Connie Sue M. Martin
Connie Sue Martin helps Indian tribes and companies address environmental contamination and restore injured natural resources. She is one of the country’s most experienced practitioners of environmental Native American law, with over 20 years of experience representing tribes.
Outside Counsel for Tribes
As outside counsel, she reviews and evaluates tribal codes, and has drafted tribal Superfund ordinances and soil, sediment, groundwater, and surface water cleanup standards, environmental enforcement manuals, civil procedure and appellate procedure codes, enforcement of judgment rules, tax codes, and corporation codes. She is also a litigator, with significant experience representing tribes in complex litigation before federal and state courts, before administrative agencies, and in arbitration.
Focus on Environmental Contamination
Connie Sue’s environmental practice focuses primarily on hazardous substance contamination. Spills happen, and when they do, Connie Sue guides clients through emergency spill response, investigations, remediation, regulatory compliance and reporting, enforcement actions, and citizen suits. She also helps clients to prevent or reduce environmental liabilities through environmental due diligence, contractual allocations of liability, and negotiated or litigated resolutions.
Policy and Technical Training and Experience
Connie Sue has significant technical and policy training and experience. Early in her career, she completed the Department of Interior’s Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration Training at the National Conservation Training Center, a program for federal, state, and tribal trustee agency personnel that is not open to the private sector. In addition, with the National Tribal Environmental Council’s Superfund Working Group, she helped develop policy guidance for the implementation of CERCLA on Indian reservations. She is presently a member of the Washington Department of Ecology’s Stakeholder and Tribal Advisory Group (STAG) for the update to the Model Toxics Control Act (MTCA) Cleanup Rule, an appointment that recognizes her expertise in navigating the MTCA cleanup process.
Connie Sue has been recognized by U.S. News–Best Lawyers in America annually since 2010 for her expertise in environmental and natural resources law and litigation, and Native American law. In 2015 and 2017 she was named the Native American Law Lawyer of the Year for Seattle.
- Represents two port districts in ongoing cleanup at a number of sites in southwestern Washington.
- Represents a private marine construction company in Oregon in addressing natural resource damage claims asserted by federal and state agencies and several Indian tribes.
- Represents a lumber company in an investigation by the Environmental Protection Agency of naturally occurring asbestos.
- Represents the Port of Vancouver in an adjudication by the Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council of an energy project proposed by a port tenant.
- Defended a small business owner in an administrative penalty action brought by the Environmental Protection Agency for Clean Water Act violations based on industrial stormwater discharges without a permit.
- Represented a former service station owner in a Model Toxics Control Act cost recovery action.
- Represented a private marina owner in a Clean Water Act citizen suit against a municipality for unpermitted discharges of stormwater and pollutants into the marina’s moorage basin.
- Defended a commercial shellfish harvester against shellfish trespass claims brought by the Washington Department of Natural Resources.
- Represented citizens’ groups in an action before the Pollution Control Hearings Board challenging the permits issued to a regional commuter railroad and its compliance with the State Environmental Policy Act.
- Represented the Colville Confederated Tribes in Pakootas v. Teck Cominco Metals Ltd., the first enforcement of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) against a responsible party located outside the United States for impacts within the United States.
- Represents the Nooksack Indian Tribe in the U.S. v. Washington treaty rights litigation.
- Represents the Nooksack Tribe’s corporate entity in its casino loan workout litigation, Outsource Services Management v. Nooksack Business Corporation.
- Represents three California tribes in their efforts to be restored to federal recognition.
- Drafted a tribal Superfund code and cleanup standards for the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians; assists the Band in its ongoing implementation and enforcement of the code.
Memberships & Awards
- American Bar Association, Section of Environment, Energy and Resources, including the Native American Resources, Superfund & Natural Resources Damages Litigation, and the Environmental Transactions and Brownfields Committees, Member
- Washington State Bar, Environmental and Land Use and Indian Law Sections
- King County Bar Association, Environmental Section, Member
- Oregon State Bar Association, Environment and Natural Resources and Indian Law Sections, Member
- Hawaii State Bar Association, Environment, Energy, and Resources Section and Hawaii Women Lawyers, Member
- Associated General Contractors, Washington Chapter, Environmental Committee Chair (2019)
- Northwest Indian Bar Association, Member
- AGC-Washington, Associate of the Year (2019)
- Washington Super Lawyers, Environmental Law (2016-2020)
- Washington Super Lawyers, Native American Law (2016)
- Martindale-Hubbell®, AV Preeminent, Peer Review Rated
- Best Lawyers in America: Environmental Law, Environmental Litigation, Native American Law (2010-2021)
- Best Lawyers in America: Natural Resources Law (2010-2020)
- Best Lawyers in America, Lawyer of the Year, Native American Law (2015)
- Seattle Metropolitan Magazine, Top Lawyer, Environmental Law (2010-present)
- Washington Law and Politics Super Lawyers, Environmental Law (2011-2014)
Resources & Ideas
- November 4, 2020
- August 20, 2020
- July 16, 2020
- Daily Journal of CommerceJanuary 27, 2020
- January 24, 2020
- August 15, 2019
- 15 Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt Attorneys Named to the 2019 Washington Super Lawyers and Rising Stars ListsSuper LawyersJune 11, 2019
- Associated General Contractors of WashingtonMarch 12, 2019
- August 15, 2018
- 17 Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt Attorneys Named to Washington Super Lawyers and Rising Stars List in 2018Super LawyersJune 21, 2018
- August 15, 2017
- 12 of Schwabe’s Washington attorneys recognized as being in the top 5 percent of their fieldJune 12, 2017
- Seattle Met, December 1, 2016
- August 19, 2016
- 14 of Schwabe’s Washington attorneys recognized as being in the top 5 percent of their fieldJune 16, 2016
Seminars & Speaking Engagements
- December 8, 2020
- Association of General Contractors Washington and NAIOP WashingtonOctober 29, 2020
- Pacific Northwest Waterways AssociationJune 25, 2020
- Construction Safety, Health, & Environmental ConferenceJuly 23, 2019
- June 6, 2019
- Tribal NRD Assessments Seminar: PFOAs, PFOSs, PFCs and Other Emerging Persistent Contaminants in Water SuppliesDecember 10, 2018
- September 28, 2018
- August 16, 2018
- August 16, 2018
- Conference on Natural Resource Damages—Environmental Law Education CenterSeattle, WA, June 6, 2016
- May 7, 2020
- County of Maui v. Hawaii Wildlife Fund: Groundwater Discharges May Require Permit Under Clean Water ActApril 28, 2020
- April 9, 2020
- March 26, 2020
- March 25, 2020
- March 25, 2020
- March 24, 2020
- March 19, 2020
- October 9, 2019
- Tribal Resources Damage Claims: Culverts Case Implications for Tribal Trusteeship and Natural Resource Damage ClaimsThe Water Report: Water Rights, Water Quality & Water Solutions in the WestJuly 15, 2019
- Seattle Daily Journal of CommerceMay 9, 2019
- Budget cuts are slowing approval of VCP sites, threatening development projects and real estate transactions.Daily Journal of Commerce, September 28, 2017
- August 8, 2017
- January 20, 2017
- June 4, 2015
Managing an Environmental Emergency on Tribal Lands
6th Tribal Land Staff National Conference, March 2016
Tribal Zoning and Land Use Regulation as a Tool for Environmental Protection
Environmental & Land Use Law, WSBA Environmental and Land Use Section, August 2015
Tribal Land Use and Environmental Protection
WSBA Environmental and Land Use Mid-Year Conference, May 2015
The Intersection of Ports, Tribes & the Environment
Washington Public Ports Association Spring Meeting, May 2015
Chapter Editor and Author, “Year in Review, Environmental Transactions & Brownfields Chapter,” Environmental Insurance, American Bar Association, Section of Energy, Environment & Natural Resources
Superfund and Clean Water Act Update
19th Annual Inter-Tribal Environmental Council Meeting, July 2014
Maximizing Tribal Participation Under CERCLA
18th Annual Inter-Tribal Environmental Council Meeting, July 2013
Protecting Culturally Important Species in Indian Country
18th Annual Inter-Tribal Environmental Council Meeting, July 2013
- Stakeholder & Tribal Advisory Group for the Cleanup Rule Update, Chapter 173-340 WAC (2019-2027)
- Confluence, Board of Directors (2011-present), Executive Committee, Secretary (2014-present)
- John T. Williams Memorial Totem Pole Project, Founder and Board Member (2011-2016)
- Friends of Pierce County, Former Board Member, President (2013-2014)
- Seattle University School of LawJuris Doctor degree, summa cum laude (1996)
- University of Hawaii at ManoaMaster of Arts degree (1993)
- Rutgers University Institute of Animal BehaviorGraduate Fellow (1987-1988)
- Ohio State UniversityBachelor of Science degree (1987)
D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals
Federal Court of Claims
Hawaii State Courts
Oregon State Courts
Nooksack Tribal Court
U.S. Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit
U.S. District Court, District of Oregon
U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Washington
U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
U.S. District Court, Western District of Michigan
U.S. District Court, Western District of Washington
U.S. Supreme Court
Washington State Courts
Outside The Office
- Cycling, youth soccer, the Seattle Seahawks and Ohio State football.