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Utilities


Spencer Fane Energy attorneys leverage vast knowledge of the industry to assist utility companies in providing efficient, cost-effective services to their customers while remaining in compliance with state and federal regulations.

Our team takes into account the big picture when working with clients in the electric utility industry. From point of generation to the end user, we help clients mitigate risk and maximize opportunities. Our attorneys’ experience in Energy and Environmental Law uniquely positions Spencer Fane to handle the full breadth of legal and business issues facing utility companies large and small.

We have substantial experience representing public and private utilities on matters involving permitting of major coal-fired power plants, compliance with hazardous waste laws, waste handling and disposal, NPDES permits, and enforcement actions. Spencer Fane attorneys work diligently with state and federal agencies to stay abreast of the ever-changing regulatory landscape affecting utilities, but when a dispute arises, we handle the necessary litigation in state and federal courts and defend clients in enforcement actions related to the myriad of regulations that apply to utility facilities.

As renewable energy becomes a larger aspect of utility portfolios, we also assist clients with utility-scale wind, solar, and waste-to-energy projects. In addition to permitting and compliance needs, we leverage the firm’s knowledge in all areas of business, including employee benefits, real estate, tax incentives, and more to benefit these operations.

Our attorneys support NSR and PSD construction and operating permit applications on behalf of manufacturers, utilities, refineries, and other emissions sources. We counsel clients on a wide range of matters under the Clean Air Act and state law equivalents, and our team defends administrative permit challenges. We guide clients on the broad scope of RMP compliance with extensive experience in enforcement defense and emergency response, along with voluntary audit and program implementation guidance, including coordination with PSM.

Representative Experience

  • Represented a major Midwestern utility in securing a prevention of significant deterioration (PSD) permit and related permits for one of the last new coal-fired power plants constructed in the United States. Significant activities included successful negotiation of all environmental permits necessary to construct the new electric generating unit (EGU) and retrofit the existing EGU at the same location, including a PSD permit, a § 10 Rivers and Harbors Act certification, a § 401 CWA certification, a § 404 CWA permit, and approval of the Environmental Impact Assessment.
  • Successfully defended an appeal by a local citizen group and national environmental advocacy group challenging a PSD permit to construct a coal-fired power plant. Worked closely with EPA Region 7 and the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) on the permit defense. We have represented several other major air emissions sources in this region as well.
  • Served as lead counsel for a Midwestern utility company in a major source retrofit and permit matter at a Kansas coal-fired power plant.
  • Lead counsel in successful appeal of October 1998 NOx SIP Call final rule on behalf of a consortium of six Western Missouri utilities. Although the court ruled in favor of the EPA as the rule applied to all but 17 of the 22 affected states, the court rejected the rule as it applied to Western Missouri and the six Western Missouri utilities we represented.