Molly A. Lawrence

Partner

206.623.9372

mol@vnf.com

Assistant

Millennium Tower
719 Second Avenue Suite 1150
Seattle, WA 98104
  • Co-lead counsel (with Joseph Nelson) supporting Clean Line Energy through the review and approval processes for the Plains & Eastern Clean Line Project, a 700 mile electrical transmission line that will bring wind energy from Texas and Oklahoma to Tennessee.  Issues range from: review and approval under Section 1222 of EPAct 2005; guiding development of the Environmental Impacts Statement under NEPA, negotiating a complex Programmatic Agreement under the National Historic Preservation Act, Section 7 consultation under the Endangered Species Act, and permitting under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act; and defending the project approvals in federal court.  
  • Provides counsel to several coalitions of industry groups and property owners in Washington and Oregon related to recent changes in the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s implementation of the National Flood Insurance Program.  Responsibilities include: strategic counsel in response to several Biological Opinions issued by NOAA-Fisheries to FEMA regarding the effect of the NFIP on threatened and endangered species; advocacy with FEMA, NOAA-Fisheries, the federal legislative delegations in Washington and Oregon, and with hundreds of local governments participating in the NFIP regarding Endangered Species Act compliance; litigation in federal court challenging implementation of the Biological Opinions; and legislative advocacy related to the pending reauthorization of the NFIP.
  • Represents the City of Sumner in developing a comprehensive approach to addressing flood hazards presented by the White River.  Responsibilities include: coordinating the development of several complex floodplain and sediment transport models to assist in identifying flood risk; developing a multi-benefit approach to river management that addresses concerns about both flood risk and floodplain habitat for endangered fish species; coordinating with the Army Corps of Engineers regarding the operation of the Mud Mountain Dam and the General Investigation for the Puyallup River; and assisting with permitting for a replacement bridge over the White River, including approvals from the Federal Highway Administration, and NEPA, Endangered Species Act, Clean Water Act, and National Historic Preservation Act review. 
  • Advises SECO Development with regard to its 17.5 acre mixed use development on Lake Washington in Renton. The development includes more than 750,000 square feet of Class “A” office space, 40,000 square feet of mixed commercial/retail/restaurant, over 330 luxury apartment units, and a 355-room luxury waterfront hotel. Responsibilities included: coordinating the SEPA EIS and Planned Action Ordinance; securing City approvals for a fifteen year Master Plan, three phase Site Plan, and several shoreline and construction permits; negotiating transportation mitigation agreements with the City; and negotiating agreements with neighbors to avoid project appeals.
  • Served as counsel to Tacoma Waterway LLC, in the development of a mixed use hotel project along the Foss Waterway.  Responsibilities included: securing several land use approvals, including shoreline permits, through the City of Tacoma, and successfully defending the project in litigation before the Washington Shorelines Hearing Board through the Washington State Supreme Court. 
  • Land use counsel to Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association (TIAA/CREF) regarding a 20 acre office park/high-tech campus in Bothell, including federal, state and local approvals. 

Publications

National Flood Insurance Program: Oregon Communities & Developers Face Significantly Heightened Standards Following ESA Consultation - National Impacts Probable

The Water Report, Issue 152
10/15/2016

FEMA's ESA Approach Affirmed in the Puget Sound

Natural Resources & Environment, Vol. 30 Issue 1
08/01/2015

The Changing Landscape of Floodplains

Washington State Bar Association's Environmental and Land Use Law Newsletter, Vol. 40 Issue 2
09/01/2014

Land Use Appeals

Washington Lawyers Practice Manual, Part 16, Vol. 23 (2013)
10/01/2013

Murky Floodplain Rules Sink Development Plans

Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce
09/26/2013

The Impacts of Newly Designated Floodplains

The Voice, NAIOP Government Affairs Newsletter
06/01/2010

Land Use Petition Act

Washington Lawyers Practice Manual (2005-2007)
12/01/2005

Presentations

Northwest Gas Association's 2016 Annual Energy Conference

Speaker, "Challenges in Major Project Development"
Stevenson, WA
06/09/2016

Growth Management Act Conference

Presenter, "Flooding and Resulting Restrictions on Development"
Law Seminars International
Seattle, WA
11/19/2015

15th Annual Wetlands in Washington Seminar

Presenter, "Floodplains and Executive Order 11988"
Law Seminars International
Seattle, WA
10/19/2015

NOAA Short Workshop

09/18/2015

Hydrology and the Law Conference

Co-Chair and Presenter, "A Look at the Future: Climate Change and the Anticipated Impact on the Hydrologic Cycle"
Law Seminars International
Seattle, WA
05/29/2015

Floodplain Development: Regulation under FEMA and ESA

Program Co-Chair, Presenter, "The National Flood Insurance Program and the Endangered Species Act - Divergent Authorities and Objectives"
Seattle, WA
05/19/2015

NACO Western Interstate Region Conference

Kaua'i, HI
05/19/2015

NOAA Short Workshop

04/28/2015