Definitive Solar Institute

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Navigating Environmental and Regulatory Issues to Reduce Risk

Navigating Environmental and Regulatory Issues to Reduce Risk

By: Scott Deatherage, Partner, Gardere Wynne Sewell and Michael Gorton, Chief Executive Officer / Chairman, Principal Solar

Understanding the full breadth of legal, regulatory and environmental issues associated with determining when and where to develop solar projects is critical to reducing risks and avoiding costly delays. "Solar Power Installations: Navigating Environmental Regulatory Issues to Reduce Risk" suggests the research, planning and design warranted to develop both private and public lands that will lead to the timely approval and construction of a project.


Scott Deatherage
Scott Deatherage

Partner, Gardere Wynne Sewell

Scott Deatherage, J.D., a partner at Gardere Wynne Sewell, advises clients on a variety of environmental, renewable energy, climate change, and greenhouse gas regulation. Scott's practice focuses on permitting, compliance, administrative law, and judicial litigation on a variety of environmental issues including air emissions, wastewater discharges, hazardous waste, hazardous substances, and toxic substances.  He has assisted clients in siting and permitting wind, solar, and combined cycle natural gas power plants.  In addition, he has advised these clients on local property tax abatements and economic development grants.

Scott authored Carbon Trading Law and Practice, a comprehensive practical guide to the U.S. and international practice of carbon emissions trading. The book includes a thorough examination of climate change and greenhouse gas regulation, emissions trading, international and EU law, other reduction programs, carbon credit financing, and the U.S. regulatory regime for greenhouse gas emissions and emissions trading.

Scott earned his B.A. with highest honors from the University of Oklahoma and his Juris Doctorate, cum laude, from Harvard Law School.


Michael Gorton
Michael Gorton

Chief Executive Officer / Chairman, Principal Solar

A quintessential entrepreneur, mentor, and company builder, Michael Gorton has proven to be a strategic visionary, impacting the telecommunications, music, and healthcare industries. As founding CEO of Teladoc, the nation's leading telehealth company, Michael pioneered a health care model in which members had access to telephonic physicians who could review medical records, treat, and prescribe medication that today supports the new paradigm in health care reform. As a founder and leader of Principal Solar, Michael applies his business expertise, scientific education, and training to the renewable energy sector – a strong voice and proponent of solar power.

Prior to this, Michael served as a partner of the Texas Acceleration Group (TAG), an entity formed to assist startup companies. Michael and other TAG partners founded Palo Duro Records to promote unknown country artist Shelley Laine. Within three years, Laine became the number one ranked independent artist in country music, was nominated for Best Female Artist in 2002, and put six songs on the charts.

In 1993, Michael founded Internet Global, a company that delivered the first DSL network and one of the first VOIP networks at a time when few people predicted the profound impact the Internet would have on communication and society. Prior to this, Michael worked as a project engineer at Dallas Power & Light dealing with power plants, distribution, transformer management, and integration of renewable energy into the grid.

Fueled by his passion for education, Michael has taught college courses in math, astronomy, and physics and published two novels and dozens of articles on topics ranging from physics to healthcare.

Michael earned his B.S. in Engineering from Texas Tech, his M.S. in Physics from the University of Texas at Dallas, and his Juris Doctorate from Texas Wesleyan University.