Joan P. Snyder

Joan P. Snyder

Senior Counsel
Portland, OR

About Joan

Joan concentrates her practice in the areas of environmental law, natural resources law, environmental and natural resources insurance coverage, and health and safety law.

Joan regularly advises clients on all aspects of state and federal cleanups, including the defense of natural resource damages claims. She has successfully litigated environmental and insurance claims to favorable resolution in state and federal courts, before state and federal administrative law judges, and in arbitration and mediation. A former industrial chemist, Joan also provides clients with practical, cost-effective compliance counseling, including site investigation, remediation and health and safety compliance. She also has extensive experience in the environmental aspects of real estate and business transactions, including negotiating protective contractual terms, obtaining prospective purchaser agreements that limit liability and advising clients on disclosure obligations.

Joan approaches each project by focusing on her client’s goals and relying on her experience and creativity to achieve those goals in the most cost-effective way. In its 2014 annual survey of America’s best attorneys for business, Chambers and Partners quoted sources as reporting that Joan is “the most scientifically astute lawyer that I know in Portland,” adding that “she is well respected and regarded, and when she has an opinion on something, people listen.”

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Environmental Cleanup

  • Represents a manufacturer with respect to remedial investigation of solvent and petroleum contamination in site soils.
  • Has represented numerous property owners performing remedial investigations, risk assessments and remedial actions at contaminated properties.
  • Represents a client that is, with others, performing the remedial investigation and feasibility study for the Portland Harbor sediment Superfund Site.

Natural Resource Damage Claims

  • Represents a client with respect to the natural resource damages assessment for the Portland Harbor Superfund site.

Environmental and OSHA Compliance

  • Has counseled numerous clients on storm water compliance issues, both under NPDES discharge permits and as part of the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality’s Portland Harbor storm water screening evaluation protocols.
  • Has counseled clients on preparation of Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasures Plans, compliance with Toxic Release Inventory reporting, and state Community-Right-to-Know reporting.
  • Has counseled numerous clients on compliance with Occupational Safety & Health Rules.

Environmental and OSHA Enforcement

  • Oregon OSHA enforcement action: Defended $1.4 million “willful” and “egregious” citation, obtained dismissal of $1 million of claims and favorably settled remainder.
  • Conducted an internal investigation for a manufacturing company to address potential Clean Water Act violations, succeeding in convincing the U.S. Attorney’s Office that there was no basis for criminal action.
  • Has represented clients in resolution of numerous DEQ citations and OSHA citations, including in instances of fatalities and other serious injuries.

Rulemaking and Legislative

  • Assisted a trade group in opposing a proposed Oregon OSHA rule change, succeeding in convincing Or-OSHA that the change would negatively impact Oregon employers and was not supported by the science. The rule revisions subsequently adopted were consistent with the client’s comments.
  • Drafted much of the 2003 and 2013 amendments to the Oregon Environmental Cleanup Assistance Act, ORS 465.475, et seq., clarifying procedures for obtaining insurance coverage of environmental claims in Oregon.

Environmental Litigation and Environmental Insurance Litigation

  • Represented a property owner in litigation against former operators to recover the cost of complying with environmental investigation demands by ODEQ, obtaining “no further action” letter from ODEQ. Obtained a favorable settlement with former owners, operators and their insurers.
  • Represented industrial client in responding to 60-day notice-of-intent-to-sue letter from environmental organization alleging violations of storm water permit. Achieved resolution of matter before suit was filed.
  • Obtained favorable ruling from Oregon Court of Appeals holding that insurer had an obligation to defend client in response to a request by ODEQ to investigate contamination on the client’s property. Schnitzer Investment Corp. v. Certain Underwriters at Lloyd’s of London, (Or. Ct. App. Jan. 26, 2005).
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Honors & Activities

Professional Honors and Activities

  • Northwest Environmental Business Council Cascade Chapter sub-committee
  • Natural Resources, and Energy and Environmental Law Section, American Bar Association
  • Past Chair, Oregon Business Association Transportation & Infrastructure Committee
  • Past Chair, Environmental & Natural Resources Section, Oregon State Bar
  • Named by Best Lawyers® as Environmental Law “Lawyer of the Year,” Portland, 2010, 2017 and 2019
  • Named by Best Lawyers® as one of the 39 “most accomplished female attorneys in corporate-facing practice areas” in the nation for its “Women in the Law” Business Edition, 2019
  • Included in The Best Lawyers in America© (currently: Environmental Law), 2006–2021
  • Selected as one of “America’s Leading Lawyers for Business” (Oregon) by Chambers USA (currently: Environment), 2006–2020
  • Annual Award, Oregon State Bar Environmental and Natural Resources Section, 2018
  • Selected by Lawyers Monthly for global 2014 Women in Law Awards
  • Listed in Oregon Super Lawyers® (Environmental, Insurance Coverage, Environmental Litigation, Energy & Natural Resources), 2008–2020
  • Listed in The International Who’s Who of Environment Lawyers
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Insights & Presentations

Insights & Presentations

Related News & Publications

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