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    Co-Chair; Energy, Environment and Natural Resources



    Chair; Land, Environment and Natural Resources

    Climate Change

    Manatt’s Climate Change practice harnesses the firm’s traditional strengths in environmental regulation and energy project development. Our professionals apply a sophisticated understanding of the legislative and administrative arenas in turning a complex regulatory system to a business’s competitive advantage. Headquartered in California—home to a large percentage of North America's new green technology investments—the practice spans five broad disciplines.

    Interpreting and Influencing Climate Change Policy

    Manatt is recognized as a premier firm in government relations and policy development activities that are crucial to energy and natural resources policy development. We are advocates for clients in legislative and administrative hearings, rulemaking and regulatory proceedings, and legislative lobbying and analysis.

    The passage of California’s Global Warming Solutions Act placed the state at the forefront of the debate over how to mitigate global warming. Also significant is the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a substantial program mounted by various states in the Northeast. Many other states are poised to join these efforts, and the federal government may soon follow suit. In addition, climate regulation in the United States has created international opportunities for businesses operating across borders.

    Manatt attorneys possess a depth of knowledge gained as veterans in a wide array of critical industries and influential positions in the public sector. Our attorneys have served as senior executives, general counsel and board members at companies in such industries as energy, financial services, healthcare, manufacturing, real estate and construction, and numerous other key sectors. Our perspective as lawyers, government leaders and businesspeople reflects the dynamics now driving momentum for climate change policies and regulation. The credibility and experience of our attorneys have created an impressive network of working relationships that benefit our clients.

    Members of the Climate Change practice have:

    • Helped negotiate California’s Global Warming Solutions Act
    • Represented business interests and negotiated technology transfer provisions as part of the U.S. government’s delegation at the Sixth Conference of the Parties to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, The Hague, Netherlands
    • Worked with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and served as its congressional liaison
    • Served with the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and as energy counsel to the State Assembly’s Energy Cost and Availability Committee
    • Served as energy counsel to the County of Los Angeles
    • Held senior management positions with energy companies, including the nation’s largest natural gas distribution company and a major Latin American developer of power plants
    • Developed an effective network of contacts in the federal legislative and executive branches, drawing on firm members’ past experience as U.S. ambassadors and foreign service members, U.S. congressmen, senior counsel to legislative leaders, and senior staff members at the White House and for the heads of Cabinet-level departments

    Developing Green Projects and Counseling Businesses

    The range of energy technologies being deployed to reduce or eliminate greenhouse gas emissions is expanding rapidly, encompassing not only renewable sources like wind and solar power but also nuclear energy, hydroelectricity, clean coal technology, carbon sequestration and numerous other alternatives, including fuels such as cellulosic ethanol and biodiesel. Our clients seek our assistance not only with project siting but also to maximize their exploitation of complex energy- and utility-oriented regulations. Manatt has complementary experience in representing the energy industry and in siting sizable projects locally.

    Financing Projects; Procuring and Trading Credits

    Before a project can be sited, it must be financed. Manatt’s Climate Change professionals have experience identifying capital market investment sources and leveraging government and other incentives that make previously impossible projects feasible.

    Venture capitalists increasingly are targeting renewable energy projects, and Manatt’s substantial contacts within the venture capital community enable us to act as advisor to project developers requiring connections with venture and private equity funds. Our clients include such venture capital companies as Bedrock Capital, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Chanin Capital Partners, Communications Ventures, Gerard Klauer Mattison & Co., Sand Hill Capital and Labrador Ventures. We understand how our private equity and venture capital clients think and operate, and we work with them as business partners. In energy development transactions we help clients evaluate the risks and rewards, decide which concerns are most important, and complete the transaction to the maximum advantage of everyone involved.

    We actively monitor the near-term potential for opportunities from international, federal, state and regional programs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, working with clients to achieve emissions reduction goals. Because of our broad industry experience, we have the regulatory, tax and economic knowledge to help investors maximize their monetization of revenue streams through the use of:

    • Renewable energy credits
    • Renewable fuel standard credits
    • Emission reduction credits
    • Carbon equivalent credits/carbon credits
    • U.S. emissions reduction credits
    • Tax/nontax incentives

    Managing Risk and Promoting Adaptation

    Climate change poses varying degrees of risk to every business. Manatt’s traditional strengths in the banking and insurance sectors inform the practice’s approach to advising these industries regarding how to reduce risks. Where there is risk, there is also opportunity. By properly accounting for climate-induced risks, these businesses can safely finance or insure a wider variety of concerns, squeezing more out of increasingly competitive markets. Bankers and insurers may need to encourage progressive steps by their customers to adapt to climate change and mitigate these risks.

    Litigating Climate-Related Matters

    In an area as controversial and potentially costly as climate change, litigation will inevitably result. Manatt’s Litigation division stands ready to assist our Climate Change clients when the need arises.

    Attorneys & Professionals

    Allen-Niesen, Keith M. Los Angeles 310.312.4105
    Costantino, Jon Sacramento 916.552.2365
    Davidson, Jeffrey J. Washington, D.C. 202.585.6678
    Dombroski, Matthew A. New York 212.790.4556
    Huard, David L. San Francisco 415.291.7430
    Keen, Randall W. Los Angeles 310.312.4361
    Mannisto, Jeffrey A. Los Angeles 310.312.4212
    Moyer, Craig A. Los Angeles 310.312.4353
    Polentz, Michael Palo Alto 650.251.1440
    Riedel, Adam Washington, D.C. 202.585.6522
    Walsh, James S. Albany 518.431.6717
    Wolff, Ted New York 212.790.4575

    Climate Change

    Representative Matters

    • Represented real estate developments featuring green building design (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design, or LEED), storm water containment, small hydroelectric usage and a large-scale solar farm
    • Represented a large-scale commercial provider of solar product installation and grid sellback services in construction licensing agreements in 15 different states; corporate mergers and acquisitions and entity formation in Delaware and California; and energy research, including tariff analysis, in California and Hawaii
    • Represented a business in a project to create natural gas in a clean coal gasification technology to be used by a retrofitted coal-fired electric generation unit
    • Advised a business in its efforts to remove hydrogen and other gases from coal and petroleum coke for use in electric generation and for carbon dioxide sequestration to enhance oil recovery
    • Advised businesses on how to properly advertise and maximize the value of green claims
    • Advised on changes to corporate governance to detect and deal with impending risk from climate change regulation
    • Prepared affirmative public relations messages and required disclosures concerning efforts to protect the climate
    • Represented an entertainment industry association in conjunction with its solid waste packaging initiative to reduce the waste associated with compact disc packaging and to adopt environmentally sustainable packaging material
    • Successfully defended a well-known discount store in a high-profile litigation brought by a well-funded environmental group challenging the siting of a store in Riverside County, California. The environmental group advanced claims under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), claiming that the project did not adequately describe and mitigate impacts of the project on climate change. These claims were universally rejected by the Superior Court of Riverside County.
    • Advised multiple energy company clients on federal lawsuits alleging nuisance claims for climate change-related damages, including substantial analysis and pretrial motion work on political question, nonjusticiability and causation issues.
    • Defended challenges alleging upstream and downstream climate change impacts of issuing a permit for a petroleum coke facility.