Represented a permanent lender in connection with senior term loan and tax credit bridge loan financing for several solar facilities located in North Carolina.
Energy, Environment & Utilities
Enhancing the vitality of businesses and communities through the strategic management of energy and compliance with ever-changing environmental regulations.
Today’s energy landscape is rapidly evolving both regionally and globally, exposing tremendous challenges and opportunities for those involved in this industry. Renewable and nonrenewable energy, public and private utilities, and the environment are vital to businesses and communities, and the critical importance of these resources adds legal complexity.
Working from the perspective of both buyers and sellers, Bricker & Eckler has a practice group dedicated specifically to energy law and regularly works through energy marketplace transactions as well as regulatory proceedings to help companies achieve their goals. With a particular focus on energy efficiency and renewable energy sources, we often match manufacturers with next generation energy applications and work to turn environmental liabilities into assets.
Bricker & Eckler is known to be at the forefront of the regulatory proceedings that are shaping the future of energy regulation. We were intimately involved with the creation of Ohio Senate Bill 221 and the implementation of the directives of SB 221 on behalf of numerous clients.
Our energy services prominently include the representation of clients before state and federal regulatory agencies, such as the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO), the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the Ohio Power Siting Board and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency. Additionally, our firm has extensive experience in the formation and operation of governmental aggregations as well as trade association aggregations.
Our environmental practice focuses on all aspects of environmental law, both state and federal, including counseling on regulatory compliance and litigation before Ohio’s Environmental Review Appeals Commission (ERAC) and state and federal courts.
Types of clients we represent:
- Real estate developers
- Municipalities and government agencies
- Solid waste companies
- Telecommunications companies
- Energy companies
Related Industries & Practices
As the nation’s energy resources broaden, the expansion of the nation’s energy infrastructure for the safe and reliable delivery of oil and gas via pipelines has become vital. Our attorneys keep up with this ever-changing area of law and work with clients to foresee and resolve regulatory, environmental and enforcement issues that arise during the construction, permitting, operation and maintenance of oil and gas pipelines.
We understand the importance of public policy to achieve success in the energy and utilities market. Continuously monitoring the political climate – and in certain cases driving legislation that supports our clients’ needs – we represent manufacturers, utilities, energy markets, merchant generators and renewable energy developers before various state regulatory commissions. Our clients look to us when they face specialized rule compliance, certification, permitting and siting, reporting compliance, regulatory requirement guidance, policy-making procedures and consumer issues.
The hallmark of Bricker & Eckler’s environmental law practice is our array of solid relationships with environmental regulators – from the Director of Ohio EPA to the staff permitting personnel in the field. We have an established reputation with agencies including the Ohio EPA and the U.S. EPA, government enforcement personnel such as the Ohio Attorney General’s Office and the U.S. Department of Justice, and our colleagues within the Ohio environmental bar. We work diligently to maintain a high level of credibility with these contacts and share these relationships with our clients, so they can achieve their goals when confronted with environmental challenges.
Having worked with the Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB) on several projects worth more than $2 billion collectively, including two of the largest wind farm projects approved in Ohio, Bricker & Eckler has a successful history of providing clients with a wide range of legal services related to the OPSB process. Our team provides precertification services to developers, facilitates meetings and negotiations with the OPSB staff, participates in public and evidentiary hearings, and counsels clients regarding post-certification conditions related to construction and operation.
Trusted by over twenty local exchange carriers on a wide range of matters, we assist clients in obtaining the proper authority to operate in Ohio and counsel clients on operational issues such as interconnection, pricing with incumbent carriers, complying with regulatory requirements and developing tariffs. We also advise and advocate on behalf of competitive local exchange carriers regarding issues stemming from the Telecommunications Act of 1996 and other issues relevant to the evolution of the competitive telecommunications markets and emerging technologies. Our attorneys regularly participate in industry coalitions and have played major roles in the joint efforts taken by these coalitions.
Bricker & Eckler has represented both public and private clients relating to a full range of regulatory issues and proceedings related to water and wastewater. Clients include regional water and sewer districts and municipalities, for which we have handled service area system acquisitions, expansions of service areas, certificate matters, rate cases, accounting cases and environmental enforcement cases. We have also defended against complaints brought by the regulatory agencies under the Clean Water Act and Ohio’s water pollution control statute.
Understanding both the regulatory structure established by Senate Bill 221 and the opportunities it creates, gives energy companies, manufacturers, hospitals, municipalities and other large energy consumers a key competitive advantage when they participate in the energy marketplace. Bricker & Eckler assists clients throughout the state and country to develop renewable energy projects that will most likely be successful – from financing to negotiation, construction, project development and more.
Obtained injunctive relief and/or declaratory judgment as Trial Counsel in 11 Ohio Courts of Common Pleas against landowners and organized opposition permitting our client access to property to conduct survey activities during the FERC pre-application process in conjunction with its construction of a $2.5 billion, 250-mile interstate natural gas pipeline originating in Ohio. The complexity of the issues in this matter required sophisticated organization, detailed planning and structure, and complex litigation management skills.
Obtained injunctive relief in federal court permitting our client to access landowners' property to conduct survey activities during the FERC pre-application process in conjunction with its construction of a $450 million, 75-mile natural gas pipeline.
Represented a contractor in a lawsuit against a public owner when payment was withheld after a component of the landfill project failed.
Obtained a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction on an expedited timeline authorizing a natural gas pipeline company to access property subject to acquisition by eminent domain to conduct tree clearing activities in advance of moratoriums imposed on such activities in order to protect migratory birds and endangered bat species; contempt orders against property owners refusing to honor the order permitting access for tree clearing activities; and immediate injunctive relief against landowners refusing to permit access to their property via eminent domain for construction of a 75-mile natural gas pipeline in eastern Ohio. Also, negotiated settlements with landowners who permitted access and complex, technical settlements with public utilities to resolve overlapping easement situations.
Successfully represented one of the nation's largest energy producers and transporters, Dominion East Ohio, in a case involving a natural gas supplier who placed restricted covenants on property deeds, forcing all owners and lessees to buy gas from it. The supplier sued Dominion when a commercial customer tried to enter into a new retail supply agreement with them. Courts struck down the covenant for lack of considerations and ruled the restriction as a violation of Ohio public policy.
Assisted in closing in excess of $500 million of debt and equity financing for the construction of an Ohio-based 800 MW electric generation plant on behalf of an energy company. This transaction involved dozens of parties including lenders, equity investors, land sellers, railroads, gas pipeline companies, governmental entities, a title insurer and others.
Represented a natural gas utility in the negotiation and acquisition of a rural natural gas pipeline system in eastern Ohio. The transaction involved the completion of due diligence and negotiation of a complicated asset purchase agreement and corresponding escrow agreement.
Represented a public owner in a lawsuit against a contractor when a $14 million surface water treatment plant was delivered over a year late and the contractor made claims for additional payment.
Formed and worked with the Southeastern Ohio Landowners Association (SEOLA) to combine the acreage of landowners in five southeastern counties in order to negotiate oil and gas leases with multiple energy companies. SEOLA blossomed into the longest-lasting and most successful landowners group in Ohio with a dozen deals closed with eight different oil and gas companies, involving approximately 70,000 acres and more than $300 million in upfront, per-acre bonus payments to SEOLA landowners.
Represented Oregon Clean Energy, LLC before the Ohio Power Siting Board for approval to build a 799 mega-watt natural gas-fired combined-cycle generating facility in Oregon, Ohio. We also provided extensive counsel on real estate, environmental and tax issues related to the facility and acted as Ohio counsel responsible for due diligence required for its $850 million financing.
Served as a consultant to a national oil and gas trade association that represents companies involved in all aspects of the oil and natural gas industry. Led legislation and policy initiatives and addressed taxation concerns and regulatory issues impacting the oil and gas industry in Ohio.
Provided representation to a bank trustee controlling nearly 4,000 acres of mineral rights in eastern Ohio. Beginning with the negotiation of an above-market-value oil and gas lease, which resulted in an initial payment to the trust of tens of millions of dollars, we provided related legal services, including the completion of title curative work, lease maintenance activities and the negotiation of ancillary agreements.
Assisted a college with various aspects of environmental regulation, including advanced energy and energy efficiency developments, power purchase agreements and leasing arrangements, in order to help them take full advantage of various financing opportunities.
Prepared water/wastewater bid package and contract documents.
Represented a city against a contractor’s claims of differing site conditions and defective plans on an upland reservoir that covered 100 acres.
Represented a county against a defunct sewer contractor and its surety, leading to a $3.5 million settlement because of defective and incomplete work.
Provided outside legal consulting services and prepared wastewater bid packages and contract documents for Ohio's three largest wastewater treatment providers.
Represented a city against an international manufacturer of large-scale wastewater treatment equipment when a tertiary filter did not meet performance expectations.
Successfully negotiated an incentive package for the developer of a natural gas-fired turbine electric generation facility, including the exemption of personal property taxes on all machinery and equipment.
Represented a landowner and litigated a quiet title action to a successful settlement with the operators of an abandoned oil and gas lease.
Negotiated build-to-suit leases, related easements, construction contracts and energy contracts on behalf of manufacturing facilities, factory distribution centers and warehouses, including one of the state's largest employers.
Negotiated and documented the relocation of easements with public utility companies in order to clear a site for a manufacturer's development.
Assisted several Fortune 500 companies in locating their operations centers, distribution centers and warehouses in Ohio. Projects involved rezonings, variances, environmental permittings and remediations, financings, and coordinating tax abatement and other economic incentives from state and local governmental agencies.
Served as trial counsel in Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) litigation representing a current owner against various potentially responsible parties.
Served as trial counsel to a major national and international client involving lawsuits attempting to prevent them from opening a commercial hazardous waste facility.
Bricker & Eckler is a leader in property assessed clean energy (PACE) Financing and its implementation in Ohio. PACE laws allows property owners to borrow money through governmental loans or bonds to pay for energy improvements to their properties. The resource center explains energy SIDs and PACE financing and demonstrates how these tools can help local governments, industries, businesses or homeowners how to achieve their green energy goals. For more information, please visit our Energy SIDs & PACE Financing Resource Center.
The enormous potential of shale in Ohio and its contiguous states is creating a regional oil and gas “gold rush." This resource center includes a comprehensive array of resources discussing the opportunities, challenges and complexities associated with development of the Utica and Marcellus Shale. For more information, please visit our Shale Resource Center.
U.S. Supreme Court decision may undercut recent PUCO decisions approving ratepayer-subsidized power purchase agreements for Ohio utilities
Renewable energy, energy efficiency and advanced energy provisions in AEP and FirstEnergy PPA decisions
Regulatory requirements for lead in public water systems
PUCO urged to consider aggregate and virtual net metering
Three PUCO dockets to watch in early 2016