I help clients solve problems. ‎

How I represent clients at Schwabe

I help clients solve environmental litigation and regulatory problems on a national scale. As Schwabe’s Natural Resources Industry Group Leader, my practice is focused on environmental and natural resource law.

I counsel clients navigating business decisions affected by various regulatory schemes, including the Comprehensive Environmental Response, the 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. My approach is to develop detailed, multipoint strategies that are not only legally supportable but financially and technically supportable as well so executive team members can make significant decisions with insight.

Additionally, I practice federal Indian law by representing tribes and tribal corporations in managing their natural resources and environmental liability, as well as local government agencies and private companies that intend to do business in Indian Country. I participated in the seminal Puget Sound treaty fishing rights case U.S. v. Washington. I also represent clients in the fishing industry by advising on litigation, state and federal fisheries regulations, and Endangered Species Act compliance. 

Chambers & Partners USA, client highlights

“Ryen is zealous in representing clients.”


Superfund and Remediation

I have extensive experience representing large parties in complex superfund and remediation sites throughout the Pacific Northwest. I navigate alliances with other potentially responsible parties (PRPs) to develop a comprehensive strategy to responsibly and efficiently close sites for my 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

I navigate 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. I strongly believe 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.

Fisheries and Fish Processing

I am personally and professionally strongly connected to the commercial fishing industry, so I both counsel individual clients and advocate 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 S. v. Washington.


  • New England School of Law‎, Juris Doctor degree, cum laude (2008)‎
  • Northern Arizona University, Bachelor of Science degree, History (2004)‎


  • Montana State Courts
  • Puyallup Tribal Court
  • Washington State Courts
  • Wyoming State Courts
  • U.S. Court of Appeals - Ninth Circuit
  • U.S. District Court - Eastern District of Washington
  • U.S. District Court - Western District of ‎Washington
  • U.S. Supreme Court


  • The Foundation for Natural Resource and Energy Law, Member (2023-present)


  • Ranked for Environmental Law in Washington, Chambers USA (2022-2023)
  • Selected to the Washington Super Lawyers Rising Stars List, Environmental Law (2016-2022)
  • Pierce County Center for Dialog and Resolution, Innovative Service Award (2015)
  • Recognized by The Best Lawyers in America®, Environmental Law, Litigation – Environmental, Natural Resources Law (2024)

Additional Publications

“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

  • 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)

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