Timothy L. McMahan
Tim McMahan is a partner practicing in the areas of energy, land use, real estate development, environmental and municipal law. He has offices in Portland, Oregon and Vancouver, Washington. Tim has extensive experience in representing energy facility developers, property owners and municipal clients in Washington and Oregon. Tim focuses his practice on leading interdisciplinary teams advocating for and defending energy facilities facing opposition.
Prior to joining Stoel Rives in 1999, Tim served as the Port Townsend City Attorney for over five years, during which he guided Port Townsend through downtown historic district preservation strategies, Growth Management Act implementation, successfully defended the city's Comprehensive Plan and Shoreline Master Program in agency and judicial litigation, and developed innovative strategies to protect Port Townsend's municipal water supply from spiraling demands.
- Represents clients permitting utility and energy facilities including wind and solar facilities, pipelines and underground natural gas storage, fuel transportation, natural gas generation, electrical transmission, shoreline developments and commercial and industrial facilities.
- Experienced in planning and permitting municipal water and wastewater facilities on behalf of public sector clients.
- Represented developers and public sector clients both through the permit process and in administrative and judicial litigation, including Washington's State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA), NEPA, Shoreline Management Act, and Growth Management Act compliance. Tim's energy work typically involves local, state and federal permitting, tribal law, state noise standard compliance and compliance with federal wildlife laws, including the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA), Endangered Species Act (ESA) and the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act (BGEPA).
- Represents energy facility developers in Washington and Oregon, including contested proceedings before the Oregon Energy Facility Siting Council (EFSC) and the Washington Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council (EFSEC).
Representative Major Project Work
Oregon Energy Facility Siting Council Energy Facilities
- Stateline Wind Project, FPL Energy (123 MW, Umatilla County; 2001 Site Certificate). We served as local land use and EFSC counsel in this first Oregon EFSC wind energy facility. Assisted FPL Energy on all development issues related to the project, including site leasing, environmental permitting, tax status, and construction contracting.
- Golden Hills Wind Farm, BP Alternative Energy (400 MW, Sherman County; 2009 Site Certificate). Assisted in preparation of the Application for Site Certification and advocacy through the EFSC process. Work included settling a pending contested case proceeding, focusing on visual impact and compliance with the state noise standard.
- Cascade Crossing High Voltage Transmission Project, Portland General Electric (200-plus-mile, 500kV electrical transmission line proposed from Boardman, Oregon to Salem vicinity). Tim led Stoel Rives' legal team to permit the Cascade Crossing transmission project proposed to connect new and existing power sources east of the Oregon Cascades to PGE's metropolitan service area. Cascade Crossing was one of seven national priority transmission projects designated by President Obama. We advised PGE on all elements of site acquisition, permitting (including federal lands and environmental matters) and project construction. PGE suspended the permitting effort in 2013 due to changed market conditions.
- Antelope Wind Power Project, EDP Renewables (formerly Horizon Wind Energy) (300 MW; NOI filed 2009). Tim initiated a successful mediation effort with Oregon's Department of Fish & Wildlife to resolve disputed wildlife issues, putting the project on track to meet state siting standards. Application withdrawn in September 2013 due to market conditions.
Oregon Energy Facility Siting Council Pending
- Baseline Wind Energy Facility, First Wind Energy, LLC (500 MW; Application for Site Certification filed December 2011).
- Brush Canyon Wind Power Facility, E.ON Climate & Renewables North America (500 MW; Application for Site Certification filed May 2012).
- Northwest Natural Emerald Project (proposal to amend the Mist Underground Natural Gas Storage Fields' Site Certificate to expand the Site boundary to include new storage reservoirs and a new transmission pipeline; proceedings initiated in 2013). The proposed Project will develop new underground gas storage capacity through the development of new reservoir facilities capable of delivery up to 200 MMscfd to the Beaver terminus of the Kelso Beaver (KB) Pipeline, and new pipeline capacity to accommodate current and reasonably foreseeable future customer load requirements.
Oregon Local Jurisdictional Wind Energy Projects Wind
- Rattlesnake Road Wind Power Project, EDP Renewables (formerly Horizon Wind Energy) (104 MW, Gilliam County).
- Wheatfield Wind Power Project, EDP Renewables (formerly Horizon Wind Energy) (104 MW, Gilliam County).
- Elkhorn Wind Power Project, EDP Renewables (formerly Horizon Wind Energy) (104 MW, Union County).
Natural Gas Pipelines and Natural Gas Storage Facilities
- Mist Underground Natural Gas Storage Field, NW Natural (Columbia County, Oregon). Legal counsel to NW Natural concerning all EFSC permitting and compliance matters. Represented NW Natural in gas storage field expansion and development, including a 2008 consolidated site certificate, approved through Amendment #10.
- South Mist Pipeline Extension Project, NW Natural (62-mile, 24-inch natural gas pipeline, Washington, Clackamas and Marion Counties, Oregon; 2003 Site Certificate and subsequent amendments). Work included land use and environmental compliance, Oregon Energy Facility Siting Council permitting and litigation. This project was the first linear facility permitted under ORS 215.275. The project faced more than 60 opponents and involved an extensive and complex administrative adjudication proceeding. We prevailed on appeal before the Oregon Supreme Court. Friends of Parrett Mountain v. NW Natural Gas Co., 79 P.3d 869 (Or. 2003). The Supreme Court decision established important precedent for permitting Oregon linear energy facilities. Tim represented NW Natural in securing four amendments to the site certificate.
- Palomar Natural Gas Transmission Pipeline (FERC). The Palomar Natural Gas Transmission Pipeline will provide additional energy infrastructure to serve Oregon, the Pacific Northwest and other western states. The proposed interstate 36-inch diameter underground natural gas pipeline will be approximately 220 miles long. Tim's work includes representation before state and federal agencies and work with the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs concerning land rights and environmental compliance, and includes federal land and tribal law issues.
- Bradwood LNG Pipeline (FERC). Represented NorthernStar Natural Gas with respect to permitting and environmental issues associated with the natural gas pipeline elements of its proposed 1.5-Bcf/d LNG offloading and storage terminal on the Columbia River. NorthernStar secured a FERC license in 2008. Due to market conditions, this project was not constructed.
- Ruby Pipeline (FERC): As a member of the Stoel Rives Ruby Pipeline team, Tim assisted Ruby Pipeline LLC and its parent company (El Paso Corp) in Oregon state and local law compliance, including crafting and negotiating an MOU for the Oregon Department of Energy's coordination of state agency response. The project involves over 650 miles of 42-inch natural gas transmission pipeline beginning at the Opal Hub in Wyoming and terminating at a Malin, Oregon interconnect, near California's northern border. The pipeline is fully constructed and operating, crossing four states: Wyoming, Utah, Nevada and Oregon.
Oregon Energy Facility Siting Council Thermal Power Generation
- COB Energy Combined-Cycle Generation Facility and Accompanying Natural Gas Pipeline and Electrical Transmission Facilities, Peoples Energy Resources Corp. (1,160 MW, Klamath County; 2005 Site Certificate). Project lead and chief architect for land use compliance. Work included real estate transactions and land use and environmental permitting and compliance, including NEPA compliance, air quality permitting and litigation. The project was designed to provide combined-cycle turbine gas-fired generation at the California-Oregon border. It was the first major air-cooled natural gas plant designed to conserve water permitted in Oregon. We prevailed in a highly complex, litigated EFSC process spanning several years, and successfully defended the permits on appeal before the Oregon Supreme Court. Save Our Rural Or. v. EFSC, 121 P.3d 1141 (Or. 2005). The Oregon Supreme Court decision established important precedent for energy facility siting in Oregon by reconciling the preemptive authority of the state over conflicting local regulations and planning requirements, confirming EFSC's independent authority to confer exceptions to Oregon's statewide planning goals. Due to market conditions, this facility was not constructed.
Washington Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council Facilities—Site Certificates Granted
- EDP Renewables (formerly Horizon Wind Energy) and Puget Sound Energy Wild Horse Wind Power Project (229 MW, Kittitas County; 2005 Site Certificate Agreement). Represented EDP Renewables during the siting process for the first wind energy facility approved by EFSEC and Washington's Governor. The project includes a comprehensive conservation strategy for surrounding state- and privately owned shrub steppe habitat. Puget Sound Energy owns and operates the project. In 2009, Tim successfully represented Puget Sound Energy in a 54 MW expansion of the project.
- EDP Renewables (formerly Horizon Wind Energy) Kittitas Valley Wind Power Project (180 MW, Kittitas County; 2007 Site Certificate Agreement). Represented EDP Renewables during a siting process that spanned over four years. Work included preparation of the application, agency meetings, real estate, and land use and environmental compliance. The site certificate was adopted after the completion of a Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) under the State Environmental Policy Act, RCW chapter 43.21C. We defended the project during extensive agency and judicial litigation, including an appeal with the Washington Supreme Court. Intervenors challenged many elements of the Site Certificate Agreement, including the sufficiency of the analysis and mitigation measures concerning visual and aesthetic and other environmental impacts. In a unanimous decision, the Washington Supreme Court dismissed the appeal and upheld the Site Certificate Agreement on all issues, including affirming the FEIS in its entirety, along with all mitigation measures and conditions of approval. Residents Opposed to Kittitas Turbines v. State EFSEC, 197 P.3d 1153 (Wash. 2008). The Supreme Court decision confirmed EFSEC's preemptive authority over local land use and zoning determinations. In 2009, Tim successfully represented EDP in contested proceedings to amend the site certificate.
- Whistling Ridge Energy Project (75 MW, Skamania County; Site Certificate and Final Order granted March 2012). Successfully represented Whistling Ridge Energy LLC and its parent company SDS Lumber in achieving state and federal permitting for the Whistling Ridge wind energy facility. Work included preparation of the application, agency meetings, land use and environmental compliance, including NEPA, SEPA, Columbia National Scenic Gorge Act and ESA matters. The site certificate was approved after the completion of a NEPA and SEPA Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) issued jointly by BPA and the State of Washington. We successfully defended the project during extensive agency and judicial litigation. On August 29, 2013, the Washington Supreme Court unanimously affirmed the Site Certificate, dismissing all fo the opponents' claims. Friends of the Columbia Gorge, Inc. v. State Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council, No. 88089-1(Wash. Aug. 29, 2013)(slip op.)
Washington Energy Facility Siting Council Pending
- Tesoro Savage Vancouver Energy Distribution Terminal (Application for Site Certificate filed August 2013). Tim is leading the legal team in seeking state and federal permits to construct and operate a crude oil receiving and distribution facility at the Port of Vancouver USA. At full build-out, the facility will be able to receive up to an average of 360,000 barrels of crude oil per day by rail, store the oil on site, and load the oil onto marine vessels primarily for delivery to refineries located on the United States' West Coast. The facility's principal purpose is to provide North American crude oil to U.S. refineries, offsetting foreign crude-oil imports.
Washington Local Energy Facilities
- Natural gas exploration (Eastern Washington Columbia Plateau and SW Washington, 2003-2013). Represents various national exploration and production companies in legislative, regulatory and permitting for Washington's nascent natural gas exploration industry. Represented industry group in promoting amendments to Washington's Oil and Gas Conservation Act.
- Kalama EnergyCombined cycle natural gas generation facility (346 MW; Southwest Washington; pending).
- First Wind Energy LLC's Palouse Wind Energy Project (105 MW, Whitman County; final county conditional use permit 2011). With his colleagues, Tim assisted First Wind in achieving amendments to the local zoning code to enable wind generation facilities in Whitman County, and subsequently permitting the project under the revised local standards. Work included environmental compliance, including noise standard compliance, Bald & Golden Eagle Act, SEPA and ESA issues, and successfully defending the project during local administrative and judicial appeals. Project operating in 2013.
- Grayland Wind Energy Project (Grays Harbor County, 2008). Assisted the nonprofit Coastal Community Action Program in permitting and environmental compliance for the 4-turbine Grayland Wind Project. The facility generates power directly onto the Grays Harbor PUD grid and the revenues go to the Community Action Program, where Meals on Wheels, Energy Assistance and other projects receive sustained funding from the project's wind energy.
- EDP Renewables (formerly Horizon Wind Energy) Saddle Mountain Wind Energy Project (appx. 60 MW; Adams County; final county conditional use permit, 2010). Assisted EDP Renewables in achieving amendments to the local zoning code to enable wind generation facilities in Adams County, and subsequently permitting the project under the revised local standards.
- FPL Energy Stateline Wind Energy Facility (Walla Walla County). Lead permitting counsel for the Washington portion of the Stateline Wind Energy Facility, one of the nation's largest wind energy facilities, approved in 2001 and 2002. The project included a 50-square-mile site with 300 wind turbines, involving complex SEPA review and multiple agency consultations, including WDFW and Corp of Engineers.
- Iberdrola Renewables Inc. (formerly known as PPM Energy) Big Horn Wind Power Project (250 MW; Klickitat County). Represented Iberdrola Renewables Inc. in all elements of the process in applying for and procuring all local, state and federal permits and approvals for the Big Horn Wind Power project. Tim successfully defended the project against several appeals and opposition.
- RES North America Hopkins Ridge Wind Energy Project (350 MW, Columbia County). Represented RES in the original permitting and later expansion of this facility. The work included local land use and state and federal environmental compliance and wildlife issues. Tim successfully represented RES in a Superior Court appeal of an expansion to the facility.
Washington Municipal Facilities
- Port of Kalama Municipal Water System. Represented the Port of Kalama in successfully acquiring municipal water rights (3,500 gallons per minute) for the Port's Columbia River industrial park. In October 2002, the DOE approved municipal groundwater withdrawals with hydraulic connection to the Columbia River.
- Hazel Dell Sewer District Salmon Creek Phase IV Expansion. Worked with a consulting team to permit a significant expansion to the Salmon Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant, including new pipelines, outfall and pump stations. The Hazel Dell Sewer District serves Clark County's fastest growing region. This project involved local, state and federal land use and environmental permits and successful implementation of SEPA EIS and NEPA compliance strategies, as well as Clean Water Act and Endangered Species Act compliance.
- City of Port Townsend Municipal Facility Work. As City Attorney (1994–1999), Tim represented Port Townsend in the following major facility projects: finalization of compliance and contract work for the new wastewater treatment plant, permitting and development of the City's Biosolids Facility, and expansions to the City's groundwater and surface water systems. Tim aided the City in master planning projects, including Wastewater and Stormwater Master Plans, Coordinated Water System Plan, and Water System Master Plan. Tim represented the City in consultation with DOE, DOH and DNR, and initiated ESA compliance work with NMFS and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. Tim assisted in drafting Port Townsend's master commercial, residential and industrial development programs and regulations.
Reported Appellate Court Decisions
- Friends of Columbia Gorge, Inc. v. State Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council, No. 88090-1 (Wash. Aug. 29, 2013)(slip op.)
- Residents Opposed to Kittitas Turbines v. State EFSEC, 197 P.3d 1153 (Wash. 2008)
- NW Gas Ass'n v. WUTC, 168 P.3d 443 (Wash. Ct. App. 2007)
- Save Our Rural Or. v. EFSC, 121 P.3d 1141 (Or. 2005)
- Castle Homes & Dev., Inc. v. Brier, 882 P.2d 1172 (Wash. Ct. App. 1994)
- Friends of Parrett Mountain v. NW Natural Gas Co., 79 P.3d 869 (Or. 2003)
- Boehm v. City of Vancouver, 47 P.3d 137 (Wash. Ct. App. 2002)
Professional Honors & Activities
- Member, Tau Sigma Delta Honors Society in Architecture and Allied Arts
- Member, Land Use and Environmental Law Section, Washington State Bar Association
- Member, Real Estate and Land Use Section, Oregon State Bar
- Member, American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) Siting Committee
- Former Member, University of Washington Department of Urban Design & Planning Professionals Council
- Chair, Stoel Rives Sustainability Initiative, 2011-present
- Adjunct Member, Governor Kitzhaber's 10-Year Energy Action Plan Siting Design Team, 2012
- Member, Wind Industry Task Force for the development of the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife Wind Power Siting Guidelines, 2003, 2008-2009
- Member, Wind Industry Task Force for the development of the Oregon Columbia Plateau Ecoregion Wind Energy Siting and Permitting Guidelines, 2007-2008
- Chair, Transmission Summit West 2013, The Westgate Hotel/San Diego California, Sept. 2013
- Moderator, "Financial Procurement and Regulatory Risks," American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) Wind Project Siting Seminar, Portland, Oregon, Feb. 2013
- "Getting the Most from the Consultant/Attorney Team: Improv," Multnomah Athletic Club, Portland, Oregon, Oct. 2012
- Chair, Transmission Summit West 2012, Hilton San Diego/Del Mar, San Diego, California, Oct. 2012
- "Siting and Permitting Energy Facilities: Does State Policy Matter?," Northwest and Intermountain Power Producers Coalition (NIPPC) Annual Meeting, Union, Washington, Sept. 2012
- "Energy Development-Site Selection for Renewable Energy Projects; Understanding the Constraints," National Association of Environmental Professionals (NAEP), Portland, Oregon, May 2012
- "Energy Facility Siting in Oregon: The Path to Success," Golder Associates, Inc., Portland, Oregon, Mar. 2012
- Chair, Regionally Focused Session, American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) Wind Project Siting Seminar, Las Vegas, Nevada, Feb. 2012
- Conference Chair, Presenter, "Impact of the Endangered Species Act, NEPA and Other Environmental Legislation on Current and Planned Projects," Siting & Permitting Renewable Energy Projects in the West, Infocast, San Diego California, Dec. 2011
- Moderator, "Natural Gas: Game Changer?," Northwest and Intermountain Power Producers Coalition (NIPPC) Annual Meeting, Union, Washington, Sept. 2011
- Co-Chair, Presenter, "Best Practices for Engaging with Leasing and Permitting Agencies," Renewable Energy in the Pacific Northwest, Law Seminars International, Seattle, Washington, Aug. 2011
- Moderator, "Transmission for Renewable Energy - Efficient Solutions to Integration Issues," EUCI Webinar Series, June 2011
- "West Coast Canadian/U.S. Electric Markets," Law Seminars International, Vancouver, B.C., Aug. 2010
- Co-Chair, Presenter, "Renewable Energy in the Pacific Northwest," Law Seminars International, Seattle, Washington, Aug. 2010
- "Wind Power Siting Challenges," American Planning Association, Washington Chapter, Vancouver, Washington, 2009
- Co-Chair, Presenter, "Siting and Permitting Challenges and Opportunities: Forging Partnerships and Inoculating Against Opposition", Renewable Energy of the Pacific Northwest, Law Seminars International, Seattle, Washington, 2009
- Co-Chair, Presenter, "The Legal and Land Use Implications of the Energy Rush," American Planning Association, Oregon Chapter, Portland, Oregon, 2008
- Co-Chair, Presenter, "Renewable Energy in the Pacific Northwest," Law Seminars International, Seattle, Washington, 2008
- Co-Chair, Presenter, "Land Use in Southwestern Washington - Negotiating the Intricate and Overlapping Regulations That Apply to Almost Any Use of Real Property," Law Seminars International, Vancouver, Washington, 2008
- "Energy Facility Siting: State Preemption vs. Local Control," Environmental and Land Use Law Midyear Meeting, Washington State Bar Association, Blaine, Washington, 2008
- Co-Chair, Presenter, "Siting and Permitting Challenges, A Comprehensive Update on Current Law, Policy and Economics," Renewable Energy in the Pacific Northwest, Law Seminars International, Seattle, Washington, 2007
- Co-Chair, Presenter, "Energy Facilities and Other LULUs: Relationships with Local Planning & Local Opportunities," Land Use in Southwestern Washington - New Regulations, Rules, and Challenges for Small Communities, Rural Areas and Local Government, Law Seminars International, Vancouver, Washington, 2007
- "Siting and Permitting Challenges in the Northwest, Overcoming the Barriers to Add New Infrastructure," EEI Energy Conference, Newport Beach, California, 2007
- Chair, Washington's Energy Future Under 1-937, Stoel Rives LLP, Seattle, Washington, 2006
- Panelist, "Economic Development Opportunities - Rural Energy Facilities," 2006 Governor's Economic & Workforce Development Conference, Vancouver, Washington, 2006
- "Getting It Right With Local Government: The Politics of Permitting: Playing It Straight and Walking The Line," WINDPOWER® 2005 Conference and Exhibition, American Wind Energy Association, Denver, Colorado, 2005
- "Wind Energy Permitting Overview: The Mitigation Balance, WindPower in Oregon and Washington: A Discussion of Wildlife, Cultural Resources, Aesthetics & Assessment Procedures," The Dalles, Oregon, 2004
- "Blowing in the Wind - Restoration and Mitigation Requirements Under WDFW's Wind Farm Development Guidelines", Bridge Over Troubled Water: Restoration Requirements in Environmental & Land Use Laws, Washington State Bar Association, Seattle, Washington, 2004
- "Legal Framework for Western Projects or Permitting for PTCs: Getting to Yes Quickly (and Safely)," AWEA WindPower Project Siting Workshop, Portland, Oregon, 2004
- "Economic Turnaround - Permitting Consequences of Ramping Up Production," Stoel Rives LLP, Portland, Oregon, 2004
- "Municipal and Phase ll Stormwater Permits - Phase l & ll Permits," Law Seminars International, Seattle, Washington, 2003
- "Opposing the Opponents: Getting Permits When The Going Gets Ugly," WINDPOWER® 2003 Conference and Exhibition, Austin, Texas, 2003
- "Why MUST Municipalities Control and Appropriately Manage Stormwater, Municipal Stormwater Permits," Northwest Environmental Conference and Tradeshow, Portland, Oregon, 2003
- "Water Quality: The Cities are Taking Control," Stoel Rives LLP, Portland, Oregon, 2003
- "Getting The Most From The Attorney/Consultant Team," Stoel Rives LLP, Portland, Oregon, 2002
- "Critical Areas Ordinances, Growth Management Act - Recent and Emerging Regulatory, Legal and Business Developments," Law Seminars International, Seattle, Washington, 2001
- "Best Available Science: What It Is And Why We Need to Know How To Get It And Use It," Washington State Association of Municipal Attorneys' 2001 Annual Fall Conference, Chelan, Washington, 2001
- "GMA and Current Issues in Resources and Critical Areas Protection, Best Science, Exemptions, and De Minimus Impacts," Law Seminars International, Seattle, Washington, 2000
- "The Legal Basis of Planning in Washington State, A Short Course on Local Planning," The Planning Association of Washington and Washington Dept. of Community, Trade & Economic Development, Sequim, Washington, 1999
- Member, Board of Directors, LifeWorks NW, 2011-present; Chair, Strategic Planning
- Former Member, Board of Directors, Columbia-Willamette United Way and Chair of United Way's Allocation Committee and Community Impact Cabinet
- Former Board Member, Columbia River Economic Development Council; Vice Chair, 2007, Chair 2008
- Former Board Member, Jefferson County United Good Neighbors Board and Chair, Allocations Committee (1996-1999)
- University of Washington, M.A., Urban Planning, 1991
Tau Sigma Delta architecture and allied arts honor society
- Willamette University College of Law, J.D., 1986
Case note editor, Willamette Law Review
- University of Puget Sound, B.A., European History, 1983
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