Environmental, Energy and Utility Regulatory Practice
WISE TEXAS COUNSEL
In our Environmental, Energy and Utility Regulatory Practice Area, we bring needed expertise, experience and creative solutions to the myriad legal and public policy issues confronting the critically important, interdependent and rapidly transforming power industry in Texas.
Our Firm specializes in providing experienced regulatory, legislative and litigation work in this practice area which fully addresses opportunities and challenges facing the industry and individuals affected by industry trends, changes and developments across Texas.
The founder and principal of the firm is Immediate Past Chair of the State Bar of Texas Public Utility Law Section. He is also serving as Secretary of the Environmental Law Section of the Austin Bar Association, and has been quoted widely in the media on developments in this area of law.
We are pleased at our Firm to represent a wide array of clients with wide ranging environmental, energy and utility regulatory issues in this practice area, including:
* Formulating and Litigating Public Policy
* Rate/Pricing issues
* Water Rights and Water/
* Solid Waste
* Enforcement actions/
We represent individuals, business entities, public entities and districts before these major state agencies in this practice area:
* TEXAS COMMISSION ON ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY
* RAILROAD COMMISSION OF TEXAS
* TEXAS PUBLIC UTILITY COMMISSION
We bring pre-eminent legal ability to client engagements in this area, many of which have been followed nationally and statewide for unprecedented results achieved with the potential for major economic advantage and outcomes.
* Our Firm is currently representing Homeowners United for Rate Fairness (HURF) in a highly-publicized appeal of Austin Energy's electric rate increase to the Texas Public Utility Commission, which has resulted in an unprecedented rate discount for suburban ratepayers and cost the City of Austin more than $1.6 million in legal and consulting fees to defend.
* Our Firm is General Counsel to multiple environmental companies, counseling primarily in areas of regulatory compliance related to implementation of operations to legally recycle or dispose of fracking wastewater.
* Successfully represented Hill Country land owners in opposing approval of Wastewater Discharge Permit in the Upper Guadalupe River Basin issued by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. Case resulted in a beneficial relocation of the discharge point to minimize discharge contact with land owners' surface water.
* Sucessfully represented Texas Panhandle family of fourth- and fifth-generation land owners in opposing routing of high voltage Transmission Lines through their pristine ranch lands.
* Successfully represented Texas A&M in major gas rate case before the Railroad Commission of Texas, saving the University at least $1.5 million annually in gas transportation costs.
* Successfully represented State of Texas' interests in electric rate cases concerning securitization of stranded costs at the Public Utility Commission involving securitization totaling nearly $3 billion. Resolution of these cases was necessary for commencement of electric competition in Texas.
* Negotiated favorable to developer client the resolution of lawsuit by ratepayers and subsequent sale of New Braunfels-area water utility to the local ratepayers.
* Achieved positive result for utilities and ratepayers in numerous rate disputes before the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, including successfully advocating for a receivership for a poorly operated water supply corporation.
* Discovered major accounting discrepancies in a gas utility audit case at the Railroad Commission, resulting in a savings to those ratepayers of at least $1 million (aggregately).
* Counseled Neches River Basin water rights holders in major water rights transfer transaction.
* General Counsel to multiple Municipal Utility Districts.
* Advised oil and gas operators on mineral lease issues.
* Sucessfully defended scientific deer breeding permittees in Texas Parks and Wildlife disputes.
* Lead Counsel representing State of Texas in numerous gas utility rate cases at the Railroad Commission, including a case of first impression on transportation rates to be paid by state agencies, resulting in major rate reductions and beneficial tariff provisions for taxpayers.
* Successful in advocacy in numerous rulemaking proceedings at the Public Utility Commission, Railroad Commission and Federal Communications Commission, almost always achieving significant positive results for consumers on the rule or regulation finally adopted, either in protection of customer rights or financial savings.
* Assisted in drafting national NAAG guidelines for the marketing of energy from renewable sources.
* Represented State of Texas interests in the negotiated process to implement the first retail electric pilot program in Texas, which ultimately assisted the Texas competitive retail electric markets in opening successfully.
* Resolved multiple gas and telecommunications billing disputes between state agencies/universities and utilities on informal basis, saving State of Texas thousands of dollars in utility costs related to improper billing by utility companies.
* Provided Regulatory and Legislative Updates on Telecommunications, Electric and Gas Utility issues to numerous groups.
* Organized international conferences and meetings between environmental regulatory officials from the United States and Mexico for resolution of issues and facilitation of NAFTA agreements, effectively raising environmental standards.