Ruth Leistensnider is a partner in the Energy and Environmental practice group. She concentrates in the permitting and regulation of complex infrastructure facilities, such as fossil fuel and renewable power plants, landfills, electric and gas transmission lines and other infrastructure facilities.
What do you focus on?
I assist clients in working through the complex environmental and energy regulatory climate that may face them in order to bring a project to a successful fruition. This includes representation of clients in high stakes administrative proceedings and the defense of those approvals in court following challenges to the approvals.
I represented the City of Albany in obtaining a permit to expand its landfill in the middle of a preserve area, negotiating with the Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as well as the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation regarding measures to protect endangered species. I have represented numerous other clients in obtaining environmental and energy regulatory permits for both renewable and fossil fuel fired facilities.
I work with clients to successfully navigate the complicated maze of the State Environmental Quality Review Act as well as the National Environmental Policy Act and the National Historic Preservation Act.
I also represent clients before the Public Service Commission regarding energy regulatory issues. I regularly appear before the New York Public Service Commission to assist independent power producers to obtain the regulatory approvals needed to achieve their desired business needs. Most recently, I represented NRG Energy, Inc. and GenOn Energy, Inc., in obtaining approval for their merger.
What do you see on the horizon?
There is no doubt that there is a desperate need for infrastructure improvement. With the boom in shale gas and liquids occurring in the U.S., this will include major upgrades in midstream and other facilities. Climate change policies will drive the need for these facilities, and we are uniquely positioned to assist clients in making sure that these facilities are approved.