Van Ness Feldman GordonDerr attorneys and planners have extensive knowledge and experience with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and its Washington counterpart, the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA). The firm helps clients streamline the environmental review process through creative methods of minimizing unnecessary or duplicative environmental reviews, such as the use of categorical exemptions and "adoption" and "addendum" mechanisms. Van Ness Feldman GordonDerr helps clients assess reasonable SEPA/NEPA requirements and negotiates mitigation measures to address adverse impacts in a way that meets clients' needs and addresses agency concerns. Often, Van Ness Feldman GordonDerr is able to avoid a full EIS process by facilitating issuance of a Finding of No Significant Environmental Impact (FONSI) or Mitigated Determination of Nonsignificance (MDNS). If a SEPA EIS or NEPA EA/EIS is required, Van Ness Feldman GordonDerr aggressively manages consultant teams to complete thorough and timely environmental documents that survive challenge.
- SEPA/NEPA compliance for acquisition of federal permits or funding Negotiation of three-party contracts for EIS preparation Coordination of technical consultant studies
- Expedition of environmental assessments
- Facilitation of environmental impact statements
- Assertive defense of, or against, NEPA decisions in federal court
- Pursuit and defense of administrative and judicial appeals of SEPA threshold determinations and EIS adequacy.
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- Led team in preparation of SEPA and NEPA EIS for federal wetland fill permit associated with thoroughbred race track with special emphasis on historic preservation issues, traffic impacts and mitigation, and alternatives analysis.
- Successfully defended adequacy of EIS in judicial challenge
- Creatively used categorical exemptions for large but temporary regional sporting event to avoid any SEPA review and any potential administrative appeals in order to expedite land use approvals
- Effectively used SEPA addendum process to obtain entitlements for revisions to large mixed-use development project, where local jurisdiction initially demanded new threshold determination
- Led team in preparation of SEPA and NEPA EIS for redevelopment of two large, federally funded, low-income housing communities with HOPE VI grants, including managing a team of experts to address traffic, storm drainage, wetlands and historic preservation (Section 106) issues, resulting in agency acceptance and no appeals.
- Assisted with compliance with special Housing and Urban Development Department (HUD) NEPA regulatory requirements.
- Coordinated environmental review of 6,000-acre master planned resort and 1,300- and 2,000-acre urban mixed-use developments.
- Successfully defended several Environmental Impact Statements against adequacy challenges.
- Completed SEPA and NEPA environmental assessments for various public utility infrastructure systems, including new wastewater treatment plant and water treatment facility.