Cox, Castle & Nicholson has assisted developers in securing real estate rights and land use and environmental permits for thousands of megawatts of wind, solar, and geothermal energy generation projects throughout the western United States. We support renewable energy projects by providing the variety of legal services and expertise described below.
Land Use Permitting
We provide strategic and practical advice in obtain permits to construct and operate utility-scale energy projects in compliance with federal, state, and local land use laws, including the Federal Land Management and Protection Act (FLPMA), the California Planning and Zoning laws, local zoning and planning laws, the Williamson Act, and the Subdivision Map Act.
We work closely with agencies, consultants, and applicants to ensure that agency approvals of renewable energy projects, and utility network upgrades required to support them, comply with the procedural and substantive requirements of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA). This includes assistance in responding to public comments on the environmental impacts of renewable projects.
Endangered Species Regulation
We negotiate incidental take authorization for species protected under the federal and California Endangered Species Acts, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, and the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, and prepare Habitat Conservation Plans and Natural Community Conservation Plans.
We obtain permits from the Army Corps of Engineers, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, and the Regional Water Quality Control Boards under the Clean Water Act, California Fish and Game Code, and the Porter Cologne Act for work in streams, wetlands, and waters of the state.
Aviation And Radar Issues
We clear obstacles to development in areas where there are conflicts between military radar and wind development.
We secure permitting approvals related to species and agricultural mitigation requirements, and assist developers in satisfying mitigation requirements through obtaining mitigation lands, conservation easements, restrictive covenant agreements, and/or credits.
Leases And Easements
We represent developers in negotiating, entering into, and implementing renewable energy leases and easements and associated property rights and financing agreements for utility scale energy projects, including "enhanced use leases" on military bases and former military bases.
Shared Facilities Agreements
We structure and negotiate agreements for the sharing of transmission lines and other facilities by multiple energy developers.
We resolve complex mineral rights title issues that arise with respect to shared surface uses by and among severed mineral rights owners, oil gas and mineral lessees, and surface owners/lessees.
We render legal opinions to support acquisitions and project financing of renewable energy projects.
We negotiate project labor agreements and environmental settlement agreements with labor unions for the construction of renewable energy projects.
We defend against legal challenges to approvals of projects under CEQA, NEPA, and other laws in state and federal court and represent developers in property rights disputes with landowners, and with respect to eminent domain actions.