Brian Bell

Brian Bell




Brian represents investor-owned utilities and generation-and-transmission cooperatives before state and federal regulators. Brian has particular expertise in wholesale power sales and transmission. Brian’s natural resources practice involves helping mining companies with project permitting, investments, and acquisitions. Finally, Brian represents developers in obtaining local land use approvals and navigating environmental issues in transactions.

Brian currently serves on the Minnesota Board of Law Examiners.

Education & Admissions

University of Minnesota Law School (J.D., 2013), magna cum laude

University of Minnesota (B.A., Political Science, 2008)


  • Minnesota
  • Montana
  • Wisconsin
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Montana
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit


  • Minnesota Supreme Court, Honorable Alan C. Page, 2013-2014


Representative Work

Energy Law

  • In re N. States Power Co., No. A15-1831, 2016 WL 3043122 (Minn. Ct. App. May 31, 2016): Successfully advocated for an investor-owned utility before a state utility board and appellate court related to its solar gardens program
  • In re Enbridge Energy, 964 N.W.2d 173 (Minn. Ct. App. 2021): Represented group of crude oil shippers intervening in a contested case for a certificate of need for the replacement of a crude oil pipeline. The certificate was granted and sustained on judicial review
  • Tri-State Generation and Transmission Ass’n, 174 FERC ¶ 61,021 (2021): Secured acceptance by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) of generation-and-transmission cooperative’s revised generator interconnection procedures
  • Tri-State Generation & Transmission Ass’n, Inc., 179 FERC ¶ 61,118 (2022): Obtained approval for energy sales below price index but above FERC-imposed price cap in the western United States
  • Montana v. Talen Montana, LLC, No. CV 16-35-H-DLC (D. Mont.): Defended an investor-owned utility against suit by a State for rents for the utility’s hydroelectric facilities’ use of riverbeds, successfully defending against a motion to remand to state court, winning dismissal of certain claims, and moving the court to require joinder of the United States
  • Crow Wing Coop. Power & Light Co. v. Great River Energy, No. A18-0471, 2019 WL 114200 (Minn. Ct. App. Jan. 7, 2019): Won dismissal of the majority of claims brought by a distribution electric cooperative against a generation-and-transmission cooperative
  • Renewable Energy Aggregators, 177 FERC ¶ 61,040 (2021); Letter Order, Arizona Sacaton Pumped Hydro Storage Project, P-14869 (Mar. 4, 2020): Represented mining company and pumped-storage developers in proceedings before FERC
  • N. States Power Co., 168 FERC ¶ 62,028 (2019): Successfully applied to FERC for approval for an investor-owned utility to acquire several wind-energy facilities
  • Represented clients in rate proceedings before state utility commissions
  • Assisted client in filing for approval of its smart-meter technology
  • Assisted an investor-owned utility in the purchase of an 80 megawatt, $143-million wind farm

Natural Resources Law

  • Advocated for mining company seeking to reverse adverse mineral leasing decision by the Department of the Interior
  • Conducted due diligence for natural resource projects in the Midwest, West, and Alaska;
  • Represented mining company in disputing federal government’s withdrawal of minerals on national forest system lands
  • Advocated on behalf of copper-nickel company in receiving government approval for a 211-mile right-of-way to the company’s mineral holdings and in mine permitting

Environmental Law

  • State ex rel the Associated Contract Loggers & Truckers of Minn. v. N. States Power Co., Court File No. 11-CV-17-2090 (Minn. 9th Jud. Dist.): Successfully won dismissal of a Minnesota Environmental Rights Act lawsuit by a trade association against an investor-owned utility seeking to prevent the utility from closing a biomass power generation facility
  • Represented client in enforcement action, which was eventually dropped, before the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency for alleged violations of Clean Water Act permits
  • Assisted manufacturer in obtaining liability protection through Minnesota’s brownfields program
  • Won an over 50 percent reduction in a metal-plating company’s unpaid sewer discharge fees
  • Persuaded the Environmental Protection Agency not to pursue enforcement action against a company that had neglected to make a release report under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA)

Land Use

  • Successfully overturned adverse decision denying approval of surface parking lot in central business district
  • Secured denial of neighborhood appeal and petition for environmental review for a mixed-used development
  • Represented a manufacturer in preventing adverse decisions in connection with a municipalities’ adoption of its comprehensive plan and obtaining approval for a street vacation
  • Completed land use due diligence for an investment company acquiring a hotel in an urban core
  • Conducted land use due diligence for a real estate company seeking to invest in a mixed-use development

Professional & Civic

Professional Achievements

  • Member, Dorsey & Whitney Minneapolis Recruiting Committee
  • Minnesota Board of Law Examiners (2021-Present)
  • Section Council – State Bar Environment, Energy, and Natural Resources Section Council (2017-Present) (Secretary 2021) (Treasurer 2022)
  • Board of Directors – Minnesota Supreme Court Historical Society (2017-Present)
  • Community Board – Douglas Dayton YMCA Community Board (2016-2021)
  • Board of Directors – Citizens League (2010-2016)
  • Board of Directors – African American Family Services (2010-2013)
  • Tubman Safety Project Pro Bono Attorney
  • Expungement Clinic Pro Bono Attorney
  • Housing Clinic Pro Bono Attorney




  • Contributed more than 50 Challenge pro bono hours, 2022

North Star Lawyer logo

  • MSBA North Star Lawyer, 2015-2016, 2018-2019, 2022
  • Region 14 Best Petitioner Brief – National Moot Court (2012)
  • Listed in Best Lawyers in America©, 2024
Brian Bell