Environment - Climate Change

Consistently ranked as one of the premier Climate Change practices in the world, Van Ness Feldman’s attorneys, technical consultants, and policy professionals provide a full suite of policy, regulatory, project development, permitting, transactional, and strategic services to a diverse cross-section of clients and industries most likely to be directly and significantly affected by current and potential greenhouse gas regulation and other climate-change policies. 

Since its formation in the 1990s, Van Ness Feldman’s Climate Change practice has assisted a range of clients on evolving international, federal, and state climate policies and markets. The firm’s professionals are leaders in the rapidly developing regulatory and policy arenas associated with climate change, and have experience in all aspects of climate change law and policy, including: 



Federal Climate Programs.  The firm advises clients on the Environmental Protection Agency’s development of greenhouse gas emission standards under the Clean Air Act for power plants and motor vehicles.  Van Ness Feldman provides clients with policy analysis, assistance in developing comments, and advocacy with the agency. The firm also represents clients in rulemaking-related litigation.

For EPA’s power plant regulations under sections 111(b) and 111(d) of the Clean Air Act, the firm advises individual power companies and associations including the Edison Electric Institute, the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, and the Large Public Power Council. The firm also has worked with a coalition of six multinational energy efficiency companies seeking to ensure that energy efficiency is an available means of compliance in state plans submitted in response to the Section 111(d) regulations. Van Ness Feldman also counsels myriad industry clients, including Toyota, on EPA’s motor vehicle regulations.

Greenhouse Gas Permitting.  EPA and the states require many major energy and industrial projects to obtain Clean Air Act Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) permits for their greenhouse gas emissions. The firm provides legal counsel to owners and developers of power plant and chemical plant projects on obtaining such PSD greenhouse gas permits, as well as advising a local air agency in issuing such permits to greenhouse gas emitting industries.  Van Ness Feldman also serves as general counsel to the FutureGen Industrial Alliance, an alliance of energy companies that is the private partner to the federal government in the public-private partnership to construct the FutureGen 2.0 project – a coal-fired power plant that will utilize carbon capture and sequestration technologies.  From its unique position of advising both private entities and public-private partnerships in seeking and obtaining permits, as well as counseling one of the government's energy partners, Van Ness Feldman provides problem-solving advice to its clients with a wide spectrum of perspectives and solutions.

State Climate Programs.  Increasingly, states are at the forefront of climate policies, and Van Ness Feldman has played a key role for clients in various state climate programs. In California, Van Ness Feldman has advised out-of-state power entities subject to the state’s cap-and-trade program as regulated “electricity importers.”  In addition, the firm represented a coalition of energy companies and offset providers advocating with the California Air Resources Board on the development of offsets regulations.  Finally, Van Ness Feldman has provided legal counsel on offset credit transactions under the California program. 


Emissions Trading & Carbon Markets.  Van Ness Feldman has been a top emissions trading law firm since the earliest days of carbon markets.  Environmental Finance magazine’s annual market survey regularly recognizes Van Ness Feldman as a top law firm in both California's carbon markets and the U.S. environmental markets more generally.  The magazine identified Van Ness Feldman climate practice leader Kyle Danish as a “California carbon market mover.” 

Van Ness Feldman’s emissions trading practice works with energy companies, project developers, financials, and carbon funds. The firm has advised on a broad range of project types, including methane digester projects; afforestation, reforestation, forest management, and avoided deforestation projects; and coal mine methane projects. Van Ness Feldman has provided counsel to transactions structured to comply with a variety of rules and protocols, including California’s cap-and-trade program, the Verified Carbon Standard, and the Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism. 

Integrating decades of environmental, energy, and transactional experience, Van Ness Feldman has advised on environmental markets transactions for tens of millions of credits. The firm drafts Emission Reduction Purchase Agreements; advises on joint ventures, funds, and other financial structures for carbon finance; and has provided legal counsel on disputes and litigation arising from transactions in the carbon markets. 

Integrating Climate Impacts into Project Planning & PermittingVan Ness Feldman advises a wide array of public and private clients on how to build consideration of climate change into their decision-making processes.  Environmental analysis for actions at all levels of government increasingly requires examining potential impacts of a proposed action on climate change and the potential effect of climate change on the proposed action. Van Ness Feldman advises private and public agency clients proposing development, as well as public agencies that are asked to consider impacts and mitigation measures as part of their decision-making processes. Van Ness Feldman advises on compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) as well as analogous state laws, and assists in the drafting of policies used by decision-makers.   


Renewable Energy.  Van Ness Feldman's professionals have advised companies on the development and financing of renewable energy projects (including, biomass, waste-to-energy, land based and offshore wind, solar, tidal, wave, geothermal, hydropower, and natural gas) and of transmission projects. We counsel clients about the options for delivery of renewable energy to their load or consumer, whether interconnecting to the electric grid and obtaining transmission rights or establishing a micro-grid that is separate from, in whole or in part, the rest of the electric grid. We negotiate and develop power sales/purchase agreements and counsel consumers of power on their supply options, provide strategies on reducing power costs, and review supply agreements.   

Clean Technologies.  Technological advances are creating new forms of renewable energy and regulatory changes are imposing stricter requirements on carbon.  Van Ness Feldman counsels clients developing and working with these new technologies including:

  • Enzymes for biofuel production,
  • Hydrogen fuel cells,
  • Advanced electric metering infrastructure,
  • Clean coal and carbon sequestration,
  • Green buildings and materials,
  • Renewable electricity generation,
  • Synfuel development,
  • Energy efficient products,
  • Enhanced yield feedstock crops, and
  • High-output LED lighting.


Legislation.  Van Ness Feldman represents individual clients and coalitions on climate-related legislation in a host of capacities, including providing analysis, drafting proposed legislative language, and undertaking advocacy. The firm has worked with clients on legislative initiatives related to carbon capture and sequestration, allowance allocations, and offsets. 

Thought Leadership & Research.  Think tanks, foundations, and others regularly call on Van Ness Feldman to provide research and innovative ideas on climate change policies.  Attorneys and other professionals from the firm have written policy papers and provided analysis for organizations such as the Bipartisan Policy Center, the Center for Climate & Energy Solutions, the Energy Future Coalition, and the Electric Power Research Institute. Since 2011, partner T.C. Richmond has served as Vice-Chair of the federal government's National Climate Assessment that assesses the state of climate change and its impacts, as well as mitigation and adaptation efforts.

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Sophia E. Amberson




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Janet M. Anderson

Senior Technology and Policy Advisor

Washington D.C.


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Shannon Angielski

Principal, Governmental Issues

Washington D.C.


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Andrea Hudson Campbell


Washington D.C.


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Kyle W. Danish


Washington D.C.


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Shelley N. Fidler

Principal, Governmental Affairs, Energy and Environmental Policy

Washington D.C.


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Stephen C. Fotis


Washington D.C.


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Patricia F. Godley

Senior Counsel

Washington D.C.


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Tracy Nagelbush Tolk

Principal, Governmental Issues

Washington D.C.


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R. Scott Nuzum

Of Counsel

Washington D.C.


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Terese (T.C.) Richmond




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Tom Roberts


Washington D.C.


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Douglas W. Smith


Washington D.C.


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Michael Weiner

Legislative Assistant

Washington D.C.


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Van Ness Feldman White Paper: Assessing the Risks and Opportunities of Climate-Related Regulation and Litigation for the U.S. Power Sector

Implications of the Supreme Court Decision to Stay the Clean Power Plan

Building a Sustained Climate Assessment Process

Wetland Regulations in Drought Conditions and a Changing Climate

The Third National Climate Assessment: The Role of District Energy and Combined Heat and Power

Early Clean Power Planning - A Hedging Strategy for Sec. 111(d)

The Clean Air Act and Global Climate Change

2014 National Climate Assessment

2014 Highlights of Climate Change Impacts in the United States

2013 Report on Preparing the Nation for Change: Building a Sustained National Climate Assessment Process

Needed: Research Guidelines for Solar Radiation Management

EPA Finalizes Air Pollution Transport Rule

The Clean Air Act and Global Climate Change

Standard Arguments

EPA Lays Further Groundwork for Permitting of Greenhouse Gas Sources Under The Prevention of Significant Deterioration Program

International Offsets and U.S. Climate Legislation

Opening Editorial of the Special Issue on Climate Legislation and Regulation in the United States

Second-Best World

New and Improved Course for a Climate Regime

Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy Take Center Stage in the Obama Era

Cap and Trade Meets the Interstate Commerce Clause: Are Greenhouse Gas Regulations Constitutional after Lopez and Morrison?

Carbon Dioxide Pipeline Regulation

Carbon taxes are fine, but a cap-and-trade program is better

Today's CAA a Blunt Instrument for GHG Control

U.S. Energy and Climate Change Policy: What to Expect in 2009

U.S. Climate Change Policy Will Drive Significant Investment Opportunities in Traditional and Alternative Energy

Clean tech depends on federal policy

New Wine Into Old Bottles: The Feasibility of Greenhouse Gas Regulation Under the Clean Air Act

The International Regime: An Overview of the International Structures Addressing Climate Change

An Inconvenient State?

Climate Change: The Heat Is On

Designing a Mandatory Greenhouse Gas Reduction Program for the U.S.

Designing a Climate-Friendly Energy Policy: Options for the Near Term


Van Ness Feldman Receives Top Recognition in Chambers USA 2019 Rankings

Science for Climate Action Network Launch Helps Communities Establish Climate Action Pathways

Van Ness Feldman Receives Top Recognition in Chambers USA 2018 Rankings

Kyle Danish Quoted in New York Times Regarding Administration's Efforts to Rescind Obama-Era Environmental Regulations

Kyle Danish Co-Authors Article on Trump Regulatory Reform Agenda

Kyle Danish Joins CSIS Panel to Discuss Reduction of GHG Emissions

Kyle Danish Featured at the Bipartisan Policy Center's Clean Air Act Workshop

Kyle Danish Quoted on EPA Missing Deadline for New Power Plant Rule


Water Law and Resource Management in Washington

2019 Northwest Land Camp

2019 Environmental and Land Use Law Section Midyear Meeting & Conference

ABA 2017 Water Law Conference

14th Annual SEPA & NEPA Seminar

Pathways for US Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction: What Options are on the Table?

U.S. Energy Policy in the 2016 Elections and Beyond: Incremental or Transformational?

Clean Power Plan 2016 Outlook

International Water & Climate Forum 2015

2015 AWRA Washington State Conference - Water Management Strategies in the Face of Climate Change

Will the Clean Power Plan Stand Up to Legal Scrutiny? Will it Survive?

US Climate Policy: How We Got Here and What it Means for the Future

13th Annual Higher Education Real Estate Lawyers Conference

ECO:nomics - Creating Environmental Capital

National Association of Utility Regulatory Commissioner's 126th Annual Meeting

Preparing for Climate Change - New Regulations and New Litigation

2014 AASHE Annual Conference & Expo

2014 AFN Annual Convention

IDEA's 105th Annual Conference and Trade Show

Climate Power Play: Financial, Legislative, and Regulatory Moves Toward a New Energy Enconomy

Workshop on Greenhouse Gas Regulation of Power Plants

Debrief of the D.C. Circuit's Oral Arguments on EPA's GHG Rulemakings

Greenhouse Gas Regulation: EPA Takes Center Stage (Webinar)

AGA Legal Forum 2010

2010 Outlook for U.S. Energy and Environmental Policy

Carbon Market Insights Americas 2008

Global Warming II: How the law can best address climate change

3rd Annual Renewable Energy Finance & Investment Summit

2nd Annual National Climate Change Regulation Conference

Rocky Mountain Mineral Law's Special Institute on Resources and Climate Change

ALI-ABA Global Warming: Climate Change and the Law

Electric Energy: Markets, Regulation and Investment

NWHA 2008 Annual Conference: "The Climate of Hydro"

Air Quality Regulation in the Pacific Northwest

Connecting the Dots on Climate Change


Federal Administration Issues Climate Report

California Extends and Strengthens Cap-and Trade Program

California's Cap-and Trade Program Wins in Court, Program's Future Still Unclear

Trump Order Sets Up Rollback of Obama Energy and Climate Action

Climate Change Policy Developments in Washington State

Administration Takes an Initial Step in its Regulatory Reform Agenda

How will a Trump Administration Re-set U.S. Climate Policies?

2016 Election Results: Impacts of the Presidential and Congressional Races

New Rule & Initiatives to Limit Carbon Gaining Traction in Washington State

Observations about the Paris Climate Agreement and its Implications for U.S. Businesses

Van Ness Feldman Publishes Clean Power Plan Resource Guide

A Context for Viewing Climate Change in the Northwest

Caught "Short": Are You Better Off Under the Clean Power Plan than You Were 14 Months Ago?

Are You Better Off Under the Clean Power Plan than You Were 14 Months Ago?

EPA Issues Regulations to Control Carbon Dioxide Emissions from the Power Sector

After Michigan v. EPA: What Comes Next for EPA's Power Plant Mercury Rule?

EPA Moves to Expand Scope of U.S. GHG Regulations to Include Aircraft

FERC Approves Pipeline Modernization Policy Statement

Policy Outlook for 2015

FERC's Clean Power Plan Technical Conferences: Investigating Reliability, Market Structure, and Infrastructure Impacts of EPA's 111(d) Proposal

Proposed Federal 111(d) Plan: Potential Opportunity for Utilities, Stakeholders, and States to Inform the EPA Process

FERC Offers Analytical Framework for Pipeline Recovery of Costs Related to Safety, Reliability, and Environmental Compliance Costs and Requests Comments

Supreme Court Rejects Extending Clean Air Act Permitting Authority Based Solely on GHGs but Upholds GHG Limitations on Otherwise Regulated Stationary Sources

EPA Proposal for Regulating CO2 Emissions from Modified Power Plants Would Require Efficiency Improvements, But Not CCS

Van Ness Feldman Receives Top Recognition in Chambers USA 2014 Rankings

White House Releases Third U.S. National Climate Assessment

Supreme Court Rejects D.C. Circuit Vacatur of Cross-State Air Pollution Rule


EPA Regulation of Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Existing Power Plants: Issues and Options

EPA Proposes Greenhouse Gas Emission Limits for New Electric Generating Units

EPA Issues Final Rule Regulating Mercury, Other Pollutants from Power Plants

EPA Expands Climate Agenda to the Current Fleet of Power Plants and Refineries

Key EPA Actions Lay Foundation for Regulation of GHG Emissions Under the Clean Air Act

EPA Finalizes Endangerment Finding for Greenhouse Gases

Supreme Court Holds EPA Must Consider States' Request for Climate Change Rule


Policy Update: A Period of Significant Development

Climate, Energy, & Air Update - September 11 - 24, 2014

Climate, Energy, & Air Update - Aug. 28 - Sept. 10, 2014

Climate, Energy, & Air Update - August 14 - 27, 2014

Climate, Energy, & Air Update - August 1 - 13, 2014

Climate, Energy, & Air Update - July 16 - 30, 2014

Climate, Energy, & Air Update - June 26 - July 9, 2014

Climate, Energy, & Air Update - June 12 - 25, 2014

Climate, Energy, & Air Update - May 29 - June 11, 2014

Climate, Energy, & Air Update - May 15 - 28, 2014

Climate, Energy, & Air Update - May 1 - 14, 2014

Climate, Energy, & Air Update - April 17 - 30, 2014

Climate, Energy, & Air Update - April 2 - 16, 2014

Climate, Energy, & Air Update - Mar. 20 - Apr. 2, 2014

Climate, Energy, & Air Update - March 5 - 19, 2014

Climate, Energy, & Air Update - Feb. 18 - Mar. 5, 2014

Climate, Energy, & Air Update - Jan. 30 - Feb. 12, 2014

Climate, Energy, & Air Update - Jan. 16 - 29, 2014

Climate, Energy, & Air Update - Jan. 1 - 15, 2014

Climate, Energy, & Air Update - Dec. 4 - 18, 2013

Climate, Energy, & Air Update - Nov. 7 - 20, 2013

Climate, Energy, & Air Update - Oct. 24 - Nov. 6, 2013

Climate, Energy, & Air Update - Oct. 10 - 23, 2013

Climate, Energy, & Air Update - Sep. 19 - Oct. 9, 2013

Climate, Energy, & Air Update - Sep. 3 - 18, 2013

Climate, Energy, & Air Update - July 18 - 31, 2013

Climate, Energy, & Air Update - July 4 - 17, 2013

Climate, Energy, & Air Update - June 20 - July 3, 2013

Climate, Energy, & Air Update - June 6 - 19, 2013

Climate, Energy, & Air Update - May 23 - June 5, 2013

Climate, Energy, & Air Update - May 9 - 22, 2013

Climate, Energy, & Air Update - April 25 - May 8, 2013

Climate, Energy, & Air Update - April 11-24, 2013

Climate, Energy, & Air Update - March 28 - April 10, 2013

Climate, Energy, & Air Update - March 13 - 27, 2013

Climate, Energy, & Air Update - January 31 - February 13, 2013