Supreme Court Reverses 9th Circuit on Logging Roads, Deferring to EPA on Its Industrial Stormwater Rule
Developments in Clean Water Law: A Seminar for Public Agency Attorneys & Managers
Wayne M. Whitlock
What do a new fracking operation, an industrial facility bordering a wetland, an emerging markets hedge fund, and a climate change lawsuit all have in common? The urgent need to make sense of the world's Byzantine tangle of water laws and regulations.
Pillsbury fields a world-class Water Resources team experienced in decoding these complexities and uncertainties for clients as diverse as traditional natural resources and energy companies, real estate developers, clean tech startups and investment funds.
Clients call on us for informed advice on everything from big-picture strategy and risk assessment to the most complex regulatory requirements and construction management issues—from the financing of a public-private partnership desalination plant to the implications of an endangered species listing of a specific species of salmon.
But water scarcity is not only about risks and rules—there are emerging investment opportunities tied to how the world produces, manages, protects and consumes water. Pillsbury advises the venture capital and private equity firms, investment banks and institutional investors that are funding tomorrow's technologies and infrastructure.
Understanding Water's Value Paradox
All human activity is tied to the use of water, yet in much of the world it is inexpensive or even free. But as rainfall patterns shift, the composition of the oceans alters, and new ways to quantify water's “embedded” costs evolve, long-held assumptions about the value and price of water are changing quickly.
An increasing number of companies and investors are grappling with how these changes will impact both long-term planning and near-term operations. With no single “water law” governing access to water, however, these projections are extremely complex and circumstantial.
For example, consider that the production and distribution of a single automobile consumes nearly 100,000 gallons of water—so how might water scarcity impact accounting disclosures? Contracts with suppliers? Insurance coverage? And what legal strategies might the producer use to secure alternative sources, increase its efficiency or make its production less water dependent?
Answering questions like these is an important part of how Pillsbury's Water Resources team helps clients prepare for an uncertain future.
Making Waves: How We Are Helping Clients Address Water Scarcity
Independent Water and Power Projects in the Middle East
For lenders and bidders in independent water and power projects (IWPPs), we have led more than 20 projects in the Middle East that utilized numerous desalination technologies, including reverse osmosis. Our recent projects for Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Authority and Abu Dhabi Sewerage Services Company were named Project Finance Magazine's "Middle East Wastewater Deal of the Year" and "Middle East Deal of the Year".
Hydropower Regulation and Finance for a Utility Client
For Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) , the sixth largest publicly owned utility in the U.S., we are advising on regulatory and project financing issues created by its development of two hydropower facilities using first-of-a-kind mechanical components and safety materials.
Wave Energy Licensing for a Technology Innovator
For a global energy company's in-house venture capital division , we are advising project development, licensing and contracting for a UK wave energy facility designed to use innovative proprietary technology.
Litigation and Public Policy for a Municipality
For the City of Rialto, California , Pillsbury secured multiple litigation and public policy victories related to the discovery of perchlorate contamination in its water supply, including litigation wins at the state and federal levels, an EPA Superfund National Priority designation and remuneration for cleanup costs.
Public Policy and FERC Representation for a Water-Use Management Startup
For ENBALA Power , an emerging growth company with smart grid technology that manages water use, we provide public policy advocacy and regulatory approval advice in the company's efforts to expand its business in the U.S.
Litigation and Crisis Management for a Deepwater Horizon Defendant
For MOEX Offshore , a former investor in the Deepwater Horizon well site, Pillsbury obtained a favorable settlement that limited the company's exposure to potential Clean Water Act liability.
Endangered Species and Wetlands Issues for a Forest Products Company
For a West Coast forest products company , we helped secure endangered species and water quality approvals for management of its 400,000-acre ownership within the range of coho, Chinook and steelhead salmon.
Clean Water Act and Endangered Species Act Issues for a Hydropower Developer
For a hydropower developer , we advised on Clean Water Act and Endangered Species Act challenges to company operations associated with East Coast salmon regulations.
Clean Water Act Enforcement and Habitat Conservation Planning for a Railroad
For a railroad , we advised on an EPA Clean Water Act enforcement action stemming from emergency repairs to flood-related damage in the Desert Southwest, and on developing a Habitat Conservation Plan to protect endangered species for the next 30 years.
Downstream Impact Issues for Energy and Mining Companies
For a leading energy company , we are helping secure the rights and access to water required for its oilfield operations on public lands with sensitive water-dependent resources nearby.