Regulatory/Administrative Practice

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Overview

The success of many types of enterprises often hinges on the ability to digest, interpret, comply with, and even influence the make-up of, regulatory regimes at the state and federal levels.  Our attorneys bring to the table wide-ranging experience with state and federal regulations (as well as local and tribal ordinances), from participating in the promulgation and interpretation of regulations as a means of promoting reasonable application to particular clients, through compliance with regulatory permitting regimes and performance standards, to adjudications and appeals from the regulations or from adverse agency actions taken under them.

Attorneys

Experience

Because we represent clients within a number of heavily regulated industries, including the oil and gas, mining, energy, railroad, construction, healthcare, film and media industries, among others, our regulatory/administrative law practice has been extensive at all levels of government.  We typically enjoy the respect of agency officials and are proactive in seeking cooperative administrative relations, but we also frequently engage in administrative adjudications and take on appeal agency decisions that are substantively or procedurally vulnerable to challenge.  Our strategic involvement with clients' pursuits also leads us into active involvement in rulemaking proceedings to adopt or amend regulations.

Representative Matters

  • Represented a utility company in greenhouse gas regulatory proceedings before the New Mexico Environmental Improvement Board (EIB), and assisted the company in establishing a climate change and greenhouse gas policy.

  • Represented a utility in Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and New Mexico Public Regulation Commission (PRC) investigatory proceedings.

  • Represented wind and solar developers in proceedings before the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission (PRC), including but not limited to proceedings involving whether and how distributed generation facilities should be regulated under the State's utilities regulatory schemes.

  • Represented a number of energy developers, including Duke Energy and Lea Power Partners, in obtaining PRC location approval for power plants and related transmission facilities.

  • Represented utilities and utility customers in PRC rate cases, CCN cases and cases regarding utility service.

  • Represented a renewable energy transmission company in a rulemaking at the Renewable Energy Transmission Authority (RETA).

  • Represented the interests of large and small exploration, development and mining companies in various proceedings to adopt and amend permitting, reclamation, public participation and financial assurance regulations under the New Mexico Mining Act of 1993.

  • Represented a national laboratory in an appeal from an adverse hazardous waste permitting decision under regulations adopted pursuant to the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA).

  • Represented a major copper mining company in challenging the New Mexico Environment Department's (NMED's) broad interpretation of key jurisdictional language in the Water Quality Act before the Water Quality Control Commission (WQCC), and later in the New Mexico Court of Appeals, which reversed the Environment Department's expansive interpretation of its groundwater regulatory authority.

  • Represented a major coal mining company in various enforcement proceedings before the Federal Office of Surface Mining (OSM) and its New Mexico counterpart, the Coal Bureau of the Mining and Minerals Division (MMD).

  • Represented energy and natural resources companies before federal agencies including the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Forest Service in the Department of Agriculture, and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Minerals Management Service (MMS, now BOEMRE), and Office of Surface Mining (OSM) within the Department of the Interior (DOI).

  • Represented multiple renewable energy companies in tracking and advising on legislation and regulatory developments across a variety of agencies of interest to the wind, solar, geothermal and biofuels industries.

  • Provided regulatory due diligence and tax advice for energy developers located on fee, state, federal and Indian lands, including representation before the New Mexico Oil Conservation Division and Commission (OCD and OCC), the Taxation and Revenue Department (TRD) and Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and the Interior Board of Land Appeals.

  • Represented multinational parties to a tax free exchange transaction under IRS Code provisions in successfully defeating assertions by the IRS that the transaction was not eligible for tax-free treatment under the Code.

  • Represented a local dentist in successfully appealing to the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals an adverse ruling of the IRS that certain substantial Employment Retirement Income Security (ERISA) payments were not made pursuant to a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO).

  • Represented ranching interests in appealing the segregation of split-estate lands for entry under Bureau of Land Management (BLM) notice of intent to locate (NOITL) regulatory procedures under the Stock Raising and Homestead Act (SRHA) of 1916.

  • Assisted various clients with the development of internal regulatory audit procedures to improve compliance and reporting systems in place within the companies.

Range of Representation

Our extensive regulatory practice and experience includes representation of a wide range of clients in connection with theses and other regulatory regimes: 

  • New Mexico regulatory regimes governing utilities and rural electrical cooperatives.

  • Regulations of the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission (PRC) and Renewable Energy Transmission Authority (RETA).

  • Federal Energy Regulation Commission (FERC) regulatory regimes applicable to interstate pipelines and transmission lines, including transmission corridors.

  • Oil and gas regulations and regimes administered by the New Mexico Oil Conservation Division and Commission (OCD and OCC).

  • Occupational and Mine Safety Health Administration (OSHA ad MSHA) regulations.

  • Federal and delegated state permitting and enforcement regulatory regimes under the Surface Management Control and Reclamation Act (SMCRA) applicable to coal mines.

  • Hardrock reclamation regulations of the New Mexico Mining Commission (NMCC), administered by the Mining and Minerals Division (MMD).

  • Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) regulations and radioactive materials and mill licensing under the Atomic Energy Act, the Uranium Mill Tailings, Radiation Control Act (UMTRCA), and New Mexico radioactive materials provisions.

  • Environmental evaluation and protection regimes under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the Endangered Species Act (ESA), the Clean Water and Clean Air Acts (CWA and CAA), the New Mexico Water Quality Act (WQA) and myriad other federal and state environmental and wildlife protection laws.

  • Toxic, hazardous and solid waste regulatory regimes under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA, or Superfund), the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), and the New Mexico Hazardous and Solid Waste Acts.

  • Water resources, well drilling and plugging, and groundwater permitting regulations of the New Mexico Office of the State Engineer (OSE).

  • Cultural resources regulations under the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), the Archeological Resources Protection Act (ARPA), the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA), and other federal and state laws applicable to cultural resources.

  • Surface management regulations of the U.S. Forest Service (USFS), the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and the New Mexico State Land Office (SLO).

  • Royalty management regulations of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE), formerly the Minerals Management Service (MMS).

  • Regulations governing the railroad and transportation industries.

  • State and federal taxation regimes administrated by the New Mexico Taxation and Revenue Department (TRD) and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), as well as local and Indian taxation regimes.

  • Regulations applicable to the banking industry.

  • Public education laws and regulations.

  • Regulations applicable to the healthcare industry.

  • Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations.

  • Federal Communication Commission (FCC) regulations.

  • Employment and environmental ordinances and regulations in Indian Country. 

  • Immigration laws and regulations.

  • Regulations applicable to the film industry.

  • Liquor licensing regulations.

  • Other federal and state regulations which are too many to name here.