Ryen Godwin


Ryen Godwin helps clients solve problems. He believes each client’s business and corresponding challenges are unique so he works closely with the client to craft a strategy or solution that fits the client’s goals. Ryen focuses his practice in environmental law by helping clients navigate regulatory schemes under state and federal environmental statutes. Ryen also acts as lead litigation counsel when it is necessary to achieve a defined outcome. He has counseled clients in a variety of industries, including distribution, development, petroleum, public and private construction, logging, utility services, and the commercial fishing industry.

Ryen has extensive experience in defending litigation under the Clean Water Act (CWA), Model Toxics Control Act (MTCA), and Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA). He has participated in some of the region’s most complex CERCLA Superfund sites, defended clients in CWA litigation in federal district court and in administrative proceedings, and represented clients in cost recovery and contribution actions. Ryen has also advised clients on regulatory matters such as storm water management, UST decommissioning, and local permitting.

Additionally, Ryen practices federal Indian Law. He represents tribes and tribal corporations in managing their natural resources and environmental liability.  He participates 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


  • Pierce County Bar Association


  • Washington Rising Stars List, Construction Litigation (2016-2020) 
  • Pierce County Center for Dialog and Resolution, Innovative Service Award (2015)

Resources & Ideas

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

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

“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)

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