Matthew Adams – Dentons

Article Summary:

Mr. Adams is the attorney representing Burien in their case against the FAA.

Matthew Adams serves as Chair of the Firm’s US Environment and Natural Resources practice.

Matthew helps clients address environmental issues related to energy, infrastructure, and natural resource development projects. He advises on a full range of transactional, regulatory, and litigation matters, with a particular focus on issues arising under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), and other environmental impact assessment laws.

Matthew is also active in Dentons’ Native American Law and Policy practice. He regularly counsels tribal governments and tribally-owned businesses on environmental and land use issues affecting Indian country. He also advises a variety of stakeholders on matters related to the protection of indigenous cultural and historic resources.

Matthew has been recognized by Law360 as a Law and Policy MVP and one of the nation’s top attorneys under 40. He is also ranked as a leading lawyer for business by Chambers USA.


Matthew’s recent, representative engagements include the following:

  • Represent the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands on environmental and natural resource matters arising under the Covenant between the Commonwealth and the United States
  • Counsel for petitioners in successful litigation challenging Federal Aviation Administration changes to flight routes in and around Phoenix
  • Environmental review, regulatory approvals, and litigation defense for a Northern California tribal resort development which restores land taken improperly from the tribe in the 1960s. Successfully defended the project against three federal lawsuits.
  • Environmental review, permitting, and litigation defense for the developer of a 315 MW wind project located on land administered by the US Bureau of Land Management. Completed all state and federal environmental review and permitting processes in just 18 months, allowing the client to meet key financing deadlines.
  • Counsel for a range of climate-focused projects and regulatory proceedings, including the first sustainable forestry carbon offset credit project to be developed on tribal land for the California carbon market.
  • Permitting and Endangered Species Act compliance for a Canadian utility’s company’s acquisition, development, and financing of a multi-phase California solar project.
  • Represented the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the Guam Preservation Trust in successful NEPA and CZMA litigation securing the protection of Chamorro Traditional Cultural Properties in the United States territory of Guam.


Honors and Awards

  • Chambers USA, America’s Leading Lawyers for Business
  • Law360, Law and Policy MVP Award
  • Law360, Top Attorneys Under 40
  • The Legal 500, Renewable Energy Focus
  • Governor of Arizona’s Heritage Preservation Award


  •  “Trump Administration Continues to Overhaul Climate Change Regulations,” Pratt’s Energy Law Report, November, 2018
  • “Making the National Environmental Policy Act Process Work,” Environmental Law Institute, March 22, 2018
  • “Defense Policy and Cultural Resource Protection in the Western Pacific,” National Trust for Historic Preservation, June 13, 2017
  • “Successfully Navigating the NEPA Process” Environmental Law Institute, March 16, 2017
  • Impact of the New Administration on National Offshore Wind Strategy: Three Things to Watch,” Renewable Energy World, March 2, 2017
  • “Pacific Outpost”, Civil Beat, December 12, 2016
  • “Making the NEPA Process Work” Environmental Law Institute, March 13, 2016
  • “Worldview,” National Public Radio, December 22, 2015
  • “Traditional Cultural Properties and Section 4(f) of the Department of Transportation Act,” National Trust for Historic Preservation, February 25, 2015
  • “Introduction to Environmental Law,” California Tribal College, 2015

Activities and Affiliations


  • Lawyers’ Committee for Cultural Heritage Preservation
  • National Association of Environmental Professionals
  • Northern California Advisory Board, International Committee for the Documentation and Conservation of Buildings, Sites, and Monuments of the Modern Movement