Brien J. Flanagan


Brien Flanagan helps manufacturers, marine terminals and public ports seek the permits, authorizations and financing they need to develop state-of-the-art facilities. He has advised clients in the manufacturing, mining, bulk storage and maritime industries on complex and controversial projects, including bulk storage facilities for ethanol, crude oil and coal, and groundbreaking fossil fuel export projects on the Columbia River. Brien is currently working on permitting a gold mine in the Pacific Northwest, representing a coal mine owner in federal litigation against attacks on its mining permits, and assisting a foundry with investigation of contaminated property.

With 15 years of experience, Brien has handled all aspects of the development process including permitting; investigation and remediation of contaminated property; and ongoing environmental compliance, including hazardous waste management and compliance with stormwater regulations. He regularly counsels clients on environmental regulations including the Endangered Species Act, National Environmental Policy Act, Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act, Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act, Oregon Superfund, Washington's Model Toxics Control Act and Washington's State Environmental Policy Act.

Brien has successfully represented many clients before state and federal courts and environmental agencies. 



  • Advised a Fortune 500 Company in the acquisition of air, water and dock permits for a crude oil bulk storage facility along the Columbia River.
  • Represented a large landowner along the Columbia River in the litigation and mediation of disputes with prior owners, adjacent landowners and historical insurance companies for a multi-million dollar recovery of funds from investigation and remediation from contaminated soil and groundwater at its property.
  • Counseled a developer in all permitting matters for a proposed coal export project on the Columbia River, resulting in the first air and water permits issued for coal exports in the Pacific Northwest.
  • Counseled a major ethanol distributor in the renewal of air permits for an ethanol manufacturing plant.
  • Advised a container terminal on stormwater permitting; negotiated and assisted with development of a strategy to alter timelines to meet clients’ development and operational needs.
  • Represented a developer in an administrative appeal of a denial of permit to construct a dock in the Columbia River.
  • Advised on the development of a precious metals mine in Oregon.
  • Serves as lead environmental counsel on a contentious multi-party sediment contamination investigation. 

Memberships & Awards


  • Ranked for Environmental Lawyers in Oregon, Chambers USA (2017-2022)

Resources & Ideas


Seminars & Speaking Engagements

Intro to Clean Water Act Permits
What's up with the Clean Water Act?
NEBC Environment & Business Conference
December 8, 2020

"Transporting and Exporting Coal and Other Commodities: Lessons from the Pacific Northwest," Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Institute 2014 (co-author)

"White House Backs Renewable Fuel Standard," Climate Change Law & Policy Reporter, April 2012

"Shell Oil Makes a Preemptive Strike -- Goes to Court to Restrain Environmental Groups," Climate Change Law & Policy Reporter, April 2012

Community Activities

Community Activities

  • Campaign for Equal Justice, Board Member




Oregon State Courts 

Washington State Courts 

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

United States District Court, District of Oregon

United States District Court, District of Western Washington

Outside The Office