McDowell Rackner Gibson's environmental practice area supports our firm's representation of electric and natural gas utilities throughout the West and Alaska and provides advice to clients both within and outside of the energy sector, including business entities and individuals seeking local land use and other permits required for a range of project types. 


McDowell Rackner Gibson's attorneys help clients obtain the federal, state, and local permits and approvals necessary for development of energy and other types of facilities in Oregon and the Pacific Northwest. MRG attorneys are skilled at achieving positive outcomes through the use of informal negotiations with regulators and community stakeholders. The firm has significant administrative litigation and contested case hearing experience, including management of expert witnesses regarding highly technical issues.

Transmission and other linear projects.

Our attorneys are lead outside counsel for the permitting of a 300-mile-long 500-kV transmission project proposed for construction and operation in Oregon. 

Renewable energy projects, including wind, geothermal, hydrokinetic and marine, traditional hydro, and solar.

McDowell Rackner Gibson's attorneys have a wealth of energy sector experience regarding utility operations and resource development that can prove invaluable to clients seeking to develop renewable energy projects in Oregon and the Pacific Northwest. We work diligently to help clients successfully and efficiently navigate the permitting process, regardless of the scale or type of project.

Areas of Particular Expertise:

  • Energy Facility Siting Council site certificate
  • National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), including third-party contracting issues
  • Right-of-way permits and special use permits under Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA)
  • Local land use approvals, including permitting in farm and forest resource lands
  • Fish and wildlife habitat issues at both the state and federal level (including familiarity with Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife Habitat Mitigation Policy, federal Endangered Species Act requirements, and significant depth of knowledge regarding Greater Sage-Grouse)
  • Interpretation of state and federal laws and permits requiring analysis of impacts to a range of resources (including water quality, wetlands, visual resources, noise, and cultural resources)
  • Development of mitigation proposals, including preparation of mitigation instruments and conservation easements


McDowell Rackner Gibson’s attorneys are committed to providing our clients with timely, strategic advice to successfully navigate the web of environmental and natural resources laws that apply to development of energy and other facilities.
McDowell Rackner Gibson is the sole Oregon member of the Environmental Law Network (ELN). The ELN is a network of environmental law firms that provides a forum for over 250 environmental lawyers to share information, experiences, ideas, and contacts to add value to legal representation for their respective clients.