Thomas F. Puchner

Partner Albany, New York City
Thomas Puchner

Mr. Puchner focuses his practice on energy, environmental law and telecommunications, with an emphasis on regulatory matters, compliance, permitting and siting, as well as regulatory litigation. In the energy sector, Mr. Puchner has assisted clients with regulatory matters before the New York State Public Service Commission (PSC) and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Mr. Puchner has defended Energy Service Companies (ESCOs) with compliance investigations and enforcement matters by the New York Public Service Commission, New York State Attorney General and New York State Department of State Do Not Call Program. He has handled numerous high-stakes litigations before agencies and courts involving energy companies, such as regulatory challenges, license revocation, billing disputes with utilities and customers, as well as class actions. He regularly assists with all matters related to development of renewable energy projects, including local approvals and SEQRA reviews, power purchase agreements, solar leases, and project legal and regulatory issues (such as PSC regulations, utility tariffs, Energy Law Article 9, Real Property Tax Law Section 487, and Agriculture and Markets Law). He also assists in proceedings under Public Service Law Article 10 (generation facility siting) and Article VII (transmission facility siting), and guides clients with New York State’s new Accelerate Act and regulations by the Office of Renewable Energy Siting.

With respect to environmental and land use law, Mr. Puchner assists clients with New York’s exceedingly complex environmental and land use regulatory regimes. Mr. Puchner regularly assists project developers, solar developers, as well as telecom carriers and tower companies with right-to-build approvals under land use and zoning laws, and with related environmental impact reviews, including SEQRA and NEPA. Mr. Puchner has worked extensively on environmental impact reviews for large scale infrastructure and private development projects. He also has extensive expertise working with the Adirondack Park Agency on permitting and compliance matters. In addition, Mr. Puchner brings deep experience with State and Federal regulatory issues, including permitting and compliance matters under RCRA and other complex environmental regulatory programs, as well as Superfund clean-ups, brownfield projects and petroleum spills (under New York’s Navigation Law).

In the telecom sector, Mr. Puchner regularly assists carriers and tower companies with land use and zoning approvals for new towers and modifications/upgrades to existing facilities. Mr. Puchner has obtained numerous telecom approvals from the Adirondack Park Agency. His reputation with agency staff and knowledge of the Adirondack Park Agency’s process often enables him to obtain quick approvals resulting in significant savings for the firm’s clients. He also frequently assists telecom companies with obtaining Certificates of Public Convenience and Necessity from the New York State Public Service Commission.

Mr. Puchner regularly assists clients with administrative-based litigation in his substantive areas of expertise, both before administrative agencies and in the courts.

Mr. Puchner has been recognized by Chambers USA for excellence in energy law for six years. In addition, the firm has been recognized by Chambers USA for outstanding capabilities in environmental law for 15 consecutive years.

small-logo
award-icon

Honors & Awards

  • Listed in Chambers USA: Americas Leading Lawyers for Business, 2019-2023
  • Honoree of the New York State Bar Association Empire State Counsel® Program for Pro Bono Work, 2016
Awards & Certifications
small-logo
education-icon

Education & Admissions

Education
  • Vermont Law School, J.D., magna cum laude, 2004
  • Vermont Law School, M.S.E.L., magna cum laude, 2004
  • University of Vermont, B.A., 1996
Admitted to Practice
  • New York
  • U.S. District Court, Northern and Western Districts of New York
small-logo
speaking-icon

Speaking Engagements

View All
  • Panelist, “New York State Proposes Transformational Economy-Wide Energy Roadmap for Meeting 2030 Targets,” Phillips Lytle Energy Law Webinar, July 2020
  • Presenter, “How to Navigate Solar Energy Projects,” 2019 New York State Economic Development Conference, January 2019
  • Presenter, “Distributed Energy Resources: How did we get here and where are we going?,” Air and Waste Management Association Eastern New York Chapter Lunch Meeting, October 2018
  • Speaker, “ESCOs: Is Your Company’s Cybersecurity Plan Ready to Be Examined?,” Phillips Lytle Webinar, May 2018
  • Panelist, “Environmental Laws and Their Impact on Deployment of Wireless Facilities,” Second Annual Comprehensive Conference on Legal Developments for Deployment of Local Wireless Facilities, Law Seminars International, February 2015
small-logo

Activities & Professional Associations

Present Activities

  • Village of Valatie Zoning Board of Appeals, Member

Professional Associations

  • Air and Waste Management Association
    • Northeast New York Chapter, Director, 2013-2015
  • Albany County Bar Association
  • American Bar Association
    • Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources (SEER)
    • Infrastructure and Regulated Industries Section
  • New York State Bar Association
    • Business Law Section
    • Environmental Law Section
    • Municipal Law Section

Articles & Publications

Articles

  • Co-Author, “NY State Flexes Muscles With Energy Service Co. Restrictions,” Law360, January 2020
  • Co-Author, “How New York State Is Making Energy Storage A Priority,” Law360, August 2017

Publications

  • Co-Author, “Alternative Energy & Power 2023 – USA,” Chambers Global Practice Guide, July 2023
  • Co-Author, “Alternative Energy & Power 2022 – USA,” Chambers Global Practice Guide, August 2022
  • Co-Author, “Alternative Energy & Power 2021 – USA,” Chambers Global Practice Guide, August 2021
  • Co-Author, “Alternative Energy & Power – USA,” Chambers Global Practice Guide, July 2020
  • Co-Author, “Alternative Energy & Power – USA,” Chambers Global Practice Guide, August 2019