Recognized by his peers in Law Week Colorado’s 2023 “Barristers Best” as Colorado’s best environmental lawyer, Colin offers three decades of environmental and pipeline safety compliance and litigation experience in strategic areas that affect businesses today. Clients note his “strong reputation in the oil and gas space, notably acting on high-profile pipeline-related litigation and air quality enforcement” (Chambers USA, 2018) and emphasize that "[h]e's a go-to person for air issues. He's prompt, responsive and [efficient]" (Chambers USA, 2023). His understanding of the businesses and industry segments he serves — especially the energy sector — enables him to collaborate seamlessly with clients in air, water, natural resources, pipeline, public lands, climate change and related matters. Colin is a frequent author and speaker on environmental law and energy, including as the environmental law instructor for the prestigious Foundation for Natural Resources and Energy Law at its annual “boot camp” on oil and gas law.

Air Quality and Related Climate Change Experience

Colin advises clients on permitting and compliance issues under the Clean Air Act and state counterparts and frequently litigates groundbreaking cases, such as EPA national enforcement initiatives, methane regulation and novel injunctive claims. He has extensive experience in CAA programs applicable to the oil and gas production, gas processing and refining sectors, and companies operating in states and tribal lands. Colin also advises companies on a variety of climate change-related regulatory and litigation matters.

Representative Experience

  • Co-counsel representing global oil and gas company in lawsuit alleging tort damages and consumer protection act violations from the impacts of climate change.
  • Representing companies in Colorado and other states (e.g., North Dakota, Utah, Texas, New Mexico and Minnesota) in permit and enforcement matters to avoid regulatory overreach and assure clear and accurate terms that provide operational flexibility.
  • Experience in matters arising under construction permitting, potential to emit (PTE) interpretations, new source performance standards (NSPS), Title V operating permits, performance testing, control efficiency, leak detection and repair, flaring and Prevention of Deterioration (PSD) preconstruction permitting disputes.
  • Advising oil and gas production company on Title V operating permit issues at more than 30 locations.
  • Defending oil and gas production companies in Department of Justice enforcement actions alleging violation of NSPS (methane) and PSD preconstruction permit rules.
  • Successfully defended natural gas midstream company in CAA lawsuit alleging NSPS, hazardous air pollutant and PSD violations at five gas plants, minimizing penalty and negotiating away PSD injunctive relief claims.
  • Representing major brewing company in Colorado greenhouse gas rulemaking and final rule.
  • Advised major utility company about CAA New Source Review applicability at five coal-fired power plants.
  • Advise oil refiner on multiple CAA issues.
  • Vast experience in CAA matters in Indian Country.
  • Appealed Title V operating permit conditions at natural gas plant source.
  • Counseling oil and gas client alleged to be source of methane emissions detected by satellites.
  • Citizen suit defense.

PHMSA Counseling, Defense and Appeals

Colin is a recognized leader in the liquids and gas pipeline industry.

Representative Experience

  • Counsels oil and gas pipeline operators on all aspects of Department of Transportation Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) Part 195 and Part 192 pipeline safety regulations, and state analogs where applicable. Deep experience with regulations governing O&M plans, leak detection, integrity management plans, accident investigations, High Consequence Area rules and spill response.
  • Filed several administrative appeals of PHMSA final orders and litigated them to hearing. Successful in convincing hearing officers to vacate aspects of Final Orders, including a decision that withdrew burdensome “computational pipeline monitoring” injunctive relief.
  • Appealed to federal circuit court two (as lead counsel) and one (as co-counsel) PHMSA final orders after hearing. Successfully settled two of the appeals with modification of the final order. In the other, won a major decision in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, sustaining client’s challenge to five alleged violations of PHMSA regulations following a pipeline leak. The vacatur eliminated substantial portions of a compliance order and an associated $1.8 million penalty and set important precedent under the due process “fair notice” doctrine.
  • Defended federal court lawsuit alleging PHMSA Part 195 regulatory violations arising from two pipeline spills into waters, including the Yellowstone River. Successfully challenged personal jurisdiction in filed venue, then recently settled the PHMSA piece of the case with extremely minimal PHMSA-related injunctive relief, in contrast to the comprehensive and burdensome relief initially sought by the government.
  • Defending pipeline operator in injunctive relief proceeding regarding remediation of a crude oil spill in North Dakota.
  • Routinely represents carbon dioxide pipeline operator in various compliance and diligence matters.
  • Advised pipeline company regarding state PUC hearing to decide approval of new construction project.
  • Experience with nonregulated gathering line issues including inspections and spills.
  • Counseling client about pipeline jurisdictional issues.

Clean Water Act/Oil Pollution Act

Colin’s Clean Water Act and OPA experience spans multiple issues over 20 years. His experience includes representation of pipeline companies in several of the most publicized pipeline leak incidents in the past decade. He routinely assists pipeline, upstream, refining and other clients on spill planning and response matters and has successfully litigated these matters. Colin has defeated EPA allegations that intermittent streams constitute “waters of the U.S.” and that facilities should have spill plans due to their proximity to regulated waters. He has handled claims for reimbursement under OPA.

Climate Change

As noted above, Colin’s climate change experience includes nationally prominent tort and consumer protection act litigation, CAA methane regulatory and litigation issues, carbon dioxide pipeline regulation advocacy, and greenhouse gas rulemaking counseling. Other experience includes advising companies on carbon dioxide sequestration lease agreements.

Remediation and Natural Resource Damages

Colin has defended energy and mining clients in Natural Resource Damages cases arising from spills or legacy operations in three states, and successfully negotiated consent decree settlements that minimize damages payments and result in no restoration obligations. His remediation experience ranges from litigation involving groundwater plumes at a refinery and manufacturing facilities to managing legacy liabilities at Superfund-listed mining sites from Missouri to Colorado. His client was obtained substantial monetary damages after a three week arbitration in which Colin developed the key legal theory of liability and handled the environmental experts at arbitration.

Litigation and Crisis Management

Colin combines industry knowledge with a deep and nuanced understanding of substantive and administrative law to leverage successful results in cases that require a proven ability to innovate and advocate. He has a proven track record of substantially reducing fines and minimizing injunctive relief, thereby avoiding operational constraints. Colin has citizen suit and “toxic tort” experience to defend against new waves of litigation based on creative exposure theories and rising citizen suit activity. He litigates on the cutting edge of climate change litigation, and represents oil and gas companies in commercial disputes, such as joint operating agreements, and oil and gas commission proceedings. Colin helps clients understand when quick settlement is best. In other cases, he knows from experience that aggressive discovery and motion practice may leverage a highly successful outcome.

Colin is adept at handling the onset of a crisis in anticipation of government enforcement and commercial, landowner or tort claims. Colin helps clients respond rapidly and strategically, informed by the knowledge that pre-suit emergency response and crisis management, evidence preservation, early resolution of claims, communication with multiple agencies, and coordination of related litigation are critical.

Public Lands and Other Diverse Experience

Colin has experience in Interior Board of Land Appeals matters; endangered species and migratory bird statutes cases; Hazardous Materials Transportation Act compliance, alternative energy development diligence and permitting; transactional matters; and assisting in criminal environmental matters, including CAA, CWA and associated potential violations of Title 18 of the U.S. Criminal Code.


Bar Admissions


Court Admissions

U.S. Supreme Court
U.S. District Court for the District of North Dakota


American University Washington College of Law
J.D. (1988)

University of Colorado
B.A. (1985)

Insights & Events

Other Perspectives

Colin is the environmental law instructor for the prestigious Foundation for Natural Resources and Energy Law at its annual Houston, Texas "boot camp" on oil and gas law.

He is the author of the following journal articles, which he has also presented to audiences at conferences throughout the country: 

  • Understanding Climate Change Regulatory Programs — A Practical Guide for the Oil and Gas Industry
    Author, 68 Nat. Resources & Energy L. Inst. 29-1 (2022)
  • Transmission and Gathering Line Leaks and Spills: How the Upstream and Midstream Sector Needs to Plan, Respond and Defend
    Author, Midstream Oil & Gas from the Upstream Perspective, 6-1 Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation (2018)
  • Cooperative Federalism Under the Clean Air Act: New Horizons in State Regulatory and Enforcement Primacy Under a Trump EPA
    Author, Air Quality Issues Affecting Oil, Gas, and Mining Development and Operations 13-1, Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation (2018)
  • Be Afraid. Be Very Afraid: Dealing With Public Perceptions of Risk in Oil and Gas Development
    Co-author, Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Institute 26-1 (2015)
  • EPA’s Indian Country Minor Source Rule: How Is It Working?
    Author, Air Quality Issues Affecting Oil and Gas and Mineral Development in the West, Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation (2013)
  • There’s Something in the Air: New and Evolving Air Quality Regulations Impacting Oil and Gas Development
    Co-author with Ivan L. London, 58 Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Institute 6-1, 6-7 (2012)
  • Environmental Due Diligence: Assessing and Addressing Environmental Liabilities
    Co-author, Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Institute 3-1 (2011)

Leadership & Community

Professional Associations

  • The Foundation for Natural Resources and Energy Law — Professor of environmental law for annual oil and gas “boot camp;” Trustee, 2013-15; Special Institutes Committee, Current


  • Chambers USA — Colorado, Environment, 2016-23
  • Law Week Colorado — Barrister’s Best, Environmental Lawyer, 2023
  • Denver Business Journal — Who's Who in Energy, 2016-18
  • Super Lawyers — 2006
The Faegre Baker Daniels website uses cookies to make your browsing experience as useful as possible. In order to have the full site experience, keep cookies enabled on your web browser. By browsing our site with cookies enabled, you are agreeing to their use. Review Faegre Baker Daniels' cookies information for more details.