Albert "Bert" H. Acken

Shareholder

emailaacken@rcalaw.com
phone602.440.4874
fax602.257.6974
Legal Secretary: Tina Kaminski
emailtkaminski@rcalaw.com

Biography

Bert leads the firm’s Water, Energy, Natural Resources and Environment Practice Group. In his practice, he focuses on permitting, siting, compliance, due diligence, and business transactions for leading companies in aggregate and hard rock mining, electrical energy infrastructure, development and manufacturing. He is an active member of the business community, serving as board counsel for an aggregate mining trade association, an appointed member of the Arizona Mining Advisory Council, and co-vice chair of the Air Quality Subcommittee for the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industries.

Regulatory Policymaking, Permitting and Compliance. Bert helps his clients comply with federal, state and local regulatory requirements. His experience includes preparing and reviewing applications for permits, rights-of-way and state land leases; negotiating permit terms with regulators; advocating on behalf of clients in permitting and enforcement proceedings; providing policy and compliance advice; and participating in legislative and regulatory processes. Some of Bert's recent engagements include:

  • Defending an aggregate producer that was the subject of air quality enforcement actions brought by federal, state and local regulatory authorities.
  • Representing several manufacturers in obtaining Title V air quality permits.
  • Representing a coalition of manufacturing and mining companies in state and local air quality rulemakings.
  • Representing a trade association in federal water quality rulemaking.
  • Assisting a cement plant in obtaining prevention of significant deterioration (PSD) and nonattainment new source review (NNSR) permits to expand its operations.
  • Representing trade association to develop nationally recognized rule guidance document in collaboration with local air quality control department.
  • Participating in regional haze rulemaking administrative proceedings and judicial appeal on behalf of a major stationary source.
  • Representing hard rock mining company in federal administrative and judicial proceedings for National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) water quality permit and in state administrative and judicial proceedings to obtain and defend air quality permit.
  • Conducting comprehensive compliance audits for chemical manufacturing facilities in Arizona and California.

Energy and Utilities. Bert helps merchant power providers with business transactions and regulatory proceedings to obtain federal and state permitting and siting authority for power plants and high-voltage and extra-high voltage transmission lines. His experience with electric generation facilities includes fossil fuel plants and renewable sources such as solar and wind. Representative engagements include:

  • Representing the first merchant transmission line project developer to seek and obtain a Certificate of Environmental Compatibility (CEC) from the Arizona Corporation Commission and the Arizona Power Plant and Transmission Line Siting Committee for a 200-mile transmission line project.
  • Obtaining CECs for numerous transmission lines on behalf of an Arizona investor-owned utility.
  • Siting the first utility-scale solar power plant in Arizona on behalf of an international developer and operator.
  • Obtaining CEC for interconnection on behalf of utility to facilitate development of a wind farm in Northern Arizona.
  • Successfully challenging Bureau of Land Management’s denial of rights-of-way application and Resource Management Plan (RMP) amendment for an extra-high voltage transmission line.

Due Diligence and Business Transactions. Bert performs due diligence and assists with business and real property transactions for prospective purchasers, sellers, and investors of hard rock and aggregate mines, energy projects, manufacturing facilities, and brownfields. His experience includes managing comprehensive reviews involving title, corporate structure, water availability, siting, and permitting; reviewing permits and licenses; analyzing Phase I and Phase II Environmental Site Assessments; developing and implementing remediation strategies for contaminated properties; and drafting associated agreements. Due diligence and business transaction projects include:

  • Coordinating review of land and mineral positions, corporate structure, water availability, and permitting status and compliance for various hard rock mining projects.
  • Developing and implementing legal strategies for facilities entering into state voluntary cleanup and remediation programs.
  • Advising several international companies considering investments in hard rock mining projects and utility-scale generation assets.
  • Providing guidance to secured creditors to limit potential liability under Underground Storage Tank (UST), Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA, commonly known as Superfund) and state-equivalent programs.
  • Representing the purchaser of an aggregate and ready mix concrete producer with several operations in Arizona and Nevada.
  • Assisting an airline with negotiating environmental terms and conditions in airport leases throughout the country.

Geology Experience. Before pursuing a legal career, Bert was an environmental and engineering geologist with a consulting firm in Northern Virginia. He conducted numerous environmental site assessments, property remediations and geotechnical assessments.

Publications

Memberships

  • Arizona Mining Advisory Council, Member
  • State Bar of Arizona Environmental and Natural Resources Law Section, Past-Chair

Distinctions

  • Named to the 2014 and 2015 edition of Chambers USA in the area of Environmental (including water rights).
  • Listed in the 2012-2013 edition of Southwest Rising Stars in the category of Environmental Law.
  • Selected by the Arizona Foundation for Legal Services & Education as a 2012 recipient of the Top 50 Pro Bono Attorneys in Arizona.
  • Appointed by Arizona Governor Jan Brewer in March 2012 to serve on the Arizona Mining Advisory Council, which reviews state mining policy as administered in all functional areas of state government.
  • Included in the April 2010 edition of AZ Business' Top Lawyers for Environmental Law.
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