Melissa A. Foster
Melissa Foster is a partner in the Environment, Land Use and Natural Resources group in the firm's Sacramento office and is Co-Chair of the firm's Thermal Initiative. Melissa focuses her practice on energy facility siting and environmental compliance. Her experience includes permitting natural gas-fired and solar energy facilities, as well as regulatory compliance and permitting involving water quality issues. She also has experience with CEQA and land use, as well as environmental and real property litigation.
Before joining Stoel Rives, Melissa was an associate at Downey Brand LLP in Sacramento (2003-2006), worked as a law clerk in the Office of the Chief Counsel at the California State Water Resources Control Board in Sacramento (summers 2001, 2002) and was a research assistant at the University of Oregon School of Law Ocean and Coastal Law Center in Eugene, Oregon (2002-2003).
- Provides advice on all aspects of natural gas-fired facility siting before the California Energy Commission, from the preparation of Applications for Certification to responses to discovery requests and interactions with staff, hearing officers, and the Siting Committee. Represents clients during facility siting workshops and evidentiary hearings, as well as during proceedings before the full Commission. Routinely provides advice for such facilities related to permits and approvals that fall outside the jurisdiction of the CEC, including National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits, Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) permits, Section 7 consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and Army Corps of Engineers Section 404 permits.
- Advises and represents clients before Regional Water Quality Control Boards and the State Water Resources Control Board related to water quality issues, stormwater management and pollution control, NPDES permitting, and waste discharge requirements.
- Advises clients regarding compliance with California's Construction Stormwater General NPDES Permit and Industrial Stormwater General NPDES Permit.
- Advises clients regarding the appropriate scope of environmental due diligence in real property acquisition transactions and regularly conducts environmental due diligence for project acquisitions and project financing.
Representative Siting Projects
- Pio Pico Energy Center Project, East Otay Mesa, San Diego County, CA - Lead counsel during various hearings, staff workshops, and evidentiary processes during the AFC process for this proposed 300 megawatt simple-cycle facility.
- Carlsbad Energy Center Project, Carlsbad, CA – Assisted and advised project team with all aspects of the AFC process. Drafted numerous legal briefs related to various issues raised by intervening parties, including issues related to the Coastal Commission's role pursuant to the Warren-Alquist Act. Provided legal advice related to NPDES permitting and compliance.
- El Segundo Power Redevelopment, El Segundo, CA – Provided advice regarding NPDES permitting and Army Corps of Engineers Section 404 permits as well as waste management components of the project. Assisted with a Petition to Amend the facility license to use state-of-the-art rapid response combined cycle technology.
- Panoche Energy Center, Fresno County, CA – Provided advice regarding process water sources. Represented the applicant during the evidentiary hearing before the CEC Siting Committee. Acted as lead counsel for a Petition to Amend the facility license for expansion of the facility footprint to include a substation.
- Represents clients in litigation under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).
- Represents clients in citizen suit actions filed pursuant to the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act.
- Landvalue 77 LLC, et al. v. Board of Trustees of the CSU, et al., 193 Cal. App. 4th 675 (5th App. Dist. Feb. 23, 2011)
Professional Honors & Activities
- Stoel Rives Coaching & Mentoring Program, Coach of the Year, California, 2013
- Co-Chair, State Bar of California, Real Property Law Section, Environmental Law Subsection, September 2011-present
- Member, Women Lawyers of Sacramento
- Member, Power Association of Northern California
- Member, California Stormwater Quality Association
- Member, Association of Women in Water, Energy and Environment
- Editor and author, Environmental Liability, Enforcement & Penalties Reporter, 2008-present
- Editor and author, Climate Change Law & Policy Reporter, 2008-2011
- Case summary contributor, California Land Use Policy & Law Reporter, 2007-2008
- Stoel Rives Coaching & Mentoring Program, Mentor of the Year, California, 2010
- California representative, Stoel Rives Associate Committee, 2007-2009
- Oregon Law Review, Distinguished Service Award, 2003
- Oregon Law Review, Maxine Lee Award for Editorial Excellence, 2002
- Member, State Bar of California, Environmental and Real Property Law Sections
- Member, Sacramento County Bar Association, Environmental Law Section
- Member, Yolo County Bar Association
- Member, Parcel Tax Oversight Committee, Davis Joint Unified School District, 2013-present
- Member, Reunion Steering Committee, University of Oregon School of Law, 2008
- Member, Board of Directors, Happy Tails Pet Sanctuary, 2005-2006
- Author, "It Is Not Too Late: The Need for a Comprehensive International Treaty to Protect the Arctic Environment," Georgetown International Environmental Law Review, 2003.
- University of Oregon School of Law, J.D., 2003
Managing editor and staff writer, Oregon Law Review
Statements of Completion in Environmental and Natural Resources Law, and Ocean and Coastal Law
- University of California, Davis, B.A., History, 1999
Print to Word
- U.S. District Court for the Central, Eastern and Northern Districts of California
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit