About Laura

Laura Kerr is a partner in Stoel Rives’ Environment, Land Use and Natural Resources practice group, where she counsels clients on complex challenges arising under federal and state environmental laws. She advises on environmental compliance, cleanup of contaminated properties and managing environmental risks in transactions. She also regularly defends clients in federal and state environmental enforcement actions.

Clients seek Laura’s guidance on the multitude of federal, state, and local regulations governing air and water quality, waste management, chemical spills, land contamination and other environmental liabilities. She has extensive experience working with clients on issues related to federal statutes including 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.

Prior to becoming an attorney, Laura was an environmental researcher and educator 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. Her deep understanding of environmental science and hands-on experience with government environmental agencies enhance her ability to communicate complicated scientific ideas and find pragmatic solutions to the environmental problems clients face.

Laura Kerr has significant expertise in environmental permitting and compliance issues in the air and water spaces, as well as providing advice on stormwater regulations and waste management. She has key expertise advising on site cleanups and DEQ compliance.
She has amazing knowledge of natural resource issues in the Pacific Northwest region.’ ‘Laura is a truly talented and knowledgeable environmental policy lawyer.’”Chambers 2022          
Laura is clearly a rising star in the Stoel Rives environmental group—her knowledge and understanding of environmental laws and regulations is superb.” “She knows her subject matter very well and is very client-oriented.” Chambers 2021          


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State and Federal Compliance Counseling

  • Serve as primary environmental counsel for manufacturing, mining, and waste management companies.
  • Provide regulatory advice to clients on various federal and state environmental laws including CWA, CAA, TSCA, RCRA, CERCLA, EPCRA, RCRA and state law equivalents of these statutes.
  • Representation of association of major western United States water and wastewater agencies at the federal level on legal issues related to water quality, reuse, and storage.

Environmental Permitting

  • Work with clients to obtain and defend permits, licenses, and other government approvals.
  • Representation of trade associations and client coalitions in the development of wastewater and stormwater discharge permits under the CWA as well as indirect discharge permits to publicly owned treatment works (POTWs).

Contaminated Site Cleanup and Redevelopment

  • Advise companies, including renewable energy, affordable housing and real estate developers, through the acquisition, remediation, development, and sale of contaminated properties.
  • Represent numerous property owners performing remedial investigations, risk assessments and remedial actions at contaminated properties.
  • Represented party in a multiparty allocation proceeding regarding the Portland Harbor Superfund Site.

Environmental Due Diligence

  • Provide due diligence and advise on strategies to identify, mitigate, transfer and price environmental issues and risks associated with mergers and acquisitions, real estate transactions and energy developments.
  • Advise clients on pre-purchase due diligence, including Phase I and Phase II Environmental Site Assessment strategies, negotiating prospective purchaser agreements (PPAs) and drafting favorable environmental contract terms.
  • Assist clients in conducting environment audits.

Environmental Enforcement Defense and Citizen Suits

  • Defend companies in federal and state environmental enforcement actions including negotiation of civil settlements, penalties, supplemental environmental projects, information requests and EPA debarment actions.
  • Represent clients in responding to 60-day notice-of-intent-to-sue letters from environmental organizations.
  • Assist clients to voluntarily self-disclose environmental violations, including under federal and state audit policies.
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Honors & Activities

Professional Recognition

  • Selected as one of “America’s Leading Lawyers for Business” (Oregon) by Chambers USA (currently: Environment), 2017–2023
  • Included in Best Lawyers®: Ones to Watch in America (Environmental Law), 2021–2023
  • Listed among Rising Stars (Environmental, Environmental Litigation, Energy & Natural Resources) in Oregon Super Lawyers®, 2017–2022
  • Recipient, Stoel Rives LLP Andrew Guy Pro Bono Award, 2023
  • Selected by the Daily Journal of Commerce as its Women of Vision “Jean Richardson Industry Impact Award” recipient, 2022
  • Selected by the Portland Business Journal as a Forty Under 40 honoree, 2022
  • Selected as “Emerging Leader” to participate in Environmental Law Institute’s Emerging Leaders Initiative, 2020
  • 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 Innovation Law Lab’s Center of Excellence Pro Bono Champion Award, 2017

Professional & Civic Activities

  • Steering Committee, Cascade Chapter, Northwest Environmental Business Council, 2014–present
  • Executive Committee, Oregon State Bar Environmental & Natural Resources Section, 2020–present
  • Board Member, Oregon Concrete & Aggregate Producers Association (OCAPA), 2021–present
  • Volunteer Attorney, Innovation Law Lab’s Center of Excellence, 2017–present
  • Board of Directors, Friends of Trees, 2016–2021
  • Board of Directors, Women in Environment, 2016–2020
  • Extern to the Honorable Chief Judge Ann Aiken of the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon, 2013​
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Insights & Presentations

Insights & Presentations

  • Presenter, “Resource Conservation and Recovery Act,” Nineteenth Annual Western Boot Camp on Environmental Law®, Environmental Law Institute, April 4, 2023
  • Moderator, day 1 keynote panel & “Perspectives on Environmental Management,” Business & The Environment CONFERENCE · EXPO, Northwest Environmental Business Council (NEBC), December 6–7, 2022
  • Presenter, “DEI initiatives forge model for business success,” How Oregon Works Thought Leader Roundtable, Portland Business Journal, September 1, 2022
  • Presenter, “Cutting Edge Legal Issues Related to Stormwater Management,” Managing Stormwater in Oregon, NEBC, June 16, 2022
  • Presenter, “The Clean Water Act at 50: Requiem or Resurrection?” Environmental Law program annual symposium, Lewis & Clark Law School, April 8, 2022
  • Presenter, “What’s next in Portland Harbor?” 2022 Portland Harbor Workshop, February 11, 2022
  • Presenter, “Residential Redevelopment of Industrial Property: A Case Study”; moderator, opening keynote panel “Meet the Regulators”; Business & The Environment Conference, NEBC Virtual Event, December 1–2, 2021
  • Presenter, “Oregon’s New General Industrial Stormwater Permit No. 1200-Z,” Stoel Rives LLP webinar, May 5, 2021
  • Presenter, environmental law breakout session, “Intel Law & Policy Group’s Diversity & Inclusion Tech Summit for Law Students,” webinar, April 1, 2021
  • Presenter, “Advanced Stormwater: Changes in 1200-Z,” Business & The Environment Conference, NEBC Virtual Event, December 9, 2020
  • Presenter, “Dealing with Emerging Contaminants,” Oregon Brownfields Conference, NEBC, October 5, 2020
  • Chair and presenter, “The Clean Water Act and Wetlands in Oregon,” Law Seminars International, September 10–11, 2020
  • Co-Presenter, “Preparing for PFAS Regulations in the Pacific NW,” Women in Environment, Summer Tech Talk, August 27, 2020
  • Presenter, “Source Control,” Superfund 2020, Environmental Law Education Center, March 11, 2020
  • Moderator, “Perspectives from Environmental Managers,” Business & The Environment Conference, Portland, Oregon, December 11, 2019
  • Chair and presenter, Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation: Perspectives from the West, Stoel Rives LLP and Environmental Law Institute, June 10, 2019
  • Presenter, “Introduction to CWA Permits,” Business & The Environment Conference, Portland, OR, December 11, 2018
  • Presenter, “Regulatory Inspections and Enforcement: Managing the Process and Mitigating the Pain,” Seafood Processing Wastewater Conference, Astoria, OR, March 21, 2018
  • Presenter, “When the Inspector Comes Knocking,” Managing Stormwater in Washington, Tacoma, WA, March 7, 2018
  • Presenter, “The Nuts and Bolts of the 1200-A Permit,” Oregon Concrete and Aggregate Producers Association Stormwater Workshop, Salem, OR, February 21, 2018
  • Moderator, “Case Studies in Stormwater Management,” Northwest Environmental Conference & Tradeshow, Portland, OR, December 5, 2017
  • Presenter, “Emerging Issues in Federal Water Policy,” CLE International, Reno, NV, November 13, 2017
  • Presenter, “Changes in Environmental Law Under the Trump Administration,” Oregon State Bar Environmental & Natural Resources Section’s Environmental Law: Year in Review CLE, Portland, OR, October 13, 2017
  • Presenter, “2017 Environmental Legal Update–Court Cases and Regulatory Developments You Should Know About,” Air and Waste Management Association, Portland, OR, June 13, 2017
  • Presenter, “Recent Updates to Hazardous Waste Rules,” Air and Waste Management Association, Portland, OR, 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
  • Presenter, “5 Things That May Surprise You About Chinese Environmental Law,” Oregon Association of Environmental Professionals, Portland, OR, September 15, 2016
  • Presenter, “Environmental Legal Update–Court Cases and Regulatory Developments You Should Know About,” Air and Waste Management Association, Portland, OR, 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
  • Presenter, “Water Rights and Drought in Timberlands Management,” Pacific Northwest Timberlands Management, The Seminar Group, Portland, OR, March 21, 2016
  • Organizer and presenter, “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 Environmental Law 1219, 2014
  • Presenter, Environmental Markets and Trading Seminar, Lewis & Clark Law School, Fall 2013

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