About Matt

Matt Cohen is a partner of the firm practicing in the Environment, Land Use and Natural Resources practice group. He represents industries, electric 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. He has served on Washington and Alaska advisory committees created to guide state agencies in the development of air regulations, currently including a Washington advisory committee established to draft greenhouse gas reporting rules. He supports clients applying for NPDES permits, Title V air operating permits and Prevention of Significant Deterioration permits for complex industrial facilities and represents clients facing enforcement proceedings and citizen suit litigation.

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 King County, Washington, in efforts to acquire a 47-mile railroad right-of-way in the east suburbs of Seattle.

Before joining Stoel Rives, Matt was an attorney with Heller Ehrman LLP (1983–2008), an attorney with Mundt, MacGregor, Happel, Falconer & Zulauf (1980–1983), and law clerk to Chief Justice Arno H. Denecke of the Oregon Supreme Court (1979–1980).

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  • Counsel to industries and trade associations in legislative and rulemaking proceedings to implement Clean Air Act programs, including rulemaking to implement the Title V operating permit program in Washington and Alaska, development of greenhouse gas reporting rules in Washington and development of a regional haze SIP in Washington and Alaska.
  • Negotiation and appeal of Clean Air Act new source permits for greenfield projects and modifications to complex industrial facilities, including oil and gas exploration projects, new independent power production facilities, and projects at existing refineries, steel mills and cement plants.
  • Defense against citizen suit litigation, including challenges to the permitting of a Puget Sound marine terminal and defense of Clean Water Act enforcement claims against an Alaska zinc mine.
  • Negotiation and appeal of NPDES permits and Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) limitations for Clean Water Act dischargers.
  • Representation of clients in federal, state and citizen suit enforcement proceedings, including responding to Clean Air Act § 114 information requests, negotiation of civil penalties, and defense of non-compliance allegations.
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Honors & Activities

Professional Honors & Activities

  • Included in The Best Lawyers in America® (Environmental Law, Litigation—Environmental), 2011–2024
  • Selected as one of “America’s Leading Lawyers for Business” (Washington) by Chambers USA (Environment), 2009–2023
  • Listed in Washington Super Lawyers® (Environmental, Environmental Litigation, Energy & Natural Resources), 2006–2019
  • Listed in Who’s Who in American Law, 2006–2008
  • Member, Washington State Bar Association
  • Member, Air and Waste Management Association
  • Member, Association of Washington Business
  • Special Achievement Award from King County Executive Ron Sims for pro bono efforts toward the creation of the East Lake Sammamish Trail, 2006

Civic Activities

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

Insights & Presentations

  • Presenter, “Clean Air Act Compliance: New Winds Blowing at EPA,” Stoel Rives webinar, May 2018
  • “Getting into Court (cont’d): Suits Against the Government for Failure to Properly Perform Its Regulatory Enforcement Function,” LSI: An Intensive One-Day Seminar on Litigating Environmental Citizen Suits, 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
  • “Federal Land Managers Comments on NSR Permits,” 4C Health Safety Environmental Conference, February 2017
  • “Climate Change Regulatory Initiatives in the Pacific Northwest: A Growing Challenge for the Petroleum Industry,” AFPM Environmental Conference, October 2016
  • “Understanding and Preparing for GHG Regulations in the Pacific Northwest,” Stoel Rives Environmental Compliance Workshop, February 2016
  • “Climate Change Through the Back Door,” NWPPA Annual Meeting, 2008
  • “Key Decision Points in the Design of a Greenhouse Gas Reduction Program,” Regional Climate Change Forum, 2007
  • “Smoke and Mirrors: The Evolving Regional Haze Program in Washington State,” NCALI West Coast Regional Meeting, 2006
  • “The East Lake Sammamish Trail: A Case Study in the Reconciliation of Railroad Easements, Federal Legislation and Local Land Use Regulation,” LSI Easements Workshop, 2006
  • “Strategies To Avoid and Defend Against Clean Air Act Citizen Suits,” Air & Waste Management Assn. Citizen Suit Seminar, 2004

Related News & Publications

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