The South Dakota Supreme Court recently issued an opinion that substantially clarifies what constitutes a disqualifying conflict of interest under South Dakota law in the context of local zoning.
Energy Regulation & Permitting
Fredrikson & Byron’s experienced energy team navigates federal, state and local regulatory matters from initial strategy development through permitting and litigation.
Michael Cummings and Christina Brusven co-draft Legal Pathways to Deep Decarbonization Model Law, Biogas Facility Permitting
“Our in-depth knowledge of the regulatory and political environments throughout the Midwest and our broad industry experience inform our strategies through every stage of the process.”
What We Do
We guide clients through regulatory, permitting, environmental, land use and governmental affairs issues associated with wind, solar, hydroelectric, oil, natural gas, pipeline, transmission and other utility projects. Our strong Midwest regional platform and cross-disciplinary approach provide clients with the depth and breadth of services needed to gain approvals for large energy projects.
Our team utilizes a cross-disciplinary approach to manage the complex regulatory environments facing clients who desire to build and operate energy infrastructure:
We regularly perform the lead counsel role on large energy-infrastructure projects, including high voltage transmission lines; refined products, natural gas liquids and crude oil pipelines; and traditional and renewable generation facilities.
We represent independent power producers, electric utilities, independent transmission companies, telecommunications companies, and inter- and intrastate pipelines owners and shippers in local, state and federal proceedings, including rulemaking, certificate of need, site permit, route permit, electric franchise, certificate of site compatibility and prudency review proceedings. We regularly appear before state public utility and regulatory commissions throughout the Upper Midwest.
We assist clients in obtaining federal, state and local permits and approvals. We have extensive experience in obtaining environmental permits, including wetland permits from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, state and local agencies; negotiating Bird and Bat Conservation Strategies, Eagle Conservation Plans, Habitat Conservation Plans, Conference Opinions, and Biological Opinions with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; obtaining licenses to cross and special use permits from state wildlife agencies and securing storm water permits from state agencies. We also regularly help clients identify and obtain local permits and approvals, including variances, conditional use permits, and development and road agreements.
Land Acquisition and Eminent Domain
Fredrikson regularly leads complex land rights and land use matters involving energy infrastructure projects. Our work in this area includes assisting with title review, easement acquisition and condemnation of rights-of-way for wind and solar facilities, high voltage transmission lines and natural gas and oil pipeline projects, property tax appeals, franchise issues, special assessment appeals, and zoning and land use disputes.
We serve as Land Rights Counsel for major linear right-of-way projects, both pipelines and transmission lines, where we work closely with our clients to ensure that right-of-way is acquired in a timely and efficient matter. We understand the process and relevant law, have close relationships with appraisers and other experts, and have experienced trial lawyers who take a practical approach to valuation issues. We understand how we fit into the larger project from a schedule and budget perspective.
We advise public utilities, independent power producers and renewable energy companies on all aspects of regulatory compliance, how generators connect to the grid, how costs are allocated, and related transmission and interconnection service issues.
Our relationships with Upper Midwest legislators, executive branch and key energy agencies are deep. Large energy projects often require implementing comprehensive political strategies, and our strong relationships and political experience help clients avoid political minefields and move their projects forward.
We have extensive experience in state and federal courts. For example, we represent clients in appeals from administrative cases, real estate litigation, utility right-of-way disputes and construction litigation.
Fredrikson & Byron has represented clients on generation, transmission and other energy infrastructure projects for more than 30 years. Our attorneys have been at the forefront of some of the most important energy infrastructure projects in the Upper Midwest, including:
- CapX 2020 Our attorneys serve as permitting and Land Rights Counsel for the CapX2020 transmission projects in Minnesota, North Dakota, Wisconsin, and South Dakota. The CapX2020 project includes the construction of three 345 kV transmission lines, and a 230 kV transmission line, totally over 600 miles of new transmission lines
- Wind Farms We have assisted clients in the development, permitting and negotiating of land rights for more than 1,500 MW of large wind energy projects throughout the Upper Midwest.
- Pipelines Fredrikson provides regulatory, permitting and government relations services in North Dakota and Minnesota for two proposed crude oil pipelines totaling approximately 1,000 miles of new or replaced pipeline in the U.S.
- Dakota Access Pipeline Fredrikson provides regulatory and land rights services in North Dakota, South Dakota and Iowa for an approximates 1,130 mile 30-inch diameter pipeline that will connect the Bakken and Three Forks production areas in North Dakota to Patoka, Illinois.
- Aurora Distributed Solar Project Fredrikson represents Aurora Distributed Solar, LLC on a 100MW distributed solar facility in Minnesota that is comprised of 16 separate facilities, between 2 to 10 MW. We represented Aurora through a contested case competitive acquisition process, power purchase agreement and cost recovery approvals, and the site permit process.
- Solar Developments Fredrikson represents the development of 24 separate, 1 MW community solar gardens in Minnesota.
- MVP Portfolio Fredrikson represents ITC Midwest LLC as permitting counsel in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa for 345 kV transmission line facilities approved as part of the Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc.’s MVP Portfolio. The projects, MVPs 3, 4, 5 and 7, are designed to enhance reliability, provide economic benefits and support the integration of renewables.
- Electric utilities
- Wind energy developers
- Solar energy developers
- Independent power producers
- Independent transmission companies
- Pipeline companies
- Oil and gas production companies
- State government entities
News & Articles
January 15, 2021
Of particular note for the energy industry, the Corps reissued and modified NWP 51 (land-based renewable energy generation facilities) and has split NWP 12 into separate permits.
May 26, 2020
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.
May 8, 2019
Fredrikson & Byron attorneys Bret A. Dublinske and Brant M. Leonard captured victories in two separate cases before the Iowa Supreme Court on May 3, 2019.