People

Matthew G. Adams

Partner

San Francisco Office
628.209.4151

Education

J.D., University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, 2003
M.A., City Planning, University of California, Berkeley, 2003
M.A., Political Science, University of California, Berkeley, 1999
B.A., Northwestern University, 1998

Bar and Court Admissions

California
U.S. Courts of Appeal for the D.C. and Ninth Circuits
U.S. District Courts for the Central, Northern, Southern, and Eastern Districts of California
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin

Matthew G. Adams

Matt Adams helps clients address environmental issues related to energy, transportation, infrastructure, and natural resource development projects.  He advises on a full range of transactional, regulatory, and litigation matters, with a specialized focus on issues arising under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), and other environmental impact assessment laws.

Matt regularly counsels tribal governments and tribally-owned businesses on environmental and land use issues affecting Indian country.  He also advises a variety of stakeholders on matters related to the protection of indigenous cultural and historic resources.

Prior to joining the Firm, Matt served as chair of the U.S. environment and natural resources practice at an international law firm.

Representative Experience

Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands
Advise on environmental and natural resource matters arising under the Covenant between the Commonwealth and the United States

Phoenix Flight Paths
Counsel for petitioners in successful litigation challenging Federal Aviation Administration changes to flight routes in and around Phoenix

Tribal Resort Development
Environmental review, regulatory approvals, and litigation defense for a Northern California tribal resort development which restores land taken improperly from the tribe in the 1960s; successfully defended the project against three federal lawsuits

Wind Project Development
Environmental review, permitting, and litigation defense for the developer of a 315 MW wind project located on land administered by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management; completed all state and federal environmental review and permitting processes in 18 months, allowing the client to meet key financing deadlines

Climate Projects
Counsel for a range of climate-focused projects and regulatory proceedings, including the first sustainable forestry carbon offset credit project to be developed on tribal land for the California carbon market

Multi-Phase Solar Project
Permitting and Endangered Species Act compliance for a Canadian utility’s acquisition, development, and financing of a multi-phase California solar project

National Trust for Historic Preservation and Guam Preservation Trust
Successful NEPA and CZMA litigation securing the protection of Chamorro Traditional Cultural Properties in the U.S. territory of Guam

Professional and Civic Activities / Awards

  • Chambers USA, America’s Leading Lawyers for Business (2015–Present)
  • Best Lawyers in America® for Environmental Law (2020)
  • Peter H. Brink Award for Individual Achievement in Historic Preservation (2019)
  • Governor of Arizona’s Heritage Preservation Award (2018)
  • Law360 MVP Award, Law and Policy (2016)
  • Law360, Top Attorneys Under 40 (2016)
  • Member, Lawyers’ Committee for Cultural Heritage Preservation (2017–Present)
  • Member, Northern California Advisory Board, International Committee for the Documentation and Conservation of Buildings, Sites, and Monuments of the Modern Movement (2011–2014)

Publications

Trump Administration Continues to Overhaul Climate Change Regulations
Energy Law Report
November 2018

Making the National Environmental Policy Act Process Work
Environmental Law Institute
03.22.18

Defense Policy and Cultural Resource Protection in the Western Pacific
National Trust for Historic Preservation
06.13.17

Successfully Navigating the NEPA Process
Environmental Law Institute
03.16.17

Impact of the New Administration on National Offshore Wind Strategy: Three Things to Watch
Renewable Energy World
03.02.17

Pacific Outpost
Civil Beat
12.12.16

Worldview
National Public Radio
12.22.15

Traditional Cultural Properties and Section 4(f) of the Department of Transportation Act
National Trust for Historic Preservation
02.25.15

News & Publications

Education

J.D., University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, 2003
M.A., City Planning, University of California, Berkeley, 2003
M.A., Political Science, University of California, Berkeley, 1999
B.A., Northwestern University, 1998

Bar and Court Admissions

California
U.S. Courts of Appeal for the D.C. and Ninth Circuits
U.S. District Courts for the Central, Northern, Southern, and Eastern Districts of California
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin