Timothy L. McMahan

Timothy L. McMahan
Partner
Portland, OR
P: 503.294.9517
Overview

About Tim

Tim McMahan is a partner practicing in the areas of energy, land use, real estate development, environmental and municipal law. His principal office is in Portland, Oregon. Tim has extensive experience in representing energy facility developers, property owners and municipal clients in Washington and Oregon. Tim focuses his practice on leading interdisciplinary teams advocating for and defending energy facilities and other major infrastructure projects facing opposition. Tim chairs Stoel Rives’ Climate Change Practice Initiative.

Prior to joining Stoel Rives in 1999, Tim served as the Port Townsend, Washington, City Attorney for over five years, during which he guided Port Townsend through downtown historic district preservation strategies and Growth Management Act implementation, successfully defended the city’s Comprehensive Plan and Shoreline Master Program in agency and judicial litigation, and developed innovative strategies to protect Port Townsend’s municipal water supply from spiraling demands.

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Experience

Experience

  • Tim assists clients in prospecting for potential energy facility sites throughout the Western US, evaluating a wide range of regulatory, market, policy and project opposition due diligence considerations.
  • As Chair of Stoel Rives’ Climate Change Initiative, Tim is well versed in the evolving climate-related regulatory and policy considerations impacting project permitting, including greenhouse gas rules and legal and opposition considerations related to resiliency planning and permitting.
  • Represents clients permitting utility and energy facilities including wind and solar facilities, pipelines and underground natural gas storage, fuel transportation, natural gas generation, electrical transmission, shoreline developments and commercial and industrial facilities.
  • Experienced in permitting commercial, industrial and recreational docks and marine terminals and other shoreline infrastructure.
  • Represents developers and public sector clients both through the permit process and in administrative and judicial litigation, including Washington’s State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA), NEPA, Shoreline Management Act, and Growth Management Act compliance. Tim’s energy work involves local, state and federal permitting, tribal law and compliance with federal wildlife laws, including the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA), Endangered Species Act (ESA) and the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act (BGEPA).
  • Represents energy facility developers in Washington and Oregon, including contested proceedings before the Oregon Energy Facility Siting Council (EFSC) and the Washington Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council (EFSEC).
  • Experienced in planning and permitting municipal water and wastewater facilities.

Representative Major Project Work

Oregon Energy Facility Siting Council Wind Energy and Transmission Facilities

  • Northwest Natural North Mist Project (amendment to the Mist Underground Natural Gas Storage Fields’ Site Certificate to expand the Site boundary to include new storage reservoirs and a new 13-mile, 24-inch transmission pipeline; proceedings initiated in 2013; final permits issued 2016). The Project is permitted todevelop new underground natural gas storage capacity through the development of new reservoir and pipeline facilities, with principal objective of providing “on demand” natural gas services to enable flexible gas generation to “firm” variable renewable energy serving the Portland metropolitan area electrical grid.
  • Stateline Wind Project, FPL Energy (123 MW, Umatilla County; 2001 Site Certificate). We served as local land use and EFSC counsel in this first Oregon EFSC wind energy facility. Assisted FPL Energy on all development issues related to the project, including site leasing, environmental permitting, tax status, and construction contracting.
  • Golden Hills Wind Farm, BP Alternative Energy (400 MW, Sherman County; 2009 Site Certificate). Assisted in preparation of the Application for Site Certification and advocacy through the EFSC process. Work included settling a pending contested case proceeding, focusing on visual impact and compliance with the state noise standard.
  • Cascade Crossing High Voltage Transmission Project, Portland General Electric (200-plus-mile, 500kV electrical transmission line proposed from Boardman, Oregon to Salem vicinity). Tim led Stoel Rives’ legal team to permit the Cascade Crossing transmission project proposed to connect new and existing power sources east of the Oregon Cascades to PGE’s metropolitan service area. Cascade Crossing was one of seven national priority transmission projects designated by President Obama. We advised PGE on all elements of site acquisition, permitting (including federal lands and environmental matters) and project construction. PGE suspended the permitting effort in 2013 due to changed market conditions.
  • Antelope Wind Power Project, EDP Renewables (formerly Horizon Wind Energy) (300 MW; NOI filed 2009). Tim initiated a successful mediation effort with Oregon’s Department of Fish & Wildlife to resolve disputed wildlife issues, putting the project on track to meet state siting standards. Application withdrawn in September 2013 due to market conditions.
  • Brush Canyon Wind Power Facility, E.ON Climate & Renewables North America (500 MW; Application for Site Certification filed May 2012). Application withdrawn in 2015 due to changed market conditions.

Oregon Energy Facility Siting Council Pending

  • Baseline Wind Energy Facility, First Wind Energy, LLC (500 MW; Application for Site Certification filed December 2011).

Oregon Local Jurisdictional Wind and Solar Energy Projects

  • Ponderosa Solar Project, EDF Renewable Energy (34.5 MW photovoltaic solar power generation facility, Crook County, Oregon).
  • Rattlesnake Road Wind Power Project, EDP Renewables (formerly Horizon Wind Energy) (104 MW, Gilliam County).
  • Wheatfield Wind Power Project, EDP Renewables (formerly Horizon Wind Energy) (104 MW, Gilliam County).
  • Elkhorn Wind Power Project, EDP Renewables (formerly Horizon Wind Energy) (104 MW, Union County).

Natural Gas Pipelines, Natural Gas Storage, and Commodity Marine Export Terminals

  • Pembina Pipeline Corp: Propane Export Terminal (Port of Portland, 2014-2015). Tim led the overall local, state and federal permitting effort for Alberta-based Pembina Pipeline Corp’s proposal to construct and operate the Pembina Portland Propane Terminal, a marine terminal for the export of propane to Asian markets.
  • Mist Underground Natural Gas Storage Field, NW Natural (Columbia County, Oregon). Legal counsel to NW Natural concerning all EFSC permitting and compliance matters for ongoing operation and expansion of NW Natural’s gas storage and pipeline operations.
  • South Mist Pipeline Extension Project, NW Natural (62-mile, 24-inch natural gas pipeline, Washington, Clackamas and Marion Counties, Oregon; 2003 Site Certificate and subsequent amendments). Work included land use and environmental compliance, Oregon Energy Facility Siting Council permitting and litigation. This project was the first linear facility permitted under ORS 215.275. The project faced more than 60 opponents and involved an extensive and complex administrative adjudication proceeding. We prevailed on appeal before the Oregon Supreme Court. Friends of Parrett Mountain v. NW Natural Gas Co., 79 P.3d 869 (Or. 2003). The Supreme Court decision established important precedent for permitting Oregon linear energy facilities. Tim represented NW Natural in securing four amendments to the site certificate.
  • Palomar Natural Gas Transmission Pipeline (FERC). The Palomar Natural Gas Transmission Pipeline will provide additional energy infrastructure to serve Oregon, the Pacific Northwest and other western states. The proposed interstate 36-inch diameter underground natural gas pipeline will be approximately 220 miles long. Tim’s work includes representation before state and federal agencies and work with the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs and the bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) to secure Tribal land ROW and associated environmental compliance. Work includes federal land and tribal law issues.
  • Bradwood LNG Pipeline (FERC). Represented NorthernStar Natural Gas with respect to permitting and environmental issues associated with the natural gas pipeline elements of its proposed 1.5-Bcf/d LNG offloading and storage terminal on the Columbia River. NorthernStar secured a FERC license in 2008. Due to market conditions, this project was not constructed.
  • Ruby Pipeline (FERC): As a member of the Stoel Rives Ruby Pipeline team, Tim assisted Ruby Pipeline LLC and its parent company (El Paso Corp) in Oregon state and local law compliance, including crafting and negotiating an MOU for the Oregon Department of Energy’s coordination of state agency response. The project involves over 650 miles of 42-inch natural gas transmission pipeline beginning at the Opal Hub in Wyoming and terminating at a Malin, Oregon interconnect, near California’s northern border. The pipeline is fully constructed and operating, crossing four states: Wyoming, Utah, Nevada and Oregon.

Oregon Energy Facility Siting Council Thermal Power Generation

  • COB Energy Combined-Cycle Generation Facility and Accompanying Natural Gas Pipeline and Electrical Transmission Facilities, Peoples Energy Resources Corp. (1,160 MW, Klamath County; 2005 Site Certificate). Project lead and chief architect for land use compliance. Work included real estate transactions and land use and environmental permitting and compliance, including NEPA compliance, air quality permitting and litigation. The project was designed to provide combined-cycle turbine gas-fired generation at the California-Oregon border. It was the first major air-cooled natural gas plant designed to conserve water permitted in Oregon. We prevailed in a highly complex, litigated EFSC process spanning several years, and successfully defended the permits on appeal before the Oregon Supreme Court. Save Our Rural Or. v. EFSC, 121 P.3d 1141 (Or. 2005). The Oregon Supreme Court decision established important precedent for energy facility siting in Oregon by reconciling the preemptive authority of the state over conflicting local regulations and planning requirements, confirming EFSC’s independent authority to confer exceptions to Oregon’s statewide planning goals. Due to market conditions, this facility was not constructed.

Washington Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council Facilities – Site Certificates Granted

  • EDP Renewables (formerly Horizon Wind Energy) and Puget Sound Energy Wild Horse Wind Power Project (229 MW, Kittitas County; 2005 Site Certificate Agreement). Represented EDP Renewables during the siting process for the first wind energy facility approved by EFSEC and Washington’s Governor. The project includes a comprehensive conservation strategy for surrounding state- and privately owned shrub steppe habitat. Puget Sound Energy owns and operates the project. In 2009, Tim successfully represented Puget Sound Energy in a 54 MW expansion of the project.
  • EDP Renewables (formerly Horizon Wind Energy) Kittitas Valley Wind Power Project (180 MW, Kittitas County; 2007 Site Certificate Agreement). Represented EDP Renewables during a siting process that spanned over four years. Work included preparation of the application, agency meetings, real estate, and land use and environmental compliance. The site certificate was adopted after the completion of a Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) under the State Environmental Policy Act, RCW chapter 43.21C. We defended the project during extensive agency and judicial litigation, including an appeal with the Washington Supreme Court. Intervenors challenged many elements of the Site Certificate Agreement, including the sufficiency of the analysis and mitigation measures concerning visual and aesthetic and other environmental impacts. In a unanimous decision, the Washington Supreme Court dismissed the appeal and upheld the Site Certificate Agreement on all issues, including affirming the FEIS in its entirety, along with all mitigation measures and conditions of approval. Residents Opposed to Kittitas Turbines v. State EFSEC, 197 P.3d 1153 (Wash. 2008). The Supreme Court decision confirmed EFSEC’s preemptive authority over local land use and zoning determinations. In 2009, Tim successfully represented EDP in contested proceedings to amend the site certificate.
  • Whistling Ridge Energy Project (75 MW, Skamania County; Site Certificate and Final Order granted March 2012). Successfully represented Whistling Ridge Energy LLC and its parent company SDS Lumber in achieving state and federal permitting for the Whistling Ridge wind energy facility. Work included preparation of the application, agency meetings, land use and environmental compliance, including NEPA, SEPA, Columbia National Scenic Gorge Act and ESA matters. The site certificate was approved after the completion of a NEPA and SEPA Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) issued jointly by BPA and the State of Washington. We successfully defended the project during extensive agency and judicial litigation. On August 29, 2013, the Washington Supreme Court unanimously affirmed the Site Certificate, dismissing all of the opponents’ claims. Friends of the Columbia Gorge, Inc. v. State Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council, No. 88089-1(Wash. Aug. 29, 2013)(slip op.)

Washington Local Energy Facilities

  • Natural gas exploration (Eastern Washington Columbia Plateau and SW Washington, 2003-2013). Represents various national exploration and production companies in legislative, regulatory and permitting for Washington’s nascent natural gas exploration industry. Represented industry group in promoting amendments to Washington’s Oil and Gas Conservation Act.
  • Kalama Energy Combined cycle natural gas generation facility (346 MW; Southwest Washington). Application withdrawn due to market conditions.
  • First Wind Energy LLC’s Palouse Wind Energy Project (105 MW, Whitman County; final county conditional use permit 2011). With his colleagues, Tim assisted First Wind in achieving amendments to the local zoning code to enable wind generation facilities in Whitman County, and subsequently permitting the project under the revised local standards. Work included environmental compliance, including noise standard compliance, Bald & Golden Eagle Act, SEPA and ESA issues, and successfully defending the project during local administrative and judicial appeals. Project operating in 2013.
  • Grayland Wind Energy Project (Grays Harbor County, 2008). Assisted the nonprofit Coastal Community Action Program in permitting and environmental compliance for the 4-turbine Grayland Wind Project. The facility generates power directly onto the Grays Harbor PUD grid and the revenues go to the Community Action Program, where Meals on Wheels, Energy Assistance and other projects receive sustained funding from the project’s wind energy.
  • EDP Renewables (formerly Horizon Wind Energy) Saddle Mountain Wind Energy Project (appx. 60 MW; Adams County; final county conditional use permit, 2010). Assisted EDP Renewables in achieving amendments to the local zoning code to enable wind generation facilities in Adams County, and subsequently permitting the project under the revised local standards.
  • FPL Energy Stateline Wind Energy Facility (Walla Walla County). Lead permitting counsel for the Washington portion of the Stateline Wind Energy Facility, one of the nation’s largest wind energy facilities, approved in 2001 and 2002. The project included a 50-square-mile site with 300 wind turbines, involving complex SEPA review and multiple agency consultations, including WDFW and Corp of Engineers.
  • Avangrid Renewable Energy (formerly known as PPM Energy) Big Horn Wind Power Project (250 MW; Klickitat County). Represented then-PPM Energy in all elements of the process in applying for and procuring all local, state and federal permits and approvals for the Big Horn Wind Power project. Tim successfully defended the project against several appeals and opposition.
  • RES North America Hopkins Ridge Wind Energy Project (350 MW, Columbia County). Represented RES in the original permitting and later expansion of this facility. The work included local land use and state and federal environmental compliance and wildlife issues. Tim successfully represented RES in a Superior Court appeal of an expansion to the facility.

Washington Municipal Facilities

  • Port of Kalama Municipal Water System. Represented the Port of Kalama in successfully acquiring municipal water rights (3,500 gallons per minute) for the Port’s Columbia River industrial park. In October 2002, the DOE approved municipal groundwater withdrawals with hydraulic connection to the Columbia River.
  • Hazel Dell Sewer District Salmon Creek Phase IV Expansion. Worked with a consulting team to permit a significant expansion to the Salmon Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant, including new pipelines, outfall and pump stations. The Hazel Dell Sewer District serves Clark County’s fastest growing region. This project involved local, state and federal land use and environmental permits and successful implementation of SEPA EIS and NEPA compliance strategies, as well as Clean Water Act and Endangered Species Act compliance.
  • City of Port Townsend Municipal Infrastructure Work. As City Attorney (1994–1999), Tim represented Port Townsend in the following major infrastructure projects: finalization of compliance and contract work for the new wastewater treatment plant, permitting and development of the City’s Biosolids Facility, commercial and recreational docks and wharves, and expansions to the City’s groundwater and surface water systems. Tim aided the City in master planning projects, including Wastewater and Stormwater Master Plans, Coordinated Water System Plan, and Water System Master Plan. Tim represented the City in consultation with DOE, DOH and DNR, and initiated ESA compliance work with NMFS and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. Tim assisted in drafting Port Townsend’s master commercial, residential and industrial development programs and regulations.

Reported Appellate Court Decisions

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Honors

Honors & Activities

Professional Honors and Activities

  • Member, Tau Sigma Delta Honors Society in Architecture and Allied Arts
  • Member, Land Use and Environmental Law Section, Washington State Bar Association
  • Member, Real Estate and Land Use Section, Oregon State Bar
  • Member, American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) Siting Committee
  • Former Member, University of Washington Department of Urban Design & Planning Professionals Council
  • Adjunct Member, Governor Kitzhaber’s 10-Year Energy Action Plan Siting Design Team, 2012
  • Member, Wind Industry Task Force for the development of the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife Wind Power Siting Guidelines, 2003, 2008-2009
  • Member, Wind Industry Task Force for the development of the Oregon Columbia Plateau Ecoregion Wind Energy Siting and Permitting Guidelines, 2007-2008

Civic Activities

  • Chancellor (General Counsel), Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, Portland, Oregon, 2015-present
  • Chair, Stoel Rives Climate Change Practice Initiative
  • Chair, Stoel Rives Sustainability Initiative, 2011-present
  • Board Chair, LifeWorks NW Board of Directors (term 2016 - 2018); Member 2011-present; Chair, Strategic Planning
  • Executive Committee, Oregon State Bar Association’s Energy, Telecommunication and Utilities Committee (2014 - present)
  • Lead Stoel Rives’ annual Portland charitable giving campaign, 2005-present
  • Former Member, Board of Directors, Columbia-Willamette United Way and Chair of United Way’s Allocation Committee and Community Impact Cabinet, 2000-2008
  • Former Board Member, Columbia River Economic Development Council; Vice Chair, 2007, Chair, 2008
  • Former Board Member, Jefferson County United Good Neighbors Board and Chair, Allocations Committee (1996-1999)
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Insights & Presentations

Insights & Presentations

  • Chair and Moderator, Infocast Transmission Summit West 2016, San Diego, California, Oct. 2016
  • Co-presenter, “Energy on the Columbia River,” The Mighty Columbia, The Seminar Group, Seattle, Washington, Oct. 2016
  • Moderator, Oregon State Bar, Energy, Telecommunication & Utility Law Section CLE, “Update on Regional Energy Market Expansion Activities--CAISO Energy Imbalance Market,” Portland, Oregon, June 2016
  • Speaker, Washington State Bar Association, Environmental and Land Use Law Mid-Year Conference, “You Say EFSEC, I Say EFSC, Shall we Call the Whole Thing Off?,” Cle Elum, Washington, May 2016
  • Moderator, Oregon State Bar, Energy, Telecommunication & Utility Law Section, “Energy Imbalance Markets and Expanded CAISO Footprint,” Portland, Oregon, Feb. 2016
  • Presenter, “Water and Water-Dependent Development at Oregon’s Ports,” Oregon Water Law Conference, Portland, Oregon, Nov. 2015
  • Presenter, “Liquid Fuel Terminals: Permitting Transportation of Oil and Other Controversial Materials,” Permitting Strategies for Large Controversial Projects in Washington State and the Northwest, The Seminar Group, Seattle, Washington, Oct. 2015
  • Chair and Moderator, Infocast Transmission Summit West 2015, San Diego, California, Sept. 2015
  • Speaker, “More About SEPA…and Energy…and SEPA…,” Washington Public Ports Association Fall Environmental Meeting, Ocean Shores, Washington, Sept. 2015
  • Speaker, “The Scope of Permitting-Local or Global Impacts,” Northwest Environmental Conference & Tradeshow (NWEC), Portland, Oregon, Dec. 2014
  • Presenter, “Pipelines, Trains and Automobiles: Gas Facility Permitting in an Era of Carbon Contraints,” Northwest Energy Association (NWEA), Portland, Oregon, Nov. 2014
  • Chair, Infocast Transmission Summit West 2014, San Diego, California, Sept. 2014
  • Moderator, “Investing in Crude-By-Rail Infrastructure,” Infocast: Western Canada – Oil & Gas Transportation Summit (Infrastructure, Rail, LNG Exports), Calgary, AB, May 2014
  • Chair, Infocast Transmission Summit West 2013, San Diego California, Sept. 2013
  • Moderator, “Financial Procurement and Regulatory Risks,” American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) Wind Project Siting Seminar, Portland, Oregon, Feb. 2013
  • “Getting the Most from the Consultant/Attorney Team: Improv,” Portland, Oregon, Oct. 2012
  • Chair, Infocast Transmission Summit West 2012, San Diego, California, Oct. 2012
  • “Siting and Permitting Energy Facilities: Does State Policy Matter?,” Northwest and Intermountain Power Producers Coalition (NIPPC) Annual Meeting, Union, Washington, Sept. 2012
  • “Energy Development-Site Selection for Renewable Energy Projects; Understanding the Constraints,” National Association of Environmental Professionals (NAEP), Portland, Oregon, May 2012
  • “Energy Facility Siting in Oregon: The Path to Success,” Golder Associates, Inc., Portland, Oregon, Mar. 2012
  • Chair, Regionally Focused Session, American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) Wind Project Siting Seminar, Las Vegas, Nevada, Feb. 2012
  • Conference Chair, Presenter, “Impact of the Endangered Species Act, NEPA and Other Environmental Legislation on Current and Planned Projects,” Siting & Permitting Renewable Energy Projects in the West, Infocast, San Diego California, Dec. 2011
  • Moderator, “Natural Gas: Game Changer?,” Northwest and Intermountain Power Producers Coalition (NIPPC) Annual Meeting, Union, Washington, Sept. 2011
  • Co-Chair, Presenter, “Best Practices for Engaging with Leasing and Permitting Agencies,” Renewable Energy in the Pacific Northwest, Law Seminars International, Seattle, Washington, Aug. 2011
  • Moderator, “Transmission for Renewable Energy - Efficient Solutions to Integration Issues,” EUCI Webinar Series, June 2011
  • “West Coast Canadian/U.S. Electric Markets,” Law Seminars International, Vancouver, B.C., Aug. 2010
  • Co-Chair, Presenter, “Renewable Energy in the Pacific Northwest,” Law Seminars International, Seattle, Washington, Aug. 2010
  • “Wind Power Siting Challenges,” American Planning Association, Washington Chapter, Vancouver, Washington, 2009
  • Co-Chair, Presenter, “Siting and Permitting Challenges and Opportunities: Forging Partnerships and Inoculating Against Opposition”, Renewable Energy of the Pacific Northwest, Law Seminars International, Seattle, Washington, 2009
  • Co-Chair, Presenter, “The Legal and Land Use Implications of the Energy Rush,” American Planning Association, Oregon Chapter, Portland, Oregon, 2008
  • Co-Chair, Presenter, “Renewable Energy in the Pacific Northwest,” Law Seminars International, Seattle, Washington, 2008
  • Co-Chair, Presenter, “Land Use in Southwestern Washington - Negotiating the Intricate and Overlapping Regulations That Apply to Almost Any Use of Real Property,” Law Seminars International, Vancouver, Washington, 2008
  • “Energy Facility Siting: State Preemption vs. Local Control,” Environmental and Land Use Law Midyear Meeting, Washington State Bar Association, Blaine, Washington, 2008
  • Co-Chair, Presenter, “Siting and Permitting Challenges, A Comprehensive Update on Current Law, Policy and Economics,” Renewable Energy in the Pacific Northwest, Law Seminars International, Seattle, Washington, 2007
  • Co-Chair, Presenter, “Energy Facilities and Other LULUs: Relationships with Local Planning & Local Opportunities,” Land Use in Southwestern Washington – New Regulations, Rules, and Challenges for Small Communities, Rural Areas and Local Government, Law Seminars International, Vancouver, Washington, 2007
  • “Siting and Permitting Challenges in the Northwest, Overcoming the Barriers to Add New Infrastructure,” EEI Energy Conference, Newport Beach, California, 2007
  • Chair, Washington’s Energy Future Under 1-937, Stoel Rives LLP, Seattle, Washington, 2006
  • Panelist, “Economic Development Opportunities – Rural Energy Facilities,” 2006 Governor’s Economic & Workforce Development Conference, Vancouver, Washington, 2006



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