Track Record
Extensive  information about experience and
expertise in areas of law and sectors of
business and government can be found under
Qualifications, but the “best evidence” of
FryeLaw PLLC’s ability to serve our clients
and solve their problems may be in what
others have said about Russell Frye and
FryeLaw PLLC, as well as in the organizations
that have put their faith in us, and the
successes that Russ has had for his clients.
Some examples of each can be found below.
Representative Clients:
American Forest & Paper Association, Inc.
American Petroleum Institute
American Standard Inc.
CO2 Litigation Group
Cooling Water Intake Structure Coalition
Georgia-Pacific Corporation
Konica Minolta Business Solutions USA
Louisiana-Pacific Corporation
National Association of Manufacturers
National Council for Air and Stream Improvement, Inc.
Norbord Inc.
Portland Cement Association
Ranchers Cattlemen Action Legal Fund United Stockgrowers
of America
Rubber Manufacturers Association
Rayonier, Inc.
Santa Rosa, California
SSM Coalition
Comments about Russell S. Frye and FryeLaw
“I have worked with Russ Frye as his colleague and as his client, and
Russ always provided well-informed and practical advice.”
--James R. Walpole, former General Counsel, National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration and former Assistant General Counsel -
Environment, Sears, Roebuck & Co.

“I could always depend on Russ Frye’s incisive legal analysis and sound
judgments on so many environmental and related issues.”
--John L. Festa, Ph.D., former Senior Scientist, American Forest & Paper

“Russell Frye is just what I look for in outside counsel:  knowledgeable,
pragmatic, and efficient.”
--Sharon Umhoefer, former Vice President and General Counsel, Konica Minolta
Business Solutions USA
Success Stories:
    Proactive Response to Soil Contamination

    Routine soil sampling by a residential developer, in a vacant lot near a
    closed manufacturing plant, began a complex series of problems for one of
    Russell Frye’s clients in California.  After the developer contacted the
    company, suggesting that high lead and zinc levels in the soil resulted from
    the company’s operations at the closed plant, Russ began an extensive
    investigation of past operations there, interviewing retired employees,
    uncovering old maps and aerial photographs, and directing a soil and
    groundwater sampling program. At the same time, recognizing that the
    discovery of high levels of lead next to a residential neighborhood could
    result in everything from bad publicity to “toxic tort” lawsuits, Russ
    convinced the client to embark on an aggressive community outreach
    program, enlisting the aid of local politicians and personally contacting all
    of the residents near the contaminated site.  This campaign produced
    substantial benefits in terms of support from the local community and a
    better understanding of community views on various remediation options.  
    It later was the subject of a case study at the annual meeting of the Air
    and Waste Management Association.  Resisting the state environmental
    agency’s initial insistence that contaminated soils be hauled away to a
    distant hazardous waste landfill, Mr. Frye developed the arguments that
    persuaded the state agency, local government, and the neighbors that
    encapsulation and, ultimately, commercial use of the property was a
    better option.  And when soil contamination was discovered on other,
    undeveloped property nearby, Russ helped negotiate a complex
    arrangement where the soil was consolidated and encapsulated in
    conjunction with construction of a highway across the property.  These
    aggressive, innovative approaches saved the client millions of dollars in
    remediation costs and probably avoided extensive and costly litigation.

    Challenging an EPA Interpretation Stalls Citizen Suit

    After a bitter labor dispute at a steel mill, the union sought to hurt the
    company in any way it could.  Finding a friendly ear at the EPA regional
    office, the union persuaded EPA to issue an opinion that the mill’s electric
    arc furnace was subject to New Source Performance Standards (NSPS),
    contradicting a long-standing interpretation by the state environmental
    agency. With this interpretation, the union alleged in a citizen suit that
    the company had failed to comply with NSPS for years, seeking millions of
    dollars in penalties. Called in to assist the company’s local law firm, Russ
    Frye dug through the administrative record for the original promulgation
    of the NSPS.  He developed several arguments why the EPA Region’s
    interpretation was incorrect.  Russ proposed that the company seek
    judicial review of the interpretation.  He then wrote a brief for the U.S.
    Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit that raised sufficient doubts about
    the EPA interpretation to delay the union’s citizen suit for many months
    and ultimately help force a very favorable settlement.

    Promptly Halting Improper U.S. Dept. of Agriculture Action

    A large organization of ranchers was alarmed when it heard rumors that
    Canadian beef was being allowed into the United States, despite an earlier
    U.S. Department of Agriculture order banning imports of cattle and beef
    due to the discovery of Mad Cow disease in Canada.  Sure enough, they
    discovered that USDA had posted a notice that essentially granted a
    variance from this import ban for most kinds of Canadian beef.  Russell
    Frye led a team that, within a few days of this discovery, prepared and
    filed a complaint, motion for preliminary injunction, and application for a
    temporary restraining order against USDA, supported by five expert
    affidavits.  That same week, Russ argued for the temporary restraining
    order before a federal judge in Montana, and the judge issued the order
    the next business day, enjoining the importation of most kinds of beef
    from Canada.  The case generated a great deal of media coverage (see,
    e.g., Washington Post May 1, 2004 p. E1 ) and stimulated enquiries from
    Congress and the USDA’s Inspector General about the USDA action.  

    Identifying and Opposing Unauthorized Claim for Attorneys Fees

    Russ Frye knew it was unusual when EPA Region 8 and Department of
    Justice enforcement attorneys invited the lawyer for a group of
    environmental activists to participate in meetings about an EPA air
    enforcement action, even requesting his suggestions for questions to be
    asked in discovery. Russ quickly objected to this, seeing that, among other
    things, the private lawyer might claim he was entitled to attorney’s fees
    under the citizen suit provisions of the Clean Air Act, even though it was a
    government enforcement action rather than a Clean Air Act citizen suit.  
    Russ carefully documented his objections and made it clear that the
    company did not believe this “co-enforcement” arrangement was legal and
    would not be responsible for the private lawyer’s fees.  He also pointed
    out that accepting legal services to supplement the government’s
    enforcement action arguably constituted a violation of the Anti-Deficiency
    Act, which prohibits agencies from using resources beyond those
    appropriated by Congress.  Although the government then curtailed the
    role of the environmental groups’ lawyer, he still filed a substantial
    demand for attorney’s fees when the government enforcement action was
    settled.  Because Russ had laid the groundwork for distinguishing between
    the private lawyer’s work on his own case and his involvement in the
    government enforcement action, Russ was able to object successfully to
    the requested attorney’s fees at the district court level.  When the
    environmental groups appealed that decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals
    for the Ninth Circuit, he argued the case and obtained a favorable verdict,
    in what was widely reported as a precedential decision, United States v.
    Stone Container Corp., 196 F.3d 1066 (1999).

    Innovative Solution to Lenders’ Permitting Concerns

    A large electricity and steam cogeneration plant project was in jeopardy.  
    Funding commitments would expire soon, and the project developers did
    not have a permit to construct an intake structure to withdraw cooling
    water from the river – a permit that would require an Environmental
    Impact Statement (EIS) and potentially lengthy appeals.  Using groundwater
    for cooling was out of the question, due to restrictions on consumptive use
    of a protected groundwater resource.  In addition, even if a source for the
    cooling water could be found, the plant would still need to be able to
    discharge its wastewater, and the permit for the discharge also could
    trigger EIS requirements.  Called in by the developer just as the lenders
    were about to pull the financing for the project, Russ Frye urged the
    parties to think creatively.  If it would be possible to use treated effluent
    from the steam host for cooling, and then return the treated effluent to
    the steam host for discharge under the steam host’s wastewater discharge
    permit, the problems of water supply and of obtaining a discharge permit
    could be avoided simultaneously.  Russ guided the parties through an
    evaluation of the technical and legal feasibility of this approach and
    negotiated the terms of this wastewater reuse with the steam host.  He
    then convinced the lenders that this arrangement would be a feasible
    backup if the intake structure and wastewater discharge permits could not
    be obtained prior to operation of the cogeneration plant.  Russ also was
    able to convince the lenders that these permits were not needed prior to
    commencement of construction on the project, having participated in
    litigation years earlier that successfully challenged an EPA rule that would
    have required discharge permits for new sources before they commenced
    construction. The lenders were satisfied, and hundreds of millions of
    dollars of construction financing was released to Russ’s client.

    Favorable Interpretation of MACT Regulation

    A pulp mill was being asked by its state environmental agency to control
    emissions from methanol tanks used in the generation of chlorine dioxide
    for pulp bleaching, at considerable cost.  The Maximum Available Control
    Technology (MACT) standards for hazardous air pollutant emissions from
    pulp mills were unclear as to whether this source was regulated.  At the
    request of  the American Forest & Paper Association, Russ Frye delved into
    the administrative record supporting those standards.  With his intimate
    knowledge of pulp mill processes, Russ was able to craft an argument from
    the record that EPA had specifically considered emissions from these tanks
    and had chosen not to regulate them.  This argument was accepted by
    EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance (OECA), which
    issued an applicability determination that effectively foreclosed the
    proposed requirements for controls on these methanol tanks.
Copyright FryeLaw PLLC 2005-2008.