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.”

Environmental & Natural Resources Law
Ms. Harrison regularly assists clients with environmental compliance and permitting matters, environmental due diligence, water law, mining and mineral development, public land law, NEPA compliance, and mine reclamation. She has experience in complex environmental litigation, including the defense of CERCLA and RCRA citizen suits, the representation of clients in state and federal enforcement actions, and the negotiation and drafting of federal and state consent decrees.

Energy
Complementing her environmental and natural resources practice, Ms. Harrison also works extensively in energy law, including geothermal leasing, 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, recently served as local counsel in connection with the financing and evaluation of the potential acquisition of significant energy projects. Her primary responsibility was the review of environmental compliance, permitting, and property positions. This work included intensive due diligence and the review, negotiation, and preparation of legal opinions for both lenders and developers. Specific projects include refinancing for expansion of a large geothermal facility, project financing for a major transmission line, a 150-megawatt wind farm, a 100-megawatt concentrating solar power plant, PV solar projects, and a 20-megawatt biomass project. She has also represented potential investors in compliance and permitting reviews in evaluation of the possible acquisitions of a major gold mine and commercial-scale renewable energy projects.

Commercial Transactions
Ms. Harrison 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
  • The Best Lawyers in America© “Lawyer of the Year” – Energy Law (2021)
  • The Best Lawyers in America© – Environmental Law, Energy Law (2021)
  • Martindale-Hubbell AV® Peer Review Rated

Community Engagement

  • Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation
  • Geothermal Resources Council
  • Board of Trustees, Executive Committee, and Chair of Education Committee, Reno Philharmonic Association

Attorney News

Sylvia Harrison Leads Chambers
Band 1 Ranking of Environmental
Law Practice

McDonald Carano proudly announces that Chambers USA 2021 ranked our Environment & Natural Resources Law Practice in the highly regarded Band 1 category, which is Chambers’ most prestigious recognition of…

Five McDonald Carano Attorneys Receive “Lawyer of the Year Award” from Best Lawyers in America

McDonald Carano proudly announces that five of our attorneys received the prestigious “Lawyer of the Year” award in their geographic region and specialty area of practice from The Best Lawyers…

38 McDonald Carano Attorneys Named to Best Lawyers in America 2021

August 20, 2020 – McDonald Carano LLP is pleased to announce that 38 of our attorneys have been selected by their peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America…

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