Matt’s practice focuses on permitting and litigation matters involving federal and state natural resource and environmental law. He has over 25 years’ experience representing utilities, ports, owners and operators of hydroelectric projects and other energy projects, and state and local governmental entities on issues pertaining to the Clean Water Act (CWA), Endangered Species Act (ESA), National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), Federal Power Act, Magnuson-Stevens Act, Coastal Zone Management Act, and Indian law.
Prior to joining Cascadia, Matt was a partner at Van Ness Feldman, where he was co-coordinator of the firm’s Land, Water & Natural Resources practice group. Matt has previously served as a trial attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice and an Assistant Attorney General for the State of Washington where he represented the State of Washington and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife in natural resource litigation and other matters involving the ESA, fisheries, water, and Indian law issues.
- Provides several clients with relicensing, compliance and litigation counsel for hydroelectric projects. Work includes advising and counseling on CWA Section 401 certifications, the ESA, the Coastal Zone Management Act, the NEPA, National Historic Preservation Act, and Indian law matters.
- Provided the City of Tacoma (“Tacoma") with relicensing counsel for the 131 megawatt (MW) Cushman Hydroelectric Project, resulting in an historic settlement of one of the longest lasting relicensing cases at FERC, as well as the settlement of a federal court lawsuit involving a treaty fishing right damage claim by the Skokomish Indian Tribe and continues to provide Tacoma with license compliance counsel for its hydropower projects.
- Provides Snohomish County Public Utility District with relicensing and compliance counsel for the 111 MW Jackson Project and other hydropower projects.
- Represented the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead Reservation (CSKT) the September 2015 acquisition of the Se̓liš Ksanka Ql̓ispe̓ Hydroelectric Project (SKQ Project; formerly known as the “Kerr Project”), a 194 MW hydro project located on Flathead Lake in Montana and continues to advise CSKT on the federal regulatory matters relating to CSKT’s ownership and operation of the SKQ Project.
- Counsels clients on all aspects of federal and state environmental permitting and use authorization for a proposed floating pumping plant located within the boundary of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s Kachess Reservoir.
- Represents a client in the development of a new marine transfer facility. Work includes advising on federal permitting issues, including Section 10 and 404 permits, and ESA and NEPA compliance.
- Counsels clients such as Ports, wind projects and other renewable energy projects, and governmental entities, on ESA compliance and litigation, including ESA Section 7 consultations.
- As a pro bono matter through the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project in 2016, successfully represented a Cameroonian woman seeking asylum for human rights violations.
Named to Best Lawyers in America, Energy Law (2012-present), Environmental Law (2012-present), Litigation-Environmental (2016-present), Native American Law (2012-present), Natural Resources Law (2012-present)
Named a Super Lawyer ® by Washington Super Lawyers Magazine (2014-present)
Leading Practitioner in Chambers USA, Environment (2015-present)
Fulbright Scholar, Lecturer and Researcher, Natural Resource Law, Ghana (2005-2006)
Washington State Attorney General's Office, Assistant Attorney General, Fish Wildlife & Parks Division (1995-1999, 2001-2003)
U.S. Department of Justice, Trial Attorney, Wildlife & Marine Resources Section (1999-2001)
U.S. Peace Corps, Fisheries/Integrated Agricultural Extension Agent (1988-1990)
Skagit Environmental Endowment Commission, United States Commissioner (2017-present)
Select Publications and Presentations:
Moderator, "The Power of Collaboration," Northwest Hydroelectric Association Annual Conference, Seattle, WA (February 20, 2020)
Presenter, "Litigation Considerations Under the ESA," 27th Annual Endangered Species Act Conference, The Seminar Group, Seattle, WA, (January 23, 2020)
Presenter, "Hydropower Relicensing," Federal Environmental Regulatory Update, The Seminar Group, Seattle, WA (October 3, 2019)
Presenter, "Water Quality Management in Washington," Law Seminars International, Seattle, WA (September 10, 2019)
Presenter, "Regulatory Update – New and Proposed Policies that May Impact Hydro Owners and Developers," 2019 National Hydropower Association Regional Meeting, Juneau, AK (August 19, 2019)
Presenter, "US v. Washington Culvert Subproceeding: Implications on the Regulated Community in the Northwest," Seattle, WA (July 10, 2018)
Presenter, "Environmental Case Law Update,"2018 Environmental and Land Use Law Midyear Meeting & Conference, Washington State Bar Association, Cle Elum, WA (May, 10 2018)
Presenter, "Roles of Northwest Tribes in Infrastructure Permitting," VNF Talks, Seattle, WA (December 14, 2016)
Co-presenter, "Hydropower Litigation Update," and Panelist, "Tidal Energy Proposals," Comprehensive Review of Hydropower in the Northwest, The Seminar Group, Seattle, WA (October 9, 2014)
Author, Geothermal Transparency Guide, pp. 143-152 (1/13/2017)
Author, Washington Real Property Desk Book, Washington State Bar Association (4th ed. 2013) National Environmental Policy Act, Chapter 1, Vol. 7 (10/1/2013)
Author, "Federal District Court Upholds Criminal Conviction Under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act for Bird Deaths Resulting from Oil Refinery Operations," The Environmental Counselor, Vol. 292 pp. 5 (December 1, 2012)
Author, Environmental & Land Use Law Newsletter, Washington State Bar Association, Vol. 39 Issue 1 pp. 16,
Federal Environmental Law Update (May 1, 2012)
Author, Environmental & Land Use Law Newsletter, Washington State BAr Association, Vol. 38 Issue 3 pp. 7 Federal Environmental Law Update (December 1, 2011)
Author, Environmental & Land Use Law Newsletter, Washington State Bar Association, Vol. 38 Issue 1 pp. 9 Federal Environmental Law Update (June 1, 2011)
Author, "Protecting Tribal Fishing Rights: Fixing Culverts that Block Fish Passage," The Water Report, Issue 81 pp. 22 (November 15, 2010)