Environment / Natural Resources Strategies

Finding and getting to the solution

Many of the Pacific Northwest’s toughest problems occur at the intersection of law, public policy and the environment. Competing and often conflicting interests merge in the management of natural resources and the permitting of governmental or private projects. We offer innovative approaches and solutions in these areas: We deliver unparalleled experience and results in mediation and complex negotiations in natural resource controversies. Our expertise is deep in developing successful strategies for implementing natural resource laws and policies involving forestry systems, agricultural issues, fisheries, mitigation and permit compliance, water law, Indian law, habitat restoration and the Endangered Species Act. We also have had exceptional success developing and obtaining permits for complex and highly visible projects. When necessary, we effectively and aggressively secure, protect and enforce our clients' interests through arbitration or legal proceedings in state and federal courts. We work hard to understand our clients’ needs and solve their problems.

Range of Services:

Complex Mediation

Because of the complexities of environmental and natural resource disputes, and the rigid and often narrow remedies provided by state and federal  laws, mediation has become a favored method to resolve these complex disputes. These controversies can be multifaceted, with dozens of interested stakeholders, and often involve significant choices about the future.



Recognized as one of the most effective and comprehensive governmental issues teams in the Northwest, we have excellent working relationships with key decision makers in all levels of government in numerous jurisdictions. Our creativity and pragmatism allow us to obtain exceptional results in even the most challenging matters.



Our firm tried one of the first environmental insurance coverage cases, prevailing at trial and on appeal in both the Washington Court of Appeals and Washington Supreme Court. We successfully established the right of a prevailing party to recover litigation costs and fees associated with environmental cleanups. We have collected tens of millions of dollars for those injured by negligently operated landfills, wastewater treatment plants and industrial facilities. Our team has recovered hundreds of millions of dollars from to pay for environmental clean-up at gas stations, landfills, petroleum terminals, dry cleaning facilities, logging facilities and other industrial sites throughout the Pacific Northwest. And we have successfully defended and prosecuted claims for contribution for environmental clean-ups in state and federal courts, as well as successfully defending citizen suits under the federal Clean Water Act.


Representative Matters

Puyallup Indian Land and Jurisdictional Claims Settlement

We served as the lead negotiator reprenting Pierce County, the Port of Tacoma, the cities of Tacoma, Fife and Puyallup, and various private landowners and businesses in the Puyallup Indian Land and Jurisdictional Claims Settlement - one of the largest Indian settlements in the country. Spanning six years, this complex multi-party effort required us to identify the key issues and claims to be resolved, research legal and historical points, engage in strategic and policy planning, and obtain the involvement and commitment of all affected parties. The negotiations resulted in a comprehensive $162 million settlement package approved and funded by the U.S. Congress, the Washington State legislature, local governments, and private parties, in exchange for the Puyallup Indian Tribe's agreement to relinquish claims to large expanses of land in the Tacoma area.

Port Development

Our group represented Seattle-based SSA Marine, Inc. in reaching an agreement with the Puyallup Tribe to develop and operate a 180-acre shipping container terminal at the Port of Tacoma. We remain involved in assisting our client in implementing its terms, obtaining permits, and advising on related environmental, land use, business and tax issues.

Water Policy Advisor to Washington State Governor

For three years former Governor Gary Locke retained members of our group to serve as his water policy advisor on numerous major water policy issues in Washington State. We managed the Washington State Water Resources Planning Process which resulted in agreement among 175 participants to resolve water resource planning issues through a cooperative process amongst tribal, state and local governments, private business, environmental and recreational advocates, commercial and sports fishermen, and the agricultural community.

Negotiated the "Monterey Agreement"

We helped negotiate the "Monterey Agreement," resolving long-standing disputes between agricultural and municipal water contractors over water allocations in the California State Water Project. In 2005 we helped a number of parties resolve a major water quality dispute in the San Joaquin River Basin in California that had been in litigation since 1964. We also successfully mediated negotiations among the federal and state water contractors in California -- the Bureau of Reclamation and the California Department of Water Resources -- that resolved a number of major outstanding issues concerning the operation of the Central Valley Project and the State Water Project.
  • Tacoma Arches at the History Museum
  • Pioneer Square
  • Reflection pond by the Tacoma Glass Museum
  • Duwamish Waterway and brown field cleanup
  • Fireboats on the Seattle Waterfront
Gordon Thomas Honeywell LLP


1201 Pacific Ave, #2100
Tacoma, WA 98402

Telephone: 253.620.6500
Fax: 253.620.6565


One Union Square
600 University St, #2100
Seattle, WA 98101

Telephone: 206.676.7500
Fax: 206.676.7575

Visit the Gordon Thomas Honeywell Governmental Affairs Web Site


1201 Pacific Ave, #2100, Tacoma, WA 98402
Telephone: 253.620.6500  Fax: 253.620.6565


One Union Square, 600 University St, #2100, Seattle, WA 98101
Telephone: 206.676.7500  Fax: 206.676.7575