As a regulatory lawyer, Matt helps public and private companies successfully interface with government agencies. He mostly focuses on permitting, siting, compliance, and enforcement matters, especially those impacting the mining, energy, construction, and utility industries.
Leveraging his background in engineering, Matt approaches every project as if he’s solving a puzzle. He thrives on identifying and analyzing all of the pieces and then systematically putting each piece in its proper place to create the best possible result for his client. Whether working with clients or government regulators, Matt takes a reasonable, methodical, and organized approach.
Mining. Matt helps mining companies and investors in the mining industry tackle environmental and natural resources issues.
His recent mining industry experience includes:
- Representing a Canadian junior mining company in assessing real property entitlements and environmental permitting planning and strategy, including meeting with potential investors conducting due diligence on a proposed in-situ recovery of copper project.
- Representing a Canadian mining company as local counsel in its evaluation of a significant new copper mine in southern Arizona in connection with its offer to acquire the current owner.
- Defending sand and gravel operator against application for temporary restraining order, including research and drafting of briefs, preparation of expert witness, and negotiation of settlement.
- Serving as a member of the team that helped Singatse Peak Services (owned by Quaterra Resources) acquire the Yerington Copper Mine site. Matt’s role included researching the Superfund/CERCLA legal issues involved and advising Singatse on the Bona Fide Prospective Purchaser Defense to CERCLA Liability.
- Conducting comprehensive due diligence for a potential investor in an Arizona copper mine, including analyzing permitting plans and assessing environmental risks, which enabled the client to make an informed investment decision.
- Advising developers and land owners on mineral rights issues, particularly those involving split estate situations.
Matt is active in the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation, serving in various leadership roles including as a member of the Young Professionals Committee.
Energy. Matt represents energy developers and those seeking to invest in energy development projects. He helps developers obtain required siting approvals from the Arizona Corporation Commission, prepare and review permitting opinions, and negotiate contracts. For investors in the energy industry, Matt helps conduct proper due diligence to identify regulatory risks involved with financing or purchasing target projects. His experience includes transmission lines, fossil fuel generating plants, and renewable energy projects, both utility-scale solar and wind projects as well as distributed solar generation.
His recent energy work with includes:
- Helping BP Wind obtain a Certificate of Environmental Compatibility (CEC) from the Arizona Corporation Commission to build the high-voltage transmission line that will connect our client’s wind farm to the grid. Matt assisted in the entire process: preparing and filing the CEC application, scheduling the public hearing, developing witnesses’ testimony, preparing witnesses for the hearing, presenting our client's case at the hearing, holding a public comment session, addressing the Committee members' questions and concerns, and negotiating the terms of the CEC.
- Representing the Solana Generating Facility, one of the largest concentrating solar facilities in the world, in obtaining a Certificate of Environmental Compatibility (CEC) and preparing a permitting opinion that enabled our client to receive a $1.5 billion federal loan guarantee.
- Representing a lender to multiple utility-scale PV solar facilities in conducting comprehensive due diligence including reviewing, analyzing, and resolving issues arising from the project’s permits, approvals, plans, power purchase agreement milestones, and other contract details.
- Representing a company seeking to purchase two natural gas power plants in reviewing the plants’ permits and regulatory history and providing a full assessment of the risks of and issues associated with the investment.
Utilities and the ACC. By advocating on their behalf before the Arizona Corporation Commission, Matt helps utility companies—water, electric, and telecommunications—get the right permits and approvals to do business in the state.
His recent work in this area includes:
- Representing the developer of an apartment complex in an action for deletion of its property from the Certificate of Convenience and Necessity of a private water company, which involved drafting and filing the application and other pleadings, negotiating with Commission Staff and counsel for the water company, and conducting a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge.
- Representing a water company in a rate case before the Arizona Corporation Commission, which involved developing the client’s testimony, responding to data requests from Commission Staff, coordinating procedural issues with Commission legal counsel, drafting and negotiating the settlement agreement, and representing the client in a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge.
- Representing EPCOR Water Arizona before the ACC in the acquisition of a privately-owned water company, which involved drafting and filing the application and interfacing with ACC Staff and legal counsel on various substantive and procedural issues.
- Helping telecommunications companies obtain Certificates of Convenience and Necessity to operate in Arizona and ETC Designations to allow wireless providers to participate in the federal Lifeline Program for low-income consumers.
Environmental and Regulatory. Matt helps clients obtain, comply with, renew, and defend their environmental permits including those related to water, air, and dust. His experience includes drafting and reviewing permit applications, negotiating permit terms, analyzing and responding to alleged violations, and protecting his clients’ interests in enforcement proceedings.
He provides advice and analysis on local, state, and federal environmental laws and regulations including Superfund/CERCLA, WQARF, the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, RCRA, and EPCRA. On behalf of his clients, Matt has successfully interfaced with the Environmental Protection Agency, the Bureau of Land Management, the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ), the Arizona Department of Water Resources, the Arizona State Land Department, the Maricopa County Air Quality Department, and other agencies that oversee environmental and natural resource regulations.
His recent regulatory experience includes:
- Providing ongoing environmental analysis and advice in a complex groundwater cleanup case.
- Defending a WQARF case and negotiating a settlement with ADEQ on favorable terms to the client.
- Helping a home builder respond to dozens of alleged dust permit violations based on completing a comprehensive analysis of the violations against Maricopa County Air Quality Department’s Rules and Violation Penalty Policy.
- Helping a client update an Aquifer Protection Permit from ADEQ for a large industrial site in Maricopa County.
Outside the environmental realm, Matt has assisted clients with procurement questions and disputes and other regulatory issues before the Arizona Department of Financial Institutions, the Arizona Department of Weights and Measures, and the Arizona State Medical Board.
Engineering Background. Before pursuing a legal career, Matt was a civil engineer with the Phoenix office of a national transportation engineering and technology firm. Prior to that position, he worked in the land development group of another national engineering firm.
Matt’s background in engineering helps him understand the substantive issues that often arise in construction, development, and modeling contexts.