Chris Colclasure

Senior Counsel

303-407-4455 | direct

303-407-4499 | firm

800-886-6566 | fax

ccolclasure@bwenergylaw.com

“Choose battles wisely and fight them aggressively.”

Printable Bio

OVERVIEW

    

Chris helps his clients build natural resource development projects and keep them running. He draws on his experience in private practice and as the Deputy Director of Colorado’s Air Pollution Control Division to formulate strategies for obtaining regulatory approval and complying with environmental standards.

Chris is well versed in environmental law, particularly the Clean Air Act and state and federal air quality regulations. He advocates for oil and gas operators, electric generating units, coal mines and other industries in permitting, compliance, enforcement and regulatory disputes. He has appeared in state rulemaking hearings and submitted written comments on proposed EPA regulations. Chris litigated regional haze disputes involving emission controls with total costs in excess of $1 billion, a $4 million Clean Air Act citizen suit, and several National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) cases, including a challenge to a lease of 430 million tons of coal.

As a Lieutenant Colonel in the United States Air Force Reserve, Chris represents federal agencies in electric utility rate cases before state public utilities commissions.

Regulatory

  • Represented oil and gas producers in the development of Colorado’s methane leak detection and repair regulations.

  • Led Colorado’s development and adoption of three ozone SIP revisions, achieved consensus among industry and environmental organizations.

  • Wrote Colorado’s plan for spending $68.7 million in settlement funds from a nationwide diesel emissions enforcement case; praised as national model.

  • Obtained a regulatory determination that air emissions from approximately 75 wells and natural gas dehydrators should not be aggregated.

  • Forestalled enforcement actions against coal mines, avoided permitting requirements, and defended against agency document production requests.

  • Improved environmental assessments and environmental impact statements for oil and gas development plans, a rail line, pipelines, and other projects.

  • Rapidly obtained state regulatory action enabling a $7 million oil and gas transaction to close on schedule.

 

Litigation

  • Litigated Clean Air Act “regional haze” Federal Implementation Plans (FIPs) in the 8th and 10th Circuits involving $1 billion in potential emission control costs.

  • Defended BLM’s approval of permits to drill 200+ wells against NEPA challenges.

  • Negotiated and drafted a $10 million settlement agreement in a 12-party CERCLA case.

  • Represented federal agencies in electric utility rate cases before the Regulatory Commission of Alaska and the Oklahoma Corporation Commission. Obtained authorized rates of return that were 23 and 60 basis points, respectively, below the utilities’ requested rates.

Industries

  • Oil and Gas

  • Environmental

  • Public Utilities

Practice Areas

  • Rulemakings

  • Compliance and Enforcement

  • Permitting

  • Administrative Hearings

  • Litigation

Admissions

  • State of Colorado

  • U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado

  • U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Eighth and Tenth Circuits

Education

  • University of Colorado School of Law, J.D., 2000

  • University of Alaska, Fairbanks, M.B.A., 1996

  • USAF Academy, B.S., Chemistry, 1992

Professional Activities

  • Colorado Bar Association, Environmental Law Section Advisory Council

  • Denver Bar Association

  • Colorado Oil and Gas Association

  • Western Energy Alliance

Speeches and Publications

  • “Oil and Gas Climate Legislation,” Rocky Mountain EHS Peer Group (April 2019)

  • “Colorado’s Efforts to Attain the Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards,” Colorado Lawyer Vol. 47, No. 9 (October 2018)

  • “Recent Events and Trends from the State Perspective,” Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation Special Institute on Air Quality (February 2018)

  • Beatty & Wozniak, P.C. client alerts

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