Collaboratively solving complex environmental and land use problems.

Doug Simpson of Seattle Environmental Mediation helps all sides of environmental and land use problems work together to create a new path forward. He’s been an environmental litigator since 1988, and has successfully mediated cases privately and/or on court panels since 2003.

Contact me.


Don’t Resort to Court.

Environmental and land use litigation is complex, expensive, and time consuming. But mediation helps resolve problems out of court quickly, saving money, stress, and helping all sides gain peace of mind. (Read more about complex environmental mediation.)

I’m Doug Simpson, an environmental mediator in Seattle and Tacoma, aka Seattle Environmental Mediation. I’ve been mediating lawsuits since 2003 and litigating environmental, land use, and/or toxic tort cases since 1988.

Environmental mediation often has many sides including regulatory agencies, insurance carriers, concerned citizens, governmental entities, individuals, and large companies all vying for a solution. In land-use matters, some favor rapid growth and development, others prefer growth at a rural, managed pace. In environmental matters, contamination often knows few bounds, and is exceedingly expensive to clean up.

Courts typically are ill-equipped to handle the complex relationships among the parties, as well as the often difficult science involved. Environmental litigation in court generally takes years, which nobody likes.

Mediation cuts to the chase, giving certainty to all parties by working with regulators and other interested parties to gain closure relatively quickly, saving costs and attorneys fees, and bringing clarity to the issues.

Mediation is a negotiation with a neutral person—the mediator—acting like a referee, and helping parties resolve their problem outside of the public courthouse. Mediators don’t decide cases like judges and juries, and they don’t represent parties like lawyers; mediators help the interested parties decide how the case ends—nothing is forced on anybody. Its confidential. The mediation participants are in control—they decide the outcome, not a judge or jury.

I’m located outside Seattle, Washington, and mediate cases in Tacoma, Olympia and surrounding areas—and elsewhere by special arrangement.  I am a member of Washington and California bars, and am a Washington Mediation Association certified mediator (profile here).

  • Regulatory order?
  • Somebody suing for environmental contamination?
  • Land use, planning, development, or siting problems?
  • Insurance-coverage litigation arising out of environmental issues?
  • Toxic-tort environmental case?

Find solutions. Create a new path forward!

Mediation Saves Time and Money.

Lawyers work hard. But their legal fees and costs build up quickly and sometimes uncontrollably. All sides must respond to court directives and to strategies other sides impose, motions, discovery, ESI, public records requests, whatever—all on a schedule not of their own making. But with mediation, the parties can structure how they’d like to proceed, and when. The parties can agree to a document-sharing and discovery schedule, to shared consultants, to delay resolution until administrative agency actions or appeals occcur—in mediation the parties can do whatever they want, and save money and time while creating a new path forward.

Mediation Facilitates Deep Issue Analysis Unsuited to Court Decision-Making.

Courts are designed to decide one way or another on the facts and law as presented, and generally without regard to whether its judgment can be satisfied by the losing party or its insurer. And sometimes courts get it wrong—sometimes courts miss things. Probably every lawyer has a story about how all the facts and all the law were in their favor, but they lost a critical motion, trial, appeal or administrative petition anyway. Mediation allows complex and critical analysis of whatever the parties decide is important—facts, law, ability to pay, and ability to implement the parties’ or the agency’s preferred remedy.  In mediation, the parties decide what’s imporant, and how to proceed.

Mediating Parties Decide Timing and Results; Not Judges or Juries

In litigation, complete strangers decide the case. A judge or jury—somebody who doesn’t know the parties—decides the case, for one side, or the other. Judges decide what evidence is relvant, or unworthy of consideration. Judges decide the pace and thee trial date. But in mediation, the parties decide whether, when, and how to resolve the case. Self-determination is one of the chief benefits of mediation. A skilled mediator guides the parties through this decision-making process.

Mediation Minimzes Confrontation

Litigation is like going into combat. Mediation is like engaging in peace negotiations. In litigation—in discovery and at trial—your opponent’s attorney cross-examines and confronts the parties in the courtroom and tries to prove that the other side is wrong on facts or law, or is not credible and should not be believed. In mediation, partries work with opponents—but no side has anything forced on it.  Each party must decide whether and how to proceed, and whether and how the matter ends.



Seattle Environmental Mediation - Home 1

Years as a Mediator.

State bars, Washington and California

Years as an evironmental lawyer


“Doug has consistently produced excellent results. Doug is personable, can think outside of the box, is proactive, an excellent independent thinker and a great communicator.”

Nneka Mitchell

Senior Claims Adjuster, Travelers Insurance, Hunt Valley, MD

“Doug is an outstanding attorney. I would recommend him without any qualification.”


Posted on Martindale-Hubbell Profile

“Doug is the most ethical attorney I know.”

James O'Day

Senior Deputy County Counsel, San Diego County Counsel

“I was impressed with Doug’s breadth of knowledge, his patience, and his compassion. I enjoyed working with him.”

Casey Tanaka

Mayor, City of Coronado, California


I am honored to have an excellent reputation for being a skilled lawyer. I have an AV-Preeminent rating—the best there is—from peers and the judiciary via Martindale Hubbell.


I’ve litigated and mediated cases of all kinds, including these:

  • Federal, state, and administrative litigation with hundreds of millions of dollars in value, including CERCLA, RCRA, CWA, and CAA, As well as state claims claims.
  • Cases involving governmental entities, Fortune 500 companies, insurers and individuals.
  • governmental entities and represented Fortune 500 and other companies, as well as individuals.

 I’ve also litigated environmental matters with toxic tort issues involving more than 6,000 plaintiffs seeking more than $3.6 billion. 

 I have litigated a large alternative-energy case, a $100-million lawsuit in which a developer sued my client, a public official, for fraud, violations of an open-meetings statute, violations of planning-and-land-use laws pertaining to addenda to specific and general plans, improper downzoning, inverse condemnation, negligent misrepresentation, and other claims.

That case involved 12,000 acres that a developer owned in rural East San Diego County—he wanted to develop the acreage into a large wind farm, a solar farm, and related residential housing. The case lasted roughly a year in the acute litigation phase, with voluminous public-records requests evidencing the developer’s years-long efforts to develop the property—efforts that pissed off the local public at the outset.

Among other things, the townspeople complained of windmills causing brush fires (a major concern to those living in rural San Diego) and low-frequency noise and vibrations leading to human-health problems. They complained about windmills toppling in windstorms, crushing people and animals beneath and about solar farms causing migratory-bird deaths when birds perceived the farms as lakes, landing on them and burning to death. They were concerned about transmission-line corridor problems and wind-tower anemometers and directional vanes (for wind-strength measurement and mapping) that were eyesores or were not properly permitted. Also, the townspeople perceived the developer as sneaky—not a good person—a very important consideration to those in San Diego’s outback who value a straight-shooter. The developer could have succeeded in developing the property—but didn’t. The developer could have addressed these problems in ways that could have achieved success—but didn’t. The developer lost the litigation—and the value of its 12,000 acres of property.

I also represented a group of paragliders hoping to persuade SEMPRA Energy to reroute high-powered electrical-transmission lines, part of the Sunrise Powerlink, away from the base of a mountain that was a popular paragliding spot. They didn’t want the lines to cross through the Cleveland National Forest and across a lake basin, preferring to have the lines routed along a highway, along with other power lines.

I have litigated a 300-mile-long natural-gas pipeline case (a $3.4 billion case involving 6,000 claimants, in which I served as managing defense counsel—a case portrayed in the movie Erin Brockovich) and two bulk-fuel storage-facility cases—as well as many UST cases pertaining to petroleum hydrocarbons.

I’ve also litigated a variety of dry cleaner cases, former manufacturing sites, landfill cases, railroad property cases, municipal burn-dump sites, ocean bottom sediment cases, stormwater cases, and cases involving contaminated streams, creeks, and lakes.


11 + 9 =


I’m one of few environmental mediators in Seattle, Washington. I live in Puyallup, and am also one of few environmental mediators in Tacoma and Olympia. I’ll come to you, can arrange an online mediation, and can arrange en environmental mediation at one of the side’s attorney’s offices, or at a Regus conference location, including these:

  • Tacoma: 1201 Pacific Ave, Tacoma, WA 98402
  • Seattle: Columbia Tower, 701 Fifth Avenue, Seattle, WA 98104
  • Olympia: 400 Union Ave SE Suite 200, Olympia, WA 98501
  • Bellevue: Skyline Tower, 10900 NE 4th St, Bellevue, WA 98004
  • San Diego: 350 10th Avenue, Suite 1000, San Diego, California, 92101