Snohomish County PUD No. 1

Van Ness Feldman serves as lead licensing, permitting, and compliance counsel to Snohomish County PUD No. 1 (SnoPUD) on the development and implementation of tidal energy, hydroelectric, and geothermal projects. Representation includes advising SnoPUD on energy, environmental and resources planning, permitting and construction, as well as with environmental compliance with numerous hydroelectric projects, including strategic and regulatory counsel on compliance with the Federal Power Act, National Environmental Policy Act, Endangered Species Act, and Clean Water Act sections 401 and 404, as well as on land, water, wildlife, and historic and cultural resource issues.

The firm’s work for SnoPUD is significant in that this representation concerns the Admiralty Inlet Pilot Tidal Project. Once licensed, this tidal energy project will be one of the first tidal energy projects ever licensed by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). The proposed project involves complicated licensing and permitting issues addressing the potential impacts on 1) endangered Southern Resident Killer Whales, and 2) an existing international fiber optic cable. This representation includes providing strategic and regulatory counsel on compliance with the Federal Power Act, National Environmental Policy Act, Endangered Species Act, Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, Clean Water Act, Coastal Zone Management Act, National Historic Preservation Act, Indian law, and Washington State Environmental Policy Act. The firm expects FERC to complete it environmental review and issue a pilot license before the end of the year. 

In addition, Van Ness Feldman advises SnoPUD on hydroelectric projects, including the Sunset Fish Passage and Energy Project, a proposed 30-megawatt, run of the river hydroelectric project located on the South Fork of the Skykomish River.  Although this is a renewable energy project with substantial environmental benefits, there has been significant opposition to this proposed project. This representation includes providing strategic and regulatory counsel on compliance with the Federal Power Act, National Environmental Policy Act, Endangered Species Act, Clean Water Act, Coastal Zone Management Act, National Historic Preservation Act, Indian Law, Northwest Power Act, Washington State Environmental Policy Act, and other federal and state laws.  The firm assisted in receiving a preliminary permit from the FERC and is now assisting the client in developing the environmental review for the project.