MICHELLE DE BLASI

Michelle De Blasi

Michelle De Blasi is a prominent environmental attorney in our natural resources, energy and environmental law group. Her in-depth experience encompasses a wide range of environmental law areas with an emphasis on natural resources matters, including traditional and renewable energy project development, environmental permitting and compliance, and greenhouse gas emissions.

Michelle focuses on business strategy by helping clients in a broad array of industries build their projects from start to finish, overseeing all aspects of permitting, while assessing business risks and hitting all milestones on time and on budget. On the state and federal environmental regulatory levels, clients consistently rely on her knowledge of hazardous waste, air quality, water quality, environmental health and safety, real property due diligence, utility regulation, natural resource damage issues, asbestos, and underground storage tank regulation. Throughout her experience on the energy side of her practice, she has advised clients on due diligence, permitting, siting and contractual agreements for energy generation projects, both traditional and alternative energy, as well as carbon emissions tracking and reporting.

From an early age, Michelle knew she wanted to be an environmental attorney so she earned a Bachelor of Science degree before heading off to law school. This passion for her work is reflected in the long-term relationships she builds with her clients, helping effectively manage issues as they arise and resolving matters as quickly as possible so her clients can get back to running their businesses.

While working in the law is always an invigorating career, it also provides great opportunities to learn and contribute to the community. As a mentor to the next generation of women attorneys, Michelle advises individuals to find their purpose and passion. Practicing what she preaches as a natural resources and energy attorney, Michelle founded the Arizona Energy Consortium in 2011 to connect energy industry leaders and provide a clear, credible voice for Arizona’s growing energy industry. Michelle’s vision is to achieve increased development for Arizona and the greater Southwest region by generating a diverse energy mix supporting reliable transmission and low-cost energy, a strong base of manufacturing facilities, an increase in higher wage jobs, and world-class research institutions.

Education

  • J.D., cum laude, University of Washington School of Law
  • B.S., magna cum laude, Arizona State University

Areas of Practice

We have over 130 years of experience representing clients in minerals development.

We have a long history in natural resources, energy and environmental law.

OTHER EXPERIENCE

  • Indian Law
  • Renewable Energy and Clean Tech

Representative Cases

  • Provided environmental due diligence advice and counseling for clients engaged in real property transactions, including traditional and renewable energy power projects, manufacturing facilities, data centers, and Brownfield acquisitions/development, in Arizona, Nevada, California and other jurisdictions.
  • Advised multiple real estate developers on endangered species and jurisdictional Waters of the U.S. issues for large property developments on private and federal lands.
  • Assisted Fortune 100 technology manufacturer with air quality and wastewater permitting for $2 billion manufacturing facility in Arizona.
  • Advised a utility-owned purchaser of multiple utility-scale solar energy projects in California on the environmental due diligence and permitting of the projects, including providing permitting opinions.
  • Provided client with advice related to a pumped storage project including environmental, natural resource and permitting due diligence, strategic considerations for regulatory compliance and identification of strategic partners to assist with development of the project.
  • Advised a waste-to-energy technology company on the environmental due diligence and permitting requirements for facilities located in Arizona, California and Nevada.
  • Assisted Fortune 100 food manufacturer with the development of a solar energy project from inception to implementation.
  • Provided advice on drafting a Request for Proposal (“RFP”) for solar service providers and reviewing RFP responses; negotiated interconnection and renewable energy credit agreements with the electric utility; provided federal/state/local permitting advice; drafted and negotiated a power purchase agreement and solar lease site; and oversaw the financial structuring and tax-
  • related advice on the transaction.
  • Provided a Fortune 100 manufacturer with a template power purchase agreement to use as the company’s standard agreement for installation of solar projects at its national facilities. In doing so, helped the client meet its goal of significantly streamlining its legal documents and legal contract processes.
  • Provided client with strategic considerations for future renewable energy projects, while also assisting client with the identification of strategic partners to assist with development of solar projects.
  • Assisted clients with regulatory permitting processes under both state and federal laws, including air quality permits, Clean Water Act Section 404 permits and hazardous waste regulation.
  • Negotiated utility interconnection and renewable energy credit agreements with electric utilities.
  • Defended clients with environmental regulatory violations by government agencies and private parties under CERCLA, WQARF, RCRA, Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, EPCRA, NPDES, legacy uranium mining and aquifer protection laws
  • Assists clients on regulatory compliance issues, including assistance with internal environmental audits and participation in the Voluntary Remediation Program.
  • Advised a Native American Indian Tribe with drafting the nation's first comprehensive Tribal Implementation Plan under the Clean Air Act, as well as drafted the wastewater, pesticide, waste management and water quality regulatory programs.
  • Advised the fastest growing county in the nation on air quality issues, including a complete rewrite of the County's air quality regulations.
  • Negotiated and prepared various commercial contracts with regard to renewable energy projects including supply agreements with vendors.
  • Represented clients in the power plant and transmission line siting process regulated by the Arizona Corporation Commission.
  • Represented clients at administrative hearings for appeals from agency decisions and in appeals of administrative decisions to Superior Court.

Awards and Honors

  • Best Lawyers in America®, Environmental Law, Energy Law, 2013-2019
  • Southwest Super Lawyers®, 2013-2019
  • Chambers USA, Leading Lawyers for Business, 2011-2019
  • Manufacturing and Technology Energy Business Leader, AZ Business Magazine, 2018
  • Recipient, Outstanding Mentor, Arizona State University Program on Law & Sustainability Mentorship Initiative, 2017
  • Environmental Law Business Leader, AZ Business Magazine, 2013-2016
  • Top Lawyers, Environmental Law, AZ Business Magazine, 2011-2015
  • 10 Women Who Move the Valley, Arizona Foothills, January 2014
  • 50 Most Influential Women in Arizona Business, AZ Business Magazine, 2013
  • Top 25 Women in Business, Phoenix Business Journal, 2012
  • Recipient, Attorney of the Year Award, Department of Commerce

Articles And Presentations

  • Author, "Shedding Some Light," AZBusiness, May/June 2019
  • Speaker, “Update on RCRA,” Southern Arizona Environmental Management Society RCRA Reloaded Seminar, May 9, 2019
  • Panelist, “Innovations in Power: Solar, Hydro, Wind, Microgrids, Fuel Cells, On site Power Gen,” CAPRE’s Greater Phoenix Data Center & Cloud Infrastructure Summit, February 28, 2019
  • Quoted, "U.S. Expected to Export More Energy by 2020," Chamber Business News, February 14, 2019
  • Speaker, "Developments Impacting the Regional Southwest Energy Market," Southwest Energy Conference, September 2018
  • Co-author, "The Energy-Water Nexus - How Policymaking is Shaping Generation and Usage Profiles in the Regional Southwest," Arizona Journal of Environmental Law & Policy, Summer 2018
  • Co-author, "Farm Air Quality Reporting Requirements Becoming Less Murky Under Recent Regulatory Developments," Maricopa Lawyer Newsletter, May 2018
  • Panelist, Water Law & Policy Conference, Arizona Journal of Environmental Law & Policy at the University of Arizona, December 1, 2017
  • Panelist, "Southwest Data Center Market 360: A Big Picture Overview, and Making Sense of Recent M&A Activity, the Ins-and-Outs of Deals and What it Means for the Industry," Capre's 6th Annual Southwest Data Center Summit, November 2, 2017
  • Co-author, "A Bright Future for Renewable Energy," Green Living AZ Magazine, July 11, 2017
  • Quoted, "Power Position," AZ Business, May-June 2017
  • Co-author, "Reach of EPA Farm Reporting Rule Expanded With Recent Circuit Court Ruling," Fennemore Craig Update, April 18, 2017
  • Panelist, "Politics of Water & Energy Sustainability in Arizona," ASU Spirit of Service Scholars Seminar, March 25, 2017
  • Moderator, "Innovations in Energy Delivery, Cost per kWh and the Impact of Public Sector Incentives on Site Selection: How Two Types of "Powers'; are Coming Together to Influence the Data Center Industry,quot; Fifth Annual Southwest Data Center Summit," November 2016
  • Panelist, AZBusiness HEAT Forum, October 5, 2016
  • Quoted, "Solar Goes Big With Arizona Land Purchases," AZ Big Media, August 4, 2016
  • Quoted, "Sunny Days for Land Owners," AZRE Magazine, July 2016
  • Quoted, "Why Isn't Arizona Leading in Solar Energy?" AZ Big Media, May 12, 2016
  • Speaker, "Regional Innovation in Arizona," 2015 Energy Exchange Conference, August 2015
  • Speaker, "Arizona's Solar Industry, Changing the Narrative," VerdeXchange Arizona, 2015, February 2015
  • Speaker, "Asbestos Abatement and Enforcement Considerations," 2015 Gatekeeper Regulatory Roundup, February 2015
  • Speaker, "Arizona Energy Consortium's Energy Roadmap and Solar Strategic Plan," Tribal Solar Working Group, Tribal Clean Energy Resource Center Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals, November 2014
  • Speaker, "Advance Technology for Economic Development," City of Phoenix Technology Summit, November 2014
  • Speaker, "Arizona Construction Career Days VIP Reception," Association for Construction Career Development, November 2014
  • Speaker, "Environmental Update on Clean Water Act Regulations and Arizona Solar Policy," Arizona Association of Environmental Professionals, May 2014
  • Speaker, "Beware the Federal Trade Commission: It's Not Easy Being Green – and Other Things to Consider," Maricopa County Bar Association CLE, May 2014
  • Speaker, "Liability of Parent Corporations, Officers, Directors and Successors: When Can CERCLA Liability Extend Beyond the Company," Arizona State Bar Environmental & Natural Resources Law Section CLE, Saving the Deal: Avoiding and Minimizing Environmental Liability in Corporate and Real Estate Transactions, May 2014

PROFESSIONAL AND COMMUNITY ACTIVITIES

  • Co-Executive Director and Founder, Arizona Energy Consortium
  • President, Phoenix Parks Foundation Board of Directors
  • Co-Chair, Federal Affairs Committee, Valley Partnership
  • Member, Governor of Arizona's Master Energy Plan Task Force
  • Member, American Bar Association; Co-Chair, Environmental Subcommittee; Real Estate Litigation Committee
  • Member, Arizona Technology Council
  • Member, Arizona Chamber of Commerce, Water Subcommittee
  • Member, Grand Canyon Chapter Air and Waste Management Association, Past Chair, Board of Directors
  • Member, Maricopa County Bar Association, Environment and Natural Resources Law Section
  • Member, Phoenix Green Chamber of Commerce, Public Policy Committee
  • Member, State Bar of Arizona, Environment and Natural Resources Law Section; Past Member, Executive Council
  • Past Member, South Mountain Village Planning Committee
  • Past Advisory Board Member, Arizona State University Professional Science Master Solar Energy Engineering and Commercialization
  • Past Member, Valley Forward Association Board of Directors, Executive Committee, Past Chair, Energy Subcommittee
  • Chair, Solar Leadership Conference, Phoenix, AZ, 2011

ADMISSIONS

  • Arizona