• American College of Environmental Lawyers
  • Best Lawyers
  • Chambers USA

Robert L. (Buzz) Hines

  • 415.954.4935
  • |

Air Regulatory Representation and Defense

Represent clients in project and/or facility permitting matters, contested adjudications/administrative variance proceedings before State of California Air Pollution Control Districts/Air Quality Management Districts, and enforcement defense related to Notices of Violations and related proceedings.  Work with clients to ensure compliance with permit requirements and/or Air District rules, in a variety of facility and operational settings.  Advise clients with respect to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and related aspects of California’s Global Warming Solutions Act (AB 32), including providing advice on compliance with California’s Cap-and-Trade Program, as well as the Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS), which are part of AB 32.  Read More

CEQA Entitlement

Represent DTE Energy Resources, a company that develops energy, and energy related technology and provides electric and natural gas to residential and commercial consumers. In these particular matters, we assisted in environmental/land use entitlement issue under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and air quality permitting of methane recovery/energy production facilities in California.   Read More

Enforcement Defense

Lead internal investigations, including working directly with clients on Code of Business Conduct/Spirit of the Law investigations.  Engage in voluntary disclosures to governmental agencies/law enforcement where warranted, and represent clients in ensuing or related proceedings to avoid potential criminal liability and resolve matters on a civil or administrative basis.  In this context, work with clients in proceedings involving local District Attorneys’ offices, California Circuit Prosecutors, U.S. Attorneys’ offices, and their client agencies and/or investigative teams.  Sometimes this work involves representation of “target” entities; other times the work involves cooperation with governmental entities as a “witness” or otherwise cooperating entity. Read More

First Solar - Desert Sunlight Project Approval
As lead outside counsel to First Solar on environmental, real estate and permitting issues, we obtained the key U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Record of Decision (ROD) that cleared the way for the development and financing of the largest PV project ever approved on public lands.  The Desert Sunlight project is a 550-megawatt (MW) solar photovoltaic facility located on approximately 4,000 acres of land administered by the BLM in Riverside County.  We assisted First Solar secure numerous permits and approvals from other federal, state and local agencies, including the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, California Department of Fish and Game, Metropolitan Water District of Southern California and Riverside County.  We also assisted First Solar negotiate protest settlement agreements with major environmental organizations and individuals, addressing environmental and cultural resource concerns.Read More
First Solar- Desert Topaz Permitting Project
As lead outside counsel to First Solar on environmental, real estate and permitting issues, we obtained key federal, state and local environmental permit approvals for the construction and operation of the 550 megawatt Topaz Solar Farm Project in San Luis Obispo County, California.  This project will be located on approximately 3,500 acres of private land.  We assisted First Solar in securing many permits and approvals from a wide range of federal, state and local agencies, including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, California Department of Fish and Game and County of San Luis Obispo.  We also assisted First Solar in negotiating agreements with both national and local environmental groups and community organizations that address environmental and other topics relating to the projects.Read More
Natural Resource Damage (NRD) Claim Defense

Represent clients in proceedings to recover claimed natural resource damages, and negotiate and obtain NRD waivers where available. Read More

Site Cleanup Related Representation

Work with clients in the context of legacy sites, and contaminated properties acquired through or linked to other disposition activities.  Within California, this work involves regular interaction with Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) regional offices and DTSC headquarters in Sacramento, Regional Water Quality Control Boards and the State Water Resources Control Board, and local agencies.  In a recent matter in San Diego County, obtained AB 2061 lead agency designation for the local Department of Environmental Health, followed by approval of the preferred remedy set forth in the Remedial Action Plan (RAP), and ensured compliance with the National Contingency Plan (NCP) and California Health and Safety Code related requirements.  In that context, obtained a Certificate of Completion regarding the completed remedial work, and provided testimony in the underlying cost recovery action brought by our client to support award of attorneys’ fees as “remedial counsel.”  Also draft and negotiate Land Use Covenants where required, and assist in the placement of insurance where necessary and appropriate. Read More

U.S. EPA Superfund and Related Matters

Represent clients in matters prosecuted by U.S. EPA under its Superfund authority, including Special Notice Proceedings under Section 122(e) and related private party allocation proceedings. Read More

Water Quality/Water Rights Representation

Represent clients before each of the nine California Regional Water Quality Control Boards as well as the State Water Resources Control Board, in site investigation and cleanup and in enforcement defense for alleged permit or related violations.  Represent clients in similar settings before local Publically Owned Treatment Works (POTWs) with enforcement authority.  In addition, defend water rights investigations and complaints before the Water Rights Division of the State Water Resources Control Board, and work with clients regarding agreements and/or disputes concerning water access/rights. Read More