About Cherise

Cherise Gaffney 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), Federal Power Act (FPA), 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 (NMFS) on endangered salmon, hydropower dam and forestry issues in California.

Expand to Read More + See Less -


  • Led successful permitting effort for natural gas development platform and pipeline in Cook Inlet including ESA compliance and Clean Water Act (CWA) approvals.
  • Advise Native Alaska regional corporation on State of Alaska’s development of a proposed new 600 MW dam on the Susitna River on its lands and the lands of its Village Corporations.
  • Advise California solar energy developer on endangered kit fox issues including negotiation of settlement with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and associated habitat mitigation proposal
  • Advise developer of nation’s first wave energy test facility on licensing, federal leasing and permitting issues including Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) siting approvals.
  • 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.
  • For two oil and gas clients, obtained changes to final Southern Resident killer whale vessel regulations to protect existing Puget Sound 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.
Expand to Read More + See Less -

Honors & Activities

  • Included in The Best Lawyers in America© (currently: Energy Regulatory Law, Environmental Law), 2013‑2019
  • Selected as one of “America’s Leading Lawyers for Business” (Washington) by Chambers USA (currently: Environment), 2014‑2015
  • General Counsel, Northwest Hydroelectric Association, 2016-2019
  • Board Member, National Hydropower Association (NHA), 2010‑2014; Vice President, 2012‑2013; Chair, Legislative Affairs Committee, 2011‑2012; 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, 2007‑2013
  • Panel Member, DOE Waterpower Program Peer Review Panel, 2009, 2011
  • Chair, ABA Endangered Species Committee, 2004‑2006; Vice Chair, 2001‑2004
  • Board Member, EarthShare Washington, 2012‑2014
  • Recipient, “Women with Hydro Vision” Award, HydroVision International Conference, 2015
  • Seattle Mentor of the Year, Stoel Rives LLP, 2015
  • 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
Expand to Read More + See Less -
Insights & Presentations

Insights & Presentations

  • “The Science and Art of Permitting of Marine Renewable Energy Projects,” Ocean Renewable Energy Conference, Portland, 2018 (moderator)
  • “A Modern-Day Fireside Chat with Agencies and Regulators,” Waterpower Week, Washington, D.C., 2018 (moderator)
  • “Seismic Permitting and Marine Mammal Protection,” RMMLF Federal Offshore Oil & Gas Leasing and Development, New Orleans, 2018
  • “Environmental Issue – Update and Path to Risk Retirement,” Ocean Renewable Energy Conference XII, Portland, 2017
  • “Advances in New Waterpower Technologies,” NWHA Annual Conference - Hydropower: The Cornerstone of Clean Energy, 2017 (moderator)
  • “Environmental Effects and Permitting of Marine Renewables,” Ocean Renewable Energy Conference XI, Portland, 2016
  • “Strategies for Permitting Large Projects in Alaska,” Permitting Strategies in Alaska, The Seminar Group, Anchorage, 2016
  • “Policy and Regulatory Environment in the U.S. and E.U.,” International Marine Renewable Energy Conference, Washington, D.C., 2016 (moderator)
  • “Endangered Species Act Permitting Basics: Section 7 Consultations,” Permitting Strategies CLE, Seattle, 2015
  • “Regulatory Policy: A Focus on Emerging ESA Issues,” NHA Annual Conference, Washington, D.C., 2015 (moderator)
  • “Environmental Questions: Asked and Answered,” Ocean Renewable Energy Conference, Portland, 2014
  • “MHK Siting and Permitting: Working Toward Commercialization with Federal and State Agencies,” Marine Technology, July 2013
  • “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
  • “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
  • “Adaptive Management Case Studies,” NOAA and Coastal States Organization’s Marine and Coastal Renewable Energy Adaptive Management Workshop, Washington, D.C., 2009
  • “Siting Ocean and Tidal Energy Projects,” WSBA Environmental & Land Use Law Newsletter, Vol. 36, No. 2, 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
  • “Siting Ocean and Tidal Energy Projects,” Bloomberg Law Reports: Sustainable Energy, Vol. 1, No. 1, 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)
  • “ESA Update: A Review of 2005,” The Water Report, 2005

Related News & Publications

Expand to Read More + See Less -
Saved Pages

Use the arrows to arrange content.  Download pages as a .pdf file or share links via email..

{{ item.Title }} {{ item.AttorneyPosition }}, {{ item.AttorneyLocation }} , C. {{ item.AttorneyCell }} , P. {{ item.AttorneyPhone }} , F. {{ item.AttorneyFax }} {{ item.TypeText }} Remove
You have no pages saved
            {{ state | json }}