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Overview

From legislative and administrative advocacy, to policy briefings, entitlements and litigation, we work with clients on all legal aspects of climate change and resiliency policy, regulation and compliance.

We advise industry organizations, public agencies, utility providers and developers on climate change and resiliency matters.  We provide counsel on legislation and related environmental policy positions, regulatory issues and advocacy as well as compliance and permitting requirements.  We help clients both maximize opportunities presented by new climate change and resiliency initiatives and minimize challenges related to governmental regulations that could potentially slow or stop projects and business operations.

POLICY ADVOCACY

Catastrophic wildfires, sea level rise, and climate change threaten California’s reliable and affordable, gas, electricity, and water supplies, and local and state efforts intended to address risk to public safety and property will impose new restrictions and heightened requirements for land use planning and development.  Climate change has exacerbated wildfire risk; 15 of the 20 most destructive wildfires in the state’s history occurred in the last 20 years.  Governor Newsom’s April 2019 strike force report on climate change and wildfire risk, sets out the resiliency efforts the state must take to address the effects of climate change.  “Resiliency” in project planning and development requires Nossaman’s uniquely integrated legal and policy specialties, including but not limited to our Environment & Land Use, Eminent Domain, Water, Insurance, Infrastructure, and Government Relations groups.

We provide strategic counseling on existing and proposed federal, state and regional laws, regulations, policies, and guidelines.  We understand the issues surrounding the establishment of greenhouse gas emission limitations and reductions, including those related to AB 32, the California Global Warming Solutions Act.  We provide advice regarding multi-disciplinary approaches to address enacted and proposed regulatory requirements.  We also offer guidance on standard and alternative compliance mechanisms, compliance incentives, and actions necessary for regulatory compliance.

We frequently represent clients in their interactions with government agencies directly involved in climate change and greenhouse gas emissions reduction regulation.  We have prepared a number of deliverables for clients such as regulatory affairs strategies, comment letters and agency hearing presentations.  We also have orchestrated stakeholder meetings with, and submissions to, agencies regarding proposed AB 32 greenhouse gas emissions reduction regulations, scoping plan contents, cap and trade program requirements, and related proposals.  

ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEW, COMPLIANCE & PERMITTING

We understand the interrelationships between climate change regulations and other environmental regulations and land use planning laws.  Our experience with wastewater, stormwater, CEQA, NEPA and endangered species, as well as air quality legislation and regulations provides us with a unique perspective.  When we combine that experience with our relationships with regulatory agencies, we are able to provide comprehensive approaches to climate change issues.  We have provided legal and regulatory analysis of SB 375, and in preparing regulatory affairs strategies, agency comment letters, and presentations to agencies and stakeholders regarding impacts of, and compliance with SB 375.  We consistently advise public agency clients on SB 375 implementation and maintaining project consistency with multiple layers of CEQA documentation and adopted land use plans to maintain the option of federal funding.

We are a leader in developing and adapting technical approaches to addressing climate change in state and federal environmental documents and consistency with adopted plans and policies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.  We advise clients on water supply assessment preparation and the required accounting for climate change pursuant to SB 221 and SB 610, and climate change accounting in environmental impact assessments conducted pursuant to NEPA and CEQA.  In addition, we provide litigation services to parties involved in court proceedings regarding the adequacy of climate change analysis in environmental documents, biological opinions and related regulatory documents.

We are knowledgeable on the "cap and trade" system for carbon emissions and carbon credits.  We are familiar with the trading system being implemented by the Climate Action Registry for the western U.S., and the recommendations for a cap and trade system contained in the Energy Bill recently passed by the U.S. House of Representatives.

SUSTAINABILITY & GREEN BUILDING

We assist clients with energy efficiency strategic planning for their projects, including green building, LEED certification and sustainability features.  These elements may be referenced as project design features and/or mitigation measures in environmental documents to demonstrate reductions in energy use and related greenhouse gas emissions.  They may also be utilized, along with other factors, as part of a plans and policies compliance assessment, including consistency with Climate Action Plans.

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