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Environmental & Natural Resources Practice

Tonkon Torp lawyers help clients anticipate and strategically address environmental and resource issues that can affect them. We help clients achieve their objectives while complying with complex federal, state and local environmental regulations, reducing their risk exposure, shortening costly delays, maintaining public goodwill and pursuing or defending against litigation when necessary.

Our clients include companies involved in manufacturing, agriculture, forest products, energy development, food processing, wine production, transportation and development. We also counsel landowners, lenders, local governments and nonprofit entities on issues ranging from acquisition of water rights to cleanup of contaminated property.


Preventive counseling is a key part of our practice. We advise clients on resource use and environmental issues inherent in business and real estate transactions. We also counsel clients on how state and federal environmental laws affect their property use, business operations, business structure, mergers and acquisitions, secured loans, securities offerings and employee safety.

When hazardous waste laws come into play, we help clients comply in a way that makes business sense and protects them from litigation. In cases of hazardous waste spills or leaks, we help structure and negotiate cleanup agreements with regulators and responsible parties.

Acquiring Needed Resources

Using Tonkon Torp’s multi-disciplinary approach, we work in conjunction with our business and real estate practice groups to assist in acquiring land, water rights, necessary permits and any other components that clients need to support their enterprises. We also can help clients add environmental value to their businesses through green building practices, environmental certification programs (such as LEED or FSC certification), sustainability initiatives and tax credits for use of renewable or alternative energy sources.


We provide compliance counseling and environmental audits to help clients act in accordance with the multitude of environmental regulations affecting their operations, including:
  • Clean Air and Clean Water Acts
  • Safe Drinking Water Act
  • Resource Conservation and Recovery Act
  • Superfund laws
  • Toxic Substances Control Act
  • Endangered Species Act
  • Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act

Litigation and Alternative Dispute Resolution

When litigation is required to protect client interests, Tonkon Torp builds teams combining skilled litigators and lawyers with deep understanding of environmental issues and statutes. We are experienced in presenting complex environmental issues in settlement negotiations, administrative litigation, state and federal trials, arbitrations and appeals. We frequently appear before local, state and federal regulatory authorities throughout the West. We also represent clients in citizen suits and in private cost-recovery claims from both the plaintiff and defense side. Our experience includes representing insured parties in environmental insurance-coverage lawsuits.
For information on Tonkon Torp's Environmental & Natural Resources Litigation practice, please click here.

Representative Environmental and Natural Resource Experience:

  • Representation of a large manufacturer within the Portland Harbor Superfund site.
  • Representation of the landlord of a metals recovery lab in an EPA-directed emergency removal action.
  • Representation of a large automotive company in Superfund litigation concerning the $65 million-cleanup of a battery processing plant.
  • Representation of clients in matters concerning the purchase and sale of water and water rights.
  • Defense of a wood-treating facility in a citizen suit alleging violations of the Clean Water Act.
  • Defense of a large manufacturing client against Oregon DEQ hazardous waste violations, resulting in a reduction of almost $200,000 in assessed violations.
  • Representation of clients as both plaintiffs and defendants in private cost-recovery actions related to leaking underground storage tanks.
  • Representation of clients in administrative proceedings to secure new and protect existing water rights.
  • Representation of a petroleum distributor in a multi-party groundwater contamination proceeding under Oregon Superfund.
  • Negotiations with the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality for risk-based closure of a site involving solvent-contaminated groundwater
  • Closure of waste injection wells under RCRA.
  • Heading the aftermath of a PCB boiler fire.
  • Defense of forest products client against alleged air quality violations, resulting in withdrawal of DEQ enforcement claims.
  • Decommission of old lumber mills in Oregon, Idaho and Montana, and preparing them for different land use.
  • Representation of landowners in mining waste cleanups.
  • Counseling landowners and developers throughout the country on federal and state environmental laws associated with the sale and purchase of contaminated commercial and industrial property.
  • Representation of clients on issues related to asbestos removal.
  • Representation of timber owners with respect to federal and state environmental and forest practices compliance.
  • Representation of manufacturers in investigations by the Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Energy and Nuclear Regulatory Commission regarding radioactive wastes
  • Representation of hyrdro-power producers in water rights contested case proceedings before the Oregon Department of Water Resources and appellate courts
  • Representation of land development companies in wetlands permitting matters before the Oregon Department of State Lands
  • Representation of commercial shellfish growers in regulatory matters