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New Legal Director at Friends of the San Juans

Friends of the San Juans is thrilled to welcome James McCubbin, our new Legal Director and Staff Attorney, to our team. For 20 years, James has devoted his career to community protection as a deputy county attorney in western Montana. There, he gained vast experience that is immediately applicable to achieving Friends’ mission of protecting and restoring the San Juan Islands and the Salish Sea for people and nature.

During his time in government service, James worked extensively with elected county officials, planning boards, and environmental agencies in adopting, administering, and enforcing local land use and environmental regulations. His work included litigation of numerous land-use planning, environmental, and regulatory enforcement cases; he also led multiple appeals to the state supreme court. James has advised county planners, floodplain administrators, and public health officials in many regulatory enforcement situations. He is proud of his record of resolving most cases through education and cooperative agreements, rather than litigation.

James has observed the power of engaged community members during the countless county commission and planning board sessions he has been involved in. He is excited to work with residents in the San Juans and beyond to advocate for the adoption of forward-thinking plans, and to ensure consistent application and enforcement of land-use and environmental plans and regulations. “Besides his applicable experience, James is a coalition builder and bridge builder,” said R. Brent Lyles, Executive Director, “he’s just what we were hoping to find for this important role at Friends.”

“I’m enthusiastic about protecting the San Juan Islands and the Salish Sea,” said James. “Plus, I’m originally from San Francisco, so I can’t wait to get my little sailboat wet again.” James begins his new position on March 1st, and he and his wife are relocating to the islands in the coming weeks.

James McCubbin, an experienced land-use attorney, joins the Friends staff on March 1, 2022.

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