Brian Bell
PEOPLE

Brian Bell

Associate
bell.brian@dorsey.com

Overview

BRIAN ADVOCATES FOR NATURAL RESOURCES AND ENERGY COMPANIES BEFORE STATE AND FEDERAL REGULATORY BODIES. BRIAN ALSO ASSISTS CLIENTS IN LITIGATION AND TRANSACTIONS INVOLVING COMPLEX ENVIRONMENTAL, NATURAL RESOURCES, AND ENERGY ISSUES.
Brian’s energy practice has always focused on serving investor-owned utilities. Brian has recently added to this experience, helping electric cooperatives advance their interests before state and federal regulatory bodies. Brian’s natural resources practice involves helping senior mining companies with project permitting, investments, and acquisitions. Brian’s environmental practice touches on both the energy and natural resources industry. But Brian also supports real estate and food and agriculture clients in environmental enforcement and transactional matters.

Education & Admissions

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

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

Admissions

  • Minnesota
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota

Clerkships

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

Experience

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;
  • 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;
  • 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;
  • Represented a mining company in persuading the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to reject an applicant’s effort to begin the licensing process for a pumped-storage hydroelectric project on the client’s mine site;
  • 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;
  • 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

  • Assisted private college in applying to rezone property for a science, technology, education, and math facility;
  • Counseled a religious student organization on potential religious exemptions to the application of municipality’s historic preservation ordinance;
  • 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
  • Tubman Safety Project Pro Bono Attorney
  • Expungement Clinic Pro Bono Attorney
  • Board of Directors – Citizens League (2010-Present)
  • Board of Directors – African American Family Services (2010-2013)
  • Minnesota Supreme Court Historical Society Education Committee (2015-Present)

Accolades

North Star Lawyer logo

  • MSBA North Star Lawyer, 2015-2016, 2018-2019
  • Region 14 Best Petitioner Brief – National Moot Court (2012)
Brian Bell