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.

Svend 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.

Svend 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, Svend 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.



Endangered Species Act. Assisting clients with ESA matters, including: ESA section 7 consultations and development of habitat conservation plans (HCPs); litigation over HCPs and the adequacy of biological opinions; litigation over an agency’s failure to conduct ESA consultation; successfully opposed petitions to list a herring population and a whale population.

Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Advise companies on MBTA requirements and policy development. Defended a wind energy project against litigation claiming that MBTA authorization was required for take of migratory birds.

NEPA. Advise companies regarding compliance with NEPA and its State equivalents, including adequacy of EISs and EAs for project development, expansion of existing industrial facilities, federal land exchanges, and federal land management policy decisions. Represent parties in disputes regarding the adequacy of environmental reviews under NEPA and its state counterparts.

Air Regulation and Permitting. Advise companies on air regulatory requirements and permitting. Represent permitted sources in compliance actions, including responses to agency investigations and information requests, penalty appeals, and permit appeals. Assisted more than twenty companies in preparing the first generation of Title V air operating permit applications, including facilities located in California, Washington, Oregon, Alaska, Louisiana, New York and Pennsylvania. 

Cook Inlet, Alaska NPDES. Represented the owners of oil and gas platforms in Cook Inlet 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.

Federal Lands. Represented companies in obtaining authorization to locate projects and linear structures on federal lands and in amending and transferring existing authorizations, as well as represented them in litigation regarding federal land use authorizations. Advised companies regarding regulatory requirements governing the use of federal lands and represented them in administrative proceedings and litigation regarding federal land use policy.

Washington Wind Project. Currently assisting the developer of a 137 MW Washington wind project in negotiating terms of an HCP and related mitigation to support an incidental take permit for ESA-listed marbled murrelets, as well as for bald and golden eagles under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act (BGEPA). 

California Wind Project. Advised a renewable energy project developer regarding ESA and BGEPA requirements for a potential 155 MW California wind project. The project would have been located within an existing HCP developed for forest practices.

Washington Hydroelectric Project. Currently representing the owner of a 100-year-old hydroelectric project in defending a citizen suit alleging unauthorized take of ESA-listed fish species. This matter includes assistance with development of an HCP and other regulatory approvals needed for installation of fish diversion structures and other project improvements and repairs.

Litigation Concerning Wind Project on Federal Lands. Served as lead counsel for an independent power developer in 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. The six suits filed against the project raised issues including: impacts on ESA-listed bighorn sheep and state-protected raptors; Native American cultural artifacts, cremation sites and a Traditional Cultural Landscape; NEPA compliance; and FLPMA compliance. Obtained favorable decisions on the merits in all five federal cases, a state court case, and three Ninth Circuit Appeals.

Nevada Wind Project. 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. Subsequently assisted the developer in negotiating changes to operating constraints designed to protect migratory bat species.

Transmission lines. Advised project developers on regulatory issues regarding rights of way across federal lands managed by BLM, the Forest Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, including projects located in Alaska, Washington, New Mexico, and Mississippi.

Sage Grouse. Represented the Governor of Idaho in a suit challenging sage grouse-related land management plan amendments. Issues included the adequacy of agency compliance with FLPMA and NEPA requirements.

Greenhouse Gas Controls. Represented a Washington regional air agency in defending a CAA citizen suit seeking to require the agency to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from existing refineries. 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. Advised the Washington air agencies on the development of regulations limiting greenhouse gas emissions from the refineries, which were adopted despite the Ninth Circuit’s ruling.

Due Diligence. Regularly advise companies on permitting, regulatory requirements, and contaminated property issues arising in corporate and real estate transactions.



Blog Posts

Speaking Engagements



Community & Professional

American Bar Association, Environment, Energy, and Resources Section

Washington State Bar Association, Environmental and Land Use Law

Alaska State Bar Association, Natural Resources and Environmental Law Section


Honors & Recognitions

Recognized as the "Lawyer of the Year" for Litigation - Environmental in Seattle by Best Lawyers in America©, 2023

Included in The Best Lawyers in America© for Energy Law, Environmental Law, Litigation - Environmental, and Natural Resources Law, 2013-2024

Individual recognition for Environment in Washington State by Chambers USA, 2013-2024

Listed, The Legal 500 United States, Industry Focus - Energy - Renewable/Alternative Power, 2020-2024

Listed, The Legal 500 United States, Industry Focus - Environment - Litigation, 2022-2024

AV Preeminent® Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell

Recognized as the "Lawyer of the Year" for Natural Resources Law in Seattle by Best Lawyers®, 2017

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



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