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Brian K. Knox

Partner
+1.206.370.6791
Fax +1.206.370.6104

Mr. Knox focuses his practice on environmental, energy and natural resource issues.  He works with clients and consultant teams to plan, permit and defend complex development projects, and has successfully represented clients in permitting wind generation facilities, interstate natural gas pipelines, power lines, natural gas-fueled generation plants, solid waste landfills and transfer stations, wastewater treatment plants, telecommunication facilities, rail infrastructure and airstrips.  His experience includes permitting under NEPA, SEPA, the Endangered Species Act, the Shoreline Management Act, historical and cultural resource protection laws, local land use codes, and other federal, state, and local natural resource regulations.

Brian's environmental law experience also includes the cleanup and redevelopment of contaminated sites.  He negotiates cleanup commitments with agencies as well as agreements allocating risks in commercial and corporate transactions.

Achievements

Brian has been recognized by his peers as a leading lawyer in Energy Law in The Best Lawyers in America (2010-2016) and was selected to the Washington Super Lawyers list in 2014 and 2015.

Wind Energy
  • Represented developers of 245, 190, and 130 MW wind energy facilities in environmental review, permitting and third-party permit appeal litigation.
  • Represented developer in successful environmental review and permitting of 205 MW wind energy facility, including settlement negotiations with third-party stakeholders to avoid appeals.
  • Represented municipal developers in the environmental review, permitting and development of a 100 MW wind energy facility.
  • Advised wind energy developer in permitting and environmental review of 25 MW wind energy farm, including NEPA, SEPA, and ESA studies focusing on avian species and cumulative impacts of nearby wind energy proposals.  Successfully defended permits against third-party appeals through the courts.
  • Advised lenders on environmental and permitting issues in refinance of wind energy facilities in the Pacific Northwest.
  • Represented clients on permitting matters in various credit, investment and transfer transactions involving wind energy facilities.
  • Advised operators on various wind energy operations issues, including wildlife protection, noise control, wake interference effects and habitat mitigation.

Linear Infrastructure Siting
  • Represented pipeline company in permit negotiations and preemption litigation concerning 80-mile interstate natural gas pipeline project. The route included over 150 waterbodies and sensitive areas, as well as close-in suburban development. Project involved successful filing and settlement of two federal preemption lawsuits.
  • Represented pipeline company in permitting and third-party permit appeals regarding 49-mile interstate natural gas pipeline, including federal preemption litigation. Negotiated multi-agency settlement of preemption lawsuit to allow construction on schedule.
  • Represented interstate natural gas pipeline company in successfully obtaining state and local permits for 27-mile looping project.
  • Represented electric utilities in environmental review, permitting, and defense of third-party appeals for development of new transmission lines and substations.
  • Represented intestate natural gas pipeline company in environmental review and permitting of undersea natural gas pipeline between Washington and Vancouver Island, British Columbia. Obtained FERC declaratory order resolving 401 and CZMA issues in client’s favor.

Electrical Generation Facility Siting
  • Represented developer in siting, environmental review, and permitting of natural gas-fueled peaking generation plants in western Washington.
  • Advised client on commercial and regulatory aspects of establishing a biogas-fueled generation facility (dairy waste).
  • Represented developer and SEPA lead agency in land use hearings and environmental review processes for diesel-fueled power generation plants.
  • Counseled developers of natural gas-fueled baseload plants on permitting and environmental review issues under review by the Washington Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council

NEPA/SEPA
  • Counseled wastewater utility in multi-phased, programmatic EIS process for development of wastewater resource management plan, and on environmental documents to support development of facilities under the plan.
  • Represented zoo in defense of programmatic EIS for long-range facility development plan, and in defense of project-specific environmental documents for development of facilities under the long-range plan.
  • Advised ports and public utility districts in development and implementation of agency SEPA ordinances and procedures.
  • Successfully defended multiple EISs and threshold decisions in administrative and judicial appeals involving avian impacts, cultural resources, aesthetics, critical areas, and other resources.

Contaminated Property Cleanup and Redevelopment
  • Represented owner of large multi-use, marine terminal in RCRA corrective action and cleanup under Washington’s Dangerous Waste Regulations and Model Toxics Control Act.
  • Represented owner of chemical manufacturing plant in negotiation of RCRA corrective action order and CERCLA consent decrees governing upland and waterway cleanups.
  • Advised property owner in cleanup of former herbicide/pesticide applicator site. Cleanup studies included ecological toxicity studies relating to nearby forest and wetland habitat.

Solid Waste
  • Represented owner/operator in environmental review and permitting of regional municipal solid waste landfill, including original site approvals and subsequent expansions. Representation included successful defense of third-party permit appeals.
  • Represented developer in siting, environmental review, and permitting of solid waste trans-loading facilities for regional waste-by-rail network.
  • Advised municipal and private landfill owners in landfill closure, post-closure, financial assurance and remedial actions to manage liability and support landfill redevelopment.
  • Counseled major wastewater treatment plant operator on development of biosolids management program and permit compliance.
  • Represented landfill owner in negotiation of long-term contract for selling landfill gas and hosting a landfill gas-to-energy generation facility.
  • Represented developer of proposed 25 MW landfill gas-to-energy facility in negotiation of development agreements and environmental permits.

Risk Allocation and Environmental Due Diligence
  • Counseled both acquiring and acquired companies on environmental due diligence and risk management in a variety of corporate transactions involving such sectors as forest products, watercraft construction, heavy equipment leasing, vehicle service and sales, building materials fabrication, printing, solid waste management, apparel manufacture, cold storage and seafood processing.
  • Advised and represented purchasers of environmental insurance products to resolve environmental issues in corporate and real estate transactions.
  • Represented purchasers and sellers of contaminated real estate, including sites of chemical manufacturing plants, chemical trans-loading terminals, fertilizer manufacture facilities, vehicle service and sales facilities, rail yards and ship yards, and multi-use commercial properties.