Areas of Practice

Across the spectrum of environmental law, we offer advice and representation with practical, results-oriented lawyering in the following practice areas...
Category: Areas of Practice

We work for energy clients on traditional power plants, renewable energy production and generation, and transmission lines. Our focus is on mastery and management of the federal, state, regional and local approvals and environmental reviews triggered by project proposals, and satisfaction of the public hearings and public comment opportunities.

The Massachusetts Energy Facility Siting Board (EFSB) supervises a mandatory economic and environmental review and evaluation of alternative sites or routes with some authority to override local obstacles. Special siting approval procedures apply to new or expanded electric generating facilities, transmission lines, and natural gas pipelines.

Lately this has grown to include companies in the green energy fields of wind power, solar power, water power, tidal power, geothermal and biomass, assisting them to negotiate the regulatory maze. Several retained us to defend against zoning, wetlands and health complaints and appeals, which we have done successfully.

Environmental legal issues arise in project development, government permits, and operations. We handle questions of applicable standards, compliance and enforcement, and legal liability. Issues surface in commercial dealings, contract negotiations, real estate transaction, due diligence, and brownfields redevelopment. Much of our related work includes real estate issues, site selection, property access, local zoning, state preemption, environmental justice, and energy policy.

We handle appeals and adjudicatory hearings, for example in the EFSB and Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) where issues of site suitability, water supply, wetland impacts, air pollution, greenhouse gases (GHG), project alternatives, environmental mitigation, and determinations of public need and convenience are hammered out. These proceedings can be complex and time consuming, with potentially costly results.

For example, we represented the international company sponsoring the first large land-based wind turbine project in Massachusetts, now constructed in the Berkshires, which survived seven years of objectors’ appeals within DEP. We were environmental litigation counsel for this project, approved in Superior Court and Supreme Judicial Court against all challenges under the state Wetlands Protection Act.

For several years we have represented the City of Brockton as special counsel concerning the Brockton Power Company, LLC proposal in extensive proceedings before the EFSB, DEP, Superior Court, and Supreme Judicial Court.

We successfully defended a commercial wind turbine operator against claims of nuisance, noise and other conditions, seeking money damages, before a Board of Health, Zoning Board of Appeals, and Superior Court. This involved multiple hearings, extensive depositions, expert consultants, noise measurements, and scrutiny of claimed health effects and property impacts.

Roof top solar and residential scale wind turbines, and small commercial projects, commonly run up against zoning restrictions, condominium rules, and recorded covenants. We explain the limits on these obstacles and how to surmount them. For small and medium scale utility lines and access roads, we typically counsel on right-of-way acquisition, purchase and sale agreements, lease negotiations, eminent domain, construction schedules, and compliance with wetlands, water and wildlife laws.

We counsel a non-profit organization working with Massachusetts municipalities in the paths of proposed natural gas pipelines in New England. This is on top of years of working for landowners and local regulators dealing with route selection, easements, rights-of-way, public hearings, property takings, and risks of leaks and explosions.

Our attorneys know how to team with your in-house executives, environmental managers, compliance officers, and planners, and with other consultants and professionals whom we can recommend to handle your energy siting needs.

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