Energy, Environment and Natural Resources REGULATORY AND GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS

Across the United States and around the globe, clients look to WilmerHale to tackle complex business issues involving science, law and policy.


Lawyers in the firm's Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Practice draw on substantive legal and technical experience, a keen understanding of relevant industries and the regulatory landscape, and insight from government service to achieve our clients' objectives. We represent entities across many industries, including oil and gas, renewable energy, gas and electric transmission and distribution, mining, recreation, aviation, defense, real estate, life sciences and pharmaceuticals, and financial services. 

We handle a range of legal issues involving regulatory, litigation, legislative and transactional challenges and support clients through the entire lifecycle of a matter, which includes handling highly charged congressional and agency investigations, crisis counseling and strategic response scenarios, and project development and related public processes and challenges. Our team includes a former US Secretary of the Interior, the former chair of a state Oil and Gas Commission, and other former high-ranking officials at the US Department of the Interior, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the US Department of Justice's Environment and Natural Resources Division, and the US Department of Defense. We harness that experience to develop creative solutions to seemingly intractable problems, with clients' long-term interests and cost effectiveness in mind.

Spielman, Andy

Andrew L. Spielman

Co-Partner-in-Charge, Denver Office

Chair, Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Practice

+1 720 274 3161 (t)

andy.spielman@wilmerhale.com

Connor, Michael

Michael Connor

Partner

+1 202 663 6063 (t)

michael.connor@wilmerhale.com

Gorelick, Jamie

Jamie Gorelick

Partner

+1 202 663 6500 (t)

jamie.gorelick@wilmerhale.com

Kirsch, Robert C.

Robert C. Kirsch

Partner

+1 617 526 6779 (t)

rob.kirsch@wilmerhale.com

Louis, Frédéric

Frédéric Louis

Partner

+32 2 285 49 53 (t)

frederic.louis@wilmerhale.com

Ross, Lester

Lester Ross

Partner

+86 10 5901 6588 (t)

lester.ross@wilmerhale.com

Salazar, Ken

Ken Salazar

Partner

+1 720 274 3131 (t)

Seyfarth, Martin

Martin Seyfarth

Partner

+49 30 20 22 64 30 (t)

martin.seyfarth@wilmerhale.com

Spielman, Andy

Andrew L. Spielman

Partner

+1 720 274 3161 (t)

andy.spielman@wilmerhale.com

Experience

Below are examples of our work in energy, environment and natural resources law.

  • Assisting clients in developing, enhancing and auditing corporate compliance programs, including providing guidance related to voluntary self-disclosures under applicable federal and state audit policies when appropriate.
  • Advising companies in closely regulated industries, including pharmaceuticals, on a variety of environmental permitting, compliance and enforcement issues in connection with research, manufacturing and laboratory operations, including the redevelopment of a 1.5-million-square-foot campus.
  • Advising renewable energy companies in the development, financing and operation of solar generation, onshore and offshore wind generation, and biofuel production facilities throughout the United States. We have secured federal, state and county land use approvals for nearly 4,000 megawatts of wind energy, including more than 1,000 megawatts in eastern Colorado.
  • Representing clients in connection with licensing and permitting to construct, operate, expand and decommission publicly controversial facilities in the nuclear energy, waste management, retail and recycling sectors.
  • Representing ski areas across the United States as public lands, National Environmental Policy Act, federal regulatory and land use counsel.
  • Representing seven national, state and local environmental and conservation groups as parties to the successful mediation and settlement of the 30-year-long Black Canyon of the Gunnison water rights litigation.
  • Representing several state entities on energy and environmental regulatory issues in connection with the proposed conversion of that state's existing generation fleet from oil-based fuels to natural gas, compliance with the EPA's mercury and air toxics standards, and the proposed construction of a liquefied natural gas import facility.
  • Defending a financial services company against electric market manipulation charges asserted by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
  • Representing clients in numerous Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act and analogous state-led enforcement proceedings throughout the United States, including the defense and prosecution of cost-recovery claims and designation as common counsel at numerous multiparty sites.
  • Representing clients in diverse matters relating to hydraulic fracturing, including monitoring and advocating in federal and state regulatory proceedings, defending personal injury and property damage claims, and evaluating risk associated with waste management and disposal. 

Publications & News

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October 18, 2017

Ninth Circuit Requires US to Pay Defense Contractor Cleanup Costs

On October 4, the Ninth Circuit reversed the District Court for the Southern District of California's decision to allocate to a government contractor 100 percent of cleanup costs for hazardous contamination at a manufacturing facility for failure to consider the involvement of the United States in contributing to that contamination, and remanded the case for additional proceedings.

September 26, 2017

Trump Administration Imposes Broad New Sanctions Against North Korea

Over the past several years, as North Korea has increased the capability of its nuclear and ballistic missile program, there has been a steady increase in sanctions pressure against North Korea by the United States and the broader international community. In response to the latest provocations from North Korea, late last week President Trump declared that it was time to “maximize pressure” on North Korea and signed a new Executive Order.

September 25, 2017

Court Holds Project Construction Constitutes “Mining” on Tribal Lands

Last week, the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit held that excavation work performed by a private company when installing wind turbines constituted “mining” under the federal regulation governing mineral development on tribal land. This is an interesting and noteworthy decision for anyone involved in developing energy projects (both renewable and conventional) on tribal lands.

September 18, 2017

Council on Environmental Quality Releases Initial List of Actions to Streamline NEPA Reviews

Last week, the Deputy Secretary of Interior, David Bernhardt, issued a memo directing the Department's bureaus to streamline environmental impact statements prepared pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act.

September 18, 2017

EU to Establish a Framework for Screening Foreign Direct Investment

On September 13, 2017, the European Commission issued a proposal for a Regulation establishing a framework for screening foreign direct investment in the European Union.

September 7, 2017

Interior Department Issues NEPA Streamlining Directive

Last week, the Deputy Secretary of Interior, David Bernhardt, issued a memo directing the Department's bureaus to streamline environmental impact statements prepared pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act.

September 5, 2017

Michael L. Connor, Former Interior Department Deputy Secretary, Joins WilmerHale

Mr. Connor, who was the second-highest ranking official at the Interior Department, will focus his practice on energy development, environmental compliance, natural resources and Native American law, augmenting the firm's robust work in these areas. He will be based in the Washington DC office and maintain a presence in our Denver office.

August 31, 2017

Law Week Colorado Interviews Andy Spielman on Energy and Natural Resource Law

Law Week Colorado Reporter Julia Cardi speaks with WilmerHale Partner Andy Spielman about the state and lucrative nature of energy and natural resource law practices and practitioners in Colorado.

August 28, 2017

DC Circuit Holds FERC Must Analyze Downstream Greenhouse Gas Emissions in Approving Interstate Gas Pipelines

Last week, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit issued an opinion in Sierra Club v. FERC, No. 16-1329 (D.C. Cir. Aug. 22, 2017), concluding that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, when analyzing the environmental effects of an interstate natural gas pipeline under the National Environmental Policy Act, is required to analyze the greenhouse gas emissions from power plants that burn the natural gas to be transported in the pipeline.

August 28, 2017

New Sanctions Prohibit US Firms From Wide Range of Dealings With Venezuelan Government and PdVSA

On August 24, the Trump Administration significantly expanded sanctions against the Government of Venezuela, including state-owned oil company Petroleos de Venezuela, S.A.

Recognition

  • U.S. News - Best Lawyers® included WilmerHale on its 2017 “Best Law Firms” list for environmental law nationally (tier 1) and in Boston (tier 1) and Colorado (tier 2); energy law in Boston (tier 1); and natural resources law in Colorado (tier 2).
  • The Legal 500 United States recommended WilmerHale in the area of energy regulatory: conventional power in the 2017 edition, and energy: regulatory in the 2015 and 2016 editions.
  • The BTI Industry Power Rankings 2017 recognized WilmerHale for its strong client relationships in the energy industry.