Geoff is an experienced litigator who focuses his practice on renewable energy development, environmental litigation, land use permitting, municipal law, and general civil litigation.
In his energy and environmental practice, Geoff works with developers to plan, permit, and construct a wide range of projects including all types of renewable energy facilities. Relying on his legal experience, science-based education, and communications background, Geoff helps clients map out a comprehensive strategy for obtaining local, state, and federal approvals for their projects. He works closely with clients to evaluate the legal and technical permitting standards applicable to the project and then helps consultants and experts put together the necessary evidence to effectively present the case. Geoff regularly appears before the Vermont Public Service Board and the Environmental Division of the Vermont Superior Court, and has successfully represented clients in numerous appeals before the Vermont Supreme Court.
Geoff also represents municipalities, community groups, nonprofits, and individuals in environmental matters, helping them protect the places and resources they care about. Sometimes that means taking proactive steps to identify and preserve important resources through effective community planning, and sometimes it involves negotiating settlements with developers during permitting proceedings — but more often than not, it involves an aggressive litigation strategy to oppose poorly or improperly sited projects.
Over the past eight years Geoff has been involved in a number of high-profile environmental cases in the state of Vermont involving a wide range of environmental permitting issues – including, among other things, federal environmental impact statements under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), state and federal wetland permits, stormwater discharge permits, analysis of endangered species impacts, Act 250 land use permits, and local zoning permits. Geoff also works with national environmental nonprofits on climate change litigation strategies, and together with local counsel, represents advocacy organizations in federal courts around the U.S.
In addition to his environmental and energy work, Geoff maintains an active municipal law practice and also regularly works with nonprofits and socially responsible businesses on a range of issues including general litigation matters and corporate governance.
Regardless of whether he’s working with a local land owner, a renewable energy developer, or a national nonprofit, Geoff tries to approach each matter he handles with an appropriate balance of serious legal advocacy and good humor, and he takes great satisfaction in helping his clients succeed in their respective missions.
Geoff joined the firm in 2003 and became a partner in 2009. Prior to law school, Geoff handled communications and media relations for an environmental advocacy organization in Boston.
Board member, Boys & Girls Club of Burlington
Board member, Rangeley Lakes Heritage Trust
Board member, VSA Vermont
Board member, Vermont Environmental Consortium
City of Burlington Development Review Board Member
HONORS & AWARDS
Vermont Business Magazine, 40 under 40 Rising Star (2012)
Vermont Law School, Maximilian Kempner Award (2003)
- Project Development in Vermont: Putting Together the Permitting Puzzle
- New Vermont Energy & Environmental Legislation (2016)
- Vermont Energy Siting Commission to Evaluate Permitting Examples From Other New England States
- Dunkiel Saunders adds two new attorneys; expands intellectual property practice.
- Victory at Vermont Supreme Court
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