Rebecca Hays Barho focuses her practice on natural resource law, with particular emphasis on the Endangered Species Act (ESA), the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA), the Clean Water Act (CWA), the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), and various Texas environmental and land use laws.

Rebecca has worked on a wide range of matters throughout the Southwestern United States. She has been heavily involved in preparation and negotiation of numerous habitat conservation plans under the ESA, including several plans of programmatic scale, and represents a wide variety of clients, including local governments, utilities, real estate developers, and traditional and renewable energy companies.

She has worked with several Texas counties to develop and gain approval of county-wide habitat conservation plans. Rebecca has assisted public agencies, local governments, and private entities on issues related to the impending listing of species and potential implications on project delivery and implementation. She has worked with various governmental entities in navigating the ESA permitting process – under both Section 7 and Section 10 – for major, and sometimes controversial, infrastructure projects.

Additionally, Rebecca works to assist clients with respect to various state and local environmental approvals, including, for example, compliance with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Code, Texas Natural Resource Code, and Texas Administrative Code, as well as administrative proceedings and litigation involving federal and state environmental law.

Finally, Rebecca has assisted clients in navigating processes before the Texas Public Utilities Commission in connection with Section 39.158 of the Public Utility Regulatory Act, obtaining renewable energy credits, and other approvals relating to construction and operation of renewable energy projects in the State of Texas.



LCRA Transmission Services Corporation. Rebecca served as outside counsel in the development and approval of a system-wide habitat conservation plan covering activities associated with electric transmission and distribution for one of the state’s largest electric companies. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issued this nearly state-wide incidental take permit in 2019.

CPS Energy. Rebecca serves as outside counsel in the development of a habitat conservation plan covering electric and gas transmission and other related activities for the nation’s largest municipally owned energy company.

Renewable Energy. Rebecca frequently is involved in assisting renewable energy clients in preparing permitting opinions and transactional support in connection with federal, state, and local natural resources and environmental issues. She was also an early member of the legal team that advised the American Wind Energy Association in connection with the multi-state, multi-species Great Plains Wind Energy Habitat Conservation Plan.

Electric Utilities. Rebecca has assisted a number of clients in navigating compliance with federal environmental law in connection with construction of electric transmission lines, including the ESA section 7 and section 10 processes.

Oil and gas pipelines. Rebecca advises large U.S. oil and gas pipeline operators on a variety of issues, including, but not limited to, those relating to the ESA and NEPA, and state and local land use law.

Private development projects. Rebecca counsels a variety of private development clients on complying with a number of federal, state, and local natural resource laws.

Williamson County Conservation Foundation. For more than a decade, Rebecca has served as an advisor in connection with the Foundation’s implementation of the Williamson County, Texas Regional Habitat Conservation Plan (RHCP). Rebecca was also involved in shepherding the RHCP through the application and approval processes. The RHCP has been seen as a success story for both species preservation and infrastructure planning in one of the nation’s fastest growing counties.

Hays County Habitat Conservation Plan. Rebecca was heavily involved in the development, application, and approval process for the Hays County Habitat Conservation Plan, including the County’s compliance with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Code in connection therewith.

Williamson County Road and Highway Work. Rebecca has long served as outside environmental counsel to Williamson County, Texas in connection with the County’s infrastructure needs. This has involved over $500 million in critically needed roads and highway, many of which suffered complex environmental issues, including particularly under the ESA. A number of these projects were jointly pursed with TxDOT. Examples of Williamson County projects on which Rebecca worked include:

  • IH 35 Improvements at Inner Space Caverns. Provided advice regarding ESA compliance in connection with this critical highway improvement project. The project is currently under construction.
  • Regan Boulevard. Provided advice regarding all phases of environmental review for this multi-phase project involving a major arterial in Williamson County.
  • SH 195 Improvements. Provided advice regarding the complicated ESA compliance required for needed improvements to this roadway, which provides critical access to the Fort Hood military reservation.
  • O’Connor Boulevard. Provided advice regarding all environmental reviews for this short but very significant arterial. Work included assisting the client with complicated endangered species issues.

American Stewards of Liberty v. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Department (USFWS). Represented American Stewards of Liberty in a successful challenge of USFWS’s denial of a petition to list an endangered karst invertebrate species, in which a federal court held USFWS’s decision to be arbitrary, capricious, and not in accordance with the law.


Blog Posts

Speaking Engagements



Community & Professional

American Bar Association


Honors & Recognitions

Chosen for individual recognition for Environmental Law in Texas by Chambers USA, 2021-2022

Listed, The Legal 500 United States, Industry Focus - Energy - Renewable/Alternative Power, 2020-2022



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