Natural resources lawyer Erika Malmen advises municipal, industrial, agribusiness, energy, forestry, utility, resort and developer clients on general environmental law matters, real estate issues, permitting, regulatory compliance and water rights, guiding them through the dynamic and often unpredictable challenges encountered. Additionally, she leads mining companies in obtaining permits to operate and expand operations. Skilled in all facets of the Clean Water Act (CWA) and public lands permitting, Erika has substantial experience with state and federal regulatory compliance—and related litigation—in Idaho, Alaska, Nevada, Oregon, Montana and South Dakota. Erika’s representation extends to state government contracts, administrative rulemaking, legislation advocacy and Indian law.
Erika is known for championing tough causes, such as her representation in the cutting-edge Dixie Drain Phosphorus Removal Facility. The project marked the first time that EPA had allowed permit offsets in a water body with no established trading system or TMDL, and the first time the state of Idaho permitted a “water quality improvement” project. Erika understands the challenges clients encounter when development projects face public and governmental scrutiny, and she works with outside agencies to clearly communicate the client’s messaging around environmental responsibility and secure permitting.
As part of her client advocacy, Erika maintains productive relationships with agencies, rulemaking authorities and lawmakers. Erika’s counsel is informed by her previous experience serving as a lawyer for the U.S. Department of the Interior in the Land and Water Division in Washington, D.C., where she focused primarily on U.S. Bureau of Reclamation water storage and distribution projects. Her in-depth litigation experience in front of federal, state and administrative agencies includes: Friends of the Clearwater v. U.S. Forest Service, Big Wood Ranch LLC v. Water Users’ Association and ConAgra Foods Lamb Weston, Inc. v. Idaho Department of Environmental Quality.
Erika has extensive experience managing natural resources and permitting issues that arise on federal public and Native American lands in Idaho and throughout the Northwest. For example, she represented a client in a federal district court action brought by the Nez Perce tribe. While representing the office of the Idaho governor, Erika took part in the Snake River Basin Adjudication, which remains the largest water rights adjudication in the United States and entailed a settlement between the state and the Idaho tribes.
A frequent presenter and writer on water and wastewater issues, Erika has written for “The Water Report” about the Dixie Drain Project and phosphorus removal in the Lower Boise and Lower Snake Rivers, and she recently presented updates on the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule within the real estate development context. Erika is a long-standing member of the steering committee of the Idaho Environmental Forum.