Overview

Beth Ginsberg is a partner and a member of the firm’s Executive Committee. For more than 35 years, Beth has litigated natural resource, wildlife, and environmental cases and counseled clients on the complexities of regulatory compliance and permitting issues under all major federal and state environmental statutes. Beth focuses her practice on complex infrastructure projects, traditional and renewable energy resources, and industrial facilities at the crossroads of an evolving regulatory landscape.

As a former Department of Justice attorney and EPA Senior Policy Advisor, Beth is uniquely postured to assist clients in enforcement matters brought by EPA and state regulators, in defending citizen suits, and in litigating federal environmental and natural resource cases of all kinds. This insiders’ perspective affords her a level of judgment about how to “get the job done” efficiently and effectively. Clients value her pragmatism, intuition, and clarity regarding paths to resolution.

Beth is currently representing the Port of Seattle in a first-of-its-kind class action suit filed on behalf of residents who live beneath flight paths and allege that they have been injured as a result of emissions of ultra-fine particulate matter due to increased air traffic in and out of the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. Her successful approach is exemplified in previous engagements involving litigation challenging the construction of the third runway at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, the deepening of the Columbia River Navigation Channel, maintenance dredging of the Snake River, the ongoing operation of the Federal Columbia River Power System, and irrigation projects tied to the Deschutes River.

Prior to joining Stoel Rives, Beth served as Senior Advisor to the Assistant Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and was with the U.S. Department of Justice, Honors Program, Lands and Natural Resources Division, Environmental Defense Section. She is a recipient of the Assistant Attorney General’s Special Commendation for Outstanding Service.

Beth is both a member and a regent of the American College of Environmental Lawyers.

Education

State University of New York at Buffalo, J.D., 1985; Baldy Center for Law and Public Policy Fellowship; New York State Sea Grant Association Fellowship

Northwestern University, B.A., 1982; Phi Beta Kappa

Admissions

Washington

Oregon

District of Columbia

New York

United States District Courts for the District of Oregon, the Eastern and Western Districts of Washington, and the District of Columbia

United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit

United States Courts of Appeals for the Ninth, Tenth, Eleventh and Federal Circuits

United States Supreme Court

Federal Court of Claims

Experience

Clean Water Act

  • Associated Petroleum Products, a fueling depot, in a CWA citizen suit.
  • Idaho Power, a hydroelectric power plant, in a CWA citizen suit.
  • King County, in a challenge to a first-of-its-kind Puget Sound Nutrients General Permit.
  • BWC, a bulk liquid storage terminal, in a CWA stormwater citizen suit.
  • Bimbo Bakeries, in a CWA stormwater citizen suit.
  • Schnitzer Steel, Inc. in a series of stormwater citizen suits in Puerto Rico, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire, involving metal recycling facilities.
  • Draper Valley Farms, a poultry processing facility, in a CWA citizen suit involving an indirect discharger.
  • Kalama Export, a grain export facility on the Columbia River, in a CWA industrial stormwater citizen suit.
  • EGT, LLC, a grain export facility on the Columbia River, in a CWA citizen suit.
  • Portland General Electric, a hydroelectric power facility, in a CWA citizen suit involving compliance with a water quality certification.
  • Coast Seafoods Company, an oyster hatchery, in a CWA citizen suit.
  • Port of Seattle in a CWA stormwater citizen suit.
  • LRI and Waste Connections of Washington in a CWA citizen suit involving industrial and construction stormwater compliance at a major landfill.
  • United Natural Foods Inc. in a CWA citizen suit involving the Columbia River.
  • A group of trade associations in a challenge to EPA’s approvals of water quality standards for Washington State under the CWA and the ESA.
  • A group of trade associations in a challenge to EPA’s approvals of Total Maximum Daily Loads for Oregon under the CWA and the ESA.
  • British Petroleum in a challenge to an NPDES permit issued to Cherry Point facility before the Pollution Control Hearings Board and Court of Appeals.
  • British Petroleum in a stormwater citizen suit defense.
  • Northwest River Partners in a superior court and appellate litigation involving Washington Department of Ecology’s decision not to initiate rulemaking to amend water quality standard for total dissolved gas.
  • Northwest Pulp and Paper Association in CWA and ESA challenges to EPA’s approval of Oregon’s compliance schedule rule.
  • Ivory Homes, Utah’s largest home builder, in EPA-initiated CWA enforcement action.

Infrastructure Litigation and Permitting

  • NANA Regional Corp, an Alaska Native Corporation, in a NEPA, CWA, FLPMA, NHPA, and ANILCA challenge to a BLM decision to issue right-of-ways for the construction of the Ambler Access Project in Central Alaska.
  • Deschutes Basin Irrigation Districts in ESA citizen suit challenging Central Oregon irrigation projects’ effects on the Oregon Spotted Frog.
  • BP Cherry Point Marine Terminals in permitting and related litigation modifying Army Corps of Engineers permit to operate dock under ESA, NEPA, and Magnuson Amendment to MMPA.
  • Idaho Power Company in a NEPA and FLPMA challenge to BLM and USFS authorizations to build a bi-state electric transmission line through Idaho and Oregon.
  • Millennium Bulk Terminals-Longview, a bulk storage and handling facility, in efforts to permit construction of coal export facility on the Columbia River and obtain and defend associated infrastructure permits from federal, state, and local agencies, including dredging, filling, and dock construction approvals from the Army Corps of Engineers and associated NOAA Fisheries ESA consultation. Representation includes state court challenge to denial of water quality certification under 42 USC § 1983 and on-going efforts to secure all federal, state, and local permits under a variety of federal and state statutes.
  • Tesoro-Savage in permitting crude-by-rail infrastructure development at Port of Vancouver.
  • Pacific Northwest Waterways Ass’n in NEPA and CWA litigation concerning Snake River maintenance dredging.
  • Port of Portland in Ninth Circuit NEPA challenge to construction of third runway at Hillsboro Airport.
  • A group of Pacific Northwest sponsor ports in District Court and Ninth Circuit challenges to the Army Corps of Engineers’ plans to deepen and maintain the Columbia River under NEPA and ESA.
  • Port of Seattle in District Court and Ninth Circuit challenges under the ESA, CWA and NEPA concerning construction of a third runway at the SEATAC Airport.
  • Port of Seattle in District Court ESA litigation concerning navigation improvement project.

Alternative EnergyWind

  • Columbia Energy Partners in NEPA, ESA, and general environmental and natural resource permitting and litigation for eastern Oregon wind power project.
  • Horizon Energy in NEPA and FLPMA litigation before the Interior Board of Permitting Appeals.

Alternative EnergyHydro

  • Northwest River Partners in ongoing District Court and Ninth Circuit challenges to the ESA Section 7 Biological Opinions issued for the Federal Columbia River Power System.
  • Nevada Irrigation District in challenges to ESA Section 7 consultation concerning hydropower and irrigation infrastructure on the Yuba River watershed.
  • Nevada Irrigation District in FERC re-licensing proceedings concerning the Yuba-Bear hydroelectric project on the Yuba and Bear Rivers in northern California.
  • LS Power Equity Advisors in FERC relicensing proceedings.

Pesticides

  • Gowan Company in FIFRA and ESA District Court and Ninth Circuit challenges to EPA’s Interim Re-registration Eligibility Determination for various pesticides.

Civil and Criminal Enforcement Defense

  • A forest product company in a CWA enforcement action brought by EPA.
  • A seafood processor in Alaska in a CWA enforcement action brought by EPA.
  • A pulp and paper company in a CAA MACT enforcement action brought by EPA.
  • A Native corporation in a CWA oil spill enforcement action brought by EPA.
  • A fertilizer manufacturer in a RCRA enforcement action brought by EPA.
  • A sand and gravel company in a stormwater enforcement action brought by EPA.
  • A regional homebuilder in enforcement proceedings brought by EPA for alleged stormwater violations.
  • A cement manufacturer in enforcement proceedings brought by EPA for alleged stormwater violations.
  • A carbon fibre manufacturer in an EPA enforcement matter under the CAA, CERCLA and EPCRA.

Fisheries

  • United Cook Inlet Driftnet Association in Magnuson Act District Court and Ninth Circuit Litigation concerning NMFS’ administration of Cook Inlet salmon fishery and Alaska Board of Fisheries commercial salmon regulations.
  • South Pacific Tuna Corporation in NOAA administrative enforcement actions alleging fishing violations.

Endangered Species Act/NEPA Litigation

  • Northwest River Partners in ESA and NEPA challenges to the ongoing operation of the Federal Columbia River Power System.
  • Northwest River Partners in NEPA and Migratory Bird Treaty Act litigation concerning Army Corps of Engineers’ Cormorant Predation Management Plan.
  • Pacific Northwest Waterways Association in NEPA, ESA, and CWA permitting advice and litigation concerning Army Corps of Engineers’ Programmatic Sediment Management Plan and EIS for the lower Snake River.
  • Washington State Snowmobile Association in challenges to critical habitat designation for Canada Lynx.

Insights

Insights & Presentations

  • Speaker, The Mighty Columbia, “Regulatory and Case Law Update,” The Seminar Group, March 2023
  • Speaker, The Mighty Columbia, “Statutory and Case Law Update,” The Seminar Group, March 2021
  • Speaker, “Clean Water Act Update: New Regulations Implementing Section 401,” 29th Annual Oregon Water Law Conference, The Seminar Group, November 2020
  • Speaker, “EPA’s New CWA Section 401 Rule,” Clean Water Act and Wetlands in Oregon, Law Seminars International, September 2020
  • Co-Author, “Trump’s Attempt to Bring Sanity to a Torturous Environmental Review and Permitting Process,” POWER magazine, March 1, 2020
  • Moderator, “Permitting Basics—Overview of Legal Requirements,” Permitting Strategies in the Northwest, The Seminar Group, December 2019
  • Speaker, “Clean Water Act Section 401 Update,” 28th Annual Oregon Water Law Conference, The Seminar Group, November 2019
  • Speaker, “Deschutes Basin Update” Oregon Water Law Conference, The Seminar Group, November 2017
  • Co-Author, “How executive orders and judicial review are shaping environmental policy,” Westlaw Journal · Environmental, July 19, 2017
  • Speaker, “Environmental and Natural Resources Law in the Era of Trump,” Pacific Northwest Waterways Association Summer Meeting, June 2017
  • Program Chair and Speaker, Environmental Law in the Trump Administration, The Seminar Group, March 2017
  • Speaker, “Energy Permitting Strategies,” Permitting Strategies, The Seminar Group, March 2017
  • Speaker, “Federal Columbia River Power System Litigation,” 25th Annual Oregon Water Law Conference, The Seminar Group, November 2016
  • Program Chair, Moderator and Speaker, The Mighty Columbia, The Seminar Group, October 2016
  • Program Co-Chair, Moderator and Speaker, Permitting Strategies for Large Controversial Projects, The Seminar Group, October 2015
  • Moderator, “Environmental Review of Large Infrastructure Projects,” Environmental Law Institute Skills Seminar, October 2014
  • Speaker, “Coal Train and Oil Terminal Cases: A Study in the Creative Pursuit of Environmental Goals,” Law Seminars International: Clean Water and Stormwater, May 2014
  • Speaker, “Scope of Impacts to be Studied Under NEPA vs. SEPA: Case Study of Environmental Impact Analysis and Issues for the Proposed Coal Export Terminals,” Law Seminars International, SEPA & NEPA, January 2014

Recognition

  • Named by Best Lawyers® as Litigation—Environmental “Lawyer of the Year,” Seattle, 2014, 2016 and 2018; and Environmental Law “Lawyer of the Year,” Seattle, 2017
  • Included in The Best Lawyers in America® (Environmental Law, Litigation—Environmental), 2007, 2009–present
  • Named a Top 50 Energy & Environmental Trailblazer, National Law Journal, 2018
  • Distinguished Service Award Honoree, Pacific Northwest Waterways Association, 2015
  • Recipient of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Puget Sound Community Partner of the Year, 2015, 2016
  • Named a Mentor of the Year by the King County Bar Association Young Lawyers Division, 2010
  • Selected as one of “America’s Leading Lawyers for Business” (Washington) by Chambers USA (Environment), 2006–present
  • Listed in Washington Super Lawyers® (Environmental Litigation, Environmental), 2002–2023
  • Selected as one of the Top 50 Washington Women Lawyers, Super Lawyers®, 2006–2011
  • Selected for inclusion in the International Who’s Who of Environment Lawyers, 2004–2014
  • Selected for inclusion in Who’s Who Legal: USAEnvironment, 2006–2019

Affiliations

Professional

  • American Bar Association Section on Energy and Environment and Resources, including Water Quality and Wetlands, Solid and Hazardous Waste, and Annual Environmental Law Conference, Keystone, Colorado, Past Chair/Vice Chair for various committees
  • Land Use & Environmental Section, Washington State Bar Association, Elected to Executive Committee, 2002–2005
  • Board of Regents, American College of Environmental Lawyers, Fellow, Member

Civic

  • Board of Directors, The Ravenna Strings, President
  • Thalia Symphony, Violinist
  • Board of Directors, Cancer Pathways, Member
  • Board of Directors, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Puget Sound, Chair, 2014
  • Executive Committee Member (2015), Big Brothers Big Sisters of Puget Sound, Immediate Past Chair
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters of Puget Sound, Ambassador Board, 2016–present
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