Learn About Our Areas Of Expertise

Natural Resources Law


Oil and Gas

Domestic energy development is a hot issue in western and other states. Technological advances have led to a boom in drilling and development in previously neglected resources such as shale gas, causing legal disputes over impacts to land, air and water. Curtis, Justus, & Zahedi, LLC represents both landowners and industry in water rights and water quality matters related to energy development, as well as surface use matters.

These matters include the development and legal status of “produced” water that is mined during coal bed methane production, and disputes regarding water quality changes as a result of well drilling and energy development, including fracking. We also have experience with water rights proceedings for oil shale development. Finally, Curtis, Justus, & Zahedi, LLC represents landowners in negotiating agreements with oil and gas companies for surface use agreements and mineral leases.

Section 404 Dredge and Fill Permitting

Under section 404 of the Clean Water Act, federal regulation of activities in and near water courses, as well as in wetlands located some distance from natural water courses, has expanded exponentially in the recent past and remains a growth industry. The impacts of regulations are far reaching and may surprise even experienced project developers.

Curtis, Justus, & Zahedi, LLC advises clients regarding the impact of section 404 on planned activities, compliance issues, and assists with permit applications and agency negotiations.  We are also able to recommend ecologists and other consultants who can assist in section 404 issues.

Coal Mine Reclamation

When an entity wishes to mine or extract coal in the State of Colorado, it must do so in compliance with the Colorado Surface Coal Mining and Reclamation Act (Coal Act), including applicable permitting, bonding, and reclamation requirements, as overseen by the Division of Reclamation Mining and Safety and the Colorado Mined Land Reclamation Board. Curtis, Justus, & Zahedi, LLC advises clients on such permitting and reclamation obligations under the Coal Act and its implementing regulations, and has regularly appeared in contested matters before the Mined Land Reclamation Board, and on appeal to the District Courts, to the Colorado Court of Appeals. We frequently work with mining consultants and scientists to address the complex issues that arise in the context of coal mine reclamation.

NEPA and Other Environmental Laws

When a construction, earth-moving, or water diverting activity creates the need for a federal permit, the agency responsible for the permit must first document the probable environmental effects in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act. Increasingly, this process will also involve additional agencies charged with protection of threatened or endangered species of animals and plants. Coordination and active participation with these agencies can help ensure that information provided for public comment accurately portrays the likely effects, and that mitigation requirements are reasonable and appropriate.

Working with hydrologists, biologists and other experts, Curtis, Justus, & Zahedi, LLC advises clients with regard to possible legal implications of proposed activities and represents clients in negotiations with the federal agencies. 

If you would like additional information about our experience or ability to assist you with an energy development or natural resource issue, please contact one of our partners.