Sylvia Harrison

Senior Counsel

Bar Admissions
Court Admissions
  • U.S. District Court, District of Nevada
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
Education
  • J.D., University of Montana
  • Ph.D., Geology, University of Montana
  • M.S., Earth Sciences, Montana State University
  • B.S., Montana State University
Bar Admissions
Court Admissions
  • U.S. District Court, District of Nevada
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
Education
  • J.D., University of Montana
  • Ph.D., Geology, University of Montana
  • M.S., Earth Sciences, Montana State University
  • B.S., Montana State University

Professional Background

In the Chambers USA ranking of leading lawyers in Nevada Environmental Law, client references highlight that Ms. Harrison is a “good operator whom we hold in very high regard. “We have engaged her on an array of environmental matters and have found her to be extremely knowledgeable and efficient.” “She is a very high-caliber, top-notch lawyer, especially on water rights and permitting issues as well as public utility work.”

Ms. Harrison regularly assists clients with environmental compliance and permitting matters, environmental due diligence, water law, mining and mineral development, public land law, and NEPA compliance. Ms. Harrison also works extensively in the development of renewable energy resources, representing lenders, investors and developers, including due diligence for complex project financing, negotiation and drafting of power purchase agreements and related documents, facility siting, permitting, and public land law.

Ms. Harrison, together with other attorneys in the firm, frequently serves as Nevada counsel in connection with the financing and evaluation of the potential acquisition of significant energy projects. Her primary responsibility generally includes the review of environmental compliance, permitting, and property positions, and the review, negotiation, and preparation of legal opinions for both lenders and developers. Recent specific projects have included the representation of a developer in financing transactions for one of the world’s largest solar projects, representation of lenders and equity investors in numerous other solar projects, refinancing for the expansion of a large geothermal facility, and re-financing of a 150-megawatt wind farm. She has also represented potential investors in compliance and permitting reviews in evaluation of the possible investment in a major gold mine.

Ms. Harrison also assists clients in complex commercial transactions, including environmental due diligence, acquisition of water rights, and compliance reviews. She has represented clients in bankruptcy cases, particularly in relation to mining and energy projects and environmental claims.

Publications

  • Geothermal Resources in The Law of Clean Energy: Efficiency and Renewables, Michael B. Gerrard editor, American Bar Association, 2011.
  • Disposition of the Mineral Estate on United States Public Lands: A Historical Perspective, 10 Public Land Law Review 131.
  • Environmental Due Diligence in Real Property Transactions: Practice Pointers, Nevada Lawyer, Vol. 5, No. 1, January 1997.
  • The Historical Development of Nevada Water Law, 5 University of Denver Water Law Review, 148.
  • Effective Use of Phase I Environmental Assessments, Nevada Lawyer, Vol. 16, No. 9, September 2008.
  • Geothermal Resources, Who Owns What?, Nevada Lawyer, Vol. 17, No. 7, July 2009

Awards and Recognition

  • Chambers USA Guide – Environmental Law (2017-2022, Band 2)
  • The Best Lawyers in America©“Lawyer of the Year” – Energy Law (2021)
  • The Best Lawyers in America©– Environmental Law (2013-2023)
  • The Best Lawyers in America©– Energy Law (2020-2023)
  • Martindale-Hubbell AV® Peer Review Rated

Community Engagement

  • Board of Trustees, Reno Philharmonic Association
  • President, Board of Directors, Tahoe Chamber Music Society

Attorney News

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McDonald Carano proudly announces that 11 women lawyers from nine Practice Groups in our Reno and Las Vegas offices have been recognized in the 2022 edition of Best Lawyers in…

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