Cox, Castle & Nicholson LLP Launches Renewable Energy And Climate Change Practice

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CCN Press Release
Cox Castle & Nicholson LLP announced today the launch of its Renewable Energy and Climate Change practice led by partners Preston Brooks, Annie Mudge and Michael Zischke. Each is an experienced practitioner in the environmental, energy, and land use practice fields, and bring a depth of expertise to this rapidly evolving area of law. 

"Renewable energy and climate change have quickly become complex areas of law and public policy affecting a wide array of client industries,” observed Brooks. “Many of our clients are or will be affected by the rapidly emerging legal issues surrounding energy and climate change law and policy. Companies must grapple with developing new policies to manage their regulatory and litigation risks, but the changing landscape also creates opportunities, and we are well suited to guide them through the process.” 

Cox Castle’s Renewable Energy and Climate Change Practice consists of a team of attorneys who counsel clients on the climate change aspects of energy and natural resources development, residential and commercial developments, industrial projects, energy use, renewable energy and energy infrastructure projects. The team’s expertise includes the California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”), National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”), litigation, regulatory compliance, design and implementation of carbon markets (cap and trade) and government agency relations. Many of the Renewable Energy and Climate Change attorneys actively participate in public and private climate change policy initiatives and write and speak on climate change issues. The team assists clients to meet the challenges and prepare for the opportunities presented them by regulatory and corporate responses to climate change. 

“Our renewable energy clients are at the forefront of a global movement to change the way we generate and use electricity,” says Mudge. “We help our clients build renewable projects from the ground up, from land assembly, to negotiation of access rights, to land use permitting and environmental compliance during operation. We offer advice about how to navigate the complex requirements of siting and permitting energy projects.” 

“Beyond regulatory challenges, we are involved in numerous cases seeking study of potential climate change impacts of new development projects,” stated Zischke. “We negotiated the first climate change settlement with the California Attorney General’s office, and we are handling numerous current cases involving climate change analyses and new development. Cox Castle is uniquely situated to address climate change issues affecting our clients.” 

The interdisciplinary practice team is focused in concentrated areas of specialization: Climate Change and EIR issues; Alternative Energy Sources; AB32 Implementation and Compliance; and Green Technology and Green Building. 

Brooks is a partner in the Los Angeles office and chairs the firm’s Environmental Group. He counsels property owners, companies, developers, lenders, municipalities, and pension funds on environmental risk management and renewable energy strategies. Brooks is a member of the California Solar Energy Industries Association, has written on green building and green investment funds, and is actively involved in climate change issues. 

Mudge is a partner in the San Francisco office. Her work includes assisting clients navigate through the entitlements and permitting process to garner the approval from local, state and federal boards to develop wind, geothermal, solar and biodiesel plants. Mudge is Co-Chair of the Siting and Permitting Committee of the California Wind Energy Association (CalWEA) and is, or has, assisted in permitting approximately 1000 Mega Watts of energy projects in both northern and southern California (1000 MW of energy is enough energy to power 300,000 homes). Her experience includes obtaining permits supported by EIRs/EISs or other environmental documents from planning commissions, city councils and boards of supervisors. She is the author of numerous articles on land use and environmental topics and speaks frequently on land use topics. 

Zischke is a partner in the San Francisco office, where his practice focuses on the California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”) and land use litigation and compliance. He is co-author of Practice Under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEB, 2d ed., 2008) and he represented San Bernardino County in the first climate change CEQA lawsuit and the resulting settlement with the Attorney General’s office. He is currently advising a number of clients on the analysis of climate change in EIRs, for projects ranging from long range development plans to specific projects, including renewable energy research. He is actively involved in climate change issues and has years of experience counseling clients on related issues.

Cox, Castle & Nicholson LLP, a California law firm with offices in Los Angeles, Orange County and San Francisco, has one of the largest concentrations of attorneys specializing in representing clients in the real estate, construction, and financial services industries. For more than 50 years, the firm has represented public and privately held businesses, major financial institutions, pension funds, industry entrepreneurs and public agencies in acquiring, developing, redeveloping, financing, leasing, managing and disposing of real estate assets.

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