Natural Resources Energy and WaterNatural Resources, Energy, Water, Land Use, and Hazardous Material Attorneys Serving Clients in Colorado, Virginia, and Across the Country

When you are facing a legal issue concerning natural resources, energy, water, land use, or hazardous materials, it is essential to have an experienced natural resources lawyer on your side who can advocate for your rights. Whether we are lobbying for your rights or taking your case before an administrative agency or a court, our natural resources attorneys can represent you. We routinely assist individuals, as well as larger private and public entities, in a variety of natural resources issues. At Whitcomb, Selinsky, PC, we know how important it is to have experienced counsel on your side as you lobby for or litigate a natural resources law issue.

Types of Natural Resources, Energy, and Water Cases We Handle

At Whitcomb, Selinsky, PC, we provide legal representation to clients for many different kinds of natural resources law matters, including but not limited to the following:
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  • Water rights and water quality;
  • Hazardous materials and waste management;
  • Wildlife and endangered species;
  • Mining and fossil fuel production;
  • Hydropower licensing and renewable energy; and,
  • Land use and development.

We want to provide you with more information about each of these sub-categories of natural resources law and to give you more details about how our firm can advocate for your rights and needs.

Water Rights and Water Quality

Everyone should have access to clean water, and injuries caused by poor water quality from contamination or pollution may give rise to a legal claim. At the same time, many natural resources law cases involving water rights pertain to a landowner’s rights to access and use specific bodies of water. These issues largely depend upon state law, although some federal laws may be applicable to water quality cases.

The Clean Water Act (CWA) is a federal law that governs certain quality standards for and regulation of pollutants in surface waters. Surface water, is a term that refers to any body of water that is on the surface of the land, even if it only exists for part of the year. Surface waters include saltwater bodies and freshwater lakes, rivers, and streams. Most significantly, the CWA makes it unlawful for an individual or entity to pollute navigable waters. While standing under the CWA can be complicated, our natural resources attorneys can discuss your situation with you and whether you may be able to file a claim.

When it comes to landowner water rights, we also routinely assist individuals and entities alike with matters concerning riparian rights. The term “riparian rights” refers to a landowner’s rights to surface water that is on or adjacent to his or her land. For example, if either a residential homeowner or a large farming operation owns land that borders a river or lake, that landowner may have rights to use that water. Riparian rights are handled differently depending upon the state where you own the land. Accordingly, it is important to speak with a water rights attorney about your options.

Hazardous Materials and Waste Management

Both federal and state laws govern hazardous materials and waste management. When it comes to federal law, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates most matters pertaining to hazardous waste under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). The EPA explains that hazardous waste is defined as “a waste with properties that make it dangerous or capable of having a harmful effect on human health or the environment.” There are many different actions and processes that can result in hazardous waste, including many types of manufacturing. Under the RCRA, only solid waste can be classified as a hazardous waste. Then, certain types of materials are excluded from regulation under the RCRA. A hazardous materials lawyer can say more.

Beyond federal law, state laws also exist that govern some hazardous materials and waste management issues. Depending upon the specific facts of your case, you may be able to file a claim under federal or state law.

Wildlife and Endangered Species

Most legal matters pertaining to wildlife and endangered species are governed by the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA). This particular federal law “provides a program for the conservation of threatened and endangered plants and animals and the habitats in which they are found.” A variety of federal agencies are responsible for implementing and enforcing the ESA, including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Not only does this federal law govern certain issues pertaining to the destruction of land on which endangered species live and changes to land that includes a critical habitat of an endangered species, but this law also governs the import and export of certain species.

Even if you are a private landowner, the ESA can pose significant complications if you want to make changes to the land. At the same time, if you are advocating for animal rights on particular land under the ESA, it is important to know that it can be difficult to have standing to sue under the ESA based on the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife (1992).

Mining and Fossil Fuel Production

Fossil fuels are one of the primary energy sources in the world today, and they impact individuals and businesses alike in many different industries. Fossil fuels include coal, oil, and natural gas. They are mined and pumped in various U.S. states, as well as in regions across the globe.

Various federal laws and regulations govern issues pertaining to fossil fuel production and mining in the U.S. The Energy Policy Act of 2005 has affected the production of fossil fuels in some ways, while different presidential administrations have shifted regulations concerning oil drilling and other fossil fuel production. Depending upon the specific issue, the Clean Water Act (CWA) and other federal environmental laws may be applicable to a legal issue concerning mining and fossil fuel production. Keep in mind that, even if you own your land privately, you are subject to many rules and regulations that can affect the extraction of certain types of energy. You should speak with a fossil fuel production lawyer if you have questions about your rights and obligation under environmental laws and regulations.

Hydropower Licensing and Renewable Energy

Hydropowering licensing can be extremely complicated, and it is important to have a renewable energy lawyer on your side who can assist you with hydroelectric licenses and relicenses. To provide you with some background information, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is the federal body that “licenses and relicenses hydroelectric projects, including new hydrokinetic technologies.” As the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission explains, it is “an independent federal agency with a mission to regulate and oversee energy industries in the economic, environmental, and safety interests of the American public.” It is tasked with issuing preliminary permits and licenses, enforcing the terms of the permits and licenses, and conducting safety and environmental inspections on hydropower projects.

To develop a hydropower or hydroelectric project, you will likely need to begin by getting a preliminary permit. Your lawyer can discuss this process with you, and can also help you to seek either an original hydropower license or a new license (a relicense).

Land Use and Development

Various federal and state laws govern land use and development matters. In some cases, even local and regional laws can impact land use and development projects. If you are an individual, a landowner, a developer, or anyone else with an interest in or concerns about land use and development, you should know that it is essential to speak with a land use and development attorney who has experience handling cases like yours in your geographic area.

At Whitcomb, Selinsky, PC, our land use and development lawyers have offices in Colorado and Virginia, and we routinely assist clients in matters outside those states.

Why Choose Our Law Firm?

Our clients face complex challenges resulting from regulatory oversight, public scrutiny, and changed conditions.

We have nationally known practitioners in natural resources, water, energy, hazardous materials, and land use. We have experience in every area of natural resources, water, and environmental law. Our legal skills, Washington, D.C. experience, state and local government experience, and our relationships resulting from years of practice are unmatched.

We take a multi-disciplinary approach that brings together legal, lobbying, and strategic services. Our lawyers can help individuals, resource users, public agencies, non-profits, utilities, manufacturers, landowners, Indian tribes, and developers.

Contact an Experienced Natural Resources Lawyer in Colorado and Virginia

If you need assistance with a legal issue involving natural resources, our aggressive and experienced Virginia natural resources attorneys can help. We know how complex regulatory processes can be when it comes to natural resources matters, and we also know that litigating these kinds of cases can be extremely complicated.

With years of experience serving a wide range of clients—from individual and non-profit corporations to land developers and manufacturers—we can provide you with the detail-oriented and experienced representation you need. Contact Whitcomb, Selinsky, PC to learn more about how our firm can help you. We can be reached online or by phone at 866-476-4558.