Melissa A. Foster

Melissa A. Foster
Partner
Sacramento, CA
P: 916.319.4673
Overview

About Melissa

Melissa Foster is a partner in the Environment, Land Use and Natural Resources group in the firm’s Sacramento office. Melissa focuses her practice on energy facility siting and environmental compliance and is an active member of the firm's Energy Initiative. 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, 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).

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Experience

Experience

Regulatory Compliance

  • 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, Waste Discharge Requirements (WDRs),  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 Storm Water General NPDES Permit and Industrial Storm Water 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 CEC Siting Projects

  • Orange County, CA – Lead counsel for the CEC licensing of a 939MW combined cycle facility.  Represented project applicant during various hearings, staff workshops, and evidentiary processes throughout the AFC process.  Represent project owner during petition to amend proceedings before the CEC focused on a change in technology and associated reduction in electrical output to 844MW consisting of a two-on-one combined-cycle natural gas-fired turbine configuration and two heat recovery steam generators, a steam turbine generator, an air-cooled condenser, and related ancillary equipment (644 MW net), as well as two simple-cycle gas turbine units with a nominal capacity of 200 MWs.
  • Blythe Energy Project, Blythe, Riverside County, CA – Advised and represented project owner before the CEC regarding a Petition to Change Operational Control of the facility.  Advise and represented project owner in petition to amend proceeding related to equipment upgrades.
  • Sonoran Energy Project, Blythe, Riverside County, CA – Represents project owner in petition to amend proceedings before the CEC involving a change the technology and transmission interconnection of the licensed facility.  Advised and represented project owner before the CEC regarding a Notice of Name Change, or, in the Alternative, Petition to Change Ownership of the facility.
  • Pomona Repower Project, Pomona, Los Angeles County, CA – Advised project owner regarding the process for and development of an application for Small Power Plant Exemption (SPPE) filed with the CEC.
  • AltaGas Tracy, Henrietta, Hanford – Advised and represented project owner before the CEC regarding Notices/Petitions for Change in Ownership and Operational Control. 
  • Pio Pico Energy Center Project, East Otay Mesa, San Diego County, CA – Lead counsel for the CEC licensing of this 300MW simple-cycle facility.  Represented project applicant during  various hearings, staff workshops, and evidentiary processes throughout the AFC process. Advised and represented project owner during various petition to amend proceedings before the CEC for the facility related to wastewater disposal, increased heat input, and increased wastewater storage tank capacity at the project site.
  • Panoche Energy Center, Fresno County, CA – Provided advice to project applicant regarding process water sources during the CEC licensing of this 400MW simple-cycle facility. Represented the applicant during the CEC evidentiary hearing before the CEC Siting Committee. Lead counsel for a Petition to Amend the facility license for expansion of the facility footprint to include a substation. Lead counsel for a Petition to Amend the facility license to add up to three new permanent storage tanks and new permanent wastewater treatment facility as well as for the replacement of the facility’s temporary treatment system with a permanent treatment system.
  • Project located in San Diego County, CA – Assisted and advised project team with all aspects of the AFC process from 2007-2012.  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.
  •  Project located in Los Angeles County, CA – Provided advice regarding NPDES permitting and Army Corps of Engineers Section 404 permits as well as waste management components of the project from 2007 through 2012. Assisted with a Petition to Amend the facility license to use state-of-the-art rapid response combined cycle technology.

Environmental Litigation

  • Represents clients in litigation under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).
  • Represents clients in actions filed pursuant to CERCLA, RCRA, and the Clean Water Act.

Published Opinions

  • 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)
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Honors

Honors & Activities

Professional Honors and Activities

  • Listed among Rising Stars (Energy & Natural Resources, Environmental), Northern California Super Lawyers®, 2013
  • Co-Chair, State Bar of California, Real Property Law Section, Environmental Law Subsection, 2011-2015  
  • Member, Power Association of Northern California
  • Member, California Stormwater Quality Association
  • Member, Association of Women in Water, Energy and Environment
  • Member, Women Lawyers of Sacramento 
  • Editor and author, Environmental Liability, Enforcement & Penalties Reporter, 2008-2015
  • 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, Coach of the Year, California, 2013
  • 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

Civic Activities

  • 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
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Insights & Presentations

Insights & Presentations

  • Author, “It Is Not Too Late: The Need for a Comprehensive International Treaty to Protect the Arctic Environment,” Georgetown International Environmental Law Review, 2003.



Related News & Publications


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