About James

James Graves is a partner in Stoel Rives’ Environment, Land Use, and Natural Resources practice group. James advises clients on all aspects of state and federal cleanups of contaminated sites, including sites subject to the federal Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) and Washington’s Model Toxics Control Act (MTCA). James advises clients working with regulators through all phases of site investigation and remediation, and helps clients pursue cost recovery or contribution actions through litigation and alternative dispute resolution proceedings. James’ experience includes CERCLA equitable allocation proceedings at complex, multi-party sediment cleanup sites and CERCLA litigation involving mining facilities. James also advises clients regarding the environmental aspects of real estate and business transactions, including due diligence, negotiating protective contractual terms, and securing agreements that limit liability. James also has experience advising industrial and municipal clients regarding Clean Air Act regulatory and enforcement defense matters as well as low-carbon clean fuel standards, greenhouse gas (GHG) cap-and-trade legislation, and other GHG reduction regulations recently enacted in Washington State. James has also helped clients with regulatory compliance and litigation under federal and state environmental laws including the Endangered Species Act, Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, Clean Water Act, and National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

Expand to Read More + See Less -


CERCLA, MTCA, and Other Cleanup Matters

  • Representing the Port of Seattle regarding the Lower Duwamish Waterway and Harbor Island Superfund Sites: Assisting with the CERCLA investigations and cleanups of these two major Superfund sediment sites as well as cost recovery efforts and potential contribution actions related to those sites. Assisting also with investigations and cleanups of several properties adjacent to the Lower Duwamish Waterway under CERCLA and Washington’s Model Toxics Control Act (MTCA).
  • Representation of mining company in CERCLA litigation.
  • Assisted Fortune 500 industrial client in multi-party CERCLA litigation.
  • Advised Fortune 500 industrial client regarding proceedings under MTCA.
  • Assisted private party in evaluating extent of CERCLA liability at California cleanup sites.
  • Advised Fortune 500 industrial client in settlement negotiations regarding a nationwide portfolio of properties subject to CERCLA liability.
  • Advised the Port of Seattle regarding TSCA and MTCA issues in a cleanup matter at Sea-Tac Airport.
  • Advised owners and operators of industrial sites regarding release reporting requirements under MTCA.
  • Advised industrial operators regarding Alaska cleanup law and regulations, and contract provisions to manage liability and risk.
  • Advised the Port of Seattle regarding environmental liability issues in lease negotiations.
  • Advised top-tier Alaska Native regional corporation on liability issues (regarding CERCLA and ANCSA) for potential land acquisition.
  • Advising non-profit organization impacted by ongoing cleanup at nearby Superfund site (pro bono).
  • Advised non-profit organization dedicated to preserving lands for sustainability on environmental liability aspects of potential land acquisition for affordable housing (pro bono).

Clean Air Act and Washington GHG-Related Matters

  • Advised various clients (including nationwide industrial manufacturer, Seattle district energy provider, and major Canadian corporation) regarding Washington’s Climate Commitment Act and greenhouse gas (GHG) cap-and-trade program.
  • Advised owner/operator of oil pipeline, storage, and marine loading facility regarding Clean Air Act petition for EPA rule reconsideration and proposed work practice standard for hazardous air pollutant emissions.
  • Advised Fortune 500 industrial client regarding EPA enforcement action under the Clean Air Act (including negotiations with EPA and the U.S. Department of Justice [“DOJ”]).
  • Assisted in litigation defending Clean Air Act permit validity for Fortune Global 500 Top 10 company.
  • Advised large Western Washington county regarding Puget Sound Clean Air Agency’s (PSCAA) proposed clean fuel standard.
  • Advised industrial client on Washington Department of Ecology’s proposed Clean Air Rule and assisted client in submitting comments on the draft rule.

Federal Court Litigation and Other Matters

  • Representation of Idaho mining company in CERCLA federal court litigation.
  • Assisted Fortune 500 industrial client in multi-party CERCLA litigation in federal court.
  • Assistance with federal court litigation involving fishing company’s challenges to individual transferable quota program under Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act.
  • Assistance with federal court litigation involving challenge to agency regulations implementing amendments to a fishery management plan issued pursuant to the Magnuson-Steven Fishery Conservation and Management Act.
  • Assistance with federal court litigation involving trade association’s defense of MMPA incidental take regulations.
  • Representation of King County landowner regarding stormwater flooding resulting from municipal drainage infrastructure.
  • Assisted composting facility in permitting negotiations with the Washington State Department of Agriculture.
Expand to Read More + See Less -

Honors & Activities

  • Included in Best Lawyers®: Ones to Watch in America (Environmental Law), 2021–2023
  • Member, Washington State Bar
  • Member, King County Bar Association
  • Member, American Bar Association
  • CALI Excellence for the Future awards (top exam) in Environmental Law, Property, and Contracts
  • 2014 Legal Practice Scholar Award recipient, William & Mary Law School
Expand to Read More + See Less -
Insights & Presentations

Insights & Presentations

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 }}