Energy, Environment and Natural Resources REGULATORY AND GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS

WilmerHale's Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Practice draws on its substantive legal and technical background, knowledge of industry, and insight from government service to achieve our clients' objectives in a range of regulatory, litigation, legislative and transactional matters arising at the intersection of law, business, science, and public policy. Attorneys in our practice have served in senior positions in the US Department of the Interior, US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), US Justice Department, and Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Partner Ken Salazar has served as Secretary of the Interior, United States Senator for Colorado and Colorado Attorney General. Partner Tom Strickland served as Chief of Staff and Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks for the US Department of the Interior. Partner Andy Spielman currently serves as Vice Chair of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission and Chair of the Colorado Regional Air Quality Council.

We represent clients in a broad spectrum of industries—including oil and gas exploration, production, and transportation, renewable energy, gas and electric transmission and distribution, mining, recreation, aviation, defense, life sciences and pharmaceuticals, and financial services. Our practice focuses on addressing the development, counseling, transactional and litigation needs of that diverse range of clients, including highly charged Congressional and agency investigations, crisis counseling, and strategic response. We have one of the nation's foremost public lands practices, and work seamlessly across the firm's regulatory, transactional and litigation practices to represent clients in developing many of the most significant and complex projects on federal and private lands, both onshore and offshore.

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

Gorelick, Jamie

Jamie Gorelick

Partner

+1 202 663 6500 (t)

jamie.gorelick@wilmerhale.com

Kalpin, Mark C.

Mark C. Kalpin

Partner

+1 617 526 6176 (t)

mark.kalpin@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)

ken.salazar@wilmerhale.com

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

Some examples of our work include:

  • Advising a global energy company in enforcement proceedings and federal agency and Congressional investigations stemming from a major accident and resulting oil spill.
  • Representing a major US oil and gas producer as national coordinating counsel on Clean Water Act regulatory and enforcement matters.
  • Assisting energy companies in successfully resolving suspension and debarment proceedings at the Department of the Interior and US EPA.
  • Assisting clients in developing, enhancing, and auditing corporate compliance programs, and when advantageous, guiding clients in voluntary self-disclosure under applicable federal and state audit policies.
  • Providing advice and counsel to a multi-national pharmaceutical company on a wide variety of aspects of environmental permitting, compliance and enforcement in connection with its research, manufacturing and laboratory operations.
  • Advising a multi-national pharmaceutical company on remediation of a proposed R&D headquarters location, zoning variances and environmental permits, and hazardous material handling and disposal permits, resulting in the successful development of a 1.5 million-square-foot campus.
  • Representing specialty chemical manufacturing companies in Toxic Substances Control Act enforcement and regulatory compliance matters, including design and implementation of TSCA auditing programs under EPA consent agreements.
  • Securing federal, state and county land use approvals for nearly 4,000 megawatts of wind energy, including more than 1,000 megawatts in Eastern Colorado.
  • Advising renewable energy companies in the development, financing and operation of solar generation, wind generation and biofuel production facilities throughout the United States.
  • Representing clients in connection with the licensing and permitting to construct, operate or expand publicly controversial facilities including in the nuclear energy, waste management, retail and recycling sectors.
  • Representing ski areas nationwide as public lands, NEPA, forest service and land use counsel.
  • Representing major Independent Power Producers (IPPs) with ensuring compliance with federal and state wildlife laws.
  • Successfully challenging in federal district and appellate court, based on constitutional Supremacy Clause grounds, and striking down a state law imposing a heightened cleanup standard on a single contaminated site.
  • On a pro bono basis, representing seven national, state and Western Slope 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 the state's existing generation fleet from oil-based fuels to natural gas fuels, compliance with EPA's MATS standards, and the proposed construction of an LNG import facility.
  • Defending a financial services company against electric market manipulation charges asserted by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
  • Assisting national commercial retailers, national financial companies and municipalities in connection with the purchase of electricity and natural gas from competitive suppliers on a single facility and regional basis, and in the direct purchase of energy supplies from regional wholesale electric markets.
  • Representing clients in numerous CERCLA and analogous state-lead enforcement proceedings throughout the United States, including defense and prosecution of cost recovery claims and designation as common counsel at various multi-party sites.
  • Representing a petroleum marketing company in bankruptcy proceedings and negotiating resolution of issues relating to closure of underground storage tanks.
  • Advising major oil and gas companies on risk allocation and negotiated environmental terms and conditions in billion-dollar asset-based transactions.
  • Representing several clients in diverse matters relating to hydraulic fracturing, including: monitoring of and advocacy in federal and state regulatory proceedings; defense of personal injury/property damage claim; and evaluation of risk associated with waste management and disposal. 

Publications & News

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February 4, 2016

Energy Sector Alert Series: Risks and Opportunities in Distressed Oil and Gas

Recent volatility in the energy markets has put increasing stress on the capital structures of companies operating in those markets. When commodity prices were higher between 2010 and 2014, many of those companies took on significant amounts of debt to pursue new opportunities.

January 28, 2016

Energy Sector Alert Series: A Legislative Outlook

Over the next eight weeks, we will provide a broad look at current and emerging issues facing the energy sector in a series of alerts. In this series, attorneys from across the firm will discuss issues ranging from environmental disclosures and risk management in business transactions to insolvency, compliance programs and intellectual property.

January 15, 2016

Department of the Interior Announces Comprehensive Review of Federal Coal Program

On January 15, Secretary Sally Jewell announced that the Department of the Interior will launch a comprehensive review to identify and evaluate potential reforms to the federal coal program. 

December 22, 2015

FERC Investigations and Enforcement Remain Focused on Market Manipulation

The Office of Enforcement (OE) of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) recently released its annual report for the past fiscal year. The report provides FY2015 statistics on the investigative and enforcement activities conducted by the OE's four divisions—Investigations, Audits and Accounting, Energy Market Oversight, and Analytics and Surveillance.

December 11, 2015

Service Proposes to Overhaul 50-Year-Old Regulations for Oil and Gas Development in Wildlife Refuges

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) yesterday announced a proposed update to its regulations for oil and gas development in wildlife refuges. The proposed rule, which will be published in the Federal Register today, covers any development of mineral resources owned by private parties, states or tribal entities where the surface estate is administered by the Service as part of the National Wildlife Refuge System.

December 7, 2015

Energy, Infrastructure Permitting Improvement Legislation Signed by the President

The Highway Authorization Act signed into law by President Obama last Friday, December 4, includes an important set of reforms for streamlining the federal permitting process for infrastructure projects in a broad range of sectors, including renewable and conventional energy production, electricity transmission, pipelines, manufacturing, surface transportation, aviation, ports and waterways, and water resource projects.

November 23, 2015

BIA Finalizes Reforms for Obtaining Rights of Way on Indian Lands

On November 19, the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) published a final rule that makes sweeping changes to the process for obtaining rights of way for proposed oil and gas pipelines, electric transmission lines, railroads, roads and other infrastructure projects on Indian lands. This is the first update of BIA’s right-of-way regulations in more than 30 years. The revised rule aims to expedite and clarify the BIA right-of-way process for project developers, as well as to support the interests of Tribes and individual Indian landowners. The rule update was announced earlier this month at the 7th Annual White House Tribal Nations Conference. The rule is scheduled to go into effect on December 21, 2015.

November 12, 2015

Interior Announces Blueprint for Renewable Energy and Transmission Development on Public Lands in the California Desert

Earlier this week, the Department of the Interior announced the federal component of the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP), an innovative landscape-scale plan that identifies areas best suited for utility-scale renewable energy development on more than 10.8 million acres of public lands in the California Desert.

November 11, 2015

FERC Extends Comment Period on Proposal to Expand Reporting Requirements for Power Market Participants

On September 17, 2015, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) proposed a rule requiring wholesale electricity buyers and sellers (participants in markets run by Regional Transmission Organizations (RTOs) or Independent System Operators (ISOs)) to file information on each of their “Connected Entities”—even if those connected entities do not participate in the ISO/RTO markets. This is a potentially significant step in FERC’s efforts to expand its investigative and enforcement capabilities.

November 3, 2015

Administration Announces New Mitigation Policies

This afternoon, the Administration issued two policies intended to encourage private investment in natural resource conservation and to facilitate application of the mitigation hierarchy—avoiding, minimizing and compensating project impacts.