Charles Sensiba


Washington, D.C.
Business Phone: 202.274.2850
Business Fax: 202.274.2994


Chuck Sensiba provides strategic counsel and legal representation to public utility districts, and governmental entities, investor-owned utilities, water districts, and independent power producers; and covers the full spectrum of complex licensing, natural resources, and environmental issues related to hydropower development. He has broad experience in matters under the Federal Power Act, National Environmental Policy Act, Endangered Species Act, Clean Water Act, National Historic Preservation Act, Federal Land Policy and Management Act and Coastal Zone Management Act.

Chuck is recognized nationally as a leader in the water power industry, with experience in a wide range of projects across the United States, from large and complex hydroelectric projects licensed and regulated by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), to small water supply projects. His litigation experience includes administrative litigation before FERC, as well as accompanying appellate litigation in multiple U.S. Courts of Appeal. He also advises clients on federal policy issues affecting hydropower and is a recognized thought leader in energy and hydropower policy. Chuck currently serves on the Board of Directors for the National Hydropower Association.

Representative Matters

  • Successfully represented a FERC licensee of a large hydropower project in the Midwest in a major FERC license amendment involving changes to the project’s reservoir operations—a proposal that was opposed by numerous federal and state agencies, a local municipality, and 8 federally recognized Indian tribes.
  • Provided strategic and legal counsel on the full range of environmental and public lands issues related to the State of Alaska’s 600 MW Susitna-Watana Hydroelectric Project, which was proposed to be the first large, new dam hydroelectric project constructed in the United States in more than four decades.
  • Successfully represented a large coalition of hydroelectric licensees in administrative litigation before FERC and appellate proceedings concerning FERC’s federal land fees program, which yielded more than $20 million in refunds and cost savings following the court’s ruling in City of Idaho Falls v. FERC, 629 F.3d 222 (D.C. Cir. 2011).
  • Counseled the Columbia River Treaty Power Group, a coalition consisting of more than 80 electric utilities, industry associations and other entities that depend on power produced by the Columbia River hydropower generating plants, in legal and policy issues arising under the Columbia River Treaty between the United States and Canada.
  • Negotiated comprehensive, multi-party settlement agreements with numerous federal and state regulators for the FERC relicensing of the Toledo Bend Project—the most expansive FERC-licensed project (with over 1,200 miles of shoreline and nearly 4.5 million acre feet of storage), and the only FERC-licensed project in the U.S. that is jointly owned and operated by two states.
  • Successfully represented a large coalition of hydroelectric licensees in administrative litigation proceedings before FERC in overturning more than thirty years of precedent regarding FERC’s treatment of hydropower lands subject to a federal power site reservation.
  • Provides FERC relicensing and license compliance counsel for the Grand River Dam Authority’s 105 MW Pensacola Project, 108 MW Markham Ferry Project, and 260 MW Salina Pumped Storage Project.
  • Represents hydropower interests in major rulemaking proceedings before FERC and other federal agencies affecting regulatory requirements applicable to water and power development.
  • Successfully represented a small hydropower developer in administrative litigation before FERC regarding the jurisdictional status of a small hydropower project in Washington State.

Publications and Speaking Engagements

Chuck is a frequent author on various issues affecting the industry, publishing dozens of pieces in such journals as Energy Law and Transactions; ABA Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources Newsletter; The Water Report and Irrigation Leader. Chuck is also a regular speaker on hydro issues addressing organizations and conferences such as National Hydropower Association, National Water Resources Association, HydroVision International and the Northwest Hydroelectric Association. Some of his recent presentations and articles include:

  • Speaker, Energy Infrastructure: State and Federal Issues, Troutman Energy Conference 2018 (Chicago), 6/20/2018
  • Speaker, “Solving ‘Flexibility Gap’ How Hydro, Solar and Wind Can Work Together,” Renewable Energy Webcast, May 4, 2018.
  • Speaker, "Hydroelectric Policy and Licensing," Spring 2018 Joint CREPC WIRAB Conference, Vancouver, BC, April 18, 2018.
  • Author, "Deep Carbonization and Hydropower," Environmental Law Reporter, April 2018. (Note: Article excerpted from Michael B. Gerrard & John C. Dernbach, eds., Legal Pathways to Deep Decarbonization in the United States, forthcoming in 2018 from ELI Press.)
  • Author, “Water Transfers & the CWA,” The Water Report, 2017.
  • Speaker, "FAST, WRDA, HREA and Other Regulatory Developments That Will Affect Hydro Licensing," HydroVision International 2017, Denver, CO, June 27, 2017.
  • Speaker, "New Hydropower Development in Alaska: Challenges and Opportunities," National Hydropower Association's Alaska Regional Meeting, National Hydropower Association, Cordova, AK, September 19, 2016.
  • Presenter, "Hydro Permitting Roundtable," National Water Resources Association's Western Water Seminar 2016, Sun Valley, ID, August 3, 2016.
  • Presenter, "Relicensing: TLP vs. ILP," 2016 National Hydropower Association Northeast Regional Meeting, Philadelphia, PA, June 2, 2016.
  • Speaker, "Overlapping Jurisdiction Issues in Licensing," EBA Primer Series: An Introduction to Hydropower Law and Regulation, Energy Bar Association and the National Hydropower Association, Boston, MA, September 15, 2014.
  • Author, “Opportunities for New FERC Policies Promoting Hydropower Development Under New Administration,” Irrigation Leader, Vol. 8 Issue 5, May 1, 2017.

Professional Experience

  • Partner, Troutman Sanders LLP, 2018-Present
  • Partner, Van Ness Feldman LLP, 2008-2018
  • Associate, Van Ness Feldman LLP, 1999-2008



  • University of Colorado School of Law, J.D., 1999
  • University of Utah, B.S., cum laude, 1995

Bar Admissions

  • Alaska
  • Colorado
  • District of Columbia

Court Admissions

  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit