Section Executive Committee Members
Molly Barker is an associate at K&L Gates, LL and a member of the firm’s environment, land and natural resources practice group. Prior to joining K&L Gates, Molly focused her practice on environmental, real estate, energy, natural resources and land use law. She worked with public and private clients to conduct due diligence for permitting energy projects, obtain regulatory closure for contaminated sites, bring business operations into environmental regulatory compliance, sell or purchase contaminated properties, and evaluate land use issues arising out of development projects. Having also previously served as a judicial law clerk for four judges at the trial court level, she has touched on nearly every type of legal issue that makes its way through the state superior court system. In Molly’s free time, she enjoys backcountry skiing, snowboarding, yoga, ballet, cooking, backpacking, traveling, and surfing.
Donya Williamson Burns is an attorney with Houlihan Law, P.C. Her practice includes state environmental cleanup actions, land use permitting and environmental liability, condemnation litigation, and commercial and residential real estate sales and leasing. She has also worked with local jurisdictions on municipal code revisions pertaining to telecommunications. In her spare time (usually 4-7 a.m.) Donya enjoys competitive rowing, bread baking, gardening (mostly the pruning part), and playing the piano. She also has a couple of kids; they are adorable but do not contribute in any way to the aforementioned spare time.
Caroline Cress is an Assistant Attorney General in the Ecology Division of the Washington State Attorney General’s Office in Olympia. Her current practice focuses on air quality, climate mitigation, and regulatory oversight of the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. Prior to joining the Ecology Division in 2016, Caroline clerked for Hon. Ann Schindler at Division I of the Washington State Court of Appeals. She also worked for the Global Environmental Governance Project, the Nature Conservancy, and the Southern Environmental Law Center. Caroline received a B.A. in government and environmental policy from the College of William & Mary and a J.D. from the University of North Carolina School of Law. In her free time, Caroline enjoys gardening, hiking, and playing with her dogs.
Kyler Danielson is a civic-minded, enthusiastic millennial with a pet hedgehog. As a lifetime resident of the Pacific Northwest, Kyler is passionate about Washington state’s growth, development, and future. She is currently a land use project manager at Lakeside Industries, working directly with local governments and experts to maintain and obtain land use permits. She participates in stakeholder groups, testifies at public meetings, monitors local code changes, and evaluates land use laws. Kyler previously practiced environmental and land use law for almost four years at a private firm in downtown Seattle. She obtained her J.D. from the University of Oregon School of Law, and her B.A. in French and political science from Western Washington University. In her free time, Kyler attends comic conventions, listens to melancholy music, and volunteers in her community.
Meghan E. Gavin is an attorney at Cascadia Law Group in Seattle and Olympia. She represents clients in environmental and natural resource matters, including disputes over liability for environmental cleanup costs and in matters involving federal Indian law. She is eagerly learning water law and energy law. Before joining Cascadia, Meghan worked as a federal clerk. She attended law school at the University of Washington, graduate school at Fordham University, and undergraduate school at Boston College. Meghan is happy to be back home in Washington, where she can ski and kayak in the same day.
Gabrielle Gurian is the current Young Lawyer Liaison for the ELUL Section. She is an Assistant Attorney General in the Ecology Division of the Washington State Attorney General’s Office in Olympia and her current practice focuses on water quality, shorelands protection, toxics cleanup, and environmental reviews under SEPA and NEPA plus associated permitting. Prior to joining the Ecology Division in 2019, Gabrielle clerked at the U.S. Department of Justice in the Environment and Natural Resources Division, the Natural Resource Defense Council (NRDC), Public Justice, and worked as a student attorney for the Harrison Institute for Public Law at Georgetown University Law Center. Gabrielle received a B.A. in International Affairs and Spanish from University of Washington and served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Chongqing, China from 2012-2014. In her free time, Gabrielle enjoys rock climbing, surfing, mushroom foraging, and playing with her puppy, Mori (named after her favorite mushroom, Morels).
Robie G. Russell is engaged in the practice of law in Seattle, Washington, and Boise, Idaho. His practice emphasizes all environmental matters including regulation and remediation, real estate, oil and gas, and general business matters. He has had substantial experience in dealing with regulatory agencies and in managing negotiations and litigation concerning asbestos abatement, underground storage tanks, fuel delivery systems and hazardous wastes.
Prior to reentering private practice, Mr. Russell served for four years as the Regional Administrator of USEPA's Region 10 headquartered in Seattle, Washington. Region 10 comprises the states of Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington. While in that position, Mr. Russell was responsible for all environmental matters in the region as well as the management of over 700 employees and an annual budget in excess of 150 million dollars. During his tenure, Region 10 successfully negotiated the Tri-Party Agreement for the remediation of the Hanford nuclear facility, managed the cleanup of the Alaska Oil Spill, and numerous other significant environmental matters. Mr. Russell also led USEPA delegations to the People's Republic of China, the Philippines, and Canada, and was a member of a delegation of scientists and legal professionals who visited the Soviet Union and Poland, including the nuclear site at Chernobyl.
Before his appointment to federal office, Mr. Russell served as a Senior Deputy Attorney General for the State of Idaho. His work involved major litigation in the U.S. Supreme Court, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, the U.S. Claims Court, and the Idaho Supreme Court as well as numerous appearances before state and federal administrative agencies and the state legislature. Mr. Russell was in charge of the Natural Resources Division which handled all matters pertaining to environmental regulation, water quality, and resource management. He also headed the Local Government Division. Prior to law school, Mr. Russell served as Administrative Coordinator for the Idaho Department of Environmental Protection and Health.
Mr. Russell received his Juris Doctorate and B.S. from the University of Idaho. He has also taken and taught numerous continuing legal education courses in the environmental field as well as business and public administration. In addition to his bachelor and juris doctorate degrees, Mr. Russell holds a Public Administration Certificate from the State of Idaho. Mr. Russell resides on Bainbridge Island, Washington.
Patrick Spurgin is a 1976 graduate of Washington State University. After some years of knocking around in various jobs, including forestry services grunt work, retail sales at Woolworths, and quality assurance at the Washington Nuclear Projects in Elma, Washington, Pat attended the University of Utah College of Law and graduated in 1984. Following law school, he served as the director of both the Utah governor’s High-level Nuclear Waste Office and the Utah Department of Natural Resources Division of State Lands and Forestry. He returned to Washington in 1990 to serve as the central regional office director for the Washington Department of Ecology until 1997. Pat maintains a solo practice in Yakima and is also of counsel to Zeilman Law Office. His practice principally comprises legal services to tribal and local government in the Yakima Valley. These services include representation in various matters including Endangered Species Act compliance, CERCLA natural resources damages assessment, Growth Management Act implementation, fish habitat project and fish production facility planning, permitting, and implementation, including water rights issue resolution and tribal government procurement activities. Pat also serves as a land use hearing examiner for several local governments in the Yakima Valley.
Martha Wehling is an Assistant Attorney General in the Washington State Attorney General’s Office, representing two programs for the Department of Natural Resources, Forest Resources & Conservation and Product Sales & Leasing. Martha’s practice is currently litigation-based, including a challenge to the “trust mandate” for the State’s public lands, challenges to programmatic management decisions governing the state trust lands, and challenges to individual timber sales and timber sale contracts. Martha previously was in-house counsel at WFPA, an associate at a boutique firm, and represented WDFW, State Parks, and DNR’s forest practices division. Martha used to hoot for northern spotted owls, chase cabbage white butterflies, and scowl at brown headed cowbirds. She has approximately 3,350 pounds of pets.
Tom Wilcox is an attorney with Axiom Law, focusing his practice on environmental health and safety, trade association, and supplier contracting practice. He is a native of Omaha, Nebraska, and completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, and juris doctor studies at Georgetown University Law Center. He volunteers as a Visiting Attorney with the Environmental Law Institute supporting Carl Bruch, Director, ELI International Programs, focusing on fundraising and planning for the Environmental Peacebuilding Association’s international conference scheduled for February 2022. Tom has 30+ years of in-house environmental, health, and safety practice with aerospace facilities for Boeing in St. Louis and Seattle and, before that, meat packing, grain, animal feed, fertilizer, and petroleum companies for Farmland Industries, Inc. in Kansas City. He started his career at Spencer Fane Britt & Browne in Kansas City. Tom’s free time is busy with his partner, teenaged children, and the family Westie, Armando. He enjoys piano and choral music, hiking and beachcombing, and genealogy research.