Enough about us. Here are some of the ways that LOCE can help you or your organization.
Perhaps you are state utility commission, municipality, trade association or new energy technology developer that seeks to:
Stay abreast of the potential effects of constantly changing energy laws or FERC policies under development in Washington D.C.;
Comment on or challenge a proposed utility merger, an open access transmission tariff (OATT), a regional transmission organization’s (RTO) market rules or transmission planning initiatives, participate in rule-makings, intervene in a FERC proceeding or obtain representation in a FERC hearing;
Recover a refund of overcharges or seek relief from a FERC or agency imposed civil penalty or obtain assistance with compliance related matters.
LOCE can help through individualized monitoring of energy developments on the Hill and before FERC and state commissions. The firm can also represent you or your organization in paper and administrative hearings before FERC and state commissions, and seek review of PUC or FERC actions in federal courts. Our firm has experience in litigated administrative proceedings before FERC and other federal administrative agencies and has assisted clients in achieving their desired results either through favorable FERC decisions or negotiated resolutions in Section 205 and 206 proceedings and other FERC matters.
On the compliance side, we have successfully appealed and vacated more than $300,000 in FERC civil penalties imposed against private companies (one of just a handful of law firms to accomplish this result) and recovered close to $400,000 in refunds for overcharges and excess fees. We have also prevailed in several important discovery matters before state utility commissions forcing disclosure of utility outsourcing agreements.
Perhaps you are a developer of conventional hydroelectric project or a new energy technology, such as wave, tidal, ocean thermal, offshore wind or smart grid devices that seeks:
To secure a competitive, early mover advantage in the market;
Assistance in negotiating a power purchase agreement with an electric utility company or regional transmission operator or to execute a joint development agreement or strategic alliance with a municipality, utility or other entity for development of an energy project or new energy technology;
A license, permit or other federal or state authorizations to site a projects;
Funding from public sources for a new technology.
LOCE has secured FERC permits and licenses for conventional hydroelectric and hydrokinetic projects, and engineered a unique strategy that lead to issuance of the first (and only) marine renewables FERC license in the United States. A former FERC attorney in the hydroelectric licensing division, Ms. Elefant advised developers, staff and the public on hydroelectric licensing issues and in private practice has secured several licenses, relicenses and exemptions for clients. Ms. Elefant still retains ties to FERC and has cultivated a strong working relationships with federal and state agencies involved in the permitting process. LOCE also works closely with an experienced Washington D.C. lobbying and policy group which has procured millions of dollars of federal earmarks and appropriations for clients. Ms. Elefant has also spoken at national conferences on categories of funding for new technologies (see here and can assist companies in preparation of business plans and submissions for funding.
For other ways that we can assist marine renewables developers and municipalities and coastal communities with an interest in these technologies, visit our Renewables Offshore.com blog.
Perhaps you are a landowner, county or municipality, conservation group or business with property interests that
Are the subject of a condemnation action in federal court;
Is adjacent to a proposed hydroelectric or marine renewables projects
Have been damaged by, or may potentially be impacted by a proposed gas pipeline, transmission line, liquified natural gas (LNG) facility or other utility sponsored development.
We have experience and proven success in representing landowners, municipalities and conservation groups in siting proceedings. Sometimes, municipalities may be impacted by a proposed new license or have an interest in obtaining low cost project power, and we can assist in negotiating favorable outcomes and ensuring that their interests are protected in the licensing or relicensing process. We have also advised communities the municipal takeover provisions in the Federal Power Act.
With regard to eminent domain siting issues, we are one of the only firms in the nation to have successfully defeated an action for eminent domain arising out of a gas pipeline certificate issued under the Natural Gas Act and to prevail against a utility proposing to construct a large marine in an already congested cove in violation of the terms of the project’s shoreline management plan. Typically, landowners and businesses lose these cases because local counsel, while well versed in eminent domain practice under state law, lack familiarity with the obscurities of the federal process. LOCE possesses the expertise and skills needed to achieve a positive outcome.
A final note: LOCE is highly selective with regard to the federal eminent domain and siting matters that we accept. Many times, we are approached too late in the process to offer assistance, and we believe it is only fair to decline representation. In addition, because we do believe that upgrading our nation’s energy grid, particularly to facilitate delivery of renewable power is a priority, we tend to decline cases where parties challenge projects which have minor, isolated impacts but serve the overall public interest.
Other reasons to consider using our law firm:
If you are a large firm on a tight budget, an inhouse counsel at an energy company or a law firm without any energy regulatory expertise, consider using our firm to handle routine FERC filings or to refer smaller regulatory, appellate or energy litigation matters which are unprofitable for your firm to handle or where your firm is conflicted out. Or, consider using our firm to handle overflow projects on a per diem basis, to serve as local counsel on matter within our area of expertise or for consultation and advice on appellate matters (e.g., advice on preservation of issues at trial level, identification of issues for pursuit of appeal, case evaluation of potential appeals, review and critique of briefs and assistance with oral argument preparation).
If you are an investor or an overseas renewables company interested in doing business in the United States, consider our firm for market analysis, white papers, strategic planning and assistance with creating a corporate presence in the United States to take advantage of state and federal funding opportunities.
If you are an individual or business, consider our firm for defense in regulatory enforcement actions or civil cases involving government overreaching, civil rights or constitutional violations, employment discrimination or energy or environmental related disputes in the jurisdictions where we practice (New York, District of Columbia, Maryland). We’ve handled Section 1983 matters against municipalities, police authorities and public bodies in federal court.