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 and compliance, acquiring and defending land positions, due diligence, and business transactions. His clients include leading companies in aggregate and hard rock mining, electrical energy infrastructure, development, and manufacturing. He is an active member of the business community and serves as board counsel for an aggregate mining trade association.

Regulatory Policymaking, Permitting and Compliance. Bert helps his clients obtain and comply with federal, state and local regulatory requirements and participate in legislative and regulatory processes. Some of Bert's recent engagements include:

  •  Representing coalition of manufacturing and mining companies in state and local rulemakings.
  •  Assisting clients in obtaining Title V, prevention of significant deterioration (PSD), and nonattainment new 
        source review (NNSR).
  •  Participating in regional haze rulemaking administrative proceedings and judicial appeals.
  •  Representing hard rock mining company in federal administrative and judicial proceedings for National   
        Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit and in state 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 and electric and water users with business transactions and regulatory proceedings which include obtaining federal and state permits. His representative engagements include:

  •  Representing the first merchant transmission line 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.
  •  Assisting master plan development to obtain Certificate of Convenience and Necessity extension to
        provide water service.
  •  Representing large electric customers in rate case brought by 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 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.

Land Acquisition and Litigation.  Bert helps project developers acquire public and private lands and defends property owners against private parties with competing claims and against government takings in eminent domain and inverse condemnation proceedings. His representative engagements include:

  •  Assisting clients to obtain federal rights-of-way and state land authorizations for mining projects and linear
        infrastructure.
  •  Litigating mining claim disputes regarding unpatented mining claims on federal lands.
  •  Representing mining client in litigation to determine respective rights of mineral and surface estate
        holders.
  •  Defending property owner against condemnation action and government claim of a prior taking.
  •  Representing property owners in actions brought by utilities with condemnation authority seeking to obtain
        rights-of-way across private property.

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. Bert’s due diligence and business transaction projects include:

  •  Coordinating review of land positions, mineral title, corporate structure, water availability, and permitting
        status and compliance for various mining projects.
  •  Advising several international companies considering investments in hard rock mining projects and utility-
        scale generation assets.
  •  Developing and implementing legal strategies for facilities entering into state voluntary cleanup and
        remediation programs.
  •  Providing guidance to owners and secured creditors to limit liability under Underground Storage Tank 
        (UST), Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA, commonly  
        known as Superfund) and state-equivalent programs.

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

Distinctions

  • Named to the 2014-2017 editions of Chambers USA in the area of Environmental (including water rights).
  • Listed in the 2012-2013 editions 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.
Profile Information

Offices

Solutions

Education

  • Northwestern University School of Law, J.D., cum laude, 2002
  • George Washington University, B.A., Geology, 1996

Admissions

  • Arizona, 2002
  • Colorado, 2014
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, 2005
  • U.S. District Court, Arizona, 2007
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit, 2013

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