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Svend A. Brandt-Erichsen

Svend A. Brandt-Erichsen
Office Managing Partner

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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.

Representative Experience

  • 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.


  • Marten Law PLLC, Seattle, WA (2008-present)
  • Heller Ehrman LLP, Seattle, WA (1993-2008)
  • Alaska Dept. of Environmental Conservation, Regional Administrator, Anchorage, AK (1991-1993)
  • Legislative Director and Legislative Assistant, U.S. Senator Ted Stevens, Washington, D.C. (1985-1991)


  • J.D., with honors, George Washington University (1988)
  • B.A., University of Colorado (1984)

Admitted to Practice

  • State Bars of Alaska and Washington
  • U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Third, Fifth, Sixth, Ninth, D.C., and Federal Circuits
  • U.S. District Courts for Alaska, the Western District of Washington, and the Central District of Illinois

Professional Activities and Honors

  • Member, American Bar Association, Environment, Energy, and Resources Section
  • Member, Washington State Bar Association, Environmental and Land Use Law Section
  • Member, Alaska State Bar Association, Natural Resources and Environmental Law Section
  • Martindale Hubbell AV® Preeminent Rated
  • 2013 -2015 The Best Lawyers in America© listed
    • Environmental Law, Natural Resource Law, and Litigation - Environmental 
  • 2013 -2014 Chambers & Partners
    • Environment for Washington State 

Select Presentations and Publications

  • Co-Author, “A New Approach by the FWS Over the MBTA and Eagles,” North American Windpower (January 2016)
  • Co-Author, “Migratory Bird Policy Casts Shadow Over Large-Scale Solar,” Solar Industry Magazine (July 2015)
  • Co-Author, “Fish and Wildlife Service Mat Overhaul Rule Permitting Incidental Take of Eagles,” NAEP National E-News (April 2015)
  • Author, "What You Can Take From Recent MBTA Plea Deals," North American Windpower (February 2015)
  • Co-author, "FWS Mulls Overhauling Eagle Permitting Rule," North American Windpower (September 2014)
  • Presenter, PNW Timberlands: Clean Water Act Developments in Washington, Seminar Group, Portland, OR (April 2014)
  • Presenter, Eagles, Research, and Wind Energy, AWWI Forum at AWEA Siting Seminar, New Orleans, LA (March 2014)
  • Author, "Ninth Circuit Adopts High Bar For Standing In Greenhouse Gas Citizen Suits," Environmental Law360 (February 2014)
  • Presenter, Energy in Alaska: Developments in Environmental Policy, Law Seminars International,  Anchorage, AK (December 2013)
  • Co-Chair, ESA in Alaska, Law Seminars International, Anchorage, AK
    (May 2013)
  • Presenter, Tips For Faster and Better Coordinated Multi-Jurisdictional Permitting, Law Seminars International, Seattle, WA (January 2013)
  • Presenter, Clean Air Act Update, Oregon State Bar, Environmental and Natural Resource Section, Portland, OR (October 2012)
  • Co-author, “BACT: To The Future Of GHG Regulation,” Environmental Law360 (July 2012)
  • Author, “Washington State Releases Draft GHG Reporting Rules That Are More Stringent Than New Federal Rule,” LexisNexis Environmental Law & Climate Change Center (January 2010)
  • Author, “FERC Report to Congress on Alaska Natural Gas Pipeline Expresses Concern About Further Potential Delays,” LexisNexis Environmental Law & Climate Change Center (January 2010)

Representative Experience

Alyeska Pipeline Service Company: Permitting and Electric Power Agreements

We are counsel to Alyeska Pipeline Service Company on air, water, and waste issues. We handle permit appeals, regulatory interpretation, agency negotiations, and support for negotiations; assist with permitting of new and modified facilities; negotiate electric power agreements; and provide antitrust counseling. More

Green Diamond Resource Company: Climate Change Protocols and Provisions

We have counseled Green Diamond, one the largest timberland owners in California, on development of California’s protocol for forestry-based emission offsets, and on emission offsets provisions in pending federal legislation. More

Oil and Gas Producers: Securing and Defending NPDES Permit

We assisted Alaska oil and gas producers with renewal of the NPDES permit for wastewater discharges from their facilities. We helped the client develop a NPDES permit application, negotiate with EPA during the agency’s deliberations, and later defend a federal appeals court challenge to the permit. More

Pattern Energy: Court Upholds Federal Right of Way for California Wind Project

On February 27, 2013, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California granted Pattern Energy and the United States Bureau of Land Management summary judgment on all claims in the suit brought by the Quechan Tribe against the Ocotillo wind project, located near San Diego. More

Pattern Energy: First Utility-Scale Wind Project in Nevada

Marten Law has successfully represented Pattern Energy, the developer of the first utility-scale wind project in Nevada – the 150 MW Spring Valley Wind Project – in the Interior Board of Land Appeals, the U.S. District Court for Nevada, and the Ninth Circuit. More

Regional Air Authority: Title V Operating Permit Challenge

We represented a regional air authority in the successful defense of a Title V air operating permit issued to Washington State’s only coal-fired power plant. The permit was challenged by environmental plaintiffs on the grounds that it fails to include limits on carbon dioxide and mercury emissions. They also sought a more stringent nitrogen oxide limit for the plant. More

Summit Power Group Inc.: Dept. of Energy Grant for First Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle Project in U.S.

We assist this independent power developer, which is building the first integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) project in the U.S. to use carbon capture and sequestration. We have provided advice on a federal Dept. More

Transportation Services Company: EPA Compliance and Reporting

We assisted an aircraft painting company in responding to a formal inquiry by EPA regarding compliance with new source review requirements, as well as technology standards, recordkeeping, and reporting requirements. More