Siting & Permitting

We use our industry knowledge and “on the ground” approach to assist our clients proactively in identifying and obtaining the necessary permits with livable conditions from federal, state and local authorities.

Our approach

With the flourish of projects being developed around the country and the ever-evolving regulatory landscape, clients need partners who can guide them from the very earliest steps of project development.

We partner with clients during all phases of siting and energy permitting, industrial and municipal facilities in the U.S. and abroad. Our relationships with federal, state and local authorities give our clients the edge—from obtaining permits and guiding them through site proceedings to navigating the application and approval process.

We draft environmental assessments, visual and environmental impact statements, scoping and other documents for developers and other project sponsors. We provide counseling on compliance and strategy and represent them before public and administrative proceedings and assure compliance with regulations governing air, water, solid and hazardous waste, wetlands and drinking water.

Our people know the dynamics and players unique to this industry.

The projects we represent are often the first to negotiate successfully through a new permitting regime. Whether an electric power facility, hazardous waste incinerator, steel mill, solid waste landfill, sports arena, airport or conference center, our team is there every step of the way.

We take a strategic approach to:

  • Air, water use/discharge and Army Corps of Engineers permits
  • Endangered Species Act consultations
  • Environmental impact reviews
  • State siting board certifications
  • Federal and state submerged land leases
  • Local land use and zoning approvals
  • Energy regulatory approvals
  • Site assemblage

We work with

  • Developers
  • Manufacturers
  • Universities
  • Electric, gas and water utilities
  • Energy companies
  • Hospitals and medical centers
  • Waste management companies

Recent experience

  • Represented Seneca Meadows, Inc., New York State’s largest landfill, in the successful environmental permitting of a major landfill expansion in Central New York that involved DEC, EPA, the Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the municipality. Four state permits, four local permits, a federal permit, and an Endangered Species Act consultation were required in order for the expansion to be constructed. The state and federal wetland permits were especially controversial because of the significant wetland acreage impacted by the 181-acre landfill expansion.
  • Represented Swedish Steel in securing the permits to construct a steel mill in Michigan, its first ever steel mill outside Sweden.
  • Represented the developer of a proposed major interstate gas pipeline between Connecticut and New York in its applications for permits from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and in a successful appeal to the Secretary of Commerce of the State of Connecticut’s denial of a coastal zone management consistency concurrence.
  • Leading an investor-owned utility through one of the very first power plant demolition processes. We are representing the client in the planning, permitting, environmental review, investigation, commercial RFP and technical specification development process for the planned demolition of two former coal-fired power plants situated in urban and suburban areas.
  • Represented New York State Electric & Gas Corporation in the assessment of the permitting feasibility of a compressed air energy storage facility and power plant to support upstate New York wind farms.
  • Represented a client in devising and implementing a strategy by which they applied to amend a power plant siting certificate that it had been granted in 2002 to build an enhanced and improved new combined cycle combustion turbine unit in the Hudson Valley. For regulatory timing purposes, it was critical to file the application to amend by a date certain. Working on a very tightly compressed schedule, we led the application preparation process and ensured that the deadline was met.
  • Represented the developer of a high-voltage interstate generator lead in obtaining the necessary U.S. Army Corps of Engineers permits to construct the cable within the bed of the Hudson River.
  • Negotiated an administrative consent order and Clean Air Act Permit with MassDEP for food manufacturer.
  • Represented Cornell University in negotiating renewal and modification of Clean Water Act discharge permit.
  • Represented the City of Albany, NY, and twelve cooperating municipalities in permitting for new landfill, preparation of long-term solid waste management plan (GEIS), preparation of supplemental EIS for the landfill permit renewal and three subsequent expansions and development of preservation and management plan for the Albany Pine Bush.
  • Led the Article X certification and PSD permitting for the Athens Generating Project, an 1100 MW gas-fired merchant power plant in New York’s Hudson Valley.
  • Represented Covanta Energy in obtaining the California Energy Commission certification and PSD permit (and successful defense of the PSD permit before EPA’s Environmental Appeals Board) for the Three Mountain Power Project, a 500 MW gas-fired merchant power plant in Northern California.
  • Represented Seneca Meadows, Inc. as lead counsel in seeking a mining permit in defeating 18 of 19 issues proposed for adjudication by environmental groups. Successfully handled three-day adjudicatory hearing on PM 2.5 emissions, the one issue that was tried.
  • Provided environmental permitting advice to the public power entities participating in the 1600 MW Prairie State coal-fired electric generating project in Illinois and represented them in the Environmental Appeals Board proceedings brought by project opponents.

How should discharges to groundwater be regulated?

Rochester Business Journal | November 22, 2018

Rochester Corporate partner Jeremy Wolk wrote this contributed column on recent cases involving the Clean Water Act and discharges to groundwater, drawing from an alert by San Francisco partner Alison Torbitt, Albany associate Dana Stanton and senior environmental health engineer Libby Ford, all of the Affordable Housing & Real Estate group.

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