Overview

About Laura

Environmental attorney Laura Kerr helps clients solve complex challenges arising under federal and state environmental laws. She regularly advises on compliance issues, navigates permitting processes, manages environmental risks in transactions and resolves environmental disputes and enforcement actions.

Laura guides clients through the multitude of regulations governing air and water quality, waste management, chemical spills, land contamination and other environmental liabilities. Her background includes working with issues connected to such statutes as the Clean Water Act (CWA); Clean Air Act (CAA); Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA); Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA); Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA); Emergency Planning & Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA); and analogous state laws.

Laura’s experience prior to entering the legal profession as a researcher and educator in environmental science enhances her ability to translate complicated scientific ideas and find workable solutions to environmental problems facing clients. Laura previously worked with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and for a natural resources nonprofit organization that partnered with the U.S. Forest Service and the U.S. Geological Survey at Mount St. Helens.

As part of her pro bono practice, Laura helped to establish the Center of Excellence for immigration representation in Oregon. Her leadership and collaboration in the creation of legal trainings and a new process for pro bono legal services for immigrants in Oregon is helping to bridge the “representation gap” and earned Laura a 2017 Pro Bono Champion Award from the nonprofit organization.

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Experience

Experience

State and Federal Regulatory Counseling

  • Provide regulatory counseling under various federal and state environmental laws including CWA, CAA, TSCA, RCRA, CERCLA, EPCRA, RCRA and the state law equivalents of these statutes.
  • Represented association of major western United States water and wastewater agencies at the federal level on legal issues related to water quality, water supply, reuse and storage.

Environmental Due Diligence

  • Participate in environmental due diligence in connection with real estate and corporate transactions.

Environmental Permitting

  • Work with clients to obtain and defend permits, licenses, and other government approvals.

Environmental Cleanup

  • Provided counsel in a multiparty allocation proceeding regarding the Portland Harbor Superfund Site.
  • Assisted in case where tens of millions of dollars were recovered from United States in CERCLA action seeking recovery of environmental investigation and cleanup costs.

Environmental Enforcement Defense and Citizen Suits

  • Defended companies against potential civil penalty actions involving Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act and Emergency Planning & Community Right-to-Know Act claims as well as EPA suspension and debarment actions.
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Honors

Honors & Activities

Professional Honors & Activities

  • Selected as one of “Americas Leading Lawyers for Business” (Oregon) by Chambers USA (currently: Environment), Associates to watch, 2017-2019
  • Listed among Rising Stars (Environmental, Environmental Litigation, Energy & Natural Resources) Oregon Super Lawyers ®, 2017-2019
  • Recipient of the Oregon Concrete and Aggregate Producers Association Associate of the Year Award, 2019
  • Recipient of the Oregon State Bar President’s Public Service Award, 2018
  • Recipient of the Center of Excellence Pro Bono Champion Award, 2017
  • Board of Directors and Mentoring Committee, Women in Environment, 2016-present
  • Member, Northwest Environmental Business Center, 2014-present
  • Extern to the Honorable Chief Judge Ann Aiken of the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon, 2013

Civic Activities

  • Volunteer Attorney, Oregon Center of Excellence, 2017-present
  • Board of Directors, Friends of Trees, 2016-present
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Insights & Presentations

Insights & Presentations

  • Speaker, Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation: Perspectives from the West, Stoel Rives LLP/Environmental Law Institute, June 10, 2019
  • Speaker, “Introduction to CWA Permits,” Business & The Environment CONFERENCE · EXPO, Portland, Oregon, Dec. 11, 2018
  • Speaker, “Regulatory Inspections and Enforcement:  Managing the Process and Mitigating the Pain,” Seafood Processing Wastewater Conference, Astoria, Oregon, March 21, 2018
  • Speaker, “When the Inspector Comes Knocking,” Managing Stormwater in Washington, Tacoma, Washington, March 7, 2018
  • Speaker, “The Nuts and Bolts of the 1200-A Permit,” Oregon Concrete and Aggregate Producers Association Stormwater Workshop, Salem, Oregon, February 21, 2018
  • Moderator, “Case Studies in Stormwater Management,” Northwest Environmental Conference & Tradeshow, Portland, Oregon, December 5, 2017
  • Speaker, “Emerging Issues in Federal Water Policy,” CLE International, Reno, Nevada, November 13, 2017
  • Speaker, “Changes in Environmental Law Under the Trump Administration,” Oregon State Bar Environmental & Natural Resources Section’s Environmental Law: Year in Review CLE, Portland, Oregon, October 13, 2017
  • Speaker, “2017 Environmental Legal Update-Court Cases and Regulatory Developments You Should Know About,” Air and Waste Management Association, Portland, Oregon, June 13, 2017
  • Speaker, “Recent Updates to Hazardous Waste Rules,” Air and Waste Management Association, Portland, Oregon, February 22, 2017
  • Contributing Author, Water Quality and Wetlands Chapter, Environmental, Energy and Resources Law- The Year in Review, American Bar Association Section of Environment, Energy and Resources, 2017
  • Speaker, “5 Things That May Surprise You About Chinese Environmental Law,” Oregon Association of Environmental Professionals, Portland, Oregon, September 15, 2016
  • Speaker, “Environmental Legal Update- Court Cases and Regulatory Developments You Should Know About,” Air and Waste Management Association, Portland, Oregon, June 14, 2016
  • Contributing Author, Water Quality and Wetlands Chapter, Environmental, Energy and Resources Law- The Year in Review, American Bar Association Section of Environment, Energy and Resources, 2016
  • Speaker, “Water Rights and Drought in Timberlands Management,” Pacific Northwest Timberlands Management, The Seminar Group, Portland, Oregon, March 21, 2016
  • Speaker, “Best Practices in the U.S. for Regulating Water Quality, Air Quality and Hazardous Waste,” ABA Rule of Law Initiative, Beijing, China and Chengdu, China, May 5, 2015 through May 22, 2015
  • Contributing Author, Water Quality and Wetlands Chapter and Forest Resources Chapter, Environmental, Energy and Resources Law- The Year in Review, American Bar Association Section of Environment, Energy and Resources, 2015
  • Author, “ How Nutrient Pollution Litigation is Redefining Cooperative Federalism under the Clean Water Act,” 44 Envtl. L. 1219 (Fall 2014)
  • Presenter, Environmental Markets and Trading Seminar, Lewis & Clark Law School, Fall 2013



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