After serving as the director of the Washington State Department of Ecology since 2013, Maia Bellon joins Cascadia Policy Solutions as a consultant. Maia will focus her practice in the areas of environmental policy development, climate advocacy, water resources, and air and water quality.
Governor Jay Inslee appointed Maia as the director of the Washington State Department of Ecology in February of 2013. She was the longest serving Ecology director in Washington State history. While at Ecology, Maia managed a staff of 1,700 full-time employees and a biennial budget of $2.3 billion. She oversaw ten environmental programs and the Offices of the Columbia River and Chehalis Basin.
During Maia’s tenure as Ecology director she managed a broad range of environmental challenges and opportunities including forest and agricultural water quality practices, updating regulations for oil spill contingency planning and water quality human health criteria, and adopting Washington’s first in the nation carbon pollution cap and reduce program.
Maia was appointed by Governor Inslee as a member of the Southern Resident Orca Taskforce pursuant to Executive Order 18-02. She also served as the Sustainable Energy and Clean Environment Goal Council Lead for the Governor’s Results Washington Office from 2013-2018.
Before her appointment as director, Maia served as the deputy program manager (2010-2011) and then as the program manager (2011-2013) for Ecology’s Water Resources Program. In those roles she served as a member of Ecology’s Executive Management Team and managed a staff of 130 full-time employees and a biennial budget of $120 million. She sustainably managed the state’s freshwater resources, including allocation of water and protection of instream flows and senior water rights. She promoted positive environmental and economic outcomes through innovative water supply solutions for communities, farms and fish. During this time, Maia also oversaw Ecology’s Dam Safety Office and Well Construction and Licensing Program.
Prior to joining Ecology, Maia served as an assistant attorney general in the Ecology Division of the Washington State Attorney General’s Office for 15 years. During her tenure, Maia represented the Washington State Department of Ecology before state administrative tribunals including the Pollution Control Hearings Board, Shorelines Hearings Board and Growth Management Hearings Board. She also represented Ecology in Washington superior and appellate courts.
From 2001 to 2010, Maia served in the Water Section of the Ecology Division providing litigation support and client advice on water resources matters. During this time she served as Ecology’s lead attorney on federal economic stimulus matters and for the Water Quality Financial Assistance Program. Maia was also assigned as the lead attorney for Washington State’s Oil Spill Advisory Council.
Between 1994 and 2000, Maia worked in the Waste Section of the Ecology Division of the Attorney General’s Office. She represented the Department of Ecology on transactional negotiations and cases relating to toxic cleanup sites, voluntary cleanup actions, mining activities, air and water quality, and shoreline management.
Maia is a 1991 graduate of The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington. She received her law degree in 1994 from Arizona State University, College of Law (renamed the Sandra Day O’Connor School of Law in 2006). She was a recipient of a Dean’s Award upon law school graduation in recognition of her outstanding service to the College of Law.
Maia was named a Super Lawyers® Rising Star from 2004-2008 by Washington Law and Politics Magazine. In 2014, Maia received the Conservation Game Changer Award from Forterra for her work on the Teanaway River Valley Conservation and Management Project. That same year she also received the Sustainability Award from the Washington Refuse and Recycling Association. The Evergreen State College presented Maia with the Joseph Albert Dear Distinguished Alumni Award in 2015.
Maia lived in Eastern Washington during the early part of her childhood and has been a resident of Thurston County since 1985. Maia and Bill, her husband of 23 years, are raising their teenage daughter Talia in Tumwater, Washington. Maia enjoys exploring the coastline of the Pacific Northwest and traveling with her family.