Energy, Environment and Natural Resources REGULATORY AND GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS

WilmerHale's Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Practice draws on its substantive legal and technical background, knowledge of industry, and insight from government service to achieve clients' objectives in a range of regulatory, litigation, legislative and transactional matters arising at the intersection of law, business, science and public policy. Attorneys in our practice have served in senior positions in the US Department of the Interior, US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), US Justice Department, and Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Partner Ken Salazar has served as Secretary of the Interior, United States Senator for Colorado and Colorado Attorney General. Partner Tom Strickland served as Chief of Staff and Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks for the US Department of the Interior. Partner Andy Spielman currently serves as Vice Chair of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission and Chair of the Colorado Regional Air Quality Council.

We represent clients in a broad spectrum of industries—including oil and gas exploration, production, and transportation, renewable energy, gas and electric transmission and distribution, mining, recreation, aviation, defense, life sciences and pharmaceuticals, and financial services. Our practice focuses on addressing the development, counseling, transactional and litigation needs of that diverse range of clients, including highly charged Congressional and agency investigations, crisis counseling, and strategic response. We have one of the nation's foremost public lands practices, and work seamlessly across the firm's regulatory, transactional and litigation practices to represent clients in developing many of the most significant and complex projects on federal and private lands, both onshore and offshore.

Spielman, Andy

Andrew L. Spielman

Co-Partner-in-Charge, Denver Office

Chair, Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Practice

+1 720 274 3161 (t)

Gorelick, Jamie

Jamie Gorelick


+1 202 663 6500 (t)

Kalpin, Mark C.

Mark C. Kalpin


+1 617 526 6176 (t)

Kirsch, Robert C.

Robert C. Kirsch


+1 617 526 6779 (t)

Louis, Frédéric

Frédéric Louis


+32 2 285 49 53 (t)

Ross, Lester

Lester Ross


+86 10 5901 6588 (t)

Salazar, Ken

Ken Salazar


+1 720 274 3131 (t)

Seyfarth, Martin

Martin Seyfarth


+49 30 20 22 64 30 (t)

Spielman, Andy

Andrew L. Spielman


+1 720 274 3161 (t)


Some examples of our work include:

  • Advising a global energy company in enforcement proceedings and federal agency and Congressional investigations stemming from a major accident and resulting oil spill.
  • Representing a major US oil and gas producer as national coordinating counsel on Clean Water Act regulatory and enforcement matters.
  • Assisting energy companies in successfully resolving suspension and debarment proceedings at the Department of the Interior and US EPA.
  • Assisting clients in developing, enhancing, and auditing corporate compliance programs, and when advantageous, guiding clients in voluntary self-disclosure under applicable federal and state audit policies.
  • Providing advice and counsel to a multi-national pharmaceutical company on a wide variety of aspects of environmental permitting, compliance and enforcement in connection with its research, manufacturing and laboratory operations.
  • Advising a multi-national pharmaceutical company on remediation of a proposed R&D headquarters location, zoning variances and environmental permits, and hazardous material handling and disposal permits, resulting in the successful development of a 1.5 million-square-foot campus.
  • Representing specialty chemical manufacturing companies in Toxic Substances Control Act enforcement and regulatory compliance matters, including design and implementation of TSCA auditing programs under EPA consent agreements.
  • Securing federal, state and county land use approvals for nearly 4,000 megawatts of wind energy, including more than 1,000 megawatts in Eastern Colorado.
  • Advising renewable energy companies in the development, financing and operation of solar generation, wind generation and biofuel production facilities throughout the United States.
  • Representing clients in connection with the licensing and permitting to construct, operate or expand publicly controversial facilities including in the nuclear energy, waste management, retail and recycling sectors.
  • Representing ski areas nationwide as public lands, NEPA, forest service and land use counsel.
  • Representing major Independent Power Producers (IPPs) with ensuring compliance with federal and state wildlife laws.
  • Successfully challenging in federal district and appellate court, based on constitutional Supremacy Clause grounds, and striking down a state law imposing a heightened cleanup standard on a single contaminated site.
  • On a pro bono basis, representing seven national, state and Western Slope environmental and conservation groups as parties to the successful mediation and settlement of the 30-year long Black Canyon of the Gunnison water rights litigation.
  • Representing several state entities on energy and environmental regulatory issues in connection with the proposed conversion of the state's existing generation fleet from oil-based fuels to natural gas fuels, compliance with EPA's MATS standards, and the proposed construction of an LNG import facility.
  • Defending a financial services company against electric market manipulation charges asserted by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
  • Assisting national commercial retailers, national financial companies and municipalities in connection with the purchase of electricity and natural gas from competitive suppliers on a single facility and regional basis, and in the direct purchase of energy supplies from regional wholesale electric markets.
  • Representing clients in numerous CERCLA and analogous state-lead enforcement proceedings throughout the United States, including defense and prosecution of cost recovery claims and designation as common counsel at various multi-party sites.
  • Representing a petroleum marketing company in bankruptcy proceedings and negotiating resolution of issues relating to closure of underground storage tanks.
  • Advising major oil and gas companies on risk allocation and negotiated environmental terms and conditions in billion-dollar asset-based transactions.
  • Representing several clients in diverse matters relating to hydraulic fracturing, including: monitoring of and advocacy in federal and state regulatory proceedings; defense of personal injury/property damage claim; and evaluation of risk associated with waste management and disposal. 

Publications & News


October 20, 2016

Energy Sector Alert Series: Brexit and Energy—Leaving the EU While Staying Connected

It is still not clear what position the UK will take in negotiations on leaving the EU and what the remaining EU 27 countries will accept.

October 13, 2016

Energy Sector Alert Series: Supreme Court Cases to Watch

The Supreme Court began its new term on Monday, October 3, with only eight justices instead of the full complement of nine. Perhaps in part as a result of its desire to avoid controversial cases, the Court has accepted fewer matters involving environmental, energy and natural resources issues.

October 12, 2016

Ken Salazar Honored With Federico Pena Lifetime Achievement Award

The Colorado Latino Leadership, Advocacy and Research Organization has recognized Partner Ken Salazar with its Federico Pena Lifetime Achievement Award. Salazar accepted the accolade on September 23 at the organization's annual Bernie Valdez Awards Luncheon in Denver.

October 6, 2016

Energy Sector Alert Series: Federal Reserve Board Seeks New Limits on Bank Activities in Physical Commodities

As a result of both legislative mandates as well as Congressional and public concern, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System has been examining whether to impose new restrictions on the activities of banks related to physical commodities.

October 3, 2016

Department of Energy Updates Integrated Interagency Pre-Application Process for Electric Transmission Projects 

On Wednesday, September 28, 2016, the Department of Energy published in the Federal Register a final rule which revises the agency's regulations governing its Integrated Interagency Pre-Application process and which will go into effect on November 28, 2016.

September 29, 2016

Energy Sector Alert Series: The Future of Energy and Environment Policy Under a Clinton or Trump Presidency

With just under six weeks remaining until the election, we take stock of each candidate's positions on energy, climate change and environmental regulations and discuss what the regulatory landscape might look like under a President Clinton or President Trump. We also offer an analysis of the implications of a potential flip in Senate control coming out of November's many tight Senate races.

September 27, 2016

Agencies Chart the Future of US Offshore Wind Development

The US Department of Energy and US Department of the Interior recently announced an updated national strategy to facilitate the responsible development of offshore wind energy in the United States, with a goal of supporting the development of 86 gigawatts of wind energy by 2050.

September 22, 2016

Law Week Colorado Honors Natalie Hanlon Leh and Andrew Spielman Among the Top Lawyers in Colorado

Partners Natalie Hanlon Leh and Andrew Spielman have been named to Law Week Colorado's annual list of Barrister's Best, featuring the top lawyers in the state by practice, as selected by their peers and by the publication's “Barrister.”

September 15, 2016

New Book by Gary Born: International Arbitration and Forum Selection Agreements: Drafting and Enforcing

WilmerHale is pleased to announce the publication of Gary Born's most recent work on international arbitration and dispute resolution. The revised fifth edition of International Arbitration and Forum Selection Agreements: Drafting and Enforcing is a concise, practical primer on the fundamentals of drafting and enforcing international arbitration agreements and other dispute resolution clauses.

September 12, 2016

Federal and State Wildlife and Natural Resources Managers Collaborate on Historic Conservation Agreement

The WilmerHale Energy, Environment and Natural Resources group was proud to represent Newmont Mining in working with state and federal entities, among other stakeholders, to develop a historic 1.5-million-acre voluntary, landscape-level conservation agreement, which was finalized last week in Carson City, Nevada.