Rich McAllister joined Hobbs Straus as of counsel in 2009 following a long career at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, where he specialized in federal environmental law and its application in Indian country. He moved to Seattle in 1990 to work for the Office of Regional Counsel in EPA Region 10 as a Superfund lawyer. Rich recognized the important connection between Indian tribes, their territories and natural resources and was assigned as the EPA Region 10 lead contact for Indian law matters. Rich’s experience spans nearly all EPA programs. At his retirement in January 2009, the Agency presented Rich with EPA’s Distinguished Career Service Award, which recognized his effective and dedicated work to protect public health and the environment, particularly on Indian lands in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska.
As EPA Region 10’s primary contact on Indian law, Rich advised all of the programs in the Region on the many Indian law issues EPA must address, including the unique federal-tribal relationship and tribal consultation responsibilities; the jurisdiction of tribes, EPA, states, and local governments; reservation and Indian country boundaries; development and application of water quality standards and pesticide programs; tribal and federal air quality management programs; and compliance issues associated with various environmental laws faced by both tribal and non-tribal entities located on reservations. Rich is a nationally recognized for his experience and knowledge on EPA’s procedures and considerations for determining the eligibility of a tribe for “treatment as a state” or “TAS” under several federal environmental statutes and regulations. He participated in many negotiations between tribal, state and local governments to develop agreements on how to work together to address environmental issues of mutual concern while avoiding jurisdictional disputes.
While at EPA Region 10, Rich was the lead attorney for developing the precedent-setting Federal Air Rules for Reservations (FARR), which established a regulatory program to bring basic air quality protection to people living on Indian reservations in Idaho, Oregon, and Washington. He recently wrote an article, Air Program Options for Tribes in the Pacific Northwest, that was published in the Seattle University School of Law’s Journal of Environmental Law in the Spring 2009 issue.
Rich is a veteran of the U.S. Army having served from 1972-1976. He enjoys playing the string bass and performing in the community orchestra, a tango band, and other local country and bluegrass groups.
Since joining Hobbs, Straus in 2009, Rich has assisted tribes, tribal organizations, and Tribally Designated Housing Entities with environmental review, historic properties, and compliance issues. He has advised and assisted two TDHEs to resolve HUD findings regarding environmental compliance, and has provided trainings on the HUD requirements for environmental review of NAHASDA-funded projects. Rich also assisted a tribe in negotiating a tribal monitoring agreement for a large energy project and a significant off-site mitigation agreement for impacts to cultural properties, which will allow the tribe to develop and construct a living cultural center. Rich has assisted tribes in Alaska work with state agencies and Alaska Native Corporations to address building materials contaminated with naturally occurring asbestos, which included drafting proposed legislation so that critical building, airport runway and road construction can proceed. Rich is assisting an Alaska Regional health corporation to work with federal agencies to cleanup and protect a facility located on federal lands.
EPA Distinguished Career Service Award
Washington State Bar Association Indian Law Section
Northeastern University School of Law, J.D. 1986
University of Colorado, M.P.A., 1978
Rutgers University, B.A., 1972