Allison Smith focuses her practice in environmental and energy law. Her experience includes CEQA and land use litigation, conducting environmental due diligence, and permitting solar, wind, biomass, geothermal and gas-fired energy facilities. Allison regularly counsels companies on federal and state air quality and carbon regulations, including the California Cap-and-Trade Program and Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS).

Prior to practicing law, Allison was a volunteer in the Peace Corps in Côte d’lvoire and taught English in Tokushima, Japan, with the Japan Exchange and Teaching Program.


Tulane University Law School, J.D., 2005
Certificate in Environmental Law
Environmental Law Journal
Order of the Barristers

University of Virginia, B.A., Environmental Science and Anthropology, 1996



United States District Court for the Eastern District of California



CEQA and Project Development

  • Provided CEQA and permitting advice for the development of over two dozen solar, wind, biomass, geothermal, and gas-fired energy facilities throughout California.
  • Helped successfully defend the City of Sacramento and Redevelopment Agency against CEQA challenges to the largest mixed use redevelopment project west of the Mississippi.
  • Defense of a biomass plant against multiple CEQA lawsuits, settling both suits and obtaining a release of all claims against the project owner.

Energy Project Finance and Acquisition

  • Conducted permitting and environmental due diligence for the sale, financing, and acquisition of several dozen energy facilities. Negotiated contractual terms related to environmental matters and allocation of risk.
  • Prepare environmental and permitting opinions for the benefit of lenders and project investors for construction and tax equity financing. 

Carbon Regulation

  • Counsel electricity producers and importers on compliance with the California Cap-and-Trade Program and mandatory greenhouse gas emissions reporting.
  • Advise industrial facilities on the applicability of and compliance with federal greenhouse gas permitting requirements, the California Cap-and-Trade Program, and the California LCFS. Representative clients include oil and gas producers, mining operations, a rice straw fiberboard manufacturer, a fertilizer plant, a cement producer, and thermal power plants.
  • Advised oil and gas major on opportunities and risk associated with carbon capture and storage (CCS) projects under the California LCFS. 
  • Advised project developer on CEQA requirements and design strategy for its CCS project under the LCFS.
  • Advised renewable natural gas (RNG) producers on LCFS compliance, including intersection with the Cap-and-Trade Program.
  • Negotiation of amendment of a power purchase agreement with Southern California Edison to provide for reimbursement of California Cap-and-Trade Program compliance costs to the power plant owner.
  • Advised out-of-state biomass plants on Cap-and-Trade Program obligations associated with importing power into California and negotiated allocation of carbon costs under several power purchase agreements.
  • Advised an investment bank on the risks and liabilities associated with a loan to purchase real property to create a forest offset project under the California Cap-and-Trade Program, helped draft related terms of the loan and security agreement.
  • Counseled over half a dozen timber companies on creating projects to generate carbon offsets from forest lands for sale in the regulated California and voluntary markets, including negotiation of carbon development services agreements and offset sales agreements.
  • Joint defense of a group of small fuel companies against enforcement by the California Air Resources Board under the California greenhouse gas reporting regulation and Cap-and-Trade Program.

Air Quality Permitting, Compliance, and Defense

  • Assist with permitting and provide advice on compliance with the Clean Air Act new source review and prevention of significant deterioration programs, as well as local air quality regulations, including Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District, Bay Area Air Quality Management District Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District, San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District, and South Coast Air Quality Management District rules.
  • Defense of sellers and manufacturers of consumer products against enforcement by the California Air Resources Board.
  • Defended a pollution control device manufacturer against lawsuits for civil penalties brought by the California Air Resources Board, South Coast Air Quality Management District, and Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District.
  • Handled the sale of emission reduction credits, including drafting a purchase and sale agreement.


Insights & Presentations

  • Regular contributor to the Stoel Rives Renewable + Law Blog and the Stoel Rives Environmental Law Blog
  • “California releases draft blueprint to achieve carbon neutrality by 2045,” Attorney Analysis, Westlaw Today, June 2022
  • “Permitting and Land Use” (co-author), Chapter 6, The Law of Solar Energy: A Guide to Business and Legal Issues, Stoel Rives LLP, Sixth Edition, 2022
  • “Greenhouse Gas Analysis and Climate Mitigation,” California Environmental Quality Act: The Year in Review, December 2019
  • “Ninth Circuit Strikes Down California ReMAT In Winding Creek Solar Case” (co-author), Solar Industry, August 2019
  • “Implications of NEPA Streamlining,” Association of Environmental Professionals, California State Conference, March 2019
  • “SB 100: Clean energy law,” Daily Journal New California Laws supplement, January 2019
  • “Western states race to counter Trump’s retreat on climate change policy,” Westlaw Journal Environmental, December 2018
  • Moderator, “Mindfulness and Competence in Legal Practice,” Environmental Law Conference at Yosemite, October 2018
  • “Western States Proceed with Climate Legislation Regardless of Trump’s “ACE” Rule” (co-author), Renewable Energy World, September 2018
  • Moderator, “Regionalization and the Future of Market Development in the West,” Infocast California Energy Summit, May 2018
  • “California cap and trade at the crossroads,” Westlaw Journal Environmental, April 2017
  • Moderator, “California’s Clean Energy and Pollution Reduction Act of 2015: What’s Next for SB 350?” Environmental Law Conference at Yosemite, October 2016
  • “Cap-and-Trade Links will Bolster Market,” San Francisco Daily Journal, July 2016
  • Moderator, “How Will the EPA CPP Affect California and the West,” Infocast California Energy Summit, May 2016
  • Moderator, “Renewables On the Grid: Integration Challenges and Proposed RPS Standards,” Platts California Power and Gas Conference, November 2015
  • “EPA Enforcement Update,” Stoel Rives 2015 Workshop Series, October 15, 2015
  • “California Dreaming,” PV Magazine, July 2015
  • “The Short and Long Game of California’s GHG Reduction Plan,” Law360, May 2015
  • “Get Ready for California’s Energy Storage Boom,” Solar Industry Magazine, April 2014



  • Environmental, Energy & Climate Change Law and Regulation Reporter, Editor
  • California Lawyers Association, Environmental Law Section, Immediate Past Chair
  • American Bar Association, Environment, Energy and Resources Section, Member
  • Sacramento County Bar Association, Environmental Law Section, Member
  • Power Association of Northern California, Member
  • Association of Women in Water, Energy and Environment, Member
  • California Women in Energy, Member
  • Association of Environmental Professionals, Member
  • Air & Waste Management Association, Member
  • California Women for Agriculture, Member
  • Urban Land Institute, Member
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