Coastal Renewable Energy Adaptive Management Workshop, Washington, D.C., 2009
- "The Endangered Species Act: Should Alaska's Natural Resource Economy Be Listed as Endangered?," Resource Development Council's 29th Annual Conference, Anchorage, 2008
- "New Technologies: Fish and Wildlife Permitting Issues," NWHA Annual Conference, Portland, 2008
- "The Endangered Species Act's Section 7 Consultation Requirement: A Refresher on the Latest Best Practices," Land Use in Washington CLE, Seattle, 2007
- "Species Protection: Resolving Today's Top Issues," NHA Annual Conference, Washington, D.C., 2007 (moderator)
- "Using Adaptive Management to Resolve Uncertainties for Wave and Tidal Energy Projects," Oceanography, Vol. 23, No. 2, 2010
- "Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning for Offshore Renewable Energy Development on the West Coast," Environmental & Land Use Law Newsletter, May 2010
- "Siting Ocean and Tidal Energy Projects," WSBA Environmental & Land Use Law Newsletter, Vol. 36, No. 2, 2009
- "Siting Ocean and Tidal Energy Projects," Bloomberg Law Reports: Sustainable Energy, Vol. 1, No. 1, 2008
- "ESA Update: A Review of 2005," The Water Report, 2005
- Law & Marine Affairs, University of Washington School of Law, LL.M., 1998
- American University, Washington College of Law, J.D., 1997
- University of Washington, B.A., 1993
Print to Word
- U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington