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Andrew C. Bell

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Click to Email: abell@martenlaw.com

Andrew Bell advises clients on the permitting of large-scale energy and real estate development projects on private lands in California and on federal public lands across the western United States. He represents some of America’s largest private and publicly traded corporations before local, state and federal regulatory agencies on a daily basis.

Andrew’s practice focuses on environmental impact review under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), permitting under the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA) and California’s planning and zoning laws, incidental take authorizations under the Endangered Species Act, and compliance with other related federal and California natural resources laws. Much of Andrew’s work involves designing and implementing entitlement strategies that meet the client’s objectives in the most legally defensible manner possible.

Representative Experience

  • Lead land use counsel for developer of a 150 MW solar photovoltaic project on public lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management. Negotiated and obtained incidental take authorizations for species listed under the Endangered Species Act and the California Endangered Species Act. Negotiated multi-party protest resolutions leading to project approval by the Secretary of the Interior.
  • Obtained from the Interior Board of Land Appeals a stay and remand of BLM rejection of a 14,000-acre wind testing and monitoring right-of-way application, notwithstanding its location within an Area of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC) that prohibited wind rights-of-way. Negotiated favorable settlement with Nevada BLM regarding same.
  • Advised wind project developer regarding successful entitlement of several wind projects across California, with attention to CEQA, the Endangered Species Act, the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and the Clean Water Act.
  • Advised developer regarding the entitlement of a proposed 12,000-unit master planned community, with attention to the defeat of an adverse local ballot measure as well as permitting under local planning and zoning laws, the Clean Water Act, the Rivers and Harbors Act, and the Endangered Species Act.
  • Advised public agency developer regarding entitlement of 120-acre property with 800 residential units, recreation facilities and 150,000 square feet of commercial space; including preparation of entitlement and CEQA strategies, drafting and negotiation of development agreement, and implementation of same.
  • Represented utility-scale wind energy trade organization and developer clients regarding U.S. Senator Feinstein’s proposed Desert Protection Act of 2010 and USFWS’s Draft Land-Based Wind Energy Guidelines.
  • Represented wind and solar developers before state and federal agencies regarding BLM’s Solar Energy Program for six southwestern states (Solar PEIS) and the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP), a proposed 22 million acre state and federal habitat conservation plan for Southern California.
  • Performed land use due diligence on behalf of potential lenders and buyers of more than two dozen renewable energy projects and commercial projects throughout California, ranging in value from tens to hundreds of millions of dollars.

Education

  • J.D., University of California at Los Angeles, School of Law (2004)
  • M.A., University of Chicago (2000)
  • B.A., magna cum laude with distinction, Cornell University (1999)
  • Turkish (proficient)

Admitted to Practice

  • State Bar of California

Professional Activities and Honors

  • Member, State Bar of California, Environmental Law and Real Property Law sections
  • Member, Bar Association of San Francisco, Environmental and Real Property section
  • Member, American Wind Energy Association
  • Member, Bay Planning Coalition 
  • Member, Power Association of Northern California 
  • Member, Urban Land Institute

Select Publications and Speeches

  • Panelist, “What’s in Store for the Energy Sector Under the Trump Administration.” The Knowledge Group (June 2017)
  • Speaker, “Assessing the Lay of the Land - Status Review of Wildlife Permitting and Potential Paths Forward,” AWEA Wind Project Siting and Environmental Compliance Conference. Austin, Texas (March 21, 2017)
  • Author, “BLM Overhauls Solar And Wind Permitting Rules,” Solar Industry Magazine (January 2017)
  • Author, “Will Trumping Obama’s Interior Department Help Solar?” Renewable Energy World (December 2016)
  • Co-Author, “Trumping Obama’s Interior Department,” Law 360 (December 2016)
  • Author, “Wind Energy: USFWS Issues Draft Revisions to Eagle Incidental Take Rule,” Pratt's Energy Law Report (September 2016)
  • Author, “Eagle Permitting Rule to be Overhauled,” North American Windpower (July 2016)
  • Co-Author, “A New Approach by the FWS Over the MBTA and Eagles,” North American Windpower (January 2016)
  • Co-Author, “Migratory Bird Policy Casts Shadow Over Large-Scale Solar,” Solar Industry Magazine (July 2015)
  • Co-Author, “DOI’s Sage-Grouse Plans Raise Wind Industry Concerns,” North American Windpower (July 2015)
  • Author, “Feds Ready to Change Renewables Permitting For Public Lands,” Solar Industry Magazine (June 2015)
  • Panelist, “Navigating Federal Wildlife Permitting at Operating and Greenfield Wind Farms.” Windpower 2015. Orlando, Florida. (May 20, 2015)
  • Co-Author, “Fish and Wildlife Service May Overhaul Rule Permitting Incidental Take of Eagles,” NAEP National E-News (April 2015)
  • Author, "Clearing Up CEQA's Catergorical Exemptions," Law360 (March 10, 2015)
  • Presenter, "California's Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan: What it Means for Wind and Solar in Southern California," B2B Webinars (January 2015)
  • Co-Author, “U.S. Species Plan Could ‘Zone Out’ Half of California’s Desert Solar,” Solar Industry Magazine (November 2014)
  • Co-Author, "Does DRECP Draft Signal Doom for California Wind?," North American Windpower (October 2014)
  • Co-Author, "FWS Mulls Overhauling Eagle Permitting Rule," North American Windpower (September 2014)
  • Panelist, “State and Federal Permitting and Environmental Issues.” Solar Power Project Development. Law Seminars International. San Diego, California. (November 13, 2012)
  • Presenter, "DOI's Final PEIS for Solar Energy Development in the Southwest." Law Seminars International. (September 13, 2012)
  • Panelist, “Nuts and Bolts of Wind Energy: Notes from the Field.” Environmental Law Institute. San Francisco, California (December 7, 2011)
  • Program Co-Chair, “Financing, Developing and Permitting Renewable Energy Projects in California.” Law Seminars International. San Francisco, California (October 27, 2011)
  • Author, “New BLM Guidance Can Form Basis for Application Rejections,” North American Wind Power (February 2011)
  • Presenter, “California’s Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan.” Geothermal Resources Council, Annual Meeting. Sacramento, California (October 27, 2010)
  • Presenter, “Land Use Entitlements 101.” Urban Land Institute, San Francisco, California (October 26, 2010)
  • Panelist, "Permitting Solar and Wind Projects on Federal Lands," Infocast webinar (July 2010) 
  • Author, “Air Quality Guidelines to Influence Development Projects,” globest.com (July 2010)
  • Author, “A Room First, the View Can Come Later: Local Autonomy and the Density Bonus Law,” California Land Use Law and Policy Reporter (February 2009)
  • Co-Author, “Floating a Boat on the Jurisdictional Waters – Army Corps of Engineers and EPA Issue Rapanos Guidance,” Eastern Water Law and Policy Reporter (August-September 2007)

Representative Experience

EDF Renewable Energy, Inc.: 150 MW Desert Harvest Solar

We have counseled EDF Renewable Energy, Inc. on the permitting of the Desert Harvest Solar project in Riverside County, California. The 150 megawatt solar photovoltaic project was one of seven nationally significant solar and wind energy projects expedited as part of President Obama’s 2012 "We Can't Wait" initiative. More

Energy Facility Developer: California Utility-Scale Solar Projects

We provide utility-scale solar due diligence and permitting advice to one of the nation’s largest privately held companies. Projects have ranged from 20 to 350 megawatts. Our work has focused primarily on environmental impact reviews, endangered species, and land use entitlements from local governments and the Bureau of Land Management. More

Fortune 500 Retailer: Entitlement of 20-Acre Retail Site

We have acted as land use counsel to a Fortune 500 retail sales company for the permitting and environmental impact review of a 20-acre retail site in Pleasanton, California. More

Ogin, Inc.: Wind Repower Permitting and Land Use Due Diligence

We have provided California land use and natural resource counsel to Ogin, Inc. for the acquisition and repowering of multiple wind project sites with a new, shrouded turbine technology. More

Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA): BLM Competitive Leasing Rule

On behalf of SEIA, Marten Law prepared comments on a proposed rule of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) that would radically alter the permitting process for wind and solar projects on BLM-administered lands by allowing BLM to establish a competitive process for wind and solar development across all public lands it administers. More