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.



Superfund and Remediation

Ryen has extensive experience representing large parties in complex superfund and remediation sites throughout the Pacific Northwest.  He navigates alliances with other potentially responsible parties (PRPs) to develop a comprehensive strategy to responsibly and efficiently close sites for his clients. 

  • Represented PRP at Pasco Sanitary Landfill National Priorities List (NPL) Site in Pasco, Washington, including advising on regulatory compliance to implement a $70,000,000 site remedy and participation in litigation with other performing parties to recover over $20,000,000 in remediation costs from other PRPs.
  • Represent PRP at Portland Harbor NPL “Mega Site” in Portland, Oregon, in confidential allocation process to allocate responsibility for cleanup costs exceeding $1,000,000,000 for complex sediment cleanup in the Willamette River.
  • Represented PRP at Duwamish River NPL Site in Seattle, Washington, in confidential allocation process to allocate responsibility for costs exceeding $350,000,000 for complex sediment cleanup.
  • Represented numerous property owners and operators at industrial, commercial, and residential properties on remediation process and pursued cost recovery litigation to recover cleanup costs.

Energy and Real Estate Development

Ryen navigates complex permitting and regulatory schemes for clients throughout the western United States for such facilities as coal mines, power plants, fish processing facilities, chemical manufacturing plants, and other large natural resource projects.  He strongly believes developing a sound technical, legal, and regulatory strategy at early stages of planning is the key to successful project implementation. 

  • Acted as environmental counsel representing tribally-owned corporation in acquisition of several of the largest coal mines in the Country, including negotiations for limited waivers of sovereign immunity with four separate jurisdictions.
  • Counsel national energy company in permitting for numerous operations in multiple western states and reservations, including vast coal mine operations on federal land, state, and private land, manage regulatory compliance of complex waste streams, and litigate permit-related appeals before state and federal agencies in jurisdictions throughout the western United States.
  • Represent utility in the development of Advanced Nuclear Reactor. Navigating environmental and regulatory impacts of permitting with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, state regulatory agencies, and Environmental Protection Agency.  
  • Advised international company in permitting advanced plastic recycling facility with complex waste stream and State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) review process. Provided regulatory strategy in SEPA review and Clean Water Act permitting.   
  • Counseled several developers in due diligence, acquisition, and financing of numerous properties including brownfield redevelopment, decommissioning and redeveloping industrial facilitates, and a multistate chemical manufacturing company. Ryen’s portfolio of work in this area includes transactions cumulatively worth more than $1,000,000,000.
  • Represented a regional development authority on public-private partnership brownfield redevelopment in waterfront community.

Fisheries and Fish Processing 

Ryen is personally and professionally strongly connected to the commercial fishing industry, so he both counsels individual clients and advocates for the industry as a whole. 

  • Manage wastewater permitting for numerous fish processing facilities in Willapa Bay and the Columbia River, including permit-related appeals to state environmental review boards. Ryen provides regular advice to facilities processing salmon, halibut, crab, bottom fish, shellfish, and other Pacific Northwest species.
  • Defended fish processing facilities in Clean Water Act enforcement proceedings initiated by EPA, state agencies, and citizen groups.
  • Represented fishery industry groups in the Pacific Northwest challenging commercial fishing regulations and seasons for anadromous species of fish under state fish and wildlife regulations, the Magnuson Stevens Act, and the Endangered Species Act.
  • Represented Northwest Treaty Tribe in fish allocation proceedings in U.S. v. Washington.

Memberships & Awards


  • Ranked for Environmental Lawyers in Washington, Chambers USA (2022)
  • 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