Industries & Practices

Energy

Immediate access to construct interstate gas pipeline

Served as appellate counsel in an appeal from a federal district court order granting a natural gas pipeline company immediate access to property in order to construct the pipeline. This was a case of first impression for the Sixth Circuit, as it considered whether to adopt the Sage approach. The Sage decision is the seminal case that outlines the process for obtaining injunctive relief to begin construction of a FERC-approved pipeline while the underlying condemnation/valuation case proceeds.

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OFCC K-12 Project on State University Campus

Served as counsel for a recently consolidated school district for a $42 million K-12 OFCC (state) co-funded project on the campus of a state university, with the local share bonds sold to the USDA. 

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Energy generation facility counsel

Represent Apex Power Group before the Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB) for the proposed Guernsey Power Station, a 1650-megawatt, natural gas-fired energy generation facility. In 2017, the project received approval to construct and operate the facility. Our team continues to provide substantial regulatory, legislative, tax, permitting and real estate counsel. In addition, we resolved issues involving interconnection with the local transmission company and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

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Wind energy certification and project modification

Represent Hog Creek Wind Farm before the Ohio Power Siting Board. The project successfully received a certificate to construct and operate a wind farm of up to 66 megawatts. We recently assisted in amending the OPSB certificate to incorporate new turbine technology and advised the project in due diligence to support its sale to a major U.S. energy company.

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Oil and gas transactions and disputes

Provide Ohio-specific legal counsel to Gulfport Energy Corporation on a variety of transactional and litigation matters primarily involving title issues and oil and gas lease disputes, including several appeals. 

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OPSB certificate for Ohio wind project

Represented 6011 Greenwich Windpark before the Ohio Power Siting Board. In August 2014, the OPSB granted the project a certificate to construct and operate a 60-megawatt wind project in Huron County, Ohio. The firm continued to represent the project against a landowner opposition group, culminating in a successful dismissal of the challenge at the Ohio Supreme Court. 

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Landfill clean-up litigation

Serve as litigation counsel for the Dayton Power & Light Company relating to a clean-up of an old landfill pursuant to the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA). Clean-up at the site could exceed $100 million, involves dozens of parties and has a long procedural history.

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Cleveland-area solar farm development

Represented Cuyahoga County in closing a $10 million financing transaction for the development of a solar farm on former landfill property near Cleveland. The solar farm covers 17 acres and consists of over 35,000 panels – the largest in the state. Likewise, the firm negotiated several related agreements, including a 30-year power purchase agreement. The project was completed in summer 2018 and was named Solar Builder’s “2018 Gold Project of the Year.”  

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Judgment and injunctive orders

Obtained judgment and injunctive orders granting immediate property access for a pipeline company to survey and construct $2 billion interstate natural gas project.

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Negotiation of a $1 billion electricity supply contract

The Northeast Ohio Public Energy Council (NOPEC) is the largest public retail energy aggregation in Ohio, serving about 900,000 electric and gas customers across 14 counties. NOPEC’s electric supplier abruptly notified NOPEC that it was terminating its contract, thus leaving NOPEC’s nearly half-million electric customers to return to utility service at higher rates. Bricker attorneys sprang into action to prevent NOPEC's customers from paying these increased rates. The team negotiated a new complex electricity supply contract with NOPEC's replacement supplier (worth approximately $1 billion); and, within 10 days, our client had signed a new three-year contract. With our assistance, NOPEC obtained two waivers from the PUCO to meet the expedited enrollment timeline. Meanwhile, within two weeks, our litigation team settled a TRO and injunction case involving the original supplier, which resulted in a multi-million-dollar settlement payment to NOPEC. In addition, our energy litigation team dissolved an ex parte TRO issued against NOPEC to a competitor regarding the NOPEC customer enrollment process. We also obtained a complete dismissal of the competitor’s lawsuit on the basis that the PUCO had exclusive jurisdiction over the matter.  

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Construction and operation of an 800 MW natural gas-fired combined-cycle power plant

Provided comprehensive legal counsel to Clean Energy Future regarding the construction and operation of an 800 MW natural gas-fired combined-cycle power plant in northeast Ohio (Lordstown, Mahoning County, Ohio). We successfully represented the client through all phases of the Ohio Power Siting Board, including public hearings, OPSB staff investigations and an adjudicatory hearing, which resulted in the issuance of a certificate from the OPSB. In addition to the regulatory work, the firm served as Ohio counsel responsible for assisting with a closing in excess of $890 million of debt and equity financing for the construction of the project. This transaction involved extensive counsel on real estate, environmental and tax issues, including: real estate due diligence; title curative work; property acquisition and easement negotiations; document preparation; and work with lenders, equity investors, oil and gas companies, and the title insurer on title commitment and title insurance policy matters. Bricker continues to serve as Ohio counsel on the project, providing advice on all state regulatory, environmental and real estate matters.

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API government affairs and lobbying activities

Represent API-Ohio, a state affiliate office of the American Petroleum Institute in governmental affairs and lobbying activities before the Ohio General Assembly, the Governor’s Office and related statewide executive agencies. The firm has participated in high-profile and successful lobbying efforts regarding proposed legislative changes to the oil and gas severance tax and other oil and gas statutes in Ohio. In addition, we played an active role in numerous rule-makings before the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, including the horizontal well-site construction rules and emergency/incident notification rules. The firm has also been involved in negotiating various rule packages before Ohio EPA, the Ohio Department of Commerce and the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio relating to incident notifications, air emissions from compressors and other facilities, and call before you dig procedures.

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