Matt Cohen represents industries, utilities, and trade associations in legislative, rulemaking, permitting, and enforcement matters arising under state and federal environmental laws. Since 1990, Matt has represented industries and trade associations in the development of state rules to implement the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments. More recently he has supported clients in rulemaking to implement the Washington Climate Commitment Act, landfill methane emissions standards and EPA standards to control methane from oil and gas production. He supports clients applying for Title V air operating permits and Prevention of Significant Deterioration permits for complex industrial facilities, as well as clients facing EPA and state enforcement proceedings.

Matt also represents non-profit organizations and local governments seeking to develop bicycle trails on inactive railroad rights-of-way. He represented the Rails-to-Trails conservancy in Dave v. Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, 79 F.3d 940 (9th Cir. 1996), a Fifth Amendment takings claim, and recently assisted the cities of Redmond, Kirkland and Woodinville, Washington, in efforts to acquire and railbank a 42-mile railroad right-of-way in the east suburbs of Seattle.

Before joining Stoel Rives, Matt was a law clerk to the Oregon Supreme Court's Chief Justice Arno H. Denecke.


Yale Law School, J.D., 1979

Amherst College, B.A. magna cum laude, 1976




  • Counsel to industries and trade associations in legislative and rulemaking proceedings to implement Clean Air Act and climate change regulatory programs, recently including advocacy to expedite the permitting process for data center capacity additions in Washington.
  • Negotiation and appeal of Clean Air Act new source permits for complex industrial facilities, including solid waste management facilities, data centers, refineries, and independent power production facilities.
  • Representation of cities in agency proceedings and litigation related to the conversion of inactive railroad rights of way into trails
  • Representation of clients in federal, state and citizen suit enforcement proceedings, including enforcement action for failure to obtain new source permits for plant upgrades and expansions, responding to Clean Air Act § 114 information requests, and negotiation of civil penalties.


Insights & Presentations

  • Presenter, “Washington’s Climate Commitment Act: Challenges For The Regulated Community,” Seminar Group Clean Air and Climate Seminar, October 2023
  • Presenter, “Clean Air Act Compliance: New Winds Blowing at EPA,” Stoel Rives webinar, May 2018
  • Presenter, “Standing To Sue In Climate Changer Litigation,” LSI Citizen Suit Seminar, February 2018
  • “Key Air Act Rules That the New EPA May Revise or Suspend,” Environmental Law in the Trump Administration, The Seminar Group, March 2017
  • “Understanding and Preparing for GHG Regulations in the Pacific Northwest,” Stoel Rives Environmental Compliance Workshop, February 2016


  • Included in The Best Lawyers in America® (Environmental Law, Litigation—Environmental), 2011–present
  • Selected as one of “America’s Leading Lawyers for Business” (Washington) by Chambers USA (Environment), 2009–present
  • Special Achievement Award from King County Executive Ron Sims for pro bono efforts toward the creation of the East Lake Sammamish Trail, 2006
  • Doug Walker Award from the Cascade Bicycle Club, 2018 for lifetime commitment to trail development in Washington



  • Washington State Bar Association, Member
  • Eastrail Partners, Executive Committee member
  • Association of Washington Business, Member


  • Advocate for conversion of inactive railroad rights-of-way into recreational trails. Founding member of Eastrail Partners, the Friends of the East Lake Sammamish Trail and other community groups working on trail development projects.
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