As the energy industry evolves from oil, gas and mineral production to include alternative energy resources, Sorling Northrup attorneys combine years of experience in traditional fields with expertise in new technology like wind power generation and biofuels. Sorling Northrup counsels producers, transporters and property owners on legal issues arising from corporate operations and finance, environmental and other governmental regulation, and energy-related litigation. The firm also assists its clients in the acquisition and construction of energy-generating facilities and sites and the installation of pipelines and transmission lines.
Sorling Northrup attorneys have extensive experience in negotiating, ascertaining and drafting appropriate documents needed to obtain clear title to easements and leases for oil and gas pipelines, electrical transmission lines, coal mines and wind turbine sites. In addition, Sorling Northrup initiates eminent domain proceedings to obtain rights of way for public utilities or private utility companies that have eminent domain powers. The firm’s attorneys have successfully and efficiently handled installations of major gas pipelines extending across the entire state, miles of transmission lines carrying electricity from power generators, and hundreds of wind turbine sites. The firm has also represented power producers, land owners, and royalty owners in negotiating and settling oil, gas and mineral rights licenses and royalty claims.
Sorling Northrup has represented energy producers on all types of environmental issues arising from construction and operations. Its services include obtaining local and federal permits, providing advice on compliance with federal and state regulations on ground and surface water contamination, surface water use issues, noise and air pollution and other environmental regulations, and negotiating with and appearing before the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, the Illinois Pollution Control Board, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Office of Mines and Minerals, Illinois Department of Transportation, local zoning boards, and other agencies. Sorling Northrup attorneys have substantial experience in the full panoply of environmental areas relevant to energy providers, including, for example, NPDES permits, coal mine reclamation bond requirements, storage and disposal of coal combustion waste, wind farm noise compliance, the use of environmental studies to support the activities of energy producers, and production, permitting, and marketing issues related to methane gas collection from municipal solid waste management facilities.
Other Governmental Regulatory Compliance
Sorling Northrup attorneys advise their energy clients on numerous governmental permissions required to construct, install or operate energy-generating or transportation systems. On the national level, FAA permits, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers evaluations, and USDA Farm Service Agency release of conservation easements are a few examples of issues that Sorling Northrup has encountered. Sorling Northrup attorneys have also appeared before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on interstate gas transportation matters. In addition, Sorling Northrup attorneys are familiar with all state requirements, like obtaining necessary permits from the Illinois Department of Transportation for permanent highway crossing easements or temporary construction staging sites, Illinois Historic Preservation Agency review, and Illinois Department of Natural Resources jurisdiction, to name a few. In the public utility area, Sorling Northrup attorneys have experience before the Illinois Commerce Commission in submitting financial filings required for issuing debt and securities, petitions for rate increases, reconciliation statements, and Certificates of Public Convenience. Sorling Northrup also assists its clients in identifying all local permit requirements and in dealing with county and municipal governments, which grant zoning changes, conditional use permits, variances and building permits, regulate local road uses during construction and operation phases, and approve enterprise zones that offer state tax benefits.
General Corporate Issues
Sorling Northrup attorneys recognize that legal issues peculiar to energy production do not occur in a vacuum and they understand the full range of issues involved in a general corporate client representation. Bringing this expertise to energy producers, they can advise clients on financing, including bond and mortgage-backed debt and other securities issues, corporate governance, disclosure requirements and tax concerns. Sorling Northrup is experienced in working with general and outside counsel and in serving as local counsel for Illinois-based or state government concerns.
Sorling Northrup has extensive experience representing energy producers and municipalities in a variety of dispute contexts. Litigation issues in Illinois and other states include claims for personal injury resulting from power line contact, gas explosions and exposure to toxic chemicals, automobile accidents and slip-and-fall cases, commercial and contract disputes with customers and other businesses, defense of various types of environmental claims, and litigation concerning permitting and other regulatory issues. The firm’s litigation clients include, among others, a national gas supplier, a major Illinois gas utility and a cooperative of over fifty municipalities that provide gas systems to consumers.
Labor & Employment
Sorling Northrup attorneys experienced in labor and employment issues routinely respond to questions and issues raised by its energy clients.
Sorling Northrup attorneys who practice in this area include:
On December 31, 2016, Gary A. Brown retired from the firm and from the practice of law. The attorneys listed above are accepting new clients in Energy Law and have assumed Mr. Brown’s responsibilities in representing current clients.