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 our 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)

Cohn, Andrew H.

Andrew H. Cohn


+1 617 526 6218 (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


November 23, 2015

BIA Finalizes Reforms for Obtaining Rights of Way on Indian Lands

On November 19, the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) published a final rule that makes sweeping changes to the process for obtaining rights of way for proposed oil and gas pipelines, electric transmission lines, railroads, roads and other infrastructure projects on Indian lands. This is the first update of BIA’s right-of-way regulations in more than 30 years. The revised rule aims to expedite and clarify the BIA right-of-way process for project developers, as well as to support the interests of Tribes and individual Indian landowners. The rule update was announced earlier this month at the 7th Annual White House Tribal Nations Conference. The rule is scheduled to go into effect on December 21, 2015.

November 12, 2015

Interior Announces Blueprint for Renewable Energy and Transmission Development on Public Lands in the California Desert

Earlier this week, the Department of the Interior announced the federal component of the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP), an innovative landscape-scale plan that identifies areas best suited for utility-scale renewable energy development on more than 10.8 million acres of public lands in the California Desert.

November 11, 2015

FERC Extends Comment Period on Proposal to Expand Reporting Requirements for Power Market Participants

On September 17, 2015, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) proposed a rule requiring wholesale electricity buyers and sellers (participants in markets run by Regional Transmission Organizations (RTOs) or Independent System Operators (ISOs)) to file information on each of their “Connected Entities”—even if those connected entities do not participate in the ISO/RTO markets. This is a potentially significant step in FERC’s efforts to expand its investigative and enforcement capabilities.

November 3, 2015

Administration Announces New Mitigation Policies

This afternoon, the Administration issued two policies intended to encourage private investment in natural resource conservation and to facilitate application of the mitigation hierarchy—avoiding, minimizing and compensating project impacts.

November 2, 2015

WilmerHale Receives Top Rankings, Named “Law Firm of the Year” in Mutual Funds Law in 2016 U.S. News - Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms” List

U.S. News - Best Lawyers® has named WilmerHale "Law Firm of the Year" in Mutual Funds Law and recognizes the firm as a first-tier law firm in 21 national and 58 metro-area rankings. In addition, the firm boasts more than 30 second- and third-tier rankings.

September 27, 2015

Native American Tribes Settle Lawsuit Against US Government Agencies

A federal judge in Oklahoma has approved a $186 million settlement of litigation between the United States and two Native America tribes, the Chickasaw and Choctaw Nations.

September 22, 2015

Federal Agencies Announce Steps to Expedite Reviews of Infrastructure Projects

On September 22, the Administration announced two new policies that will facilitate a more transparent and efficient permitting and review process for complex infrastructure projects.

August 3, 2015

Between a Hardrock and a Hard Place: Key Deal Points for the Foreign Investor in U.S. Mining Projects

A paper co-authored by Andy Spielman for the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation on July 17, 2015.

July 1, 2015

WilmerHale Named a Leading National Firm in the United States by The Legal 500

The Legal 500 United States has released its annual rankings, selecting WilmerHale as one of the preeminent law firms in the country.

June 30, 2015

Supreme Court Rejects EPA Rulemaking Process for Power Plant Emissions Standards

The US Supreme Court held yesterday that the Environmental Protection Agency unreasonably failed to consider costs when it made the initial decision to regulate emissions of hazardous air pollutants from power plants.