Partner Spotlight: Maura Fahey and the Crag Law Center

The Crag Law Center has been a steady, effective legal advocate in many of Columbia Riverkeeper’s key campaigns.

Partner Spotlight: Maura Fahey and the Crag Law Center

Maura Fahey
Maura Fahey, Staff Attorney, CRAG Law Center

Columbia Riverkeeper’s work to protect and restore the Columbia River benefits enormously from our ongoing collaboration with the Crag Law Center. When we fight for clean water and against the interests of powerful fossil fuel interests, we often turn to outside legal experts to aid our effort. Maura Fahey, staff attorney with the Crag Law Center, has provided extraordinarily effective legal representation for Columbia Riverkeeper, helping us protect water quality and stave off fossil fuel developments.

Most recently, Maura represented Columbia Riverkeeper at the Oregon Land Use Board of Appeals (LUBA) regarding a proposal to rezone 800 acres of high-value farmland at Port Westward, near Clatskanie. Land use cases are complicated and detail-oriented. In the Port Westward case, Maura persuaded LUBA that farming activities (think blueberries and mint) could be inconsistent with new fossil fuel development (think methanol refinery and oil trains). Maura’s legal work helped to translate the concerns of local residents, farmers, fishers, and anti-fossil fuel activists into compelling legal arguments. In January, LUBA sided with Riverkeeper and 1000 Friends of Oregon and ordered the County to re-do its process.

In another high-profile case, the Crag Law Center represented Columbia Riverkeeper and partner groups in defending Portland’s landmark fossil fuel ordinance. The ordinance, passed unanimously by Portland’s City Council, restricts large new fossil fuel developments in the City of Portland. Facing a court challenge by the Western States Petroleum Association, Riverkeeper and our partners turned to the Crag Law Center for help. Maura and her colleagues jumped into the fray, arguing alongside the City of Portland’s attorneys that the City has legal authority to protect the health and safety of its residents through its fossil fuel land use regulation. Thanks to Maura and the Crag Law Center, the Oregon Court of Appeals ruled in early 2018 that the ordinance was constitutional—a landmark legal victory for a historic fossil fuel policy.

Riverkeeper appreciates the diligent, detailed legal work that Crag provides. We can’t say enough to thank Maura and the rest of the team at Crag for their expert legal advocacy. They work hard and don’t ask for much credit, but very often Crag’s attorneys are providing key legal help to groups like Riverkeeper in the critical environmental issues that are shaping our climate and our region. We look forward to celebrating more legal victories together in coming years. And we thank you, our Riverkeeper members, for the support you have given to these campaigns and cases.

Check out more about the Crag Law Center at their website.