Sanne H. Knudsen

  • Stimson Bullitt Endowed Professor of Environmental Law


Phone: (206) 221-7443


B.S. 1998, Northwestern University M.S. 2002, University of Michigan J.D., magna cum laude, 2002, University of Michigan

Curriculum Vitae

Areas of Expertise

Administrative Law — Environmental Law

Recent Courses

LAW A 502 Civil Procedure I
LAW A 509 Administrative Law
LAW A 527 Environmental Law

Professor Sanne H. Knudsen received a B.S. in Environmental Engineering from Northwestern University, an M.S. in Environmental Engineering from the University of Michigan, and a J.D. from the University of Michigan, where she graduated Order of the Coif and was a member of the Michigan Law Review. She is a former law clerk for the Honorable Ronald M. Gould on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

After practicing law at private law firms in Chicago and Minneapolis, Professor Knudsen joined the University of Washington School of Law in 2011. She teaches Natural Resources Law, Environmental Law, Administrative Law, and Civil Procedure. In 2018 she became a member of the American College of Environmental Lawyers, where she has served on the Board of Regents.

Professor Knudsen’s scholarship focuses on how existing statutes and tort liability frameworks can be used to reduce or redress long-term and multiple-stressor environmental harms. Her work has been selected through peer-review for republication. Professor Knudsen also writes in the area of administrative law, where her work on the history of Seminole Rock deference was cited by the United States Supreme Court in Kisor v. Wilkie.

Professor Knudsen is currently developing a series of articles examining the relationship between administrative law and environmental law. In The Exoskeleton of Environmental Law, she argues that environmental law embodies a unique set of prescriptive choices centered on a commitment to self-restraint for the purposes of self-preservation. In a companion article currently in progress, she will examine how administrative law, though operating as a purportedly value-neutral procedural framework, has been operationalized to undermine the success of environmental law. In a shorter essay entitled Reclaiming Control, Knudsen suggests that Congress would be wise to recalibrate the balance of power between administrative and environmental law through an APA-type legislation specific to the challenges of environmental law.

  • Speaker, State, Tribal and Private Powers: Climate Change, University of Washington School of Law (November 14, 2017)
  • Speaker, "Climate Science in the Courts", 30th Annual Indian Law Symposium, University of Washington School of Law (September 8, 2017)
  • Speaker, "Challenging Federal Decision-Making: A Short Primer on the APA", Washington State Attorney General Office (May 30, 2017)
  • Speaker, "Regulating Cumulative Risk", Faculty Colloquium Series, University of Washington School of Law (April 26, 2017)
  • Speaker, "The Flipside of Michigan v. EPA: Are Cumulative Impacts Centrally Relevant?", Stegner Center Distinguished Young Scholar Lecture, University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law (November 3, 2016)
  • Speaker, "Remedying Long-Term Harms", Sustainability Law Conference, Arizona State University School of Law (May 13, 2016)
  • Speaker, "Remedying Long-Term Natural Resource Damages and the Influence of Science", University of Calgary Faculty of Law (March 23, 2016)
  • Speaker, "The Long-Term Tort", Notre Dame University Roundtable, (November 13, 2014)
  • Speaker, "Economic Valuation of Wilderness", Stegner Center Wilderness Act at 50 Symposium, University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law (September 25, 2014)
  • Speaker, "Lessons Learned From the History of Seminole Rock", Public Policy Conference on Administration Unbound: Delegation, Deference, and Discretion, George Mason University Antonin Scalia Law School (September 12, 2014)
  • Speaker, "Legal and Policy Developments for U.S. Exports Under Current U.S. Law: Environmental Issues", Energy Exports in the Northwest: The Public Policy and Legal Issues at Play and Their Likely Outcomes, Law Seminars International (October 24, 2013)
  • Speaker, "The Long-Term Tort: In Search of a New Casual Paradigm for Natural Resource Damages", 2013 Harvard/Stanford/Yale Junior Faculty Forum, (June 14, 2013)
  • Speaker, "Protecting Ecosystem Services: Problems of Mixing Law and Ecology", CLE Seminar, Center of Environmental Law & Policy (December 7, 2012)
  • Panelist, "Precautionary Principle: Regulatory and Tort Perspectives", 2012 Mid-Year Meeting, Workshop on Torts, Environment and Disaster, Association of American Law Schools (June 8, 2012)
  • Speaker, "Balancing Good in the Use and Preservation of Natural Resources", Annual Meeting, J. Reuben Clark Society (February 13, 2010)