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Nossaman LLP

Svend Brandt-Erichsen


T 206.395.7632
719 Second Avenue, Suite 1200
Seattle, WA 98104

Svend Brandt-Erichsen focuses his practice on the development and ongoing operation of energy and natural resource projects. He advises companies on permitting, compliance, regulatory development and other issues arising under all of the major federal environmental statutes, as well as their counterparts in a number of states, with a particular emphasis on air, water, waste and wildlife. He routinely handles appeals involving environmental matters in federal and state courts.

Mr. Brandt-Erichsen has helped companies obtain a wide range of environmental permits and approvals, appealed permits when necessary, and defended them from third party challenges. He has helped clients obtain use of federal lands and litigated challenges to those uses as well as broader issues of federal land management. He has helped assure compliance with the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) and its state counterparts and litigated claims under those statutes. Mr. Brandt-Erichsen has represented clients participating in rule development, challenging regulations in federal and state court, and intervening to defend rules after successfully obtaining favorable decisions from regulators. He also regularly defends clients against enforcement actions and citizen suits under multiple federal environmental statutes and their state counterparts and has defended against toxic tort claims, including several class actions. He has successfully assisted companies in responding to contamination of soil, water, and marine and freshwater sediments and has litigated cost recovery and natural resource damage claims under federal and state law, as well as under common law theories.

Before joining Nossaman, Mr. Brandt-Erichsen served as Managing Partner of the Seattle office of a boutique environmental law firm. He began his career on the legislative staff of Alaska's Senator Ted Stevens and served as a Regional Administrator of the State of Alaska's Department of Environmental Conservation.

Representative Work

  • Pattern Energy. Lead trial counsel defending federal rights-of-way for a wind energy project in California’s Imperial Valley, the first renewable energy project to deliver power over the Sunrise Powerlink. A total of six suits were filed against the project, five of them in federal district court. Defeated motions for temporary restraining orders and a preliminary injunction in three suits, which allowed construction to proceed and the close of project financing. Obtained favorable decisions on the merits in all five federal cases and the state court case and in three Ninth Circuit appeals.
  • Western Washington Wind Energy Project. Representing the developer of a wind energy project in Western Washington in developing a habitat conservation plan to address potential take of ESA-listed marbled murrelets and bald and golden eagles. This project would be the first wind project to obtain an incidental take permit for marbled murrelets and one of the first to integrate an ESA incidental take permit with an eagle take permit issued under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act. 
  • Cook Inlet, Alaska Oil and Gas. Represented the owners of oil and gas platforms in Cook Inlet, Alaska in several cycles of NPDES wastewater discharge permitting since 1996, including litigation in the Fifth and Ninth Circuits concerning the validity of EPA-issued general NPDES permits and of effluent guidelines developed for the coastal sector of oil and gas exploration, development and production facilities.
  • Sage Grouse. Represented the Governor of Idaho in a suit challenging land management plan amendments intended to improve conservation for greater sage grouse in Idaho and nine other western states.
  • Pattern Energy. Represented the developer of the first utility-scale wind energy project in Nevada in defending the federal right-of-way for the project. Defeated a preliminary injunction motion in federal district court and on appeal to the Ninth Circuit, then negotiated settlement of all claims.
  • Contanda. Currently representing the developer of a crude-by-rail terminal proposed in Grays Harbor, Washington in the state environmental review and shoreline permitting process. Represented the developer in a prior round of litigation concerning the project before Washington’s Shorelines Hearings Board, which included an appeal to the Washington Supreme Court.
  • Northwest Clean Air Agency. Represented a Washington regional air agency in defending against a Clean Air Act citizen suit seeking to require the agency to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from Washington refineries. The Ninth Circuit ruled that the plaintiff environmental groups did not have standing to bring the citizen suit, as they had not shown that refinery emissions caused their climate change-related injuries. Despite the Ninth Circuit’s ruling, the Washington air agencies decided to proceed with adoption of new regulations.
  • Alyeska Pipeline Service Company. Represented the company in a wide range of environmental matters, including air and wastewater discharge permitting; permit appeals; the development of significant air pollution control regulations and advice on implementing the resulting rules; regulatory interpretations; advice on oil spill response, cleanup and cost recovery; litigation (including appeals) over regulations, agency user fees, and rights-of-way.
  • Ardagh Glass, Inc. Represented the company in an appeal of a regulatory order imposing more stringent emission limits on two existing furnaces at its Washington container glass plant.  Appeal resulted in a remand of the regulatory order to the regional air agency.
  • Cook Inlet, Alaska Gas Leak. Represented an oil and gas producer in managing the regulatory response to a leak from a natural gas pipeline. Repair of the leak was delayed for several months due to ice conditions in Cook Inlet.
  • Port Townsend Paper Company. Represented a Washington pulp mill in air permitting and environmental review of a 24 MW biomass cogeneration project. Successfully defended the project's air permit and state environmental review document in an administrative appeal and in subsequent appeals to superior court and to the Washington Supreme Court.
  • Coal Gasification with Carbon Capture. Counsel to an independent power developer concerning the first integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) project in the U.S. to use carbon capture and sequestration. The engagement has included advice on applications for federal grants and tax credits, evolving federal regulations affecting greenhouse gas emissions, federal carbon sequestration policy, and NEPA compliance.
  • Endangered Species Act. Assisting clients with matters under the Endangered Species Act, including successfully opposing petitions to list a herring population and a whale population; advice regarding ESA consultations; litigation over habitat conservation plans; litigation over adequacy of biological opinions; and litigation over an agency’s failure to conduct ESA consultation.
  • NEPA. Represented parties in disputes over compliance with NEPA and its State equivalents, including adequacy of an EIS under federal law in connection with a federal land exchange; adequacy of an EIS under state law in permitting of a Washington landfill; adequacy of an EIS under state and federal law in permitting of gravel mine expansion; adequacy of EAs and EISs under federal law in permitting wind energy projects; and adequacy of a mitigated determination of nonsignificance under state law permitting a biomass cogeneration project, and in permitting a crude oil transfer facility.
  • Asarco. Represented Asarco in litigation related to contamination at historic mining and smelting sites in Washington, Idaho, Montana, Utah, Colorado, Illinois, Ohio, and Oklahoma. Matters included: the Coeur d’Alene Basin NRD litigation, at the time the largest NRD claim ever taken to trial; litigation among successive owners of smelters concerning cleanup liabilities; litigation with third parties regarding offsite contamination; defense against toxic tort and personal injury claims; and coordinating with other defendants in matters regarding historic mining districts. 
  • Rayonier. Defense against the Port of Tacoma’s cost recovery claims for contamination of the sediments of the Hylebos Waterway, in relation to a former Rayonier pulp mill site.
  • World War II Shipyard. Represented successors to Kaiser Steel in defense of claims related to contamination at a World War II shipyard. The claims concerned scrap material from shipbuilding operations that was buried on the bank of the Columbia River in an area that became incorporated into the shipyard and later was redeveloped as an industrial park.
  • City of Seattle. Represented the City as a plaintiff in two cases involving separate early action areas adjacent to the Duwamish River Superfund site. Both matters involved extensive historic research and work with a stable of expert witnesses concerning potential sources of PCBs, PCB chemistry, and the reasonableness of cleanup efforts.
  • Port of Portland. Represented the Port as a plaintiff in litigation against Union Pacific, seeking recovery of the Port’s past costs and declaratory judgment as to liability for future costs for an early action area in the Port of Portland Superfund site.
  • Chugach Electric Association. Represented Alaska’s largest utility in connection with the Standard Steel Superfund site in Anchorage, Alaska. EPA issued an administrative order to Chugach and other private PRPs to force investigation of the site; the site was later resolved through negotiation of a consent decree under which federal agency PRPs assumed the majority of cleanup costs.
  • Voluntary Cleanup Actions. Represented parties in multiple voluntary cleanup actions overseen by state environmental agencies in Washington and Alaska.
  • Due Diligence. Regularly advise companies on permitting and contaminated property issues arising in corporate and real estate transactions.

Awards & Honors

Chosen for individual recognition for Environment in Washington State by Chambers USA, 2013-2019.

Martindale Hubbell AV® Preeminent™ Rated.

Chosen by his peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© in the fields of Energy Law, Environmental Law, Litigation - Environmental, and Natural Resources Law, 2013-2019.

Named the Best Lawyers® 2017 Natural Resources Law "Lawyer of the Year" in Seattle.

Named to Who’s Who Legal: Environment in 2016-2017.

Svend  Brandt-Erichsen
Svend  Brandt-Erichsen



J.D., George Washington University, 1988

B.A., University of Colorado, 1984



U.S. Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit

U.S. Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit

U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit

U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

U.S. Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit

U.S. Court of Appeals, Third Circuit

U.S. District Court, Central District of Illinois

U.S. District Court, District of Alaska

U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Washington

U.S. District Court, Western District of Washington

U.S. Supreme Court


Professional Affiliations

Member, American Bar Association, Environment, Energy, and Resources Section

Member, Washington State Bar Association, Environmental and Land Use Law

Member, Alaska State Bar Association, Natural Resources and Environmental Law Section

Awards & Honors

Chosen for individual recognition for Environment in Washington State by Chambers USA, 2013-2019.

Martindale Hubbell AV® Preeminent™ Rated.

Chosen by his peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© in the fields of Energy Law, Environmental Law, Litigation - Environmental, and Natural Resources Law, 2013-2019.

Named the Best Lawyers® 2017 Natural Resources Law "Lawyer of the Year" in Seattle.

Named to Who’s Who Legal: Environment in 2016-2017.

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