On May 22, 2020, the Iowa Utilities Board opened a rulemaking proceeding that will change 20 years of precedent on siting of wind farms and, for the first time, establish rules aimed directly at siting solar projects and energy storage projects.
Bret focuses on legal and policy strategy and implementation including regulatory work, litigation, government relations, transactions and legal management for energy, communication, and technology clients throughout the U.S.
He represents traditional power providers, wind energy producers, industrial electric customers, pipeline companies, data centers, competitive local exchange carriers, wireless service providers, cable companies, VoIP providers, internet service providers, communications backbone and wholesale services providers, telecommunications equipment providers, and other stakeholders before state utilities commissions, state and federal courts, and state and local boards, commissions and councils. Bret also works with software licensing issues and general civil litigation and appeals. He has numerous published court decisions before the Iowa Supreme Court, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Iowa, the U.S. District Court for Nebraska, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.
Learn More About Energy Law:
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What kind of work before government agencies do you do out of the Iowa office?
- Counsels on several aspects of wind farm development including assisting with local permitting, regulatory and compliance planning, transmission planning and regulatory due diligence for the sale of wind developments.
- Successfully represented several pipeline companies before the Southern District of Iowa and Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals in determination that certain state pipeline land regulations could not exceed federal standards. See Northern Natural Gas Co. et al. v. Munns, 377 F.3d 817 (8th Cir. 2004).
- Represented nuclear power plant owner in regulatory approval of renewal of power purchase agreement with local Investor Owned Utility.
- Represented both independent power producers and large energy customers (including materials manufacturers, agricultural and biofuels processors and data centers) in various cases before the Iowa Utilities Board involving rates, ratemaking principles and other matters.
- Handled many novel issues for new entrants, including helping obtain the first Iowa certification for a cable VoIP service in Iowa, the first Voice-over-DSL service in Iowa, and the first wireless designation as an eligible carrier for universal service funds in Iowa.
- Successfully represented communications clients in regulatory litigation on issues from access charge disputes (Kalona Co-op. Telephone Co. v. Iowa Utilities Bd., 824 N.W.2d 561 (Table, Text in WESTLAW), 2012 WL 5356056 (Iowa Ct. App., October 31, 2012)), terms of interconnection (McLeodUSA Telecomms. Servs. v. Iowa Utils. Bd., 550 F. Supp.2d 1006 (S.D. Iowa 2008); claims of unauthorized customer charges (Evercom Systems Inc. v. Iowa Utils. Bd., 805 N.W.2d 758 (Iowa 2011) and call blocking (East Buchanan Tel. Coop. v. Iowa Utils. Bd., 738 N.W.2d 636 (Iowa 2007), among others.
- Extensive experience with telecommunications land use issues including wireless facility zoning disputes and cable franchise and multiple dwelling unit issues.
- Appeared on behalf of communications clients before state or federal courts, or state and local government entities in Iowa, Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Texas and the District of Columbia.
Articles & Presentations
FirstNet Issues RFP for Deployment of Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network, Creating Significant Contract Opportunities for All Telecommunications Companies
February 17, 2016
Last month, the federal First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) issued its long-awaited Request for Proposals (RFP) for the deployment of the Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network, a wireless network designed to facilitate communication and crisis response by federal, regional, state, local and tribal first responders and other public safety personnel. The network will cover all 50 states, as well as the territories and the District of Columbia, and is funded via an initial Congressional outlay of $7 billion.
PUBLICATIONS & PRESENTATIONS
- Panelist, “Aligning Market Outcomes with State Policy Goals and Consumer Preferences,” Law Seminar International’s 10th Annual Renewable Energy in the Midwest Conference, October 12, 2018
- “The Agency Did What? – Tips and Considerations for Judicial Review of Agency Action,” Iowa State Bar Association Government Practice Section Seminar, Des Moines, Iowa, March 2014
- “Diversity Initiatives and the Utilities Ecosystem: A Private Sector View of Diversity,” Mid-American Regulatory Conference (MARC) 2013, Little Rock, Arkansas, June 2013
- “Telecom Issues in the Midwest and Their Relationship to Section XV of the Connect America Fund NPRM,” Chicago Bar Association – Energy & Telecommunications Committee, Chicago, Illinois, May 2011
Honors & Education
- University of Iowa College of Law, J.D., 1994, with high distinction
- Iowa State University, B.S., Economics , B.A., Political Science, 1988
- Iowa, 1994
- U.S. District Court, Northern and Southern Districts of Iowa, 1996
- U.S. Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit, 1996
- The Best Lawyers in America, Communications Law, 2007-present
- The Best Lawyers in America, Energy Regulatory Law, 2018-present
- Best Lawyers “Lawyer of the Year” in Des Moines Communications Law, 2013 and 2018
- Iowa/Great Plains Super Lawyers, Super Lawyer, 2007-present
- Martindale-Hubbell, AV Preeminent® Peer Review Rated
- Clerk, the Honorable Harold Vietor, United States District Court for the Southern District of Iowa, 1994-1996
- Member, Federal Communications Bar Association
- Member, Iowa State Bar Association
- Member, Iowa State Bar Association, Federal Practice Committee
- Section Council, Government Practice Section, Iowa State Bar Association
- Board member, Technology Association of Iowa, 2006-2007
- Board member, Young Women’s Resource Center, 2003-2006