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Arnold & Porter/Columbia Law School Renewable Energy Legal Defense Initiative Helps Community Groups and Local Residents

December 5, 2019

Arnold & Porter has partnered with Columbia Law School's Sabin Center for Climate Change Law to launch the Renewable Energy Legal Defense Initiative (RELDI), a program whose purpose is to provide pro bono legal representation to community groups and local residents who support renewable energy development in their communities, but face opposition. Although many people are enthusiastic about renewable energy facilities' economic and environmental benefits, local opposition often impedes such development -- some people may not like the sight of wind turbines or solar arrays in their communities, or have other objections to renewable energy projects. Recognizing that addressing the climate crisis requires developing wind, solar, and other renewable energy facilities at an unprecedented scale and pace, RELDI aims to provide a voice to local organizations and individuals that want to participate in the scaling-up of renewable energy.

Through RELDI, Arnold & Porter attorneys have participated in the following cases (pro bono) on behalf of individuals and organizations that support local renewable energy development:

  • New York state court proceedings challenging a Town's zoning law enacted in order to significantly restrict local solar energy development.
  • New York administrative proceedings before the Department of Public Service regarding the siting of:
    • A transmission line running from the proposed South Fork Wind Farm off the coast of Long Island to an onshore substation (through state lands and waters).
    • The proposed 100-MW Flint Mine Solar Project in New York's Hudson Valley
    • The proposed 180-MW Horseshoe Solar Project near Rochester, NY.

We have also written letters to towns, municipalities, HOAs, and community groups advocating on behalf of local residents who are advocating for local laws that support reasonable renewable development.