Overview

About James

James Graves is an attorney 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 equitable allocation proceedings at complex, multi-party sediment cleanup sites. 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).

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Experience

Experience

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 Port cost recovery efforts and potential contribution actions related to those sites. Assisting also with investigations and cleanups of properties adjacent to the Lower Duwamish Waterway under CERCLA and Washington’s Model Toxics Control Act (MTCA).
  • Advising the Port of Seattle regarding environmental liability issues in lease negotiations.
  • Assisting Fortune 500 industrial client in multi-party CERCLA litigation.
  • Advising Fortune 500 industrial client regarding proceedings under MTCA.
  • Advising Fortune 500 industrial client in settlement negotiations regarding a nationwide portfolio of properties subject to CERCLA liability.
  • Advising top-tier Alaska Native regional corporation on liability issues (regarding CERCLA and ANCSA) for potential land acquisition.
  • Advising mining company regarding potential CERCLA litigation.
  • 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.
  • 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

  • Advising nationwide industrial manufacturer regarding Washington’s Climate Commitment Act (recently enacted greenhouse gas (“GHG”) cap-and-trade legislation).
  • Advising 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.
  • Advising 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

  • Assisting Fortune 500 industrial client in multi-party CERCLA litigation in federal court.
  • Assisted with federal court litigation involving fishing company’s challenges to individual transferable quota program under Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act.
  • Assisted 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.
  • Assisted with federal court litigation involving trade association’s defense of MMPA incidental take regulations.
  • Representing King County landowner regarding stormwater flooding resulting from municipal drainage infrastructure.
  • Assisted composting facility in permitting negotiations with the Washington State Department of Agriculture.
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Honors

Honors & Activities

  • Included in Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch in America (Environmental Law), 2021–2022
  • 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
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Insights & Presentations

Insights & Presentations




Related News & Publications


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