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Ella Foley Gannon


As of November 24, 2014 practicing with Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP.

Ella Foley Gannon is a member of Bingham’s Executive Board and is chair of the firm’s Environmental, Land Use and Natural Resources practice group. She was named a “Top Woman Lawyer” by the Daily Journal in 2013 and 2014. She is also recognized by Chambers USA for her environmental work and is noted for her “impressive knowledge of California and federal environmental laws and permitting processes, thoughtful advice and ability to forge strong relationships with regulators.” She focuses her practice on federal and state environmental laws, natural resource permitting, and land use entitlements. She assists developers and landowners who undertake complex development projects, including renewable and traditional energy and transmission projects, as well as residential, commercial, industrial and mixed-use projects. She obtains and defends both land use entitlements and environmental permits.

Ella is a recognized authority in endangered species, wetland, water quality and water rights issues. She represents clients before a myriad of state and federal regulatory agencies, including the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Bureau of Lands Management, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the California Energy Commission, the California State Water Resources Control Board, the nine California State Regional Water Quality Control Boards, and the California Department of Fish and Game. She represents clients before these agencies on issues involving the Clean Water Act, the Federal Endangered Species Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, the Warren-Alquist Act, the National Historic Preservation Act, the California Environmental Quality Act, the California Endangered Species Act, the Porter-Cologne Act and the California Fish and Game Code. Her project experience includes a variety of development types ranging from non-renewable and renewable energy projects to mixed use and major infrastructure projects.

Earlier in her career, Ella was a law clerk to the Hon. Melvin Brunetti of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. She was also a research fellow for the University of California Water Resources Department.


Energy Projects

  • Advising Talisman Energy on land use and air permitting requirements concerning its investment in an oil shale project in California; also advising Talisman on permitting requirements from California’s Department of Conservation, Division of Oil, Gas & Geothermal Resources, and from the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District
  • Representing a proponent of two large solar projects in connection with obtaining CEC, BLM, resource agency and other environmental permits for solar projects in California totaling over 1,370 MW
  • Assisting a developer of two large-scale wind projects in Kansas and North Dakota with NEPA and Endangered Species compliance
  • Represented a major energy company in connection with NPDES permitting for a once-through cooling plant; assisted in responding to appeal of NPDES permit to the State Water Resources Control Board which was dismissed
  • Represents a major oil company in connection with endangered species permitting for linear projects

Project Planning and Permitting

  • Represented Lennar Communities in connection with the permitting of a large mixed-use development project in Placer County, which includes approximately 1,880 residential homes, a commercial center, an 18-hole golf course and 690 acres of natural open space. Permits and authorizations obtained for the project included Section 404 wetland permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, water certification from the Regional Water Quality Control Board, Incidental Take Statement and Biological Opinion from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service through a Section 7 consultation, a Streambed Alteration Agreement with the California Department of Fish and Game, and Section 106 Agreement between State Historic Preservation Office and the Corps of Engineers. She also negotiated deed restrictions and an easement with the Department of Toxic Substances Control.

Stormwater Permitting

  • Conducted an audit of a major builder’s stormwater pollution prevention plans for their large mixed-use projects to ensure compliance with the requirements of the California General Permit for Discharges of Stormwater Runoff associated with construction-related activities
  • Helped develop a field guide to compliance with general permit requirements for future projects
  • Assisted a client in responding to and addressing regulatory requirements associated with discharges of untreated stormwater and helped obtain concurrence from Regional Water Quality Control Board that discharge did not constitute violation of permit conditions
  • Represents a manufacturing facility in connection with obtaining and complying with an NPDES permit


  • Successfully defended federal entitlements issued to a mixed-use development project in Hayward, Calif. The case involved claims of non-compliance with the Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act; also assisted in negotiation of settlement of appeal of the district court’s decision.
  • Successfully defended a development project in a citizen suit challenge involving claims under the Endangered Species Act, the Clean Water Act, and the National Environmental Policy Act; assisted in negotiation of settlement of the appeal of the district court’s decision as well as a global settlement of state law claims against the project
  • Defended a retail project in a suit involving claims under the California Environmental Quality Act

Administrative Advocacy

  • Represents the California Building Industry Association in connection with the State Water Resources Control Board’s proposal to develop a state wetland and riparian protection policy


  • Co-chair, CLE International’s Endangered Species Act Conference, San Francisco (Sept. 18, 2014)
  • Speaker, Fracking in California: New Rules, New Challenges, The State Bar of California Real Property Law Section, San Francisco (March 6, 2014)
  • Panelist, Can an Agency Eliminate Alternatives? And Other New Developments, CLE International’s 10th Annual NEPA Conference, San Francisco (March 6, 2014)
  • Panelist, SB4 and Fracking in California, Western States Petroleum Association Annual Conference, San Diego (Oct. 2, 2013)
  • Speaker, Fracking in California: Legislative, Regulatory, and Litigation Developments, Los Angeles Chapter of the Association of Environmental Professionals, Los Angeles, (Sept. 26, 2013)
  • Chair, Endangered Species Act: New Topics, New Controversies, CLE International, San Francisco (March 7–8, 2013)
  • Speaker, California’s Energy Future: Deja vu All Over Again?, Bingham Client Event, San Francisco, Calif. (Oct. 19, 2012)
  • Moderator, The Challenges of Permitting Renewable Projects Across a Diverse Landscape, ABA Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources Law Summit, Austin, Texas (Oct. 12, 2012)
  • Speaker, Renewable Energy: Hot Topics, 8th Annual NEPA Conference: Recent Developments Under the National Environmental Policy Act, CLE International,  Sacramento, Calif. (Jan. 24, 2012 )
  • Speaker, Renewable Energy, CLE International’s 7th Annual NEPA Conference: Climate Change, Renewable Energy and More, Los Angeles, Calif. (Feb. 10–11, 2011)
  • Speaker, The Growing Role of Your Regional and State Water Boards Regulating Local Land Use, CLE International, San Francisco (Sept. 23, 2010)
  • Speaker, 2009 NPDES General Permit: Stormwater Management Challenges and Opportunities, Cetrus Technical Seminars, Sacramento (May 12, 2010), Milpitas (Feb. 3, 2010) and Walnut Creek, Calif. (Oct. 29, 2009)
  • Speaker, 2010 California Water Law & Policy MCLE Conference — California’s Changing Water Picture: Governance, Water Supply, Flood Control and Climate Change Adaptation, Argent Communications Group, San Francisco (April 22–23, 2010)
  • Speaker, Central California Annual Land Use and Planning Law Conference, Lex and the City, Avila Beach, Calif. (April 16, 2010)
  • Speaker, Recent NEPA Developments, CLE International’s 6th Annual NEPA Conference: Climate Change, Cumulative Impacts and Compliance, San Francisco (Jan. 21–22, 2010)
  • Speaker, Basic Training for Litigators: Civil Procedure Before Trial, The Rutter Group, San Francisco (Oct. 2009-2012)
  • Lecturer, Wetlands Regulation and Land Use Planning: Understanding the Corps’ New Mitigation Rule and Application of the 404(b)(1) Guidelines, Land Use in Northern California Conference, Law Seminars International, San Francisco (March 2009)
  • Co-chair, National Environmental Policy Act: Wetlands Issues within the NEPA Process, CLE International California Wetlands Conference, San Francisco (March 2009)
  • Lecturer, Cumulative Impacts: Practical Considerations, CLE International NEPA Conference, San Diego, Calif. (February 2009) and San Francisco (March 2009)
  • Lecturer, Development and Preservation of Water Rights and Supply, Lorman Conference, Santa Rosa, Calif. (January 2009)
  • Lecturer, California Regulation of Wetlands After SWANCC — Testing the Limits of Regulatory Authority, CLE International California Wetlands Conference, Sacramento, Calif. (January 2008)
  • Panelist, Integrating Resources in Floodplain-Grant Programs and Collaborative Partnerships, FMA 2007 Annual Conference: Collaborative Approaches to Integrated Floodplain Management, South Lake Tahoe, Nev. (September 2007)
  • Lecturer, Overview of Storm Water Regulations: A Practical Review of the Regulations Effect on Development Projects in California, CLE International Annual California Wetlands Conference, San Diego (August 2007)
  • Lecturer, Endangered Species Act and Wetlands Regulations: ESA Considerations in 404 Permitting Process, CLE International National Wetlands Conference, Las Vegas (June 2007)
  • Co-chair and lecturer, Endangered Species and Wetlands Regulations, CLE International California Wetlands Conference, Sacramento, Calif. (January 2007)
  • Lecturer, Intersection of State and Federal Regulation of Isolated Wetlands: Filling the Gap Created by SWANCC, CLE International Wetlands Conference, Ann Arbor, Mich. (November 2006)


Awards & Honors

  • Chambers USA, Environment (California) (2013–2014)
  • Best Lawyers, Environmental Law (2013–2015)
  • Legal 500, Environment Litigation 2013–2014)
  • Daily Journal, Top Woman Lawyer (2013–2014)
  • Super Lawyers, Northern California (2012–2014)
  • Order of the Coif

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