Cascadia Law Group

Environmental Attorneys in Seattle and Olympia

Rodney L. Brown, Jr.

direct: (206) 292-2605

Rod's practice 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.


  • Principal author of Washington’s Superfund law, the Model Toxics Control Act.  Member of the Washington Department of Ecology work group that drafted the implementing regulations and member of the MTCA Policy Advisory Committee, which reviewed MTCA for the Washington Legislature and the Department of Ecology.

  • Represent potentially responsible parties at federal and state Superfund hazardous waste sites. Clients have included owners and operators of sites and generators and transporters of waste from a broad range of industries. Representation includes negotiation of cleanups, cost allocation, and natural resource damages.

  • Environmental review of transportation megaprojects. Member of Department of Transportation Expert Review Panels, charged with evaluating the Alaskan Way Viaduct, SR 520 Bridge, Columbia River Crossing, and I-90 tolling projects.

  • Represent clients in both preparing and challenging Environmental Impact Statements for a broad variety of projects.

  • Advise industrial and governmental clients about compliance with pollution control and waste management regulations, including negotiation of enforcement and corrective action with governmental agencies.


  • One of Lawdragon's 500 Leading Lawyers in America. In its initial ten years, Lawdragon researchers have named fewer than fifty environmental practitioners to the 500. 

  • Chambers USA reports that Rod's peers have called him “the premier environmental lawyer in the state”; their researchers rank Rod as the only “Star Individual” environmental lawyer this side of the Eastern Seaboard, one of just four in the nation to earn that highest ranking for 2018. Chambers has described Rod as a "superb, highly talented practitioner," "effective with both state and federal regulators," whom its sources called "head and shoulders over everyone else" in the region. Their researchers found his clients particularly appreciate Rod's "smart, fair and straightforward" style, and recognize him as a "wonderful top-tier lawyer" who "commands the respect of everyone" for "the different roles he has played in Washington and nationally."

  • Elected to the American College of Environmental Lawyers.

  • Named 2010 Lawyer of the Year by Best Lawyers for environmental law in Seattle.

  • One of the few attorneys named a Best Lawyer In America twenty years in a row.

  • Perenially among the top 100 vote recipients in the list of regional "Super Lawyers" compiled by Thomson Reuters.

  • Named a Best Lawyer in the Puget Sound region by Seattle magazine; listed among the three best environmental/land use lawyers in the region by Seattle Business Monthly.

Bar and Civic Activities:

  • Member, Board of Directors, Portland General Electric, Oregon’s largest utility, a national leader in clean energy practices (2007 - present)

  • Fellow, American Bar Foundation (2014 - present)

  • Board of Directors, Plan Washington, formerly Washington Business Alliance (2013 - present)

  • Board Chair, Washington Conservation Voters (2012 - 2018)

  • Co-Chair, Carbon Emissions Reduction Taskforce, appointed by Governor Inslee to help lead Taskforce in determining the best approach to putting a price on carbon emissions in Washington.

  • Member, Connecting Washington Task Force, appointed by Governor Gregoire to formulate a ten-year sustainable investment strategy for the state’s transportation system, tying system needs and priorities to new revenue (2011 - present)

  • Trustee, Bullitt Foundation (2011 - present)

  • Member, Governor's Committee on Transforming Washington's Budget (PDF link) , to serve as a sounding and advisory board questioning assumptions underlying the state budget (2010 - present)

  • Fellow, American College of Environmental Lawyers (2009 - present)

  • Member, Cascade Agenda Leadership Team, Forterra (formerly Cascade Land Conservancy) (2008 - present)

  • Member, Climate Action Team, appointed by Governor Gregoire to reduce the state’s contribution to the pollution that leads to climate change, grow Washington’s clean energy economy, and move toward energy independence (2007 - present)

  • Board of Directors, Northwest Pollution Prevention Resource Center (1990 - present, including two terms as President from 1993 - 1999)

  • Board of Directors, Washington Environmental Council (1986 - 1997 and 2002 - present, including two terms as President from 2008 - 2012)

  • Advisory Committee Member, Climate Change Registry (2007 - 2008)

  • Member, Regulatory Performance Advisory Group (appointed by the Director of the Washington State Department of Ecology) (2002 - 2010)

  • Trustee, Northwest Fund for the Environment (2000 - 2006, including a term as President from 2004 - 2006)

  • Member, Blue Ribbon Commission on Transportation (appointed by Governor Locke) (1999 - 2001)

  • Member, Model Toxics Control Act Policy Advisory Committee (appointed by Washington State Legislature and Washington Department of Ecology) (1995 - 2001)

  • Member, Washington State Regulatory Reform Task Force (appointed by Governor Lowry) (1993 - 1995)

  • Board of Directors, 1000 Friends of Washington (now Futurewise) (1992 - 1997)

  • Board of Directors, Environmental & Land Use Section, Washington State Bar Association (1991 - 1994)

  • Member, Washington State Growth Strategies Commission (appointed by Governor Gardner) (1989 - 1991)

  • Editor, Newsletter for the Environmental & Land Use Section, Washington State Bar Association (1989 - 1991)

  • Attorney Volunteer, Southeast Seattle Legal Clinic (1983 - 1993, including a term as Clinic Coordinator from 1986 - 1987)

Recent Publications and Presentations:

  • Author, "Can't We All Just Get Along? Genuine Bipartisan Support Mustered for Climate Change Legislation", American College of Environmental Lawyers Blog (April 18, 2013)

  • Presenter, "Integrating SEPA/NEPA and Historic Preservation in Permitting for Energy Projects," Environmental Challenges for Energy Projects Seminar, Seattle, WA (May 13, 2011)

  • Co-Chair and Presenter, Annual Model Toxics Control Act Workshop, Seattle, WA (2006 - present)

  • Author, "Should We Go Nuclear - Again?", American College of Environmental Lawyers Blog (November 2010)

  • Co-Chair and Presenter, Annual Advanced SEPA and NEPA Workshop, Seattle, WA (2005 - present)

  • Author, "EPA Tries to Silence Employees Who (Weakly) Criticize Cap and Trade", American College of Environmental Lawyers Blog  (November 2009)

  • Author, "NEPA: Still Evolving After 35 Years: Cumulative Impact, Adaptive Management Gain Importance," Washington Environmental Insider Magazine (March 2005)

  • Presenter, "Sustainable Growth in a Low-Carbon Economy," Legal and Regulatory Issues in Green Development, Seattle, WA (January 22-23, 2009)

  • Presenter, "Legislative Wrap-Up," 2nd Annual UW School of Law Climate Change Conference: Solutions for the Pacific Northwest, Seattle, WA (May 2, 2008)

  • Presenter, "Urban Residential Redevelopment Case Studies: Model Hypothetical Cases With Traditional Issues," Conference on Residential and Mixed-Use Redevelopment of Contaminated Property, Seattle, WA (March 26, 2008)

  • Presenter, "U.S. Environmental Law," Environmental Issues for the Energy Industry Conference, Vancouver, BC (September 17-18, 2007)

  • Presenter, "CERCLA, MTCA, and the Clean Water Act," Washington Environmental Cleanup Conference, Seattle, WA (June 15, 2007)