Claire Tonry

Claire Tonry’s practice uses a wide range of legal tools restore the environment, protect voters and consumers, and advance progressive policies. Whether she is enforcing the Clean Water Act or fair election regulations, the Endangered Species Act or open government laws, she is thoroughly committed to getting the best possible outcome for her clients. “My clients’ causes are my personal causes as well. I bring a level of passion and work ethic that reflects the importance of my clients’ missions,” she says.  


Claire has litigated cases from their inception through trial or hearing in federal and state court, before county hearing examiners, and before the Pollution Control Hearings Board. Claire has also argued several appeals before the Washington state court of appeals and the Ninth Circuit. 


Claire earned her J.D. and certificate in Environmental and Natural Resources Law, with a focus in Animal Law from Lewis & Clark Law School in 2009, and holds a B.A., with honors, in Environmental Studies and Economics from the University of Oregon.  


Claire is admitted to practice in Oregon and Washington.  


Read Claire’s article on endangered Southern Resident Killer Whales in the February 2017 issue of NW Lawyer: 


Some of Claire’s notable cases include:

    Waste Action Project v. Astro Auto Wrecking LLC, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 169594, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 51591 (W.D. Wash) – After winning summary judgment establishing standing to sue and numerous Clean Water Act permit violations, Claire led a three-day bench trial to establish additional permit violations, the appropriate penalty, and the need for comprehensive improvements at the auto wrecking facility to stop polluted stormwater from running into Hylebos Creek.

    Puget Soundkeeper Alliance v. Rainier Petroleum, 138 F. Supp. 3d 1170 (W.D. Wash 2015) – After winning summary judgment establishing Clean Water Act violations at two Seattle petroleum facilities, enforceable settlement agreements were entered in each case. The settlements required compliance measures at each facility, eliminating discharges from a fueling pier, and paving a petroleum tank farm to prevent leaks to Elliott Bay. The petroleum company paid a total of $480,000 to environmental restoration project in Puget Sound in lieu of a penalty.

    Don’t Expand UW Primate Testing v. UW Board of Regents - King County Superior Court held that the University of Washington’s governing board violated the state’s Open Public Meetings Act on 24 separate occasions in 2012, 2013 and 2014, when its members discussed business – including building a $124 million underground animal research facility - over dinner at the UW president’s home. The case brought aggressive media attention to the UW’s controversial animal research program and helped propel an international No New Animal Lab campaign. Following the court’s decision, the UW agreed to stop shutting the public out of its meetings, host a presentation on humane alternatives to animal testing, and pay our legal fees.

    Waste Action Project v. Draper Valley Holdings LLC, 49 F. Supp. 3d 799 (W.D. Wash. 2014) - After winning summary judgment establishing standing to sue and numerous Clean Water Act pretreatment violations, the poultry slaughterhouse agreed to complete a major upgrade of its wastewater treatment system and pay $400,000 for environmental benefit projects in the Skagit River watershed near its Mount Vernon plant.



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