Climate, Energy and Sustainability
The substantial legal, regulatory, and economic challenges that arise today in the climate and energy field impact the environment, capital markets, traditional ratemaking, cost-effectiveness and capital infrastructure.
McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP (MLA) attorneys in the Climate, Energy and Sustainability practice group combine their knowledge and talent with Luce Forward's climate and energy attorneys in providing an interdisciplinary approach in addressing the needs of clients in this cutting-edge sector.
Our attorneys help clients navigate the legal and regulatory intricacies associated with climate change, alternative energy sources and development, including wind, solar, fuel cells, biomass, geothermal and biofuels technologies.
Together, this team of attorneys, from virtually every practice area, provides a full spectrum of legal services to clients across the industry, from the sponsors, developers, power purchasers, and financing sources of renewable energy projects, to the manufacturers and providers of new sustainable technologies, to the companies that insure evolving categories of climate change risk.
This interdisciplinary practice comprises and is supported by lawyers and professionals with experience in environment, energy, real estate, tax, finance, corporate, strategic communications and crisis management, government affairs and government contracts. Our regional, national, and international experience positions us to support virtually every type of climate, energy and sustainability endeavor.
The experience of MLA’s professionals adds significant value to client advocacy and environmental strategies. We bring deep legal capacity with a blend of experienced government affairs advocacy, regulatory insight and climate related experience for our clients. Our team includes former EPA officials, Ambassadors, investors in carbon finance and renewable energy, Congressional representatives, State Governors, and recognized leaders of prominent nongovernmental organizations. This cross-disciplinary team boasts experience in the following core areas:
Facility Siting and Risk Management
The siting of energy facilities frequently requires the development of an early proactive multi-component strategy to obtain agreement among stakeholders such as non-governmental organizations, Native Americans, the scientific community, local ad hoc opposition groups, the financial community, and on occasion multilateral development banks and venture capital firms. From time to time, project development may be opposed on short notice by media-oriented groups. On such occasions, we work in a crisis management team with clients to counter and defuse such opposition.
MLA attorneys counsel clients in all sectors of the energy industry: electric and gas utility services, independent power production, power and energy services, alternative energy project developers, marketing and national trade associations, as well as major energy consumers. We help clients find their way through the tangle of today’s complex legal and regulatory environment, assisting them with sophisticated business, contractual, financing and regulatory issues.
We routinely assist clients in all aspects of the development process, from due diligence and land acquisition through financing, development, leasing and disposition, particularly in the development of energy plants and associated facilities. Through longstanding associations, our firm enjoys cooperative working relationships with local and state governmental authorities, which has helped MLA to establish a solid foundation of credibility and trust in the course of advancing our clients’ interests.
Investment in real estate requires a comprehensive understanding of the impact of environmental matters. Alternative energy projects are no exception. Our environmental attorneys have decades of experience in handling matters ranging from review of environmental audits to complex Superfund cleanup and litigation. We assist clients in preventing and resolving compliance problems at both the facility and corporate levels in all areas of federal, state, and local law.
Our tax attorneys provide comprehensive services in all areas of international, federal, and state taxation. MLA has experience addressing the tax ramifications of specific business transactions, particularly involving alternative energy facilities. Our tax attorneys handle tax matters that arise in the ordinary course of business such as the treatment of inventories, inter-company pricing issues, and the deductibility or capitalization of expenditures. We also represent clients before the Internal Revenue Service, state enforcement agencies, and the courts. MLA’s tax practice has been involved in many of the specific projects described here.
The firm counsels clients in all stages of development of an alternative energy facility, including the many contractual relationships necessary to support the facility and its corporate structure. We assist clients in developing agreements with contractors and subcontractors, state and local governments, private owners and developers, engineers, architects, financial institutions, suppliers, and customers. MLA attorneys have drafted and negotiated agreements specific to the alternative energy field, such as biofuel feedstock and offtake marketing agreements.
MLA attorneys have helped clients provide prospective lenders with proxies for more readily financeable agreements, including detailed market and engineering analyses. We counsel owners, developers, operators, and lending institutions in connection with equity and debt financing and financial service and credit support agreements. We also help clients to secure financing through venture capital, private equity, and hedge funds and have the wide-ranging construction lending experience required to appropriately manage alternative energy projects.
Increasingly sophisticated approaches are required to achieve client objectives in today’s complex alternative energy environment. MLA’s government affairs practice provides effective solutions and creates opportunities for clients seeking to impact government policy and decision-making or engage in business with governments on the federal, national, state, local, and international levels. Many of the attorneys and policy experts who practice in this area have held senior positions in the executive and legislative branches of federal, state, and local government.
Strong intellectual property protection is essential for success in today’s diverse and dynamic clean tech industry. As green innovation surges ahead and climate change law and policy rapidly evolve, clean tech companies increasingly turn to IP lawyers with considerable industry experience. Our attorneys have extraordinary depth and breadth of technical and legal experience with the full range of IP issues including U.S. and global IP litigation, patent and trademark prosecution, green branding, international trade disputes, and IP transactions and licensing. We draw from our experience in all forms of IP to guide you through the unique challenges faced throughout all phases of the clean tech company life cycle and provide your business with the full scope of protection it needs for its green innovations.
MLA follows developments within the Department of Defense carefully to ensure we meet the unique needs of our clients. As the military services have shifted their focus from housing to energy, we have developed an active and robust practice representing the private sector in pursuing opportunities for developing renewable energy projects on and/or near military bases and selling the resulting energy to the military services.
Our related experience includes:
- Providing insight and advice about climate litigation, NGO climate strategies, and related issues.
- Analyzing risks and opportunities presented by climate change for insurance industry clients and assisting them with mandatory climate risk disclosure matters.
- Representing the private sector in pursuing opportunities for developing renewable energy projects on and/or near military bases and selling the resulting energy to the military services.
- Developing government-wide strategies and written comments to EPA under the Clean Air Act regarding the role of various emissions from biofuels, not only for the climate impacts of carbon dioxide emissions, but also for other criteria pollutants.
- Co-founded and launched the Association of Climate Change Officers, the first organization dedicated to advancing the knowledge and skills of climate change professionals.
- March 7, 2013
- February 7, 2013
- Bicameral Task Force on Climate Change Requests Information from Major U.S. Companies on Policy Responses to Climate ChangeFebruary 1, 2013Representative Henry Waxman (D-CA) and Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), the co-chairs of the Bicameral Task Force on Climate Change, sent letters out to 300 leading U.S. companies and non-profit organizations soliciting views on climate change. Representative Waxman and Senator Whitehouse sent the letter to a broad cross-section of the business community, including large U.S. companies in the defense, oil and gas, retail, insurance, and manufacturing industries.
- 2013 Climate Change Policy and the United States: Beyond the Headline Issues
- D&O Coverage for Fracking-Related Losses
- Climate Change Litigation – Just Heating Up?
- Obama's Sly Attack on Climate Change
- MLA Real Estate Team Helps Tenaska Develop and Close Financing for Solar Power Plant
- Virginia Supreme Court Affirms Insurer Not Obligated to Defend AES in Climate Case