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Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt

Brien J. Flanagan

Brien J. Flanagan

Industry Group Leader


  • Environmental Compliance and Safety
  • Environmental Regulation and Litigation
  • Agency Actions and Rulemaking
  • Energy

WSG Practice Industries



Brien Flanagan helps manufacturers, marine terminals and public ports seek the permits, authorizations and financing they need to develop state-of-the-art facilities. He has advised clients in the manufacturing, mining, bulk storage and maritime industries on complex and controversial projects, including bulk storage facilities for ethanol, crude oil and coal, and groundbreaking fossil fuel export projects on the Columbia River. Brien is currently working on permitting a gold mine in the Pacific Northwest, representing a coal mine owner in federal litigation against attacks on its mining permits, and assisting a foundry with investigation of contaminated property.

With 15 years of experience, Brien has handled all aspects of the development process including permitting; investigation and remediation of contaminated property; and ongoing environmental compliance, including hazardous waste management and compliance with stormwater regulations. He regularly counsels clients on environmental regulations including the Endangered Species Act, National Environmental Policy Act, Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act, Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act, Oregon Superfund, Washington's Model Toxics Control Act and Washington's State Environmental Policy Act.

Brien has successfully represented many clients before state and federal courts and environmental agencies. He is Schwabe’s Environmental, Energy and Natural Resources practice group leader.

Bar Admissions

  • Oregon State Courts 
  • Washington State Courts 
  • United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
  • United States District Court, District of Oregon
  • United States District Court, District of Western Washington


  • Georgetown University Law Center, Juris Doctor degree (2002)
  • University of Notre Dame, Bachelor of Arts degree (1997)
Areas of Practice

Agency Actions and Rulemaking | Energy | Environmental Compliance and Safety | Environmental Regulation and Litigation | Plant Development, Facility Siting and Permitting | Public Lands and Endangered Species | Water Law

Professional Career

Significant Accomplishments

  • Advised a Fortune 500 Company in the acquisition of air, water and dock permits for a crude oil bulk storage facility along the Columbia River.
  • Represented a large landowner along the Columbia River in the litigation and mediation of disputes with prior owners, adjacent landowners and historical insurance companies for a multi-million dollar recovery of funds from investigation and remediation from contaminated soil and groundwater at its property.
  • Counseled a developer in all permitting matters for a proposed coal export project on the Columbia River, resulting in the first air and water permits issued for coal exports in the Pacific Northwest.
  • Counseled a major ethanol distributor in the renewal of air permits for an ethanol manufacturing plant.
  • Advised a container terminal on stormwater permitting; negotiated and assisted with development of a strategy to alter timelines to meet clients’ development and operational needs.
  • Represented a developer in an administrative appeal of a denial of permit to construct a dock in the Columbia River.
  • Advised on the development of a precious metals mine in Oregon.
  • Serves as lead environmental counsel on a contentious multi-party sediment contamination investigation. 


Covered by the Clean Water Act and WOTUS? Maybe Not Anymore.
Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt, December 2018

In December of 2018, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) released their much-anticipated draft proposed rule to re-write the definition of “waters of the United States” (WOTUS) (“2018 Rule”). The definition of WOTUS establishes the scope of agency jurisdiction over waters and wetlands under the Clean Water Act (CWA)...

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  • Covered by the Clean Water Act and WOTUS? Maybe Not Anymore.
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  • Cleaner Air Oregon Workshop: From Policy to Practice

WSG's members are independent firms and are not affiliated in the joint practice of professional services. Each member exercises its own individual judgments on all client matters.

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