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.‎



Environmental Cleanup

  • 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.

Environmental Litigation

  • 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.

Indian Law

  • 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 (2016-2021)
  • 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 (2010-2022)
  • 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


Seminars & Speaking Engagements


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
2014, 2015

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


  • PODCAST | COVID-19: Tribal + CARES Act
    PODCAST | COVID-19: Tribal + CARES Act
    April 9, 2020

Community Activities

Community Activities

  • 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)




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