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Jeff B. Kray

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Jeff Kray is an environmental litigator. His practice focuses on water quality, water resources, and complex environmental litigation, including Clean Water Act permitting and regulatory compliance, and CERCLA (Superfund) site remediation. He has represented public and private clients throughout the country. Over a 27 year career, Jeff has conducted numerous trials, litigated administrative hearings, and appeared in federal and state appeals.

Jeff regularly advises businesses and local government in water quality permit compliance and defense matters, responding to emerging contaminants (including PFAS) in water supplies, stormwater pollution prevention, hazardous waste spill prevention and cleanup, and cost recovery litigation. He also frequently consults with water right owners and purchasers on preserving, acquiring, and transferring water rights. Jeff also advises and represents businesses and local government on brownfields redevelopment. He has negotiated environmental liability, cost-allocation, and indemnity provisions for real estate contracts, agreed orders for hazardous waste investigation and remediation, and Prospective Purchaser Consent Decrees to protect developers from liability for historic contamination. Jeff has assisted a broad range of clients, including local government, water suppliers, irrigation districts, municipalities, developers, manufacturers, commercial and timber land owners, interstate transporters, lumber mills, and ports.

Jeff is a frequent speaker and writer on water law and policy, particularly on the intersection between water rights and water quality. He has lectured extensively on the Clean Water Act, state water quality laws,  state and federal water rights, hazardous waste laws, and environmental cleanup in real estate transactions. He has held leadership positions in the Water Resources and Water Quality and Wetlands Committees of the American Bar Association's Section on Environment, Energy, and Resources.

Representative Experience

  • Lead counsel in advising multiple municipal water suppliers on responding to PFAS contamination to groundwater and providing representation on cost recovery for response costs, water quality treatment, and Safe Drinking Water Act compliance. Provide testimony on clients’ behalf to Washington State Legislative Committee and participate in consultations with the Washington Department of Ecology on proposed PFAS regulations.
  • Lead counsel in multiple cases successfully prosecuting and defending claims to recover environmental cleanup costs under the federal Comprehensive Environmental, Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) and Washington's Model Toxics Control Act (MTCA) or similar state laws in Washington, Oregon, Alaska, and California. Representative cases have involved industrial dry cleaners, former landfills, gas stations, salvage and recycling facilities, manufacturing facilities, and lumber mills.
  • Lead environmental counsel to a national commercial real estate firm purchasing, remediating, and redeveloping a former industrial drycleaner property in an urban setting. Project involved negotiating environmental indemnities and a proposed Prospective Purchaser Agreement with former property owners, defending and resolving environmental liability claims brought by neighboring property owners, negotiating and implementing an Agreed Order with the Washington Department of Ecology, and providing environmental legal advice in the land use permitting process.
  • Lead environmental counsel to a City seeking to purchase and redevelop a former service station property into commuter parking, and residential and retail space. Case involves negotiating environmental indemnities with current property owners, coordinating Prospective Purchaser Agreement negotiations with proposed developer and the Washington Department of Ecology, and pursuing cost recovery and reimbursement claims against an international petroleum company.
  • Lead plaintiffs’ counsel for former landfill operators who successfully pursued hazardous waste cleanup claims against a County and industrial business responsible for disposing industrial waste into a woodwaste landfill. Projected resulted in recovering remediation costs from County and industrial defendants, County assuming responsibility for properly closing the landfill, and the parties segregating clean from contaminated property to allow for future redevelopment.    
  • Lead defense counsel before the U.S. District Court and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit on behalf of the owner of an agricultural chemical company in consolidated actions by EPA and private parties and involving cleanup cost recovery claims and contribution. This complex case involved five separate lawsuits, including several environmental and cost recovery claims, insurance coverage litigation, and probate.
  • Lead defense counsel in over thirty Clean Water Act citizen actions, including five inter-related federal lawsuits involving regulatory compliance with industrial stormwater permits. All five suits were successfully settled via a consent decree approved by the Department of Justice and U.S. District Court.
  • Represented commercial developer in successfully recovering hazardous waste cleanup costs from City responsible for failing to properly close municipal landfill. Case arose from landfill gas migration from former landfill to clients’ adjacent large, multi-unit apartment complex. Suit settled with City fully-funding landfill gas remediation system.
  • Assisted a lender with its foreclosure and litigation of loans involving timber properties in Hawaii having Endangered Species Act (ESA) issues.
  • Assisted a development company in evaluating water rights and other environmental issues relating to the potential purchase of bankrupt former brewery property that included water rights and well-fields.
  • Advised a prominent Washington homebuilder on compliance with state and federal stormwater pollution control laws and on revising their real estate contracts to appropriately allocate stormwater pollution control risks.


  • Marten Law LLP, Seattle, WA (2003 - Present)
  • Washington State Attorney General's Office, Olympia, WA (1990 - 2003)


  • J.D., cum laude, Seattle University School of Law (1992)
  • B.A. University of Colorado at Boulder (1987)

Admitted to Practice

  • State Bars of Washington and Oregon
  • U.S. Supreme Court; Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals; Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals
  • U.S. District Courts, Eastern and Western Districts of Washington
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan

Professional Activities and Honors

  • Listed in Chambers USA (2016-Present)
  • "Super Lawyer®," Washington Law & Politics magazine
  • Martindale Hubbell AV® Preeminent™ Rated
  • Listed in The Best Lawyers in America© (2011-Present)
  • Fellow, American Bar Foundation
  • Member, American Bar Association; Sections of Environment, Energy, and Resources, and Litigation
  • "Pro Bono Publico" Service Commendations, Washington State Bar Association
  • Listed in The International Who’s Who of Environmental Lawyers 2010

Select Publications and Speeches

  • Moderator and Speaker, ABA Section of Environment, Energy, and Natural Resources, 48th Annual Spring Conference, PFAS: Impacting Site Remediation and Litigation for Years to Come? (March 2019 – Denver, CO)
  • Co-Author, “Contaminants of Emerging Concern: A New Frontier for Hazardous Waste and Drinking Water Regulation,” American Bar Association’s Natural Resources & Environment (Spring 2018)
  • Co-chair, 11th Annual Waters Rights Transfers CLE, The Seminar Group (November 2018)
  • Speaker, PFAS Contamination: Evolving State and Federal Regulatory Landscape, Litigation, and Due Diligence in Transactions, Strafford Webinar (August 2018)
  • Speaker, “What You Need to Know About Buying and Selling Contaminated Property”, Commercial Real Estate Purchases & Sales, Law Seminars International (May 2018)
  • Chair, “Clean Water and Stormwater” Law Seminars International (April 2010-2018)
  • Co-Author, Chapter 8: Underground Storage Tanks, Real Property Deskbook (2017 Supplement)
  • Speaker, “What You Need to Know About Buying and Selling Contaminated Property”, Commercial Real Estate Purchases & Sales, Law Seminars International (April 2017)
  • Speaker, Wetlands in Washington, Law Seminars International (October 2015)
  • Speaker, Northwest Environmental Business Council Stormwater Conference, Avoiding and Responding to Third Party Lawsuits (May 2010)
  • Author, "New Industrial Stormwater General Permit in Washington State," The Water Report, Issue No. 75 (May 2010)
  • Editor, American Bar Association Water Resources Committee newsletter (2009-Present)
  • Contributing Author, Water and Water Rights (Third Edition, Michie 2009)
  • Speaker, "Advanced Conference Stormwater Management and Permitting," Environmental Law Education Center (November 2009)
  • Author, "Planned Water Desalination Plant in California Approved Over Opposition Regarding Marine Impacts, Energy and Climate Costs," LexisNexis Environmental Law & Climate Change Center (October 15, 2009)
  • Speaker, "Land Use in Southwestern Washington," Law Seminars International (February 2009)
  • "New York Becomes First State to Require Landlords to Disclose Environmental Test Results to Tenants," The Environmental Counselor, Issue 244 (December 2008)
  • Author, "EPA Rule Exempts Water Transfers from NPDES Permit Requirements," The Environmental Counselor, Issue No. 240 (August 2008)
  • Author, "Box of Rain - States Take a Closer Look at Rainwater Harvesting," GreenerBuildings (August 2008)
  • Author, "Washington State's Municipal Water Law: Landmark Law Partially Invalidated in Trial Court," The Water Report, Issue No. 53 (July 2008)
  • Co Chair, ABA Section of Environment, Energy, and Natural Resources, 26th Annual Water Law Conference (2008); Vice Chair and Speaker, ABA Section of Environment, Energy, and Natural Resources, 25th Annual Water Law Conference (2007)

Civic Activities

  • Vice President, Pacific Northwest Ski Association (2015-Present)
  • President, Crystal Mountain Alpine Club (CMAC) (2010 - 2014)
  • Alpine Race Official, United States Ski & Snowboard Association (2008 - Present)
  • Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, Pro Bono Attorney (2003 - 2009)
  • Pierce County Conservation District "Stream Team" Volunteer (1998 - 2002)

Cedar Grove Composting: Permitting and Regulatory Compliance

We have represented Cedar Grove Composting for decades and have helped it grow into one of the largest composters in the United States. We have assisted in the expansion of Cedar Grove’s facilities, handling its regulatory work before State and regional air agencies, and permitting work with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Washington State Department of Ecology. More

International Transportation Company: Stormwater Citizen Suit Defense

Marten Law represented an international transportation corporation in five inter-related federal citizen suits under the Clean Water Act (CWA). More

Missouri Superfund Site: CERCLA Defense

We served as lead defense counsel in federal district court and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit for this former operator of a Missouri Superfund Site in actions against the U.S. EPA and other private parties for costs recovery and contribution under CERCLA. More

OII Landfill Cleanup

At this $1 billion landfill cleanup near Los Angeles, we initially represented 54 “de minimis” parties in negotiations with EPA and with a group of “work” defendants.

Through formation of a well-functioning Steering Committee, coupled with cash-out negotiations, we have succeeded in resolving the government’s CERCLA claims against all but eight of the parties we represent. More

Seattle Brownfield: Cost Recovery and Insurance

Marten Law represented the former owner of property in Seattle, Washington contaminated by multiple commercial and residential underground oil storage tanks. The former property owner partially remediated the site and then sold it for urban redevelopment. More

Timber Company: Water Rights

We advised a northwest timber company on the availability of water rights for a potential 3,000 acre land purchase for logging and possible future development. More