Serving Energy Industries Nationwide
Atttorney Bret Sumner

Bret Sumner

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Bret Sumner focuses his practice on energy and environmental matters, and represents companies in litigation, permitting, government affairs, compliance, and enforcement matters. Bret specializes in advising clients on developing infrastructure projects involving multiple jurisdictions (federal, state and local) and a wide range of industry, agricultural, private landowner, local government, and other stakeholder interests.

His advice and strategies for permitting and compliance are designed to increase efficiencies in project authorization and minimize litigation risk.

Bret regularly defends permits and projects from legal challenges, and represents clients in federal and state courts, and before administrative adjudicatory entities. Bret's project representation includes upstream oil and gas projects, carbon capture and storage, renewable energy projects, electric transmission, water pipelines, helium projects, rare and critical mineral development, and interstate and intrastate oil and natural gas pipelines.

Bret advises companies on compliance with federal statutes, such as the:

  • National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)
  • Endangered Species Act (ESA)
  • Mineral Leasing Act
  • Clean Air Act (CAA)
  • Clean Water Act (CWA)
  • National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA)
  • Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA)
  • Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA)
  • National Forest Management Act (NFMA)

He works with companies in navigating issues involving a variety of federal departments and agencies, such as the:

  • U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI)
  • Bureau of Land Management (BLM)
  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS)
  • Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE)
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
  • Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE)
  • U.S. Forest Service (USFS)
  • Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA)
  • Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC)
  • U.S. Coast Guard (USCG)
  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) 

Bret also works with federal regulators and legislators to create, revise, and interpret new laws, regulations and policies related to the energy industry and development of federal lands, natural resources, and minerals.

He also advises large-scale commercial end-users regarding electricity procurement in deregulated markets, acquisition of electricity generated from renewable resources including purchase of Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs), regulatory processes to acquire on-site renewable energy generation systems, and identification of methods to optimize use of these acquisitions from an energy management perspective.

In 2011, Bret served as lead counsel in one of the largest REC purchases in U.S. history (300,000 megawatts) at that time.

Prior to joining Beatty & Wozniak, P.C. in 2009, Bret practiced in the Washington D.C. Office (1998 to 2006) and Denver Office (2007 to 2008) of the international law firm of Fulbright & Jaworski, L.L.P.


  • Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law, Washington, District of Columbia
    • J.D., Doctor of Jurisprudence - 1998
  • James Madison University, Harrisonburg, Virginia
    • B.S., Bachelor of Science - 1992
    • Honors: magna cum laude
    • Major: Political Science
    • Major: History

Bar Admissions

  • Supreme Court of the United States of America
  • District of Columbia, 1998
  • Texas, 2020
  • Colorado, 2006
  • Utah, 2005


  • “Rising Star” Energy and Natural Resources Attorney, 2009 and 2010 Colorado Super Lawyers Publications
  • ​50 for Colorado, Executive Development Program, Leeds School of Business, University of Colorado, Class of 2007

Professional Associations

  • Western Energy Alliance, ​Board of Directors; Vice Chair of the Board for Gov't and Public Affairs
  • Petroleum Association of Wyoming
  • New Mexico Oil and Gas Association
  • The Foundation for Natural Resources and Energy Law
  • Edison Electric Institute

Classes & Seminars

  • Carbon Capture and Storage, AAPL Santa Fe Land Institute, 2021
  • Federal Land Use Plans, Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation, 2021
  • Permitting Electric Transmission Projects, ESIG Seminar, 2021
  • Endangered Species Act Strategies, Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation, 2019
  • Climate Change Litigation, Seminar, 2018

Published Works

  • The Endangered Species Act: Strategies for Oil and Gas Companies, The Center for American and International Law, 2015
  • EPA's Role in the NEPA Process, Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation, 2017

Representative Clients

  • Exploration and Production Companies
  • Renewable Energy Companies
  • Electric Transmission Companies
  • Pipeline Companies
  • Critical Mineral Companies

Pro-Bono Activities

  • Representation before the Bureau of Veterans Affairs, 2005 to 2006
  • Risers-4-Rhett, 2019 to 2021

Past Positions

  • Fulbright and Jaworski, Senior Associate, 1998 to 2006