Nixon Peabody Energy attorneys are experienced in assisting energy project developers in obtaining the necessary permits from federal, state, and local authorities to construct and operate energy projects.
Air permits: We have advised energy project developers with respect to Prevention of Significant Deterioration, Nonattainment New Source Review, Title V, Acid Rain, and state construction permits. Where necessary, we have successfully defended such permits before the Environmental Protection Agency’s Environmental Appeals Board and in federal and state courts.
Water use/discharge permits: Members of our Energy practice assist clients developing energy projects to obtain any necessary water withdrawal permits and National/State Pollution Discharge Elimination System permits for project wastewater and stormwater discharges. Often, our assistance involves working with the permitting agency on Clean Water Act section 31b(a) thermal issues and section 31b(b) intake structure issues.
Army Corps of Engineers permits: Where energy projects must place components in navigable waters or waters of the U.S. (including federal wetlands), we are experienced in assisting clients in obtaining the necessary Rivers and Harbors Act section 10 and Clean Water Act section 404 permits.
Endangered Species Act consultations: For energy projects that require a federal agency approval and have the potential to impact a protected species, we assist clients though the Endangered Species Act section 7 consultation process.
Environmental impact reviews: For energy projects subject to the National Environmental Quality Act or the several state analogs (e.g., the Massachusetts Environmental Protection Act, the New York State Environmental Quality Review Act, or the California Environmental Quality Act), we assist clients through the draft and final Environmental Impact Statement preparation and review process.
State siting board certifications: In those jurisdictions with state power plant siting statutes (e.g., California, Massachusetts, New York, and Rhode Island), Nixon Peabody energy lawyers are experienced in successfully guiding power plant projects through those siting proceedings.
Federal and state submerged land leases: For offshore and marine based energy projects that must obtain state and/or federal submerged land leases, our energy attorneys can assist clients to navigate the evolving regulatory process from the earliest steps (i.e., drafting and filing responses to Requests for Information or Interest) to securing permits for construction and operations.
Local approvals: In those instances where energy projects require municipal approvals (e.g., site plan reviews, special use permits, wetland orders of conditions, zoning variances), our Energy attorneys assist clients in obtaining those approvals. Nixon Peabody’s Energy attorneys assist clients in the pre-application process and preliminary design phases of energy projects to minimize potential issues. We then work with our clients to navigate the formal application and approval process and to resolve any appeals. In particular, we have established a successful track record:
- Analyzing local zoning ordinances and other municipal codes, including wetlands and board of health regulations
- Obtaining zoning approvals, permits, variances, site plan approvals, wetlands permits, and any other necessary local approvals
- Making presentations to local zoning and planning boards, conservation commissions, historic commissions, and boards of health
- Proposing amendments to zoning ordinances and/or zoning maps, as well as general municipal ordinances
- Appealing denials and litigating against appeals of permits and approvals
Energy regulatory approvals: Nixon Peabody energy attorneys are experienced in assisting energy project developers in obtaining state public utility commission certificates of public convenience and necessity and other approvals in those instances where the state commissions have jurisdiction over an energy projects.
Site Assemblage: Nixon Peabody’s Energy group includes experienced real estate attorneys who assist energy project developers in identifying and assembling, through acquisition, leasing, options, easements, and rights of way, appropriate real estate parcels, obtaining access rights for inspection, testing, and other due diligence, and identifying and securing all necessary local entitlements.