Compliance strategies to address environmental regulation are commonplace for businesses today. Regulatory requirements can be confusing and in conflict when federal, state, and local requirements apply. Add supply chain compliance and international chemical regulation and the complexity increases.

While most law firms provide environmental compliance counsel as ancillary support for transactions, our environmental practice is a core strength of our firm and an area in which we possess a national reputation for leadership and top talent. We know the environmental compliance frameworks that apply to the regulated community, such as manufacturers, oil and gas companies, mining operations, renewable and traditional energy generators and utilities, forestry lands and products, ports, and real estate developments.

We have one of the largest Environmental Compliance teams of any firm, and many of our attorneys are scientists, engineers, former EPA officials, and individuals who’ve worked in forestry, natural resources, and other industries. We are leaders in advising on air, water, soil, and waste issues.

Key to our effectiveness is our constructive working relationships with regulators and government leaders at local, state, and federal levels. We are viewed as effective advocates by regulators because we possess an unusual depth of knowledge and experience. We routinely sit on agency advisory committees and are active in rule-making and policy development.

We understand the science behind the law and the business impacts of regulation. This perspective adds strategic thinking to the work of consultants and in-house professionals and increases our value to our clients.

Air Quality

Our air quality team is nationally known for superior knowledge and service. Our permitting, compliance, and enforcement defense capabilities are rooted in years of experience and collaboration among colleagues. Our clients include chemical plants, mines, power plants, pulp and paper mills, food processors, publicly owned treatment plants, ports, and steel mills. 

Our Services

  • Title V permitting
  • Long-term support for permitting new facilities
  • Response to odor/deposition and toxic exposure complaints
  • New source review permitting
  • Emission reduction credits
  • RACT and BART permitting
  • Permitting appeals
  • Toxic and hazardous air pollutant standards
  • Compliance with NSPS, NESHAP (MACT) and Section 112(r) emission standards (stationary and mobile sources)
  • Rulemaking and rule challenges
  • Climate change

Water Quality

We’ve handled some of the highest profile federal and state NPDES and CWA Section 404 permitting actions for new and expanding facilities in the western U.S. We secure wastewater permits in jurisdictions where new permits are increasingly difficult to obtain. Our clients include chemical plants, mines, power plants, pulp and paper mills, irrigation districts, ranches, food processors, publicly owned treatment plants, ports, steel mills, and real estate developers.

Our Services

  • CWA Section 404 compliance
  • Water quality-based permit limits
  • Prosecution and defense of permit challenges
  • Variances
  • TMDL development and implementation
  • New source performance standards
  • Clean-up and abatement orders
  • Pollutant trading
  • Wetlands regulation, mitigation, and banking
  • Water quality certifications
  • Endangered Species Act regulation 


We have extensive experience navigating the issues that emerge in development or operation near waterways or wetlands. These can include questions about location, ownership, or movement of water boundaries.

Our Services

  • Wetlands regulation, mitigation, and banking
  • CWA Section 404 and Rivers and Harbors Act (RHA) Section 10 permitting
  • Transaction due diligence
  • Endangered Species Act regulation
  • Shoreline permits and the California Coastal Act 

Hazardous Waste

We advise clients on all aspects of federal, state, and local regulation of hazardous waste generation management, disposal, and remediation. We have particular knowledge of California waste statutes and compliance requirements, and electronic waste generation and disposal. We work closely with a network of technical experts, consultants, and laboratories that analyze and refute evidence in dispute. 

Our Services

  • Waste treatment and disposal
  • Hazardous waste permits, modifications, and renewals
  • Negotiation of Corrective Action Consent Agreements
  • California Toxic Substances Control compliance
  • Response to EPA, state, and local agency enforcement actions
  • Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) counsel
  • Waste identification and classification
  • Negotiation of cost recovery and remedy settlements


  • In 2014 ConAgra Foods, Inc. – (NYSE: CAG) selected Stoel Rives for participation in the ConAgra Foods Legal Network (CFLN), a group of preferred providers that support the company’s in-house legal team on assigned subject matter. Stoel Rives advises ConAgra on federal and state environmental quality matters for its U.S. operations, including permitting, compliance and regulatory strategies. Recent projects include water quality training, air quality permitting, water rights strategies, preparation of responses to government requests for information, and enforcement defense. Stoel Rives attorneys frequently interact with ConAgra’s environmental professionals, operations staff and business leaders to evaluate permitting and compliance strategies that support food processing activities. ConAgra is one of North America's leading packaged food companies.
  • Provide environmental compliance counsel for Daimler Trucks North America. This includes representation of DTNA in air and water permitting matters, enforcement matters, site cleanups, and the various environmental issues that arise in transactions relating to the facilities. We also represent DTNA, along with other industrial clients, in advocating solutions to regulatory agencies as they formulate guidance and regulation.
  • Advise Clearwater Paper Corporation on federal and state environmental quality matters, including permitting, compliance and regulatory strategies. Stoel Rives attorneys frequently interact with environmental professionals, operations staff and business leaders to evaluate permitting and compliance strategies that support forest product manufacturing activities. Clearwater is the country’s largest provider of private label tissue to retail grocery chains and a world-class manufacturer of high-quality bleached paperboard.
  • Represent TRONOX Alkali Wyoming Corporation on air permitting, compliance and regulatory strategies. Recent projects include training on air permitting and government enforcement to environmental professionals, production managers and the executive team. Our attorneys frequently interact with operations staff and management to evaluate permitting strategies for production activities and for coal-fired boiler compliance. TRONOX is a chemical manufacturing company with operations in Wyoming.
  • Coordinated a Fortune 500 company’s response to a multi-media inspection conducted by the EPA and supported the company in developing and rolling out a program for compliance with Toxic Substances Control Act import/export requirements.
  • Represent Wyman-Gordon, a worldwide supplier to the aerospace and industrial gas turbine markets, with respect to all facets of environmental compliance. In particular, we oversaw environmental audits at recently acquired facilities and successfully self-disclosed compliance deficiencies to the EPA, eliminating the company’s civil penalty exposure.
  • Serve as the lead outside permitting counsel for Georgia-Pacific. Our assistance includes helping GP obtain dredging and dock maintenance and construction permits, and advising on water quality permitting and enforcement matters.
  • Represent Pacific Northwest Waterways Association in litigation concerning the Corps of Engineers’ maintenance dredging of the lower Snake River, home to the lower Snake River hydroelectric power facilities and dams. Earth Justice, on behalf of a number of environmental groups and the Nez Perce Tribe, brought an unsuccessful motion to enjoin the dredging under the Endangered Species Act, Clean Water Act and National Environmental Policy Act. The court denied the injunction and allowed completion of the work.
  • Millennium Bulk Terminals is attempting to convert a former aluminum plant and 400+ acre brownfields site on the Columbia River into the first major coal export facility on the U.S. West coast. We are advising MBT on permitting, citizen suits, environmental analysis, appeals and site cleanup work related to the redevelopment. Multiple federal and state agencies, community stakeholders, and local officials are involved in permitting, compliance and finalizing site cleanup requirements.
  • Provide advice and assistance to the International Association of Geophysical Contractors regarding the regulation of offshore geophysical exploration activities in the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico, including the authorization of incidental take under the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), and the evaluation of environmental impacts under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). These matters involve regulatory issues of first impression in the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico.
  • Representing Northwest Innovation Works in connection with permitting and development of three natural gas to methanol plants proposed for locations in Oregon and Washington. The plants will manufacture methanol from natural gas for export to Asia. Stoel Rives is assisting with state and local permits, including air, land use, stormwater, shoreline and other environmental permits, as well as all other aspects of project development.
  • Guided Ferguson Enterprises through a PCB (polychlorinated biphenyls) contaminated site cleanup under the oversight of both the Oregon DEQ and EPA Region 10 to address contamination from a prior owner. We also advised the client regarding occupational health testing and compliance with a stormwater NPDES permit, provided real estate and land use planning advice, and filed insurance claims that recovered the costs of the cleanup work.
  • Represent a coalition of industrial trade associations and utilities, including the Northwest Pulp and Paper Association, as intervenors in federal court litigation that challenges the EPA’s approval of Oregon’s total maximum daily load (TMDL) determinations for temperature under the Clean Water Act.
  • Assisted RestorCap (developer of natural resource damage assessment mitigation banks) in permitting the construction of its major Willamette River mitigation bank associated with the Portland Harbor Superfund Site, and negotiating a hazardous waste cleanup settlement with the Oregon DEQ for the mitigation site. We also provide the client strategic business advice regarding bank developments elsewhere in the United States and assist with investor relations.

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