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Ash Miller

Partner
+1.206.370.7962
Fax +1.206.623.7022

Ash Miller is a partner in the environmental, land and natural resources group in the firm’s Seattle office. His experience includes a range of land use and environmental matters, including environmental impact reviews under state and federal laws, zoning and planning matters, brownfields cleanup and redevelopment, complex permitting, due diligence, and regulatory compliance. His work has included:

  • Environmental impact reviews of large infrastructure and development projects, including counseling on proper impact reviews, disputes over the scope of review, and administrative and court proceedings challenging and defending reviews.
  • Represent towns, cities, ports, and school districts in compliance matters and disputes over land use and environmental regulations, such as shoreline regulations, building code requirements, and critical areas regulations.
  • Advise renewable energy developers and investors on compliance and permitting for utility-scale wind and solar developments, including land use entitlements, environmental impact reviews, and natural resources regulations.
  • Advice to project sponsors, landowners, neighbors, and community groups on land use and environmental permitting requirements. Land use work includes rezones, subdivision approvals, historic preservation ordinances, comprehensive plans, and variances. Particular focus on new and novel uses of land such as I-502 uses, management of recreational uses, and marine spatial planning issues.
  • Due diligence in real estate and corporate transactions to assess land use entitlements, environmental liability and manage risks, such as acquisitions of commercial real estate, renewable energy facilities, and industrial facilities.

Mr. Miller has experience with the following statutes:

  • National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)
  • Washington State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA)
  • Washington Growth Management Act (GMA)
  • Washington Shoreline Management Act (SMA)
  • Washington Model Toxics Control Act (MTCA)
  • Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA, or Superfund)
  • Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA)
  • Endangered Species Act (ESA)
  • Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA)
  • Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA)

Professional Background

Prior to joining K&L Gates in 2011, Mr. Miller practiced for seven years in a boutique environmental and land use firm in New York City, where he represented public and private clients in a variety of matters.

Mr. Miller worked at the Environmental Defense Fund in New York prior to attending law school. He has a strong interest in sustainable land use planning and business practices.

Professional/Civic Activities

  • Advisory Board, Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust (2015-present)
  • Urban Land Institute NW, Center for Sustainable Leadership (2014-2015)
  • Board Member, Northwest Environmental Business Council (2012-2015)
  • Columbia Alumni Representative Committee (2008-present)
  • National Environmental Law Moot Court Competition Judge, Pace University School of Law, 2011
  • International Environmental Law Committee, New York City Bar Association (2008-2010)

Speaking Engagements

  • Water Law and Utility Operations: Due Diligence and Current Issues, Washington Public Utility District Association (WPUDA) Water Workshop (Sept. 27, 2013)
  • News from the Intersection of the Growth Management Act and Water Rights, LSI Conference on Growth Management and Land Use, Seattle, WA (Nov. 2011)
  • Speaker, Permitting and Environmental Considerations, 18th Annual Washington Construction Law Conference, Seattle, WA (Sept. 15, 2011)
  • Speaker, Legal Issues Facing Green and Sustainable Initiatives, Princeton Club of New York, Green Resources Forum (Feb. 2010) 
  • Moderator, Contaminated Property Issues in Real Estate and Corporate Matters, New York State Bar Association, Contracts Negotiations Panel (June 2006)

Land Use and Zoning

  • Advice to private landowner and school district clients on compliance with local wetlands and critical areas ordinances;
  • Represent real estate investment firm with land use entitlement due diligence for acquisition of national portfolio of commercial properties;
  • Advise property owner on compliance with Washington State Growth Management Act in connection with proposed renewable energy facility;
  • Represent coalition of school districts propose revisions to the International Building Code and the International Fire Code before the Washington State Building Code Council, relating to portable school classrooms, fire safety requirements, and plumbing facilities;
  • Represent school district in obtaining variance for addition of classroom space to high school facility;
  • Obtain approvals on behalf of numerous real estate developments for compliance with land use performance standards relating to hazardous materials, noise, and air quality;
  • Represent lenders and investors with land use and entitlement due diligence for proposed high rise residential developments in Northwest region;
  • Counsel private property owners regarding municipal comprehensive plan and proposed rezoning for insufficient environmental review and spot zoning, on issues of protection of groundwater resources and community character;
  • Counsel property owners and operators on compliance with land use codes, including zoning codes, building codes, and historic landmark protection regulations. 

Environmental Impact Review

  • Advise public transit authority on environmental review and permitting for major modification and rehabilitation of historic bridge;
  • Defense of municipality in challenge to environmental review of subdivision approval, including challenges to mitigation measures for species, wetlands, and groundwater;
  • Defend challenge to environmental review and approval of retirement community resulting in dismissal of suit, on issues relating to analysis of wastewater treatment;
  • Represent neighbors and community groups in commenting on environmental impact statements;
  • Represent interested parties before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) relating to potential adverse impacts from proposed energy infrastructure, including proposals for a natural gas pipeline and a tidal energy installation.

Environmental Due Diligence & Liability Assessment

  • Advise energy companies in acquisitions of renewable energy facilities, including analysis of permitting requirements, allocation of potential liabilities, and negotiation of terms of transactions;
  • Represent property owners and developers in assessment and remediation planning for contaminated urban properties slated for redevelopment;
  • Advise owners of waterfront property adjacent to proposed urban estuary NPL sites involving contaminated sediments, including preparation of comments to EPA on proposed listing, advice regarding potential future liability, and investigation of historic sources of contamination;
  • Advise public development authority in environmental due diligence for potential acquisition of land for proposed waterfront park;
  • Advice to government agency on potential condemnation of property for public works project, on proper valuation in light of historic contamination present on the property.

Superfund and Cost Recovery

  • Advise property owners and operators on potential liability under Superfund (or CERLCA) including representation multi-party allocation proceedings for large-scale cleanup sites;
  • Represent municipal water district as plaintiff in federal court action to compel cleanup and recover costs for contaminated groundwater in public water supply wells, including depositions, discovery, and dispositive motion practice;
  • Defense of former owner of property in cost recovery and contribution action in federal court for $12M to remediate PCE in groundwater, resulting in dismissal of suit on summary judgment;
  • Preparation CERLCA § 104(e) response for Fortune 100 company in for National Priorities List (NPL) site in an urban estuary involving contaminated historic sediments, including related historic factual research;
  • Represent state agency in litigation for recovery of CERCLA response costs, including historic research to identify corporate successors to responsible parties;
  • Advise national environmental non-profit organization in assessment of citizen suit against federal agency to compel adequate regulation of financial assurance for cleanup of hazardous mining wastes under Superfund.

Compliance

  • Represent school districts on compliance with building and fire codes, health codes, and public disclosure regulations;
  • Advise public entity on applicability of 2012 federal highway legislation (MAP-21) to transportation improvement projects, including provisions on environmental review and federal loan requirements;
  • Advise food manufacturer on reporting requirements in the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA);
  • Handle reporting and compliance obligations for National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit on behalf of national sports management company.