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Thomas C. Perry

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Click to Email: tperry@martenlaw.com

Tom advises clients on a range of strategic environmental legal matters. He has a proven track record in the areas of environmental litigation; regulatory compliance and permitting; and government affairs. His clients do business in a range of industries, including mining, agribusiness and energy.

Tom has a deep understanding of the regulatory process having served as the chief legal advisor to Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter of Idaho. As General Counsel, Tom interfaced with state and federal agencies to negotiate complex multi-year, multi-stakeholder initiatives – chief among those was the Idaho Roadless Rule an effort that Tom successfully defended in Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. He also represented the Governor in several high-profile and significant environmental litigation matters in the capacities of both plaintiff and defense, including successfully overturning the legally flawed ESA listing of slickspot peppergrass.

In this capacity, Tom also served as Chair of the Governor’s Sage-Grouse Task Force, a group charged with developing a state management plan designed to conserve the species and maintain predictable levels of land use. He was also an ex officio member of the Governor’s Leadership in Nuclear Energy Commission, providing recommendations to support and enhance the Idaho National Laboratory.

Prior to the Governor’s Office, Tom worked for a year as the Director of Air Quality at the National Mining Association in Washington, D.C., advising the trade association and its members on matters involving the Clean Air Act, with particular focus on the EPA’s administrative rules designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Tom frequently speaks on issues related to natural resources, energy, and public lands.

Professional History

  • Marten Law PLLC, Boise, ID (2015-Present)
  • General Counsel, Idaho Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter, Boise, Idaho (2011-2015)
  • Director of Air Quality, National Mining Association, Washington, D.C. (2011)
  • Legal Counsel, Idaho Governor’s Office of Species Conservation, Boise, Idaho (2005-2010)
  • Judicial Extern, The Honorable Larry M. Boyle (D. Idaho), Boise, Idaho (Summer 2004)


  • University of Idaho College of Law, J.D., 2005
    • Member, Idaho Law Review (Fall Edition Editor 2004)
    • Dean’s List
  • Brigham Young University, B.A. (Political Science), 2002

Admitted to Practice

  • State of Idaho
  • District of Idaho
  • District of Columbia
  • Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals
  • Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia
  • U.S. Supreme Court


  • Proficient in Japanese

Experience/Representative Matters

  • Otter, et al. v. Jewell, et al., No. 15-cv-01566-EGS (D.D.C. 2016) and No. 17-5050 (D.C. Cir. 2017). Lead counsel for Plaintiffs Governor Otter and the Idaho State Legislature in their challenge to the Department of the Interior and U.S. Forest Service’s land use plan amendments designed to protect the habitat for the greater sage-grouse.
  • Otter, et al. v. Salazar, et al., No. 11-cv-358 (D. Idaho 2011). Counsel for Plaintiff Governor Otter in a successful challenge to the Department of the Interior’s final rule listing slickspot peppergrass as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).
  • Jayne, et al. v. Sherman, et al., No. 09-cv-015 (D. Idaho 2009) and No. 11-35269 (9th Cir. 2011). Counsel for Defendant-Intervenor Governor Otter in an action brought by conservation groups challenging the Department of Agriculture’s decision to promulgate the Idaho Roadless Rule under the Administrative Procedure Act. The Circuit Court unanimously affirmed the district court’s decision that the rule was lawfully promulgated.
  • Wilderness Society, et al. v. U.S. Forest Service, No. 09-35200 (9th Cir. 2010). Counsel for Governor Otter on a brief amici curiae arguing for abandonment of the “Federal Defendant” rule in the Ninth Circuit. This judicial doctrine prohibited non-federal parties from intervening in the merits phase of actions arising under the National Environmental Policy Act.
  • Defenders of Wildlife, et al. v. Salazar, et al., No. 09-cv-077 (D. Mont. 2009). Counsel for Defendant-Intervenor Governor Otter in an action brought by conservation groups challenging the Department of the Interior’s final rule delisting the Northern Rocky Mountain population of gray wolves under the ESA.
  • Western Watersheds Project, et al. v. Servheen, et al., No. 07-cv-243 (D. Idaho 2007). Counsel for Defendant-Intervenor Governor Otter in an action brought by conservation groups challenging the Department of the Interior’s final rule delisting the Yellowstone population of grizzly bears under the ESA.
  • Western Watersheds Project v. Kempthorne, et al., No. 07-cv-161 (D. Idaho 2007). Counsel for Defendant-Intervenor Governor Otter in an action brought by a conservation group challenging the Department of the Interior’s final rule not to list slickspot peppergrass under the ESA.
  • Western Watersheds Project v. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Serv., No. 06-cv-277 (D. Idaho 2006). Counsel for Defendant-Intervenor Governor Risch in an action brought by a conservation group challenging the Department of the Interior’s final rule not to list the greater sage-grouse under the ESA.

Professional Activities and Affiliations

  • Board of Trustees Member, American Exploration and Mining Association (AEMA)

Select Publications and Speeches

  • Speaker, “Environmental Policy Shifts Under the New Trump Administration and Congress,” Hawaii Bar Association (February 2017)
  • Speaker, “What Can Environmental Lawyers Expect from the New Trump Administration and Congress?” American Bar Association Section of Environmental, Energy, and Resources (February 2017).
  • Co-Author, “Trumping Obama’s Interior Department,” Law 360 (December 2016)
  • Author and Panelist, “At Ground Level: A Closer Look at the Greater Sage-Grouse Conservation Strategy, 62nd Annual Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Institute, Lake Tahoe, CA (July 2016)
  • Panelist, “Shifting Regulatory Landscape – Bats and Other Things that Go Bump in the Night,” American Wind Energy Association – Project Siting and Environmental Compliance Meeting, Charleston, SC (March 2016).
  • Panelist, “Natural Resource Damages: Evolving Strategic, Tactical and Substantive Issues,” Law Seminars International, Washington, DC (March 2016).
  • Co-Author, “The President’s Environmental ‘Net Benefit Goal’ – The White House Sets a New Approach to Mitigation,” Energy Law Report Vol. 16-2, Lexis Nexis (Feb. 2016).
  • Panelist, “Recognition of Voluntary Efforts Roundtable,” Western Governors’ Association – Endangered Species Act Initiative, Boise, ID (Jan. 2016).
  • Panelist, “Litigation and Collaboration with Government,” Idaho State Bar – Environment & Natural Resources Law Section, Boise, ID (Jan. 2016).
  • Speaker, “Pollution/contamination when there is less flow for flushing/dilution: CARE v. Cow Palace on the issue of when is manure a ‘pollutant’ under RCRA; implications for use of RCRA to regulate water pollution by agricultural facilities,” Law Seminars International (Sept. 2015).
  • Moderator, “The National Sage-Grouse Planning Strategy,” Law Seminars International Telebriefing (July 2015).
  • Co-Author, “DOI’s Sage-Grouse Plans Raise Wind Industry Concerns,” North American Windpower (July 2015)
  • Panelist, “Workshop: Management of Public Lands,” Idaho State Legislature Federal Lands Interim Committee, Boise, Idaho (March 2014).
  • Speaker, “Minute by Minute: Governor Otter’s Sage-Grouse Plan,” Northwest Mining Association Annual Meeting, Reno, Nevada (December 2013).
  • Panelist, “2012 Practical Paths to More Common Sense Environmental Regulations,” Idaho Council on Industry and Environment, Boise, Idaho (October 2012).
  • Speaker, “State of Idaho’s Sage-Grouse Management Strategy: Can the State’s New Plan Save Sage-Grouse and Avoid the Endangered Species Act?,” Idaho Environmental Forum, Boise, Idaho (July 2012).
  • Panelist, “FWS’s Critical Habitat Rule for Bull Trout,” Annual Water Law and Resources Seminar, Boise, Idaho (November 2011).
  • Speaker, “State of Idaho ESA Update,” Idaho Association of Counties Annual Meeting, Boise, Idaho (June 2010).
  • Speaker, “Otter v. Salazar: Governor Otter’s Legal Challenge to the ESA Listing of Slickspot Peppergrass,” Idaho Cattle Association Annual Meeting, Twin Falls, Idaho (November 2009).
  • Speaker, “The Idaho Roadless Rule,” Idaho State Bar: Environment and Natural Resources Section, Boise, Idaho (February 2009).
  • Speaker, “Learning from the Past and Looking to the Future: Sage-Grouse Conservation in Idaho.” Idaho Sage-Grouse Advisory Committee Annual Meeting, Sun Valley, Idaho (November 2007).

Representative Experience

Governor and Legislature of Idaho: Challenge to Federal Greater Sage-Grouse Restrictions

Marten Law represents Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter and the Idaho State Legislature in their challenge to land use plan amendments promulgated by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (“BLM”) and the U.S. Forest Service designed to protect the habitat of the Greater sage-grouse on federal lands. More