Belton provides clients with solutions to complex energy, utility, environmental and cybersecurity matters based on more than 30 years of energy industry experience. He has served as general counsel to a major electric and natural gas utility, where he also had managerial responsibility for industrial customer relations, power marketing and strategic planning. He serves as Co-Head of the firm’s Energy and Natural Resources Sector and is Head of the Utilities Subsector.

Belton recently participated as lead state regulatory lawyer in negotiating the acquisition of a vertically integrated electric utility and gas distribution utility and in obtaining public service commission approval of the acquisition. He has also participated as a lead attorney in negotiating multi-million dollar utility contracts, in permitting major infrastructure projects, in managing mega-project regulatory matters, in litigating general gas and electric rate cases, and in developing alternative energy projects. Belton has extensive experience in the state regulation of solar and alternative energy projects and nuclear power, and has been instrumental in shaping state laws regulating those industries.

In recent years, Belton has adapted his extensive experience in industrial and infrastructure matters to counsel clients on data management and cybersecurity in areas such as data breach preparation and response and litigation involving data management. He is a senior member of Womble Bond Dickinson’s Data Management and Cybersecurity Team.

He also was the lead attorney for the effort to create a regional transmission organization for South and North Carolina. Zeigler has represented clients before state regulators in more than 25 major proceedings and multiple appellate matters relating to those proceedings. In addition, he has litigated important municipal power and public finance cases in the courts, some of which involved appearing before the appellate courts.

Presentations and Publications

Publications

Presentations

  • Speaker, Energy from Everywhere – A Closer Look at the Trends Impacting Consumers, Womble Bond Dickinson's Everything from Everywhere Virtual Summit, January 29, 2021
  • Speaker, Federal Energy Regulation, E4Carolinas Energy Leadership Academy, January 27, 2021
  • Panelist, Integrating IOU Climate Goals with Existing Regulatory Processes, Carolinas Energy Law Seminar, E4 Carolinas, December 18, 2020
  • Co-Presenter with Lisa Rushton and Joseph G. Tirone, Contract Provisions and Regulatory Issues for Offshore Wind Sector During COVID-19, April 13, 2020
  • Speaker, Cyber Liability, SCMIT and SCMIRF Annual Member Meeting, November 2017
  • Speaker, Cyber Security: An Overview of Threats and Responses for SC Business, Greater Blythewood Chamber of Commerce, October 2017
  • Speaker, Cyber Security: A Primer for Risk Managers, RMA Upper South Carolina Chapter, January 2016
  • Speaker, Cyber Risks for South Carolina Business, South Carolina Business Review, November 2016
  • Speaker, Cyber Security: A Primer for Special Purpose Districts, October 2016
  • Speaker, Cyber Security:  A Primer for General Counsel’s Offices, September 2016
  • Speaker, Public Power Security: Data Breaches and Malicious Attacks, June 2016

Professional and Civic Activities

  • South Carolina Bar
  • District of Columbia Bar
  • Richland County Bar Association
  • South Carolina Association of Counties
  • Municipal Association of South Carolina
  • South Carolina Special Purpose Districts Association
  • InfraGard, South Carolina Chapter (FBI infrastructure security initiative)
  • International Association of Privacy Professionals
  • Founding Board Member, Congaree Land Trust
  • Chancellor, Episcopal Diocese of Upper South Carolina
  • Board Member, Trinity Seminary
  • Board Member, Business Network for Offshore Wind

Honors and Awards

  • Chambers USA 2018 Ranked Lawyer, Environment, South Carolina
  • Recognized in The Best Lawyers in America (BL Rankings) in the fields of Municipal Law, Privacy and Data Security Law, Utilities Law, 2017 – 2020
  • Recognized in Columbia Business Monthly’s Legal Elite, Energy & Utilities, 2021

Experience

Any result the lawyer or law firm may have achieved on behalf of clients in other matters does not necessarily indicate similar results can be obtained for other clients.

  • Served as principal state regulatory counsel in proceedings related to a $10 billion energy mega-project.
  • Represented utility companies in siting of major electric transmission system projects and nuclear and fossil fuel-powered generation projects.
  • Negotiated electric and natural gas energy supply agreements for a global technology firm’s data center and a national manufacturing company’s production facilities across the country.
  • Represented the developer in the first hog waste-to-methane project in North Carolina.
  • Completed the transfer of natural gas pipeline systems between regulated utilities and between regulated and municipal utilities.
  • Served as general counsel to a regional water utility company expanding its service through multiple counties to reach wholesale and industrial customers.
  • Negotiated multi-million dollar, 30-year waste water treatment and disposal agreements.
  • Assisted in drafting key state energy legislation involving natural gas rate making, major electric generation projects, solar and alternative energy regulation, and energy efficiency programs.
  • Represented clients in 15 regulatory proceedings in the appellate courts.
  • Successfully defended citizen’s lawsuit to stop a $100+ million municipal riverfront redevelopment project.

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