Phil Mahowald - Attorney

Phone number: 
(651) 644-4710
Fax: 
(651) 644-5904
Email: 
pmahowald@thejacobsonlawgroup.com

Phil has served tribal clients in various capacities for more than fifteen years as in-house and outside counsel, including more than ten years as interim general counsel and general counsel. Phil has advised tribes, tribal councils, gaming enterprises, gaming commissions, boards, commissions and committees on a variety of issues, including:

  • tribal governance
  • archaeological, cultural, historic and natural resource protection
  • environmental compliance
  • gaming and gaming regulation
  • government relations
  • land acquisition and fee-to-trust transfers
  • business and corporate matters
  • economic development and diversification
  • intellectual property
  • constitution and bylaw drafting and amendments
  • ordinance drafting and amendments
  • labor and employment
  • employee and tribal member benefit plans, including employee 401(k) and employee and tribal member health plans
  • minors trusts and adult member deferred compensation plans
  • elections and election disputes
  • enrollment matters
  • project financing
  • construction contracts
  • Indian child welfare
  • land use
  • litigation

Phil has represented the interests of tribes in tribal, state and federal courts, and in government-to-government consultations, hearings, meetings, rulemaking and adjudicatory proceedings before state and federal agencies, including:

  • U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
  • U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
  • U.S. Department of Interior
  • Bureau of Indian Affairs
  • U.S. Department of Energy
  • U.S. Department of Homeland Security
  • U.S. Department of Transportation
  • U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration
  • National Indian Gaming Commission
  • Federal Emergency Management Agency
  • Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future
  • National Academy of Sciences
  • Minnesota Public Utilities Commission

Phil has been involved with the negotiation and implementation of cultural resource management plans to protect archaeological, cultural and historic tribal resources, environmental review, and work as a cooperative agency in connection with a federal agency’s environmental scoping and review under the National Environmental Policy Act.  

Phil has developed and drafted agency rulemaking and legislative strategies, talking points, comments, testimony and correspondence on various topics including nuclear power and nuclear waste, electric generation and transmission, renewable energy, environmental impacts, environmental justice, land use, organized labor, gaming, and employment at the local, state and federal levels.

Phil previously worked at a Minneapolis law firm where, in addition to Indian law, Phil’s civil practice included commercial and intellectual property litigation, including trade secret misappropriation, unfair competition, breach of non-compete and confidentiality agreements, architectural works copyright infringement, patent infringement, and trademark infringement. 

Phil also clerked for the Honorable John B. Jones, Senior U.S. District Judge for the District of South Dakota. 

Phil received his BA in Government from Harvard University and his J.D. from the University of South Dakota. 

Prior to law school, Phil volunteered at the Rosebud Education Society (St. Francis Mission) on the Rosebud Indian Reservation, establishing the St. Francis Group Family Daycare Center in St. Francis, South Dakota. 

Phil's Indian law experience includes:

  • Grand River Dam Authority, Project No. 1494-433, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (2016) (represent multiple tribes in connection with GRDA’s application to amend its license for the Pensacola Project in Northeastern Oklahoma).
  • New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont and Prairie Island Indian Community, et al. v. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, 824 F.3d. 1012 (D.C. Cir. 2016) (represented tribe in appeal of NRC’s Continued Storage Rule and Generic EIS).
  • New York, New Jersey, Vermont, Connecticut & Prairie Island Indian Community v. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, 681 F.3d 471 (D.C. Cir. 2012) (represented tribe in appeal of NRC’s Waste Confidence Decision and Temporary Storage Rule; rule vacated and remanded to NRC to prepare and Environmental Impact Statement regarding the long-term environmental effects of storing spent nuclear fuel).
  • In re Northern States Power Company (Prairie Island Nuclear Generating Plant, Independent Spent Fuel Storage Installation), Docket No. 72-10-ISFSI-2, ASLBP No. 12-922-01-ISFSI-MLR-BRD01 (represented intervenor tribe in license renewal proceedings for Independent Spent Fuel Storage Installation before the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s Atomic Safety and Licensing Board; represented tribe working with NRC as a cooperating agency for purposes of NEPA review).
  • In the Matter of the Application of Northern States Power Company d/b/a Xcel Energy for Certificate of Need for an Extended Power Uprate at the Prairie Island Nuclear Generating Plant, Docket No. E002/CN-08-509 (represented intervenor tribe in proceedings before the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission involving utility’s application for an extended power uprate).
  • In re Northern States Power Company (Prairie Island Nuclear Generating Plant Units 1 and 2), Docket NO. 50-282-LR, 50-306-LR, ASLBP No. 08-871-01-LR (represented intervenor tribe in license renewal proceedings for nuclear power plant license before the Nuclear Regulator Commission’s Atomic Safety and Licensing Board; represented tribe working with NRC as a cooperating agency for purposes of NEPA review). 
  • Wolfchild v. United States, 559 F.3d 1228 (Fed. Cir. 2009) and 731 F.3d 1280 (Fed. Cir. 2013) (represented tribe in defense of trust claim by 20,000 persons claiming Indian descent to share in proceeds of tribal gaming enterprises).
  • In re U.S. Department of Energy (License Application for Geologic Repository at Yucca Mountain), Docket No. 63-001-HLW, ASLBP No. 09-892-HLW-CAB04 (represented intervenor tribe in proceedings before the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s Atomic Safety and Licensing Board associated with the geologic repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada for the permanent storage of spent nuclear fuel).
  • Rottlund Co. v. Pinnacle Corp., 452 F.3d 726 (8th Cir. 2006) (represented plaintiff in architectural works copyright infringement litigation).
  • Friez v. First American Bank & Trust of Minot, 324 F.3d 580 (8th Cir. 2003) (affirming dismissal of former employee’s claim for ERISA benefits).

Phil has taught the presented the following seminars:

  • Constitutional Evolution in the Wake of New Federal Regulations Governing Secretarial Elections (2016 Indian Law Conference, Minnesota American Indian Bar Association and Minnesota CLE, Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community, May 6, 2016)
  • Cultural and Environmental Resource Preservation (Metropolitan State University, Saint Paul, Minnesota, April 1, 2015)
  • Cultural and environmental resource preservation: Case law trends from around the country; tips for Tribes desiring to more effectively participate in NEPA and state environmental review processes (Law Seminars International, Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community, September 11, 2014)
  • Tribal State Relations, (University of South Dakota School of Law, Vermillion, South Dakota, September 19, 2013)
  • Local and Tribal Used Nuclear Fuel Issues: The PIIC-PINGP ISFSI Case Study (Electric Utility Consultants, Inc., Washington, D.C., August 1, 2013)
  • Cultural and environmental resource preservation: Case study of efforts to protect cultural and environmental resources in siting, construction, operation and relicensing of the Prairie Island Nuclear Generating Plant and Independent Spent Fuel Storage Installation (Law Seminars International, Minneapolis, Minnesota, June 20, 2013)
  • Regulatory Changes That Would Improve the NRC Adjudicatory Process: An Indian Tribe’s Perspective (Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s Regulatory Information Conference, Washington, D.C., March 14, 2013)
  • Key Insights to the Future of High Level Waste Management: Through Tribal Eyes, For the Next Seven Generations (Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s Regulatory Information Conference, Washington, D.C., March 14, 2013)
  • Public Participation and Agency Requirements in NRC’s Regulatory Process (Nuclear Regulatory Commission Meeting, January 31, 2013)
  • Sovereignty, Tribal Law and Inter-jurisdictional Relationships (Native Americans in Philanthropy, Prairie Island Indian Community, June 5, 2012)
  • Environmental Protection: Defending Tribes From Off-Reservation Threats (Minnesota American Indian Bar Association and Minnesota CLE, Prairie Island Indian Community, May 18, 2012)
  • Tribal Court Primer (Dakota County Bar Association, Hastings, Minnesota, August 3, 2007)

 

Areas of Practice: 
  • Indian/Tribal Law
  • Civil Litigation
  • Gaming Law
  • Indian Child Welfare
  • Intellectual Property
  • Real Estate & Land Use Law
  • Cultural and Environmental Resources Protection
  • Administrative Law
  • Governmental Relations & Regulatory Compliance
Education: 
  • J.D. University of South Dakota School of Law, 1996
  • B.A. Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1992
Bar Admissions: 
  • Minnesota
  • South Dakota
Admitted to Practice: 
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota
  • U.S. District Court for the District of South Dakota
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
  • Prairie Island Indian Community Tribal Court