Rick Capozza is the Chair of the Energy Practice Area and is the primary point of contact for the firm’s largest energy and utility clients with responsibility for all aspects of these relationships.
Rick’s practice is focused on energy and environmental issues related to contaminated sites, regulatory compliance/permitting, project development and transactions involving mergers and acquisitions, financing and restructuring. He provides a strategic, yet a practical and common sense, approach in reaching settlement, completing a project or closing a transaction.
In the energy arena, Rick has represented electric power generators (renewable, fossil fuel and nuclear), oil & gas producers and pipelines, electric utilities and developers. He advises and counsels the firm’s oil and gas clients on the development of the Marcellus Shale and the siting of related infrastructure. He also has represented a diverse array of Fortune 500 companies and manufacturers in the environmental arena from the aerospace and defense, medical device, petroleum distribution and retail, plastics, pharmaceutical, aluminum, paper and steel sectors.
In the transactional area, Rick has handled the transfer, acquisition and modification of all federal and state environmental permits on large, multi-facility energy and manufacturing M&A’s to ensure the ability to operate post-closing. Rick negotiates contractual protections and financial safeguards to minimize his client’s exposure to environmental liabilities. Rick has been the lead attorney for the firm on several large energy-related transactions.
Rick advises clients on resolving liability and minimizing financial exposure involving contaminated legacy sites through the use of both legal and technical strategies. He has extensive experience on complex Superfund sites involving contaminated waterways and sediments, the identification of multiple third parties and sources and natural resource damages (NRD).
Rick regularly represents clients on project development, permitting, compliance and enforcement of federal environmental regulations and state counterparts including CAA, CWA, EPCRA, RCRA and TSCA. He counsels clients on response and reporting to chemical and petroleum spills and releases pursuant to federal and state law. Rick has niche experience in federal and state laws and regulations applicable to wildlife resources including the Endangered Species Act, CITES, the Lacey Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.
- Lead attorney on the representation of an international energy company on New York-specific aspects of a $3.3 billion investment in a joint venture with interests in Marcellus Shale assets in Appalachia.
- Co-counsel to a leading Canadian energy infrastructure company on its purchase of all outstanding membership interests in a 2,400MW generating station in New York City for $2.8 billion from a large investor-owned public utility.
- Siting of a new 120-mile interstate gas pipeline which will connect a Marcellus Shale gas gathering system in Susquehanna County, PA, to interstate natural gas transmission pipelines in Schoharie County, NY.
- Represented one of largest competitive generators of wholesale electricity in the United States in an asset sale of 71 hydroelectric generating facilities and a 100MW co-generation facility for $874 million and in a $975 million stock sale of a 1,280MW fuel oil and natural gas plant located in New York City.
- Represented a wholesale power generator during a 2002 stock acquisition by one of largest competitive generators of wholesale electricity in the United States for $2.9 billion. The purchase included more than 80 power plants with a combined generating power of 5,900 MW and with 5,000 MW more under construction, counseled and handled all environmental, regulatory, real property tax, real estate and other matters in New York.
- Represented a nuclear energy producer in the asset purchases of two nuclear power facilities on Lake Ontario with generating capacities of 1750MW and 495MW and purchase prices of $695 million and $401 million, respectively, from investor-owned public utilities.
- Provided energy utility with comprehensive factual and legal analysis of claims and defenses arising from the Hudson River and Onondaga Lake Superfund Sites.
- Provides ongoing monitoring and updates of the latest legal and regulatory activities regarding shale gas and pipeline issues for energy and gas production clients.
- $975 million stock sale of a 1,280MW fuel oil and natural gas plant located in New York City.
- Asset purchase of a nuclear generating facility on Lake Ontario with a generating capacity of 495MW with a purchase price of $401 million.
- Represented a global renewable energy company on various transactions since 2005 including the acquisition hydroelectric generating facilities, corporate restructuring, financing and a public offering.
- Represented a global aluminum producer on compliance and permitting relating to its aluminum rolling manufacturing operation in Oswego, New York including air emissions issues (Title V, PSD, PM, BACT, opacity) and RCRA and other waste disposal requirements.
- Representation of a global aluminum producer from 2001 through 2009 on the investigation and remediation of a New York State listed-Superfund site near Lake Ontario consisting of former process water impoundments, ponds and wetlands contaminated by PCBs and included the negotiation of Consent Orders for the Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study (RI/FS), Remedial Design/Remedial Action (RD/RA) and settlement of claims for natural resource damages (NRD) with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.
- Provides strategic advice and counseling to a confidential client, working with expert consultants, on identification of historical and contemporary third party sources of contamination to a complex, contaminated sediment site and allocation of those sources by historical research, aerial photo interpretation, forensic fingerprinting and sediment data interpretation.
- Represented a 2,400MW generating station located on the East River in New York City regarding air emissions and water discharge compliance and permitting, legacy contamination issues and spill reporting and response.
- Coordinated manufacturing company's self-reporting and correction of potential violations discovered in course of environmental audit, resulting in EPA determination to waive all applicable penalties.
- Represents a client on its status as a potentially responsible party (PRP) at the Onondaga Lake NPL Site located in Syracuse, New York, one of the largest lake Superfund sites in the United States. This is a complex site involving over a century of industrial and municipal discharges to the Lake, multiple PRPs and sources, several upland and tributary subsites and several federal and state regulatory agencies including the NYSDEC, USEPA, USDOJ and USFWS. Represents the company in settlement negotiations with the major responsible party over allocation of costs for the remediation of Lake sediments and NRD issues asserted by federal and state trustees as well as with NYSDEC and USEPA as part of PRP Groups formed to address NPL subsite and past cost demands.
- Represents clients from various industries on potentially responsible party (PRP) groups and their committees (Steering, Technical, Allocation) formed to address investigation and remediation of state and federal Superfund sites, negotiation with state and federal agencies and allocation and cost recovery from third parties.
- Represents a major petroleum distributor and retailer in the Northeast on multiple locations across New York on compliance with petroleum bulk storage and spill regulations and the negotiation of administrative settlements with the NYSDEC.
- Counsel on the renewal of the Title V (Clean Air Act) permit for a combined cycle electric generating turbine. The renewal included, among other things, negotiation of terms with NYSDEC related to emissions associated with the start up and shut down of the unit. We were successful in obtaining flexible limits in order to reduce the risk of non-compliance and enforcement actions associated with such. Previous to the revisions, the facility risked non-compliance and potential citizen suits.
- Addressed NYS rare, threatened and endangered wildlife and plant issues and sensitive and critical habitats in reaching a settlement and execution of an agreement with the New York State Public Service Commission, the New York Department of Environmental Conservation and environmental stakeholder groups and the developer of a 1000MW HVdc electric transmission cable that will run from the U.S.-Canadian border to New York City.
- Represented an investor-owned public utility on the investigation and remediation of two legacy manufactured gas plants (MGP) sites located in Syracuse, NY, adjacent to and on a tributary to a federal NPL site. Worked with client, site consultant and experts to reach administrative settlement on required site remediation with NYSDEC, USEPA and other stakeholders and closing out potential off-site related sediment and groundwater issues and impacts based on strategic site characterization, data collection and historical research.
- Represented an investor-owned utility as well as several PRP Groups on the settlement of claims with Motors Liquidation Company (MLC) and its claim administrator over General Motors (GM) outstanding share of costs for investigation and remediation at several state and federal Superfund sites as a result of GM's filing for bankruptcy in June 2009. Current representation is focused on addressing GM "orphan share" at sites created when the State or Federal government settled with MLC which left a substantial shortfall.
- Syracuse University College of Law, J.D., 1991
- State University of New York, College of Environmental Science and Forestry, B.S., magna cum laude, 1988
- New York, 1992
- National Hydropower Association
- Institute for Energy Law, Advisory Board Member
- Ad-Hoc Industry Natural Resources Damage Group
- Federal Energy Bar Association
- American Bar Association, Natural Resources, Energy and Environmental Law Section
- Independent Power Producers of New York
- Air & Waste Management Association
- Everson Museum of Art, Honorary Trustee
- SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry Alumni Association, Member of the Board of Directors; Chair of Honorary Advisory Council of the Roosevelt Wild Life Station
- Panelist, 63rd General Assembly of the International Council for Game and Wildlife Conservation, Brussels, Belgium, 2016
- “Energy & Utilities Practice Area Profile: Marcellus Shale,” Attorney At Law Magazine, 2011
- “Marcellus Shale: A Modern Day Gold Rush,” Oil and Gas Financial Journal, 2009
- “Climate Change Issues Affect Corporate Risks and Opportunities,” co-authored chapter in The Legal Impact of Climate Change: Leading Lawyers on Preparing for New Environmental Legislation, Assessing Green Programs for Clients, and Working with Government Agencies on Climate Change Issues (Inside the Minds), published by Thomson Reuters/Aspatore, 2008
- Selected by Peer Review for Inclusion in Super Lawyer Directory 2010-2017 for Environmental
- Hiscock & Barclay, LLP, Partner
- Blasland, Bouck & Lee, Inc. (nka Arcadis), Environmental Scientist