The lawyers and advisors in Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP’s energy and environmental (E&E) policy practice apply extensive experience in advocating before Congress, the executive branch, and other government officials and stakeholders to address client needs across the broad spectrum of domestic and international energy and environmental issues—from the routine to high-profile, traditional to cutting-edge.
E&E clients include major U.S. and multinational corporations involved in all aspects of energy production, transmission, distribution and innovation. The practice represents private equity funds, Indian tribes, renewable energy and other project developers, real estate developers, environmental technology and control manufacturers, universities, nonprofit organizations, and states and municipalities. E&E practitioners have significant experience advocating on behalf of automotive, aerospace and appliance manufacturers on a variety of energy-efficiency, clean-air and environmental issues, and incentive programs.
The E&E team works collaboratively to respond to complex technical and political issues by carefully developing comprehensive strategies and solutions. Success may involve advocacy with many stakeholders and policy-makers at different levels of government. Akin Gump’s E&E practitioners have decades of experience working in, and advocating before, Congress and executive branch agencies, including the departments of Energy (DOE), Interior (DOI), Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Bureau of Reclamation and National Park Service), Commerce, Defense, Agriculture (USDA), Transportation and State; Environmental Protection Agency (EPA); Army Corps of Engineers; United States Trade Representative; and offices within the Executive Office of the President, including Office of Management and Budget, Council on Environmental Quality, and Office on Energy and Climate Change Policy.
Akin Gump’s E&E practitioners work with clients to meet their business objectives throughout the entire advocacy process—from strategy development through implementation—drawing expertise from the firm’s strong and diverse technical and legal specialists. Whether the strategic objective is to advance a policy or regulation, or to safeguard a client’s interest, we conduct the necessary policy, political and legal analyses to establish multifaceted strategies to achieve a favorable outcome. Our strategies may include coalition-building, direct congressional and/or executive branch policy advocacy, legal and regulatory analyses, participation in rulemakings and preparation of a litigation strategy.
Some current and recent Akin Gump E&E representations include:
- several investor-owned utilities on electric power, natural gas, greenhouse gas emissions and tax policy issues
- renewable fuel producer on renewable fuels and tax policy
- energy infrastructure development company on project development and safety, and cybersecurity issues
- large coalition of independent domestic oil and gas producers focusing on tax, regulatory and environmental issues with the BLM, DOI and EPA
- U.S.-based oil and gas company on efforts for international exploration and investment, working with the U.S. Department of State
- domestic oil exploration and production company on federal lands access issues with the U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Department of Agriculture
- large manufacturing company on new “Crude by Rail” regulations
- integrated oil and gas companies on domestic energy production, environmental compliance, and merger and acquisition issues
- international energy and investment companies on acquisition of U.S. energy assets
- alternative fuel infrastructure provider on regulatory and tax incentive issues
- international automobile manufacturer on advanced vehicle emissions, fuel economy and tax incentive issues
- international automobile parts manufacturers on advanced vehicle, climate change and tax incentive issues
- hard-rock mining company on international and domestic issues
- international nuclear equipment and services provider on international programs
- biotech company for ARPA-E research funding
- foreign embassy on a civilian nuclear energy cooperative agreement
- private foundation on energy policy issues and research funding
- renewable fuels and biobased-product companies before EPA, USDA and DOE on regulatory compliance and incentive issues
- appliance manufacturer regarding DOE energy efficiency and conservation standards
- renewable energy and environmental technology company on China-U.S. opportunities.
- farmer cooperative on the Biomass Crop Assistance Program
- Indian tribe on a greenhouse gas reduction project for forest management pursuant to California offset requirements
- Indian tribe on securing a right-of-way and siting transmission line on tribal lands
- Indian tribe on environmental aspects of oil and gas development
- private developer on securing environmental reviews for a 3,000+ acre mixed-use development.
Our E&E policy practice advocates specific positions on, and tracks on a daily basis, energy and environmental legislation and issues currently pending before the 114th Congress. Our team was involved closely in the formulation of the major energy policy and tax legislation enacted over the last decade, including the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. We successfully represented clients before the DOE and Congress, seeking federal funding under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), securing the environmental authorizations to utilize ARRA funding, and pursuing other federal grant and loan guarantees for energy and environmental projects.
The Akin Gump E&E policy team has represented companies pursuing an array of advanced energy and environmental programs and incentives, including, but not limited to:
- policy and tax incentives for advanced diesel vehicles
- policy and tax incentives for energy-efficient commercial buildings
- federal funding and incentives for natural gas vehicles
- federal funding and incentives for hydrogen fuel cell technologies
- ARPA-e and other federal grant and loan guarantee funding for carbon capture technology
- federal incentives, including ARRA funding, for advanced vehicle battery technologies
- federal recognition for platinum LEED building technology
- matching funds under USDA Biomass Crop Assistance Program
- preferential federal purchasing pursuant to the USDA Bio-Preferred Program
- favorable treatment under the renewable fuels standard for the energy-efficient production of ethanol from industrial flue gas.
For many of the above projects, we have sought from Congress and the executive branch policies and incentives that are “technology neutral” and thus applicable to our clients’ products on the basis of performance versus preconceived technology preferences. These representations often involve an initial phase of educating federal policy-makers regarding clients’ technologies prior to advocating specific federal action or participation in an existing or proposed federal program.