About Michael

Michael Campbell is a partner with nearly 30 years of experience helping industrial and municipal clients obtain water quality permits and find solutions to regulatory problems related to water quality. His practice includes National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES), Underground Injection Control (UIC), and state wastewater and stormwater discharge permits, Clean Water Act (CWA) section 404 and state fill permits, CWA section 401 certifications, and the defense of enforcement actions and citizen suits. He also represents trade associations and client coalitions in the development of water quality standards and regulations. To all of these efforts, Michael brings a deep understanding of client needs and technical issues, as well as a respectful, problem-solving approach to working with regulatory agencies and other parties.

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Wastewater and Stormwater Discharge Permits

Michael represents industrial, municipal, and other clients on all aspects of NPDES wastewater and stormwater discharge permits under the Clean Water Act (CWA), indirect discharge permits to publicly owned treatment works (POTWs), and underground injection control (UIC) permits. These matters include negotiating permit terms, defending and challenging agency permit decisions, providing compliance advice, and defending against agency and citizen enforcement actions. A representative selection of recent matters includes:

  • Negotiating the terms of NPDES and indirect discharge permits for industrial and municipal facilities, including electric power plants, offshore oil and gas facilities in Alaska, chemical manufacturers, pulp and paper mills, wood products facilities, steel mills, nonferrous metals manufacturing facilities, publicly owned treatment works, and municipal stormwater systems.
  • An administrative appeal of the terms of an NPDES permit issued to a wood products facility.
  • Defending administrative and judicial challenges by nongovernmental organizations to the provisions of NPDES permits issued to an oil refinery and a nonferrous metal manufacturing facility.
  • Negotiating settlements of agency administrative enforcement actions against a variety of facilities, including municipal water treatment plants, wood preserving facilities, construction sites, and metals manufacturing facilities.
  • Defending or negotiating settlements of CWA citizen suits against wood products, recycling, and equipment manufacturing facilities and users of logging roads.

Development of General NPDES Permits, Water Quality Standards, and Other Water Quality Regulations

Michael has represented coalitions and individual industrial and utility clients in developing, negotiating, and defending general NPDES permits, water quality standards, and other water quality regulations and guidance in the Pacific Northwest. In these efforts, Michael often serves as the industrial representative on agency advisory committees for the development of water quality standards and general discharge permits. Recent matters include:

  • Developing and negotiating Oregon water quality criteria and implementing regulations for toxic pollutants.
  • Administratively challenging and negotiating water quality standards and developing a use attainability analysis (UAA) for a Colorado stream channel.
  • Developing and negotiating Oregon general industrial stormwater permits.
  • Challenging agency guidance and settlement agreement provisions related to compliance schedules for water quality-based effluent limits in NPDES permits.
  • Litigation challenging EPA approvals of Oregon temperature and mercury total maximum daily loads (TMDLs) and Washington water quality standards.
  • Commenting on proposed listings of water quality limited waterbodies pursuant to CWA subsection 303(d).

Section 401 Certifications for the Relicensing of Federally Licensed Hydroelectric Facilities

Much of Michael’s practice is devoted to helping hydroelectric facilities obtain section 401 certifications in conjunction with the relicensing of the facilities by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). This includes strategic advice regarding information needs, negotiating information demands by certifying agencies, negotiating certification conditions, and addressing related matters, such as TMDL allocations, water quality criteria revisions and variances, and the application of state law to federally licensed facilities. In relicensing proceedings involving a negotiated settlement, this work includes negotiating settlement terms to integrate the certification into the broader settlement agreement. Representative certifications, including pending certifications, include:

  • Certification of a multi-facility hydroelectric project in Oregon as part of a negotiated FERC relicensing proceeding.
  • Certification of the interim operation and ultimate removal of a hydroelectric facility in Oregon as part of a negotiated FERC relicensing proceeding.
  • Certification of a multi-facility hydroelectric project in Washington as part of a negotiated FERC relicensing proceeding.
  • Certification of the removal of a hydroelectric facility in Washington pursuant to a negotiated settlement.
  • Certification of a multi-facility hydroelectric project in Oregon.
  • Pending certification of a multi-facility, multi-state hydroelectric project in the Pacific Northwest.
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Honors & Activities

Professional Honors and Activities

  • Named by Best Lawyers® as Environmental Law “Lawyer of the Year,” Portland, 2018; and Water Law “Lawyer of the Year,” Portland, 2011
  • Included in The Best Lawyers in America© (currently: Environmental Law, Water Law), 2007, 2009–2021
  • Northwest Pulp & Paper Association Outstanding Legal Service Award, 2014
  • Selected as one of “America’s Leading Lawyers for Business” (Oregon) by Chambers USA (currently: Environment), 2006–2020

Advisory Committees

  • Oregon Department of Environmental Quality Blue Ribbon Committee on the Wastewater Permitting Program, 2002–present
  • Oregon Department of Environmental Quality Advisory Committee on Revisions to the Aquatic Life Water Quality Standards for Copper, 2015–2016
  • State of Oregon Integrated Water Resources Strategy Policy Advisory Committee, 2009–2012
  • Oregon Department of Environmental Quality Industrial Stormwater Advisory Committee, 2009–2011
  • Oregon Department of Environmental Quality Toxics Criteria Rulemaking Workgroup, 2008–2010
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Insights & Presentations

Insights & Presentations

  • “Cloudy with a Chance of Limits: An Update on Oregon’s 1200-Z Permit Renewal,” Business & The Environment CONFERENCE · EXPO, Portland, Oregon, Dec. 11, 2019
  • “1200-Z Industrial Stormwater General Permit Update,” Business & The Environment CONFERENCE · EXPO, Portland, Oregon, Dec. 12, 2018
  • “Winery Stormwater and Wastewater,” The Business of Wine, The Seminar Group, Portland, Oregon, June 6, 2018
  • “Industrial General Stormwater Permit 1200-Z,” Northwest Environmental Conference & Tradeshow, Portland, Oregon, Dec. 6, 2017
  • “The Role of Federal Court Litigation in Shaping Water Quality Law Under the Trump Administration,” Emerging Issues in Water Quality Regulations, The Seminar Group, Seattle, Washington, Sept. 13, 2017
  • “Restoring the Willamette Basin-Bringing the Science, Planning, Policy and Financing Together to Create a National Model for Success,” ACWA Annual Conference, Bend, Oregon, July 27, 2017 
  • “Lessons from the New Industrial Stormwater Standards,” Northwest Environmental Conference & Tradeshow, Portland, Oregon, Dec. 6, 2016
  • “Oregon and Washington Water Quality Standards,” Northwest Environmental Conference, Portland, Oregon, Dec. 9, 2015
  • “Implementing Oregon’s Human Health Water Quality Criteria,” Northwest Toxics Reduction and Water Quality Conference, Seattle, Washington, Dec. 7, 2015
  • “Update on Pending Water Quality Litigation in the Pacific Northwest,” Northwest Pulp and Paper Association Annual Meeting, Vancouver, Washington, June 3, 2015
  • “The Legal Significance of Stormwater Discharge Benchmarks,” Environmental Law Education Center Advanced Conference on Stormwater & Source Control, Portland, Oregon, March 17, 2015
  • Key Issues in Setting Water Quality Standards,” Environmental Law Reporter, 45 ELR 10193, March 2015
  • “EPA and the Corps Issue Clean Water Act Rule Defining Waters of the United States,” Environmental and Natural Resources Law Section, Oregon State Bar Legal Publications, Issue 3, 2015
  • “Oregon Water Quality Criteria for Temperature,” Northwest Environmental Conference, Portland, Oregon, Dec. 9, 2014
  • “Waters of the United States,” Oregon Water Law Conference, Portland, Oregon, Nov. 7, 2014
  • “Standards Based on Higher Fish Consumption Rates: Effects on Water Quality and Dischargers,” ELI Professional Practice Webinar, Sept. 16, 2014
  • Water Quality Standards & Fish Consumption: Efforts in the Pacific Northwest to Adopt More Stringent Water Quality Standards Based on Higher Fish Consumption Rates,” The Water Report, Issue 126, Aug. 2014
  • “Legal Framework for Revising Oregon’s Copper Criteria,” 2014 Oregon Association of Clean Water Agencies (ACWA) Annual Conference, Bend, Oregon, July 23, 2014
  • “Waters Protected by the Clean Water Act: Cutting Through the Rhetoric on the Proposed Rule,” Environmental Law Reporter, 44 ELR 10559, July 2014
  • “EPA’s Proposal on Waters Protected by the Clean Water Act: A Significant Expansion of Federal Authority?” Stoel Rives Environment, Land Use and Natural Resources Group Lunch Workshop Series, Portland, Oregon, May 1, 2014
  • “Clean Water Act Update: Forest Roads, Oregon Standards Litigation, and Jurisdictional Waters,” Pacific Northwest Timberlands Seminar, Portland, Oregon, April 18, 2014
  • “Legal Framework for Revised Water Quality Standards,” 2014 Water Quality Conference, Portland, Oregon, April 11, 2014
  • “Water Quality Standards and ESA Section 7,” Endangered Species Act Conference, Seattle, Washington, Jan. 23, 2014
  • “Stormwater Permit Enforcement,” Northwest Environmental Conference, Portland, Oregon, Dec. 10, 2013
  • Los Angeles County Flood Control Dist. v. NRDC, National Hydropower Association Annual Conference, Washington, D.C., April 24, 2013
  • “Water Quality” (Chapter 3), Environmental Law, Oregon State Bar Legal Publications, 2013
  •  “Marine and Hydrokinetic Energy Lease Agreements,” The Law of Marine and Hydrokinetic Energy: A Guide to Business and Legal Issues, Stoel Rives LLP, Vol 4, 2011 (formerly The Law of Ocean and Tidal Energy.)
  • “Achieving a Successful Storm Water Permit Program in Oregon,” Natural Resources & Environment, ABA, Vol. 21, nos. 4, 39, 2007

Related News & Publications

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