Overview

Brooke Wahlberg is a natural resources lawyer focused on powering the economy while maintaining compliance with environmental laws. She is go-to counsel for matters involving the Endangered Species Act (ESA), the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA), the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act (BGEPA), Clean Water Act (CWA) the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), and the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA).

Brooke counsels some of the nation’s largest electric generation and transmission companies, wind, solar, and storage energy companies, pipeline companies, real estate developers, governmental entities, species conservation bankers, investment companies, and mining companies. She works with them on policy-level and project-specific issues arising under ESA, BGEPA, MBTA, CWA, and NEPA. She currently assists in the development of dozens of Habitat Conservation Plans and BGEPA permits, and several other ESA, BGEPA and CWA compliance efforts. These efforts span across several industries (wind energy, solar energy, electric transmission and distribution, water infrastructure, timber management) and occur within every region of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Brooke assists wind, solar, storage, pipeline, and transmission line project developers with federal, state, and local environmental and land use permitting strategies. Brooke also advises clients on policy-level issues related to the ESA, BGEPA, MBTA, and NEPA and often represents her clients in Washington D.C. on related policy issues. She has worked extensively on mitigation transactions and negotiated and developed the first programmatic species conservation bank in the country on behalf of the lesser prairie chicken.

Brooke advises investors and power purchasers on federal wildlife and other environmental issues for potential renewable acquisitions. She also serves as consulting counsel for natural resource litigation. She has advised clients on issues related to compliance with state and local environmental and land use regulations. She has experience in CERCLA, RCRA, environmental due diligence in commercial and industrial real estate transactions, and land development projects.

Brooke speaks on ESA, MBTA, BGEPA, and CWA issues in many different industry forums across the nation. She has spoken at the American Wind Energy Association’s annual environmental and siting conference since 2014. From 2014-2017, she has served as vice chair of the Endangered Species Committee newsletter for the ABA Section of Environment, Energy and Resources. Brooke co-chairs CLE International's Annual MBTA & BGEPA Conference. Since 2018, Brooke has served on the Planning Committee of the University of Texas Renewable Energy Law Conference. She regularly guest lectures at the University of Texas at Austin School of Law on federal wildlife risk and renewable energy development.

Experience

Experience

The following projects are representative examples of Brooke's experience successfully obtaining and defending environmental approvals for a large number of projects across various industries across the country.

FEDERAL WILDLIFE POLICY

  • Leader of the legal team leading a growing national coalition of utilities and renewable energy companies. The coalition focuses on federal wildlife laws and policies affecting construction and operation of member projects across the United States. Counsel's role includes policy-level and project-specific issues impacting member companies.

RENEWABLE ENERGY

  • Provides ongoing counsel to several wind energy companies in several states with ESA and compliance approaches, including project-specific incidental take permits (ITPs) under both ESA and BGEPA.
  • Regularly evaluates potential wind energy and solar energy project acquisitions with regard to federal wildlife issues and state and local environmental issues on behalf of national utilities and private investors.
  • Prepares permitting opinions and transactional support for renewable energy developers on federal, state, and local natural resources and environmental issues.
  • Assisted in amending an ITP/HCP for a wind energy facility in Hawaii.
  • Provides counsel to numerous renewable energy developers on issues related to ESA, BGEPA, MBTA, CWA, NHPA, and NEPA compliance and permitting approaches.
  • Provides counsel to numerous wind, solar, and storage developers on issues related to Texas state and local compliance and permitting approaches.
  • Assisted renewable energy developer in following requisite PUCT and ERCOT processes and provided permitting opinion in support of same.
  • A member of the legal team that advised the American Wind Energy Association on two multi-state, multi-species HCPs: the Great Plains Wind Energy HCP and the Midwest Wind Energy Multi-Species HCP.

LINEAR INFRASTRUCTURE

  • Member of a subconsultant team advising the lead civil engineer on ESA compliance issues associated with the construction of a causeway in the vicinity of state and federal wildlife areas.
  • Counsel to a public improvement district responsible for a San Antonio area roadway extension on various ESA permitting and compliance issues involving karst invertebrates.
  • Counseled transmission line developer on CWA, Rivers and Harbors Act, and ESA compliance strategy involving listed bat species.
  • Advises municipal utilities on ESA compliance issues related to system-wide infrastructure, development of system-wide HCPs.
  • Assists transmission companies and public utilities with permitting and compliance strategies related to ESA, BGEPA, and CWA compliance issues in several states.
  • Assists private pipelines companies on ESA, MBTA, CWA, and NEPA compliance strategies on billion dollar pipelines across multiple states.

MITIGATION AND CONSERVATION BANKING

  • Developed the first multi-state, programmatic conservation bank in the country.
  • Assisted in completed and ongoing species banking efforts throughout Texas and other states including for the American burying beetle, black-capped vireo, and golden-cheeked warbler.
  • Assisted in developing preliminary strategies for the development of a golden eagle conservation bank.
  • Assists BGEPA permittees with developing mitigation agreements.
  • Assists permittees with evaluating and participating in conservation banking and other mitigation options.

REAL ESTATE DEVELOPMENT

  • Handled complex CWA and ESA permitting and ongoing compliance issues for a marina community on the Texas Gulf coast.
  • Advised developers of master-planned developments in central Texas on ESA compliance approaches.
  • Assisted developer in supporting its ESA and CWA compliance strategy for a controversial commercial project.

MINING

  • Assisting in the development of an HCP for a quarry in central Texas.
  • Provided counsel with regards to the Section 7 consultation process for a mine in Arizona.

TEXAS NATURAL RESOURCE AND ENVIRONMENTAL LAWS

  • Advises clients in several industries on issues related to Texas natural resource and environmental laws, including mussel relocation, marl, sand, gravel, shell, and mudshell permitting, and voluntary clean-up program participation.
  • Provides state and local environmental support for real estate transactions, including advice on Phase I ESAs, stormwater permitting, and spill response.

SPECIES EXPERIENCE

  • Brooke has specific experience with almost all of the listed and rare species encountered in Texas, the Southwest, Midwest, and the Central Plains. These include karst invertebrates, bat species, the golden-cheeked warbler, the black capped vireo, salamander and other aquifer species, the ocelot, the whooping crane, piping plovers, lesser prairie chicken, eagles, jaguar, freshwater mussels, various reptiles, and various plants and cacti. Additionally, Ms. Wahlberg has extensive experience with listed bats, listed avian species, and eagles throughout the United States.

Insights

Publications

Blog Posts

Speaking Engagements

Multimedia

Organizations

Community & Professional

American Bar Association, Section on Environment, Energy and Resources

Austin Bar Association

Honors

Honors & Recognitions

Chosen for individual recognition for Environment in Texas by Chambers USA, 2019

Selected as an Environmental Rising Star by Law360, 2019

Received the Texas Lawyer's Professional Excellence Award: On the Rise, 2019

Education

Admissions

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