Law Seminars International Presents:

A Comprehensive One-Day Seminar on

Tribal Natural Resource Damages Assessments

Best strategies and tactics to handle complex Tribal NRD cases

December 16, 2016

Seattle, WA

Download PDF Brochure
Seattle - WA


Who Should Order

Tribal, in-house and private attorneys, consultants, corporate managers, governmental representatives, and others who are involved in Tribal natural resource damage assessment

Why You Should Order

Tribal Natural Resource Damage (NRD) assessment and restoration is one of the most fascinating, and still underdeveloped, areas of environmental law. The legal and technical issues are complex, and the time investment and costs of assessment and restoration can be enormous. Although Indian Tribes are on equal footing with state and federal natural resource trustees under CERCLA, Tribal trustees may lack the funding, experience, and expertise necessary for full participation in NRD assessment and restoration. In addition, Tribal people have cultural and spiritual connections to land and water that are rooted in their relationships to specific places over thousands of years. Understanding injury to natural resources with this cultural background is challenging to assess and restore under CERCLA.

As case law defining NRD claims and defenses continues to develop, trustees and responsible parties continue to experiment with new approaches to both prosecuting and defending NRD claims, cooperating in assessment and restoration, and funding trustee participation in the NRD assessment and restoration process. The Pacific Northwest is at the forefront of cases litigating issues unique to the role of Tribes under CERCLA, and this seminar will allow you to hear from the people who are involved in these cases, as well as learn about recent legal developments from around the country.

This seminar is the second to focus exclusively on Tribal NRDAs, offering the latest thinking in NRD law and science. Participate in our discussions, interact with the faculty in questions after each presentation and at breaks --and enjoy the truly extraordinary city that is Seattle.

~ Jack Bell, Nez Perce Tribe, nd Connie Sue M. Martin, Schwabe Willliamson & Wyatt, Program Co-Chairs

What You Will Learn

  • Tribal role in NRD vis-a-vis Federal role
  • Yakama Nation winning the right to oversight costs as they're incurred
  • Pakootas v. Teck Cominco Metals on recovery of contaminants from air pollution
  • Preparing a case for settlement discussions or trial
  • Fostering collaboration betwee trustees and PRPs
  • Making your case while keeping confidential information confidential
  • Third party restoration options

What Attendees Said

  • "Excellent start to an important subject. I encourage this to be built upon and continued."
  • "Thank-you for doing this seminar, it was very useful. I'd come back."
  • "Good content & topics. Very glad to have the tribal focused seminar."
  • "This was a really great seminar. I have been working on NRD claims for 15 years, and found all of the presentations to be informative, stimulating, and considered."


Friday, December 16, 2016

8:00 am

Registration Opens

8:30 am

Introduction & Overview

Jack Bell , Program Co-Chair, NRDA Coordinator
Nez Perce Tribe / Lapwai, ID

Connie Sue M. Martin, Esq. , Program Co-Chair
Schwabe Williamson & Wyatt / Seattle, WA

8:45 am

Tribal Role in NRD Vis-a-Vis Federal Role

Federal perspective: How Tribal involvement affects federal involvement including who negotiates for settlement

Deirdre Donahue (inv)
US Department of the Interior / Portland, OR

Tribal perspective: Special considerations for CERCLA Sec. 120 federally owned facilities

Patrick D. Spurgin, Esq.
Law Office of Patrick D. Spurgin / Yakima, WA

10:15 am


10:30 am

What is Happening Locally: The Ups and Downs of Recent Decisions

Yakama Nation winning the right to oversight costs as they're incurred; Tips for setting up your assessment program to optimally characterize costs

Thomas A. Zeilman, Esq.
Law Offices of Thomas Zeilman / Yakima, WA

Pakootas v. Teck Cominco Metals on recovery of contaminants from air pollution: New guidance on what constitutes disposal under the Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA)

Paul J. Dayton, Esq.
Short Cressman & Burgess PLLC / Seattle, WA

National update

Robert E. Unsworth , Principal and Director
Industrial Economics, Incorporated / Cambridge, MA

12:15 pm

Lunch (on your own)

1:30 pm

First Steps: Preparing a Case for Settlement Discussions or Trial

Quantifying damage to cultural or religious resources: Designing the study; direct impacts vs. indirect impacts; addressing the inability to restore things completely lost; other issues

Diana R. Bob, Esq.
Stoel Rives LLP / Seattle, WA

Pros and cons for early restoration vs. cleanup standards including restoration before injury assessment and the effectiveness of re-opener provisions

Jack Bell , Program Co-Chair
Nez Perce Tribe / Lapwai, ID

2:45 pm

Restoration-Based Settlements: To What Extent Can You Take Advantage of Third Party Restoration Options and Still Pass Muster with the DOJ?

Case studies from around the country

Connie Sue M. Martin, Esq. , Program Co-Chair
Schwabe Williamson & Wyatt / Seattle, WA

3:30 pm


3:45 pm

Fostering Collaboration between Trustees and PRPs

Tips from the trenches from federal and Tribal trustees

Robert Neely , Regional Resources Coordinator
NOAA National Ocean Service / Seattle, WA

Stephen Suagee, Esq.
Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe / Port Angeles, WA

5:00 pm

Evaluations and Adjourn

Faculty Bios

Jack Bell, Jack Bell, Program Co-Chair, is the Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) Coordinator for the Nez Perce Tribe. The Tribe is a trustee in Hanford's remediation and restoration process and Mr. Bell works with the responsible party in calculating what natural resources were damaged and the cost of restoring them to the conditions prior to release.

Connie Sue M. Martin, Connie Sue M. Martin, Program Co-Chair, is a shareholder at Schwabe Williamson & Wyatt. She helps Indian tribes, ports, companies of all sizes, and individuals address environmental contamination and restore injured natural resources.

Diana R. Bob is of counsel at Stoel Rives LLP where she advises clients on natural resources, environmental, water rights and Indian law matters. She previously served as in-house counsel for the Lummi Nation.

Paul J. Dayton with Short Cressman & Burgess PLLC represented the Colville Tribe in Pakootas v. Teck Cominco Metals in which the Circuit found that United States environmental law applies to cross-boundary pollution. In 2012 the firm also represented the Colville Tribe when it prevailed on all issues concerning the smelting company's liability.

Deirdre Donahue is an Attorney-Advisor with the United States Department of the Interior, Office of the Solicitor, Environmental Restoration Branch. Deirdre represents the Department in natural resource damage assessment and restoration matters under CERCLA and OPA.

Robert Neely is a Regional Resources Coordinator with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Office of Response and Restoration. He has experience in ocean and coastal management, brownfields, CERCLA/Superfund, Ecological Risk Assessment, NRDA, Habitat Equivalency Analysis, spatial analysis and decision support, and issues related to the impacts of oil and hazardous substances on the aquatic environment.

Patrick D. Spurgin, Law Office of Patrick D. Spurgin, has represented the Yakama Nation in a variety of cases involving CERCLA and other environmental issues.

Stephen Suagee is the on-reservation Tribal Attorney for the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe. His work has included issues related to removal of the Elwha River dams, restoration of the Elwha River ecosystem, and tribal treaty fishing rights.

Robert E. Unsworth, Principal and Director at Industrial Economics, Incorporated focuses his consulting practice on applied natural resource and environmental economics. He has served as an expert witness in the context of environmental damage claims and has assisted various public commissions on topics in environmental valuation.

Thomas A. Zeilman, Law Office of Thomas A. Zeilman, represented the Yakama Nation in Confederated Tribes vs. United States where the U.S. District Court in Oregon held that CERCLA compelled the federal government to reimburse the Tribe for past and future costs associated with overseeing cleanup of the Bradford Island Superfund site.


Continuing Education Credits

Live credits: This program qualifies for 6.50 WA CLE credits. Upon request, we will apply for, or help you apply for, CLE credits in other states and other types of credits.

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