Law Seminars International Presents:

The 16th Annual Intensive One-Day Seminar on


Today's most important compliance, litigation, and policy developments for land use practitioners, government officials, and environmental professionals

January 11, 2019

Seattle, WA

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Program Overview

Who Should Attend

Attorneys, land use planners, real estate and environmental professionals, consultants, and governmental regulatory officials

Why You Should Attend

For our 16th advanced SEPA/NEPA program, we highlight the potential impact of the Trump Administration's proposed changes to NEPA on environmental review for projects in Washington State. We'll take a detailed look at the proposed changes from a variety of viewpoints.

We'll start with our annual SEPA/NEPA case law update which is a very useful way, even for people who regularly read the decisions, of tying the pieces together and condensing the trends. This year Owen Schmidt discusses NEPAand is joined by Sarah Mack to cover the significant Washington SEPA cases.

There are key procedural differences between the NEPA and SEPA statutes and we will explore how differences in related laws, such as disclosures under FOIA at the federal level vs. Washington's Public Records Act, or differences in thresholds of significance, influence the ability to speed up the process and reduce costs by conducting joint environmental reviews.

We'll close with a discussion of how to adapt your SEPA strategies to the current environment. We carry on the tradition of an interactive program so that you can contribute your own ideas and have your specific questions answered. We hope you will join us for what promises to be a very lively discussion.

~ Rodney L. Brown, Jr., Esq. of Cascadia Law Group PLLC and Patrick J. Schneider, Esq. of Foster Pepper PLLC, Program Co-Chairs

What You Will Learn

  • ~ Recent NEPA cases and federal administrative policy changes
  • ~ SEPA judicial and board decisions
  • ~ The Trump Administration's proposal to Change NEPA, and perspectives on the implications for projects in Washington State
  • ~ Strategic implications of procedural differences between NEPA and SEPA
  • ~ Developing effective SEPA procedural strategies

What Attendees Have Said About Similar Programs

  • "Excellent faculty - great audience interaction"
  • "Supplemental materials useful and will be great resource for later"
  • "The case studies are informative"
  • "Really liked interactive approach to most presentations.
  • "I am not a legal practitioner but always learn a great deal from these seminars"

Friday, January 11, 2019

8:00 am

Registration Opens

8:30 am

Introduction & Overview

Rodney L. Brown, Jr., Esq. , Program Co-Chair
Cascadia Law Group / Seattle, WA

Patrick J. Schneider, Esq. , Program Co-Chair
Foster Pepper / Seattle, WA

8:45 am

Annual SEPA/NEPA Case Law Update

Recent NEPA cases and federal administrative policy changes

Owen L. Schmidt, Esq.
Owen L. Schmidt LLC / Portland, OR

SEPA judicial and board decisions

Sarah Mack, Esq.
Tupper Mack Wells / Seattle, WA

10:15 am


10:30 am

The Procedural Differences Between NEPA and SEPA

The broad range of differences between NEPA and SEPA affecting agencies' decisions to do joint Environmental Impact Statements: e.g. FOIA vs PRA, requirements of worst case analysis, scope of environmental review, guidance and thresholds of significance

Mark Johnson, PLA , Northwest Director of Community Development
Environmental Science Associates / Seattle, WA

The broad range of differences between NEPA and SEPA affecting agencies' decisions to do joint Environmental Impact Statements: e.g. FOIA vs PRA, requirements of worst case analysis, scope of environmental review, guidance and thresholds of signficance

Katherine A. George, Esq.
Johnston George / Seattle, WA

Terese (T.C.) Richmond, Esq.
Van Ness Feldman / Seattle, WA

12:00 pm

Lunch (on your own)

1:15 pm

The Trump Administrations Announced Intention to Change NEPA

Overview: Perspectives on the Administration's proposal and the changes it would be desirable to make

Richard L. Settle, Esq. , Moderator
Foster Pepper / Seattle, WA

Update on the Administration's comment process and happenings to date

Owen L. Schmidt, Esq.
Owen L. Schmidt LLC / Portland, OR

Developer perspective

Ankur K. Tohan, Esq.
K&L Gates / Seattle, WA

Environmental perspective

Pete Soverel , Founder and President
Federation of Flyfishers / Edmonds, WA

3:15 pm


3:30 pm

SEPA Procedural Strategies

Use of SEPA Section 240; use of NEPA documents for SEPA review; dealing with SEPA emergencies; managing the risk of other parties being awarded attorney fees

Svend A. Brandt-Erichsen, Esq.
Nossaman / Seattle, WA

Use of SEPA documents unchanged, SEPA supplementation, and nonproject vs. project specific SEPA

Christopher Reitz, Esq. , Assistant Attorney General
Washington State Attorney General, / Olympia, WA

5:00 pm

Evaluations and Adjourn

Faculty Bios

Rodney L. Brown, Jr., Rodney L. Brown, Jr., Program Co-Chair, is a partner at Cascadia Law Group. He focuses on environmental and land use law issues relating to natural resources, transportation megaprojects, energy and other project permitting, hazardous waste, climate change, and pollution control. He founded Cascadia Law Group and its predecessor in 1996.

Patrick J. Schneider, Patrick J. Schneider, Program Co-Chair, is a member of Foster Pepper. He represents clients in large and complex entitlement matters and related litigation including developers of downtown office and mixed-use towers, multi-family housing, commercial and industrial projects, and forest land owners.

Richard L. Settle, Richard L. Settle, Moderator, is Of Counsel at Foster Pepper. Chambers described him as "one of the leading lights of the land use community and such an expert that people go to him with any arcane question."

Svend A. Brandt-Erichsen Svend A. Brandt-Erichsen is the administrative partner of Nossaman's Seattle office. He advises companies on permitting, compliance, regulatory development, and other issues arising under all of the major federal environmental statutes, as well as their counterparts in a number of states, with a particular emphasis on air, water, waste, and wildlife.

Katherine A. George Katherine A. George of Johnston George represents citizens and community groups in land-use and environmental disputes at the administrative, trial court, and appellate levels. Her practice also emphasizes the public's right to know about government activities.

Mark Johnson, PLA, Mark Johnson, PLA, is Northwest Director of Community Development for Environmental Science Associates. He manages the northwest team of planners and technical specialists with a thorough understanding of environmental conditions, design processes, and agency requirements to help clients plan, design, permit, and implement their planning and development projects.

Sarah Mack of Tupper Mack Wells focuses on water rights, project permitting and environmental review, and administrative and judicial appeals in the areas of natural resources, land use, and environmental law. She represents developers of commercial and residential projects, resorts, and municipal water supply facilities throughout Washington.

Christopher Reitz Christopher Reitz is an Assistant Attorney General in the Ecology Division of the Washington Attorney General's Office. His practice focuses on water and air quality permitting and enforcement, as well as shoreline development under the Shoreline Management Act, and implementation of the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA). .

Terese (T.C.) Richmond Terese (T.C.) Richmond is a partner at Van Ness Feldman. Her practice focuses on environmental law, land use, water law, and climate change. She has broad experience in natural resource policy, laws and regulations, and the governance of large organizations and public-private partnerships.

Owen L. Schmidt, Owen L. Schmidt, Owen L. Schmidt LLC, founded the firm after serving for 32 years in the federal government. He recently was a Senior Counsel with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of the General Counsel, in Portland and also a Special Assistant United States Attorney in the District of Oregon.

Pete Soverel Pete Soverel is Founder and President of the Federation of Flyfishers. Since retiring in 1990 from a 27 year career in the Navy, he has been deeply engaged in regional and international programs to conserve wild steelhead and salmon around the Pacific Rim.

Ankur K. Tohan Ankur K. Tohan is a partner at K&L Gates and practice group coordinator for the firm's Global Environment, land and Natural Resources Practice Group. His practice focuses on energy infrastructure, natural resource development, compliance counseling, and defense of governmental and citizen enforcement actions.

Continuing Education Credits

Live credits: This program qualifies for 6.5 WA MCLE, 6.5 AICP (Planner), and 6.5 ABCEP (Environmental Professional) 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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1111 3rd Avenue Suite 3400

1111 3rd Ave Ste 3400 in Seattle, WA 98101
(206) 447-4400

The seminar will be held at 1111 3rd Ave, Ste 3400 in Seattle, WA 98101.
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