On Monday, Feb. 23., the Washington State Court of Appeals ruled in Whatcom County’s favor in Whatcom County  v. Eric Hirst, et al., Case No. 70796-5-I, a Growth Management Act case challenging the adequacy of the County’s rural measures protecting water resources.  The Court reversed the Growth Management Hearings Board, which had previously concluded that the County’s measures did not comply with the GMA.  The Court’s decision provides helpful guidance to counties regarding the adoption of rural measures and re-affirms the need for a cooperative approach between counties and the Department of Ecology when addressing water availability issues. Van Ness Feldman represents the County in this appeal.  The case addresses the County's efforts to... READ MORE
At the beginning of each year, Van Ness Feldman professionals provide their policy outlook for the coming year in the major areas of our practice: energy, the environment, natural resources, land use, and government relations. This year’s Policy Outlook focuses on likely 2015 developments in Congress and the Executive Branch. We hope that you find this document to be helpful and encourage you to contact one of our professionals if you are interested in additional information on any issue covered in the Policy Outlook. OVERVIEW OF 2015 Following the large number of Republican victories in last November’s election, there are several factors to consider in evaluating public policy opportunities and challenges in Washington this year. The first is... READ MORE
As EPA works to finalize its proposed limits on carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from existing power plants (due out this summer), the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) will be holding a series of technical conferences aimed at evaluating the electric reliability, wholesale market, and energy infrastructure implications of the Clean Power Plan.  This includes a February 19 conference at FERC headquarters and additional regional conferences in Denver, Washington D.C., and St. Louis on February 25, March 11, and March 31 respectively. The FERC technical conferences will serve as an opportunity to discuss the implications of the proposed structure of the Clean Power Plan and of various compliance approaches.  Each conference will include... READ MORE
Van Ness Feldman's Jay Derr will be speaking in a panel entitled, "Transportation of Oil By Rail:  The Challenge of Developing Public Policy to Address Random Events with Potentially Catastrophic Consequences."  Mr. Derr will be providing a "developer perspective on the potential impact of revised federal, state, and local oil train regulations on proposed export projects for the Pacific Northwest."   READ MORE
The significance of pipeline safety has grown dramatically in recent years, primarily as a result of several high-profile incidents and the development of the nation’s shale plays. The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) is the federal agency responsible for ensuring the safety of gas and hazardous liquid pipelines and liquefied natural gas (LNG) facilities. PHMSA also administers a grant program that allows states to regulate certain pipelines and LNG facilities in their jurisdictions. Rail transportation safety has also become a very important issue, particularly with the rapid growth in the crude-by-rail (CBR) market and in response to recent rail accidents in Canada and the... READ MORE
Ed Gehres will be a featured speaker at the 5th Tribal Land Staff National Conference in Pala, California.   For more information and to register, please click here. READ MORE
Van Ness Feldman congratulates our former colleague, Boyd Rutherford, who was elected to serve as Maryland’s Lieutenant Governor in Governor-Elect Larry Hogan’s administration.  Mr. Rutherford was an associate with the firm in the mid-1990’s.  We are also pleased to congratulate Marc Korman and Bill Frick on their election to the Maryland House of Delegates for District 16.  Mr. Korman is the son of Van Ness Feldman partner, Paul Korman, and Mr. Frick is the son of former Van Ness Feldman partner, G. William Frick. Chairman of the firm, Richard Agnew, said of the election victories, “We celebrate the success of Boyd, Marc, and Bill and know they will serve the people of Maryland with integrity and honor.” READ MORE
On Nov. 6th, the Illinois Pollution Control Board granted FutureGen Industrial Alliance Inc. a favorable motion for summary judgment against claims brought by The Sierra Club.   The decisions affirms that FutureGen has valid permits to proceed with the development of a near-zero emissions, coal-fired power plant project in Illinois.  Van Ness Feldman attorneys Dale Johnson and Chris Zentz represented FutureGen Industrial Alliance in this matter. READ MORE
The firm’s Energy, Environment, Government Relations, Land-Use & Zoning, Litigation (environmental), Native American, Natural Resources, Real Estate,  and Water Law practices honored as among the best in the nation, with Energy, Environmental, Litigation – Environmental, and Natural Resources practices ranked as the top practices in the country.  “It is an honor to be recognized by the clients we serve and by our peers in the legal industry,” said Rick Agnew, Firm Chairman. With over 100 professionals in Washington D.C. and Seattle, Van Ness Feldman is grateful for the dedication and creativity of the firm's personnel in building the firm into what it is today: one of the premier energy and natural resources, public policy, and land use firms in... READ MORE