Ryen Godwin


Ryen Godwin helps clients solve environmental litigation and regulatory problems on a national scale. Ryen’s practice is uniquely and narrowly focused on environmental and natural resource law. He counsels clients navigating business decisions affected by a variety of regulatory schemes including the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act, the Clean Water Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, the Endangered Species Act, the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act, and the Mineral Leasing Act. His approach is to develop detailed, multipoint strategies that are financially, technically, and legally supportable so executive team members can make significant decisions with the least uncertainty possible.

Additionally, Ryen practices federal Indian law. He represents tribes and tribal corporations in managing their natural resources and environmental liability. He participated in the seminal Puget Sound treaty fishing rights case U.S. v. Washington. On occasion, Ryen has represented local government agencies and private companies that intend to do business in Indian Country. Ryen also represents clients in the fishing industry by providing advice on litigation, state and federal fisheries regulations, and Endangered Species Act compliance.



  • Advise potentially liable party at industrial waste landfill Superfund Site. Navigate regulations to develop feasibility study and cleanup action plan.
  • Advise third largest coal producer in multi-state acquisition of coal assets by navigating environmental permitting and developing litigation strategy under the National Environmental Policy Act, Clean Water Act, and Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act.
  • Successfully defend seafood processing facilities against citizen suits alleging wastewater discharge violations under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System of the Clean Water Act.
  • Advise international development company on environmental risk and lender indemnity agreement for $250 million construction loan to build mixed-use, high rise building.
  • Work with lead counsel to defend potentially responsible parties at two large sediment superfund sites in Pacific Northwest.
  • Defend coal mine owner in NPDES permit appeal before EPA’s Environmental Appeals Board.
  • Successfully defend industrial facility in concurrent U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and municipal enforcement actions for alleged Clean Water Act violations.
  • Advise commercial fishing trade associations on annual fisheries regulations under state and federal law. Participate in administrative process to develop commercial fishing seasons.
  • Intervened and defeated a petition to terminate the commercial fishing season in large coastal fishery.
  • Litigate contribution and cost recovery claims against historic owner and operators of contaminated properties throughout western Washington to recover cleanup costs.
  • Advise national multi-unit residential developer on regulatory compliance for luxury apartment complex built on former industrial site.
  • Represent development authority on public-private partnership brownfield redevelopment in waterfront community.  

Memberships & Awards


  • Washington Rising Stars List, Environmental Law (2016-2022) 
  • Pierce County Center for Dialog and Resolution, Innovative Service Award (2015)

Resources & Ideas

“Clean Water Act: NPDES Regulatory Compliance and Risk Management,” Citizens for a Healthy Bay and City of Tacoma Stormwater Compliance Seminar (2014, 2015, 2016)

“Clean Water Act: NPDES Permit Litigation,” King County Bar Assoc. CLE Program (2013)

“Federal Environmental Law Update,” Washington Environmental Land Use Law Newsletter (December 2009)

“Conditions & Consequences of an Expiring Shoreline Development Permit,” Washington Environmental Land Use Law Newsletter (November 2008)

Community Activities

Community Activities

  • Metropolitan Parks District of Tacoma, Nature and Environment Advisory Council (2013-2016)
  • Pierce County Surface Water Management Advisory Board (2014-2016)
  • Tacoma Pierce County Chamber of Commerce, Political Action Committee (2015-present)




Eastern District of Washington

Montana State Courts

Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals

Puyallup Tribal Court

United States Supreme Court

Washington State Courts

Western District of Washington

Wyoming State Courts

Outside The Office