This post was guest authored by Stoel Rives summer associate Nina Neff.

Because of the increasing frequency of significant, often multimillion-dollar, environmental claims against businesses and individuals under environmental statutes such as the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act, it is important for any potentially liable entity to fully explore how the costs may be shifted in whole or in part to others. Washington insurance law has traditionally been highly favorable to policyholders, broadly interpreting the insurer’s duty to defend so that remedial investigation costs are covered under the insurer’s duty to defend. Washington’s law has had important benefits for individuals and public and private entities, who without insurance coverage may be bankrupted by cleanup liability, and has also benefited taxpayers and the general public by promoting prompt cleanups.
Continue Reading Could voluntarily performing environmental cleanup threaten insurance coverage?

We’re very pleased to report on a significant energy siting victory achieved by our client SDS Lumber Co. and its subsidiary, Whistling Ridge Energy LLC, at the Washington Supreme Court yesterday. We believe the decision sets an important precedent for energy facility siting in Washington. The case is Friends of the Columbia Gorge, Inc. and Save our Scenic Area vs. State Energy Facility Siting Council and Governor Gregoire, et. al., No. 88089-1.

At issue was the approval of a wind energy project to be sited near the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area. Then-Washington Governor Christine Gregoire had approved the project in March 2012 following recommendation by the State of Washington’s Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council (EFSEC). Two environmental groups, Friends of the Columbia Gorge, Inc. and Save our Scenic Area, then sued in an attempt to get the site approval overturned.

On August 29, 2013, the Supreme Court ruled there was "no basis" to reverse the EFSEC’s recommendation or the Governor’s approval, and dismissed the appeal. In so doing, the Court gave an unequivocal affirmation for an objective, criteria-based process for the approval of energy projects. The Court confirmed that it will defer to EFSEC and the Governor when the siting decision demonstrates consideration of the entire record and sound application of regulatory standards.

Stoel Rives represented Whistling Ridge Energy, LLC, throughout the three-year approval process, and prevailed in demonstrating the project’s compliance with a host of federal, state and local regulatory standards. As the Court noted (quoting EFSEC), the comprehensive approval process "set a record for length, volume, and number of issues addressed." We subsequently represented Whistling Ridge throughout the trial and appeals process.Continue Reading Washington Supreme Court Establishes Important Energy Siting Precedent

Seattle City Light recently issued a request for proposals f(RFP) or up to 150,000 megawatt-hours of renewable energy or renewable energy credits per year, starting in 2020.  The projects that generate the RECs or energy must qualify as eligible according to Washington State’s renewable portfolio standard. In addition, City Light will require a minimum output guarantee and credit

The second of two bills that would drastically impact the Washington State Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) was recently introduced in the Washington State Legislature.  HB 1890 would cut in half the amount of energy utilities are required to obtain from new renewable resources, and also allow them to offset renewable energy requirements with energy from fresh

The Washington State Department of Commerce (formerly the Department of Community, Trade and Economic Development or CTED) has announced that it is attempting to revise Washington’s comprehensive energy plan (the “State Energy Strategy”). 

The State Energy Strategy was last revised in 2003, and it does not serve current energy realities and forecasts. Therefore, the Washington State Legislature has tasked the Department of Commerce with updating the State Energy Strategy while taking account the following three goals and nine principles:Continue Reading Washington Revising its State Energy Strategy

Our Seattle tax attorneys (listed below) have told us about Washington Department of Revenue’s  ("DOR") public hearing on May 11 regarding proposed amendments to its rule governing administration of the Renewable Energy System Cost Recovery program.

Kim Risenmay at (206) 386-7525 or
Carl Lewis at (206) 386-7688 or
Erin Toland at (206) 386-7563

On July 17, 2009, the Puget Sound Regional Council hosted a Regional American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Coordination meeting.  At this meeting, there was a presentation on Bond Financing, Loan Guarantees, and Tax Credits plus a discussion on monetizing energy efficiency savings. 

In case you missed this meeting, I want you to be aware of a couple

Washington previously received $60.9 million in Recovery Act funding for its State Energy Program (“SEP”). The Washington Legislature later provided $38.5 million to the Washington State Community, Trade and Economic Development (“CTED”) agency to administer a loan and grant program for eligible projects in the areas of energy efficiency, renewable energy and clean energy innovation (see

The Prosperity Partnership, a coalition of over 300 government, business, labor and community organizations from King, Kitsap, Pierce, and Snohomish counties in the state of Washington, has developed a beginner’s guide to the Recovery Act entitled: “A Basic Introduction to Energy-Related ARRA Funding Opportunities.” The goal of the guide is to help local (i.e.