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Kenneth J. Gish

Of Counsel
+1.704.331.7424
Fax +1.704.331.7598
+1.206.370.7665
Fax +1.206.623.7022
Mr. Gish is of counsel at the firm’s Charlotte and Seattle offices where he is a member of the power practice group. Mr. Gish represents clients in the energy industry before state and federal regulatory bodies and in all aspects of complex project development including defending permit appeals at the administrative and judicial level. Mr. Gish also counsels clients with regard to compliance with federal, state and local environmental regulations.

Professional Background

Prior to joining the firm Mr. Gish was a member of the environmental, natural resources, and energy services group at a national law firm. In addition, he served as an associate at the K&L Gates Seattle office for seven years. Before law school, Mr. Gish served as a watch and division officer on USS San Juan (SSN-751), a nuclear-powered, fast attack submarine

Professional/Civic Activities

  • Leadership Lexington, Class of 2012
    • Distinguished Leader Award, 2012
    • Steering Committee, 2014 to Present
    • Steering Committee Chair, 2018-2019
  • Bluegrass Greensource, Inc.
    • Director, 2012 to Present
    • Chair, 2016 to 2018
  • American Bar Association Energy Markets & Finance Committee
    • Vice Chair, Publication, 2016 to Present
  • American Bar Association Water Resources Committee
    • Vice Chair, Technology; 2005
    • Vice Chair, Membership; 2006 to 2008
  • Kentucky Bar Association, Environment, Energy and Resources Law Section
    • Chair, 2014-2015
  • King County Bar Association Environmental Law Section
    • Secretary; February 2007 to February 2008
    • Treasurer; February 2008 to 2010

Speaking Engagements

  • “Citizen Suit Enforcement – Filling the Gap,” 20th Annual Kentucky Environmental Permitting and Reporting Conference, Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, Lexington, Ky., August 11, 2017.
  • "The Changing Face of Kentucky’s Energy Future," Kentucky Journal of Equine, Agricultural & Natural Resources Law Second Annual Symposium: “ENERGY AND THE ENVIRONMENT: The Interplay of Regulations and Natural Resources Law and Policy," University of Kentucky College of Law, Lexington, Ky., March 2, 2016.
  • "Managing the Risks of Climate Change," 14th Annual Kentucky Environmental Conference, Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, Lexington, Ky., February 10, 2016. 
  • "Update on Environmental Liability in Real Estate Transactions: Watch-Outs and Best Practices for the General Practice Lawyer," 2015 Kentucky Law Update, Kentucky Bar Association, Lexington, Ky., December 4, 2015. 
  • "Recent Clean Air Act Supreme Court Decisions," 2015 Kentucky Environmental Law CLE Seminar, Kentucky Bar Association Environment, Energy and Resources Law Section, Frankfort, Ky., April 22, 2015. 
  •  "Kentucky's New Brownfield Law: A New Approach for Property Acquisition and Redevelopment," Stites Harbison, PLLC, Thirsty Thursday event, May 22, 2014. 
  • "Brave New World? - Challenges to the Electric Utility Industry (and your utility rates)," 2014 Kentucky Association of Manufacturers Energy Conference, Lexington, Ky., May 15, 2014. 
  • "New Entrants in Electric Generation in the Tennessee Valley," Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, 43rd Annual Environmental Show of the South, Gatlinburg, Tenn., April 30, 2014.
  • "Greenhouse Gases at One First Street," 2014 Kentucky Environmental Law CLE Seminar, Kentucky Bar Association Environment, Energy and Resources Law Section, Frankfort, Ky., April 22, 2014.
  • "Stormwater Regulation, It’s Time to Get Serious," 2013 Kentucky Chamber of Commerce 16th Annual Environmental Permitting & Reporting Conference, August 21, 2013.
  • "Understanding Riparian and Water Rights," Kentucky Land Laws Seminar, Lexington, Ky., August 15, 2013.
  • "Endangered Species Act in Kentucky," Kentucky Bar Association Environment, Energy and Resources Law 2013 Kentucky Environmental Law CLE Seminar, April 23, 2013.
  • "Dangerous Intersections: Understanding and Navigating the Crossroads of Construction and the Environment," 2013 Kentucky Chamber of Commerce Environmental Conference, March 5, 2013. 
  • "R&D Today & Tomorrow, and Making it Happen," Kentucky Association of Manufacturers, 2012 Energy Conference, Louisville, Ky., June 13, 2012.
  • "Emerging Issues in Oil and Gas Production," Mineral Property Law Seminar, Lexington, Ky., May 17, 2012.
  • “Environmental Protection Regulatory Update," Second Annual Kentucky Environmental Law CLE seminar, Frankfort, Ky., April 10, 2012.
  • "Recent Developments in Clean Air Act Regulations", Recent Developments in Air Quality Regulations Seminar, Louisville, Kentucky, October 6, 2011.
  • "Understanding Kentucky's Surface Water Rights", Kentucky Water Laws and Regulations Seminar, Lexington, Kentucky, March 31, 2011.
  • "What do you mean I'm liable? How to limit exposure to environmental liability in real estate transactions", 11th Biennial Real Estate Law and Practice Institute, UK College of Law, Lexington, Kentucky, Nov. 11 & 12, 2010.
  • “Conserving Energy while Saving the Environment” and “Green Building and Low Impact Development”, Northwest Environmental Conference Portland, Oregon; December 8, 2009.
  • “Wind Power: Legal Framework for Wind Power Siting – Case study: Klickitat County’s Unique Energy Overlay Zone Permitting Process”, LSI’s Land Use in Eastern Washington Conference, Spokane, Washington, July 10, 2007.
  • “Water Issues for Energy Development”, Washington Water Law Conference, Seattle, Washington, June 5, 2007.
  • “Stricter Water Quality Standards and New TMDLs: Minor Tweaks or Major Changes?” Northwest Environmental Conference, Portland, Oregon, December 7, 2006.
  • “Environmental Disobedience”, Northwest Environmental Conference, Portland, Oregon, December 9, 2005.
Publications
  • "Don't Step in It: D.C. Circuit Vacates Manure-Related Notification Exemptions Under CERCLA and EPCRA," Stites & Harbison, PLLC Legal Update, April 13, 2017.
  • "Environmental Compliance for the Distilling Industry," Kentucky Bar Association, Bench and Bar Magazine, November 2013. 
  • "Here we go again: DC Circuit vacates Cross-State Air Pollution Rule," Stites & Harbison, PLLC, Client Alert, August 22, 2012.
  • "Supreme Court Clarifies Test to Determine Navigability for Title to Riverbeds," Water Quality and Wetlands Committee Newsletter, American Bar Association, Vol. 10, No. 2, August 1, 2012.
  • "EPA issues proposed rule limiting carbon dioxide emissions from new power plants," Stites & Harbison, PLLC, Client Alert, March 27, 2012. 
  • "Supreme Court rejects federal common law nuisance claims for greenhouse gas emissions," Stites & Harbison, PLLC, Client Alert, June 20, 2011. 
  • "Comment period opens on EPA’s proposed Mercury and Air Toxics Rule for Coal-Fired Power Plants," Stites & Harbison, PLLC, Client Alert, May 3, 2011. 
  • "EPA issues guidance for controlling greenhouse gas emissions," Stites & Harbison, PLLC, Client Alert, November 30, 2010.
  • “New Hydropower: Technical and Regulatory Challenges”, American Water Resources Association – Washington Section Newsletter, July-August 2007. 
  • “Conflicting Decisions Leave Open Questions about Water Rights, Constitutional Takings and the Endangered Species Act”, Washington State Bar Association Environmental & Land Use Law Newsletter, Vol. 32, No. 3, November 2005.
  • “Columbia River Summer Spill Reduction Rejected”, ABA Water Resources Committee Newsletter, Vol. 8, No. 1, December 2004. 
  • “Unlocking Regulatory Barriers to Sustainable Energy Systems”, Natural Resources & Environment, Fall 2004. 
  • “Distributed Generation: A Piece of the Energy Supply Puzzle”, prepared for the LSI Power Supplies in the Pacific Northwest Conference, August 12-13, 2004. 
  • “The President’s Ocean Commission: Progress Toward a New Ocean Policy”, Natural Resources & Environment, Summer 2004.
Energy and Utilities
  • Represented a Washington municipality in the relicensing of its 1050 megawatt hydroelectric generating facility including the development and review of key documents and studies supporting the relicensing application.
  • Represented a Montana hydropower operator in a suit in Montana Superior Court regarding the ownership of the streambeds upon which the operator’s hydropower projects were located.
    • Drafted response to the State’s motion for summary judgment regarding the navigability, for title purposes, of the rivers at issue in the case.
    • Managed review of historical documents obtained via discovery or through research.
    • Managed the work of two navigability experts – a historian and a fluvial geomorphologist.
  • Represented a Pennsylvania-based utility in the purchase of an investor owned electric and natural gas utility in Kentucky including the due diligence review of the utility's hydroelectric assets and other FERC-related matters.
  • Represented an investor-owned utility in matters before the Public Service Commission of Kentucky including:
    • Two general rate cases.
    • An application for approval to acquire an undivided fifty percent interest of an environmentally-controlled, coal-fired generating station in West Virginia and to retire an uncontrolled coal-fired generating station in Kentucky.
    • An application for a certificate of public convenience and necessity to convert a coal-fired generation unit to natural gas.
    • An application for a certificate of public convenience and necessity to close a coal-ash impoundment.
    • An application for approval of a renewable energy purchase agreement with a proposed biomass-fired generating station.
    • Two triennial integrated resource planning reviews.
    • Periodic reviews of the operation of the utility’s environmental surcharge mechanism.
    • Periodic reviews of the operation of the utility’s fuel adjustment clause mechanism.
  • Represented a wind energy developer in obtaining and defending against appeals of land use permits authorizing a multi-phase wind energy facility in south-central Washington
  • Represented an Australian-based investment bank in the $7.4 billion purchase of an investor-owned electric and natural gas utility in Western Washington including providing the client and its investors with advice regarding the likely treatment of the transaction by the Washington Utility and Transportation Commission.
  • Represented the owner of a 520 megawatt natural gas-fired electricity and steam generating power plant in Chehalis, Washington, in the sale of the facility to a Portland, Oregon based public utility.
  • Represented a Canadian electric utility corporation in the initial public offering transaction creating a new corporation for operation of its generation facilities in the United States and Canada.
  • Represented a Montana power generator in proceedings before the Montana Public Service Commission challenging the pre-approval of a utility's power purchase agreement.
  • Represented a Canadian power generation company in the purchase of a 570 megawatt natural gas-fired electricity and steam generating power plant.
Complex Facility Permitting and Compliance
  • Represented a project developer in successfully defending challenges to the PSD/Title V air permit and KPDES water discharge permit for a planned 700 MW coal gasification to natural gas facility.
  • Represented fiberglass mat manufacturer in converting Title V air permit to a synthetic minor permit to support expansion of facility and in response to notices of violation relating to opacity.
  • Represented owners of mobile home park in response to notices of violation issued by Kentucky Division of Water relating to operation of packet wastewater treatment plant and in negotiations with municipality on connection to publicly owned treatment works.
  • Represented mineral permit holders in developing strategies for responding to numerous notices of non-compliance issued by the Kentucky Department of Natural Resources arising from the negligent actions of the facilities' operator including negotiating solutions directly with counsel for KDNR to address abatement of violations and payment of penalties, advising on the regulatory implications of the operator's declaration of bankruptcy, and assisting client in preparation of assets for potential sale.
  • Represented a local youth soccer club in successfully defending against an appeal of the land use authorizations necessary to install artificial turf fields.
Hazardous Waste
  • Represent a public university in matters relating to management of hazardous substances on its properties including advising the university in managing environmental risks associated with expansions of football stadium located on former rail yard and obtaining protections under Kentucky’s Brownfields Redevelopment Program for new property acquisitions.
  • Represented municipal transit authority in obtaining protections under Kentucky’s Brownfields Redevelopment Program for new headquarters and maintenance building on former RCRA corrective action site.
  • Represented a former wood treatment company in negotiations under CERCLA with EPA and the Department of Justice over a remedial design/remedial action consent decree for a creosote contaminated soil, groundwater and sediment site in Idaho. This was the third consent decree in the country to include an independent remedial contractor as a signatory on the decree.
  • Represented a major international airplane parts manufacturer in negotiations with the Washington State Department of Ecology (“Ecology”) regarding the scope of the feasibility study and performance of the final remediation action for a trichloroethylene contaminated groundwater site in Seattle under the Model Toxics Control Act (“MTCA”), Washington’s equivalent of CERCLA.
  • Represented a Seattle-based die casting company in negotiations under MTCA with Ecology and with other responsible parties regarding the appropriate scope of a remedial investigation and feasibility study for a multi-plume, trichloroethylene contaminated groundwater site in Seattle.
  • Represented a local concrete manufacturer in negotiations with Ecology over the scope of remedial action to be performed at an arsenic contaminated site. Negotiations involved coordination with EPA due to site also being part of the Duwamish River Superfund site in Seattle.
  • Represented a local property development company in a cost recovery lawsuit under MTCA.
Water Quality
  • Represented public university in obtaining approvals from Kentucky Division of Water to utilize treated wastewater effluent as irrigation water for golf course. Negotiated water agreement with local municipality for purchase of treated effluent.
  • Represented coal mining operations in responding to specific objections to KPDES permits raised by EPA during review of the draft permits including developing strategy for responding to EPA's objection on scientific and legal grounds and coordinating with counsel for the Kentucky Division of Water on preparing revised draft permits to address EPA's objections.
  • Defended water quality laboratory in Clean Water Act citizen’s suit brought in the Federal District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky. Case against laboratory was voluntarily dismissed.
  • Defended an Oregon municipality against a Clean Water Act citizen’s suit brought in the Federal District Court for the District of Oregon. The case settled on terms favorable to the City.
  • Represented a Yakima Valley fruit packing company before the Washington Pollution Control Hearings Board in an appeal of their state-issued NPDES permit. The appeal was resolved with favorable changes in the client’s permit.
  • Advised a national organic food manufacturing facility through the process of obtaining a modification to its NPDES permit allowing for the truck transportation of its wastewater to a treatment facility that could better handle its effluent.
  • Represented a railroad company in Clean Water Act citizens suit arising out of alleged violations of a facility's stormwater discharge permit.
Water Rights
  • Represented a multinational food and beverage company in the development of a spring water bottling facility in the Pacific Northwest.
    • Managed a team of hydrogeologists, fisheries biologists, traffic engineers, and archaeologists responsible for locating potential spring sources and evaluating the potential environmental impacts of the project.
    • Evaluated implications of the client’s water purchase on the rights holder’s water rights.
    • Assisted with property acquisition analyses including land use and environmental due diligence and negotiations with prior property owners.
    • Assisted in negotiations with governmental agencies and private parties regarding access to spring sites, water purchase agreements and changes to the zoning and land use codes to support the project.
  • Represented an Oregon municipality in contested proceeding over an emergency water right. Proceeding resulted in a favorable settlement with conservation groups, an Indian tribe, individual citizens, the Oregon Water Resources Department, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and a neighboring water district.
    • Negotiated permit conditions with the Oregon Department of State Lands and with the US Army Corps of Engineers allowing construction of new diversion structure.
General Litigation
  • Represented a national construction supplies distributor as plaintiff in a lawsuit in San Bernardino County, California, against a realtor and environmental consultant arising out of a failure to discover and disclose the existence of explosives on the client’s property. The case settled favorably.
    • Managed discovery process and conducted depositions of expert witnesses.
    • Prepared briefing for three party mediation.
  • Represented surety clients in major coal company bankruptcy proceedings to ensure bonded liabilities were accounted for in post-bankruptcy operations.