Svend Brandt-Erichsen has been an environmental lawyer for 25 years, with 20 years in private practice. His practice is focused on the development and ongoing operation of energy and natural resource projects. Svend began his career on the legislative staff of Alaska's Senator Ted Stevens and served as Regional Administrator of the State of Alaska's Department of Environmental Conservation (ADEC). Svend is managing partner of Marten Law's Seattle Office.
Svend has litigated claims and advised companies on permitting and other issues arising under all of the major environmental statutes. In addition to permitting and compliance issues under the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, RCRA and the Endangered Species Act, he has assisted wind project developers with issues under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and the Bald & Golden Eagle Protection Act, and he has litigated claims under the Federal Land Policy Management Act, NEPA, and its state law counterparts. He also has litigated cost recovery and natural resource damage claims under CERCLA and state law. He also has helped utilities negotiate the fish and wildlife mitigation measures for hydroelectric projects. Svend routinely handles appeals involving environmental matters, having argued appeals in the Fifth, Ninth, and Federal Circuit Courts of Appeals and the State courts in Washington and Alaska, and participated in appellate proceedings in the Third, Sixth, and D.C. Circuits.
- Lead trial counsel for an independent power developer in defending federal rights-of-way for a wind energy project in California’s Imperial Valley, the first renewable energy project to deliver power over the Sunrise Powerlink. A total of six suits were filed against the project, five of them in federal district court. Defeated motions for temporary restraining orders and a preliminary injunction in three suits, which allowed construction to proceed and the close of project financing. Obtained favorable decisions on the merits in all five federal cases and the state court case. Three Ninth Circuit appeals are ongoing.
- Represented the developer of the first utility-scale wind energy project in Nevada in defending the federal right-of-way for the project. Defeated a preliminary injunction motion in federal district court and on appeal to the Ninth Circuit, then negotiated settlement of all claims.
- Counsel to an independent power developer concerning the first integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) project in the U.S. to use carbon capture and sequestration. The engagement has included advice on applications for federal grants and tax credits, evolving federal regulations affecting greenhouse gas emissions, federal carbon sequestration policy, and NEPA compliance.
- Represent a Washington regional air agency in defending a Clean Air Act citizen suit seeking to require the agency to regulate greenhouse gas emissions for existing refineries. The Ninth Circuit has ruled that the plaintiff environmental groups had not shown that refinery emissions caused their climate change-related injuries and so did not have standing to bring the citizen suit. The Ninth Circuit denied rehearing en banc, thereby establishing the Circuit's standing criteria for GHG-based Clean Air Act citizen suits.
- Represented a Washington regional air agency in successfully defending the Title V air operating permit for Washington’s only coal-fired power plant against an appeal seeking to require the agency to establish new emission limits on greenhouse gases and mercury.
- Represented a Washington pulp mill in air permitting and environmental review of a 24 MW biomass cogeneration project. Successfully defended the project's air permit and state environmental review document in administrative appeal procedure and in a subsequent appeal in state superior court. Washington Supreme Court affirmed the adequacy of the environmental review conducted for the project, agreeing that greenhouse gas emissions from burning biomass could be treated as climate-neutral.
- Advise a major oil pipeline on environmental matters, which have included participating in development of significant air pollution control regulations and advice on implementing the resulting rules; regulatory interpretations; air and wastewater discharge permitting; permit appeals; advice on oil spill response, cleanup and cost recovery; litigation (including appeals) over regulations, agency user fees, and rights-of-way.
- Assisting clients with matters under the Endangered Species Act, including successfully opposing petitions to list a herring population and a whale population; advice regarding ESA consultations; litigation over habitat conservation plans; litigation over adequacy of biological opinions; and litigation over an agency’s failure to conduct ESA consultation.
- Represented parties in disputes over compliance with NEPA and its State equivalents, including adequacy of an EIS under federal law in connection with a federal land exchange; adequacy of an EIS under state law in permitting of a Washington landfill; adequacy of an EIS under state and federal law in permitting of gravel mine expansion; adequacy of an EA under federal law in permitting a wind energy project; and adequacy of a mitigated determination of nonsignificance under state law permitting a biomass cogeneration project, and in permitting a crude oil transfer facility.
- Represented plaintiffs and defendants in a variety of matters involving cost recovery and natural resource damage claims under CERCLA and its State law counterparts, as well as common law claims.