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Nossaman LLP

Environment and Land Use

Climate Change/Sustainability and Renewable Energy

Nossaman advises industry organizations, public agencies, utility providers and developers on climate change legislation and related environmental policy positions, regulatory issues and advocacy, and compliance and permitting requirements.  We help clients both maximize opportunities presented by new climate change initiatives, and minimize challenges related to governmental regulations and corporate response to climate change and Green House Gas emissions reductions requirements that could potentially slow or stop projects and business operations.  From legislative and administrative agency advocacy, to policy briefings, to entitlements and litigation, we work with our clients on all legal aspects of climate change policy (including green house gas emissions), regulation, and compliance.

Policy Advocacy.  Nossaman provides strategic counseling on existing and proposed federal, state, and regional laws, regulations, policies, and guidelines, to establish greenhouse gas emission limitations and reductions, including those related to AB 32, the California Global Warming Solutions Act.  We provide advice regarding multi-disciplinary approaches to address, and client policy positions with respect to, enacted and proposed regulatory requirements, standard and alternative compliance mechanisms, compliance incentives, and actions necessary for regulatory compliance. 

We frequently represent clients in their interactions with government agencies directly involved in climate change and green house gas emissions reduction regulation.  We have prepared a number of deliverables for clients such as regulatory affairs strategies, comment letters, and agency hearing presentations.  We have also orchestrated stakeholder meetings with, and submissions to, agencies regarding proposed AB 32 green house gas emissions reduction regulations, scoping plan contents, cap and trade program requirements, and related proposals.  

Environmental Review, Compliance and Permitting.  Nossaman attorneys understand the interrelationships between climate change regulations and other environmental regulations and land use planning laws.  Our experience with wastewater, stormwater, CEQA, NEPA, endangered species, as well as air quality legislation and regulations, combined with our relationships with regulatory agencies, enables us to provide comprehensive approaches to climate change issues.  Nossaman lawyers have assisted clients by providing legal and regulatory analysis of SB 375, and in preparing regulatory affairs strategies, agency comment letters, and presentations to agencies and stakeholders regarding impacts of, and compliance with SB 375.  We consistently advise our public agency clients on SB 375 implementation and maintaining project consistency with multiple layers of CEQA documentation and adopted land use plans to maintain the option of federal funding. 

Nossaman is a leader in developing and adapting technical approaches to addressing climate change in state and federal environmental documents and consistency with adopted plans and policies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.  We advise clients on water supply assessment preparation and the required accounting for climate change pursuant to SB 221 and SB 610, and climate change accounting in environmental impact assessments conducted pursuant to NEPA and CEQA.  In addition, Nossaman provides litigation services to parties involved in court proceedings regarding the adequacy of climate change analysis in environmental documents, biological opinions, and related regulatory documents.

Renewable Energy Projects.  Nossaman also has extensive experience before the United States and California legislature, California Public Utilities Commission, California Energy Commission, and California Air Resources Board with regard to renewable energy projects, including significant work with respect to California's Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) and AB 32 GHG emission reduction plan.  In addition, Nossaman represents clients during rulemakings or board votes on stationary and non-stationary sources of carbon emissions and on issues specific to landfill, wastewater treatment, and biosolids disposal.  We are actively working to obtain American Recovery and Reinvestment Act stimulus funding for onsite renewable, energy efficiency, and biosolids conversion projects, and we work before the CPUC and CEC to obtain funding through existing state programs to offset costs of capital expenditures associated with renewable energy, energy efficiency, and water recycling programs. 

Nossaman is knowledgeable on the "cap and trade" system for carbon emissions and carbon credits including the trading system being implemented by the Climate Action Registry for the western United States, and the recommendations for a cap and trade system contained in the Energy Bill recently passed by the U.S. House of Representatives. 

Sustainability/Green Building.  Nossaman assists clients with energy efficiency strategic planning for their projects, including green building, LEED certification and sustainability features.  These elements may be referenced as project design features and/or mitigation measures in environmental documents to demonstrate reductions in energy use and related greenhouse gas emissions.  They may also be utilized, along with other factors, as part  of a plans and policies compliance assessment, including consistency with Climate Action Plans.

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