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Sheryl Sweeney

Member
fax +1 602.257.6924

Sheryl Sweeney represents public and private energy interests in environmental, energy, and water law matters.

She acts as counsel to several entities that contract for hydroelectric power from the Western Area Power Administration and the Arizona Power Authority. She is involved in all aspects of the industry, including power supply contracting, rate setting, transmission access, including interconnection agreements, renewable generation, conventional generation, distributed generation, siting and retail electric competition.

Numerous land developers work with Sheryl on all aspects of Arizona water issues as she has successfully secured 100-year assured water supply certificates for several major developers in the state of Arizona. Golf course developers and owners rely on Sheryl to secure necessary water rights and ensure compliance with enforcement matters.

Her practice includes all aspects of documenting, acquiring, transferring and perfecting groundwater and surface water rights in Arizona. She also has prepared hundreds of water rights claims in the two Arizona general stream adjudications.

Sheryl serves as counsel to several irrigation and electrical districts, addressing all aspects of special taxing district issues. Her practice in this area includes compliance with meeting and election laws as well as advice regarding the investment of public funds.

Sheryl’s practice also includes environmental real estate due diligence and environmental permitting and compliance. Her experience ranges from underground storage tank cleanups, asbestos removal contracting and “community right to know” compliance to effluent reuse permitting. She has undertaken the environmental due diligence review for hundreds of properties in Arizona and elsewhere.

Sheryl has participated in a number of matters involving the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the Endangered Species Act. She also has participated in drafting and structuring many regulatory rulemakings, both at the state level and federal level, and has been actively involved in drafting legislation in all areas of her practice.

Education

J.D., Order of the Coif, University of Kansas School of Law, Lawrence, Kansas, 1984
B.S., summa cum laude, Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas, 1980

Recognitions

AV-Rated attorney by Martindale-Hubbell

Ranked by Chambers USA since 2011 in Environmental Law. In 2014, she was ranked a Band 1 attorney, the highest ranking awarded by Chambers.

Named among The Best Lawyers in America® – Energy Law, Environmental Law, Natural Resources Law, Water Law by Best Lawyers (2007-2023); Named “Lawyer of the Year” for Natural Resources Law (2019, 2022).

Selected to the Phoenix, Arizona Super Lawyers list for Energy & Natural Resources (2007 – 2009, 2011 – 2012).

Named one of 2017’s Most Influential Women and 2018’s Top 100 Lawyers in Arizona by AZBusiness Magazine.

In September 2021, the Agribusiness & Water Council of Arizona presented Sheryl with a Lifetime Achievement Award to recognize her deep knowledge of Arizona water law and her decades of experience providing advice to irrigation and drainage districts across the state.

Memberships

American Bar Association

Maricopa County Bar Association, Environmental and Natural Resource Law Section

Colorado River Water Users Association, Member

Arizona Women Lawyers Association, Member

Valley Forward, Member

Arizona Farm Bureau, Member

Arizona Town Hall, Member

American Society for Testing Materials, Member

State Bar Licenses

Arizona

Organizations

Audubon Arizona, Director, 2010-present

PUBLICATIONS

SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS

  • “How to Turn Colorado and Arizona Water Rights Into a Valuable Asset,” Ryley Carlock & Applewhite Seminar, May 2016
  • “Without a Paddle: Navigating the Murky Waters of the Clean Water Act’s Definition of ‘Waters of the U.S.’,” U.S. Society for Irrigation and Drainage Professionals’ Water Management Conference, Co-Presenter, December 2014
  • “Water and Energy,” Law Seminars International, April 2011
  • “Arizona Water Laws and Regulations,” Halfmoon Seminars, February 2009
  • “Future Leadership Opportunities for Women in the Water Industry,” Arizona Women in Water Network, May 2007
  • “Water Rights Sales and Transfers as a Water Management Tool in Arizona,” Lorman Education Services, May 2007
  • “Recent Amendments to ADWR’s Assured and Adequate Water Supply Rules for New Subdivisions,” MCBA Environmental Law Section, October 2006
  • “Effluent Reuse 2000,” Arizona Water & Pollution Control Association, July 2000
  • “Electric Retail Competition,” MCBA Corporate Counsel Division Seminar, November 1997
  • “Environmental Consulting Contracts,” MCBA Ethics and Contracting Concerns of Environmental, Legal and Consulting Practices Seminar, May 1997
  • “Development in Soil Clean-up Standards,” Ryley Carlock & Applewhite’s Recent Changes in Arizona’s UST Program Seminar, May 1996
  • “Essential Issues in Natural Resources and Environmental Law for Lawyers and Lay People,” Flagstaff Chamber of Commerce and Northern Arizona University Seminar, May 1993