Christopher J. Neumann

Christopher J. Neumann

Shareholder

Chris Neumann counsels clients in the natural gas, petroleum, mining, construction, retail, home building, solid and hazardous waste, and other industries on a wide variety of litigation, environmental, and real estate matters. Chris represents clients in connection with internal investigations following spills, pipe failures and other environmental incidents. He also defends clients in connection with civil, criminal and administrative enforcement by USEPA, states, tribes, local governments and citizen groups. Chris has advised clients on litigation and enforcement matters, as well as related auditing and compliance matters, under the Clean Water Act (CWA), Clean Air Act (CAA), Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA), Uranium Mill Tailings Radiation Control Act (UMTRCA), Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act (EPCRA), Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) and numerous other federal, state and tribal laws.

Chris also represents clients in connection with federal, state and tribal rulemaking proceedings, including matters pending before the USEPA, the Colorado Air Quality Control Commission, the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, the Colorado Water Quality Control Commission and the Colorado Public Utilities Commission. Additionally, Chris assists clients in efforts to obtain land use approvals, in efforts to resolve environmental concerns in complex business transactions, and in real estate acquisitions.

Concentrations

  • Internal investigations of environmental incidents 
  • Defense of civil, criminal and administrative environmental enforcement matters
  • Superfund and other complex environmental litigation
  • Commercial litigation involving oil and gas, mining, construction and engineering matters
  • Real estate acquisition and environmental aspects of business transactions
  • Environmental compliance and rulemaking matters
  • Environmental policy and governmental affairs matters
  • Global Energy & Infrastructure
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Capabilities

Experience

 

  • Represented midstream pipeline company in connection with EPA CWA enforcement relating to spills of produced water and crude oil.
  • Represented natural gas producer in the Marcellus Shale in West Virginia in connection with EPA civil and criminal enforcement action pursuant to Section 404 of the CWA relating to construction of well pads and farm ponds, resolved by consent decree requiring payment of a $3 million civil penalty, restoration activities and implementation of a compliance program, plea agreement for misdemeanor negligent violations of the CWA requiring payment of a $600,000 criminal penalty, and administrative agreement addressing debarment matters. U.S. v. Trans Energy, Inc., No. 5:14-CV-00117, No. 5:14-CR-00043-001 (N.D.W. Va.).
  • Represented natural gas producer in the Marcellus Shale in West Virginia in connection with U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Section 404 permitting and compliance matters relating to well pad and pipeline construction.  
  • Represented numerous retails, casino and residential clients in connection with CWA permitting and enforcement arising from construction dewatering and remediation discharges.
  • Represented a national retail developer on nationwide CWA Storm Water Program compliance and enforcement matters, including defense of a nine state, 24-site national enforcement action by U.S. EPA which was ultimately resolved by consent decree requiring payment of $3.1 million civil penalty and performance of $250,000 supplemental environmental project.
  • Represented a national home builder, a national aggregate firm and a Colorado highway contractor on CWA and Colorado Storm Water Program compliance and enforcement matters.
  • Represented petroleum company in connection with CWA wetlands and other federal, state and local permitting matters for 150-mile pipeline delivering gasoline, diesel and jet fuel from Kenova, West Virginia to Columbus, Ohio.
  • Represented petroleum company in connection with CWA release reporting and wetlands matters at oil refinery located in Wyoming.
  • Represented former owner of petroleum refinery in two and one half week arbitration of claims in excess of $100 million arising from alleged corrosion-related failure of buried pipe and subsequent release of petroleum product at refinery.  Case settled on a confidential basis prior to final ruling.
  • Represented trade group in connection with filing of amicus curiae brief to the Colorado Supreme Court in appeal of ruling that Lone Pine Orders are not permitted under Colorado law in complex hydraulic fracturing or other oil and gas-related toxic tort cases. Antero Resources Corp. v. Strudley, No. 13-SC-576 (2013).
  • Represented Colorado Interstate Gas Co. in landmark litigation resulting in finding that Kansas oil and gas laws and regulations governing safety and environmental matters were preempted by Pipeline Safety Act and Natural Gas Act. Colorado Interstate Gas Co. v. Wright, No. 09-cv-4031 (D. Kan. 2009).
  • Represented Colorado Interstate Gas Co. in connection with 2008 Colorado Oil and Gas Rulemaking and related Pipeline Safety Act and Natural Gas Act preemption matters and rulemaking proceedings.
  • Represented El Paso Natural Gas Co. in defense of a first of its kind Pipeline Safety Act enforcement matter stemming from an August 19, 2000 pipeline rupture near Carlsbad, New Mexico in which the company agreed to pay a $15.5 million penalty and to spend at least $86 million to implement modifications to its pipeline system. U.S. v. EPNG, No. 1:07-cv-715 (D.N.M. 2007).
  • Represented El Paso Natural Gas Co. in litigation pursuant to Uranium Mill Tailings Radiation Control Act (UMTRCA) and RCRA relating to alleged uranium mill tailings contamination on Navajo and Hopi Reservations. EPNG v. U.S., No. 07-CV-00905 (D.D.C.) and EPNG v. U.S., No. 10-5080 (D.C. Cir.).
  • Represented owner of former automotive center in defense of federal action under RCRA and CERCLA, and state class action lawsuit alleging diminution of property value, in connection with the Maryland Square PCE Plume in Las Vegas, Nevada, winning dismissal of both actions. Voggenthaler v. Maryland Square, LLC, No. 2:08-cv-1618 (D. Nev.), and Voggenthaler v. Al Phillips the Cleaner Inc., No. A553784 (Dist. Ct., Clark County).
  • Represented trade groups in connection with landmark settlement with the Navajo Nation regarding the implementation of newly enacted Navajo Nation Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (“NNCERCLA”), or Navajo Superfund Law, including exclusion of petroleum or natural gas from any tariff implemented under the NNCERCLA, and various commitments regarding the scope of the NNCERCLA program.
  • Represented metal plating firm in connection with Colorado solid and hazardous waste enforcement, permitting and compliance matters.
  • Represented El Paso Merchant Energy-Petroleum Co. in defense of CERCLA Section 106 and California Regional Water Quality Control Board enforcement proceedings relating to alleged mercury contamination from historic mining operations in Lake County, California. In the matter of El Paso Merchant Energy-Petroleum Co., U.S. EPA Docket No. 9-2007-1.
  • Represented bio fuels firm in defense of CERCLA Section 106 enforcement proceedings relating to spill of various bio fuels-related materials from facility in Adams County, Colorado. In the matter of Bio Energy of Colorado Site, U.S. EPA Docket No. CERCLA-08-2008-0010.
  • Represented Brownfield developer in action seeking reimbursement for approximately $500,000 in cleanup costs relating to historic PCB and VOC contamination before the Illinois Pollution Control Board. 2222 Elston LLC v. Purex Industries, Inc., PCB No. 03-55 (Ill. Poll. Contr. Bd.).
  • Represented individual corporate officer and director from whom the U.S. and the State of Colorado sought over $200 million under CERCLA at the Summitville Mine Superfund Site. U.S. v. Friedland, 152 F. Supp. 2d 1234 (D. Colo. 2001).
  • Represented national petroleum refiner in connection with litigation relating to RCRA post closure matters at refinery in Casper, Wyoming. Amoco Oil Co. v. EPA, 231 F.3d 694 (10th Cir. 2000).
  • Represented various petroleum companies in connection with RCRA closure and post closure compliance matters at oil refineries in Wyoming, Missouri, Colorado, North Dakota and Montana.
  • Represented mid-stream energy company in litigation arising from dispute over performance under engineering, procurement and construction (“EPC”) contract for a gas plant facility.
  • Represented energy company in litigation arising from design and sales of allegedly off-spec pipeline valves.
  • Represented engineering firm in litigation arising from personal injury allegedly caused by negligent supervision and construction activities on transportation project.
  • Represented mining company in litigation arising from alleged failure of construction contractor to meet design specifications during project construction.
  • Represented engineering firm in connection with negotiation of contract to design and build landfill facility.
  • Represented various retail and energy clients in connection with drafting and negotiating construction and engineering contracts. 
  • Represented national wireless telecommunications firm in connection with national environmental audit examining compliance with EPCRA, CWA, CAA and RCRA pursuant to Audit Agreement with U.S. EPA.
  • Represented various retail, aggregate and energy firms in connection with national environmental audit programs.
  • Represented gold mining company in connection with permitting of gold mine and mill in City of Black Hawk and Central City, Colorado.
  • Represented gold mining company in defense of CWA Section 404 wetlands enforcement action brought by U.S. EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers relating to alleged impacts to wetlands from road construction and site maintenance activities, and resolved by consent decree requiring payment of a $50,000 civil penalty and performance of certain restoration and mitigation activities. U.S. v. Varca Ventures, Inc., No. 1:16-cv-02008 (D. Colo.).
  • Represented mining company in connection with National Historic Preservation Act and related federal, tribal and state permitting matters for proposed copper mine located in Arizona.
  • Represented energy companies in connection with CERCLA cost recovery matters relating to former uranium mine located in New Mexico. United Nuclear Corp. v. U.S., No. 1:15-cv-00411 (D.N.M.).
  • Represented energy company in connection with EPA enforcement and CERCLA cost recovery matters relating to former uranium mines located in Arizona.  Won first-of-its-kind summary judgment on CERCLA owner liability of United States as owner of Indian trust land on which uranium mining occurred. EPNG v. U.S., No. 3:14-cv-08165, 2017 WL 3492993 (Aug. 15, 2017).
  • Represented mining company in connection with federal, state and local permitting, enforcement and compliance matters for the May Day Idaho Mine Complex, a gold mine located in La Plata County, Colorado.
  • Represented publicly-traded uranium mining company in connection with enforcement, permitting, compliance and remediation matters at in situ recovery uranium mining operations within and near the Navajo Reservation.
  • Represented Australian company in connection with acquisition of coal mine in Alabama.
  • Represented investment firm in connection with divestiture of clay mine in Mississippi.
  • Represented company in connection with mine permitting, environmental compliance and environmental diligence relating to acquisition clay mine in Churchill County, Nevada. 
  • Represented various companies in connection with mine permitting, environmental compliance and environmental diligence for gold, silver, copper, mercury and uranium mines in Colorado, Nevada, California, New Mexico, Montana and Idaho.   
  • Represented trade group in connection with filing of amicus curiae brief to the Colorado Supreme Court in appeal of a proposed ban on the use of cyanide for heap leach mining by Summit County, Colorado. Colorado Mining Assoc. v. Board of County Comm’rs of Summit County, No. 07-SC-497 (2007).
  • Represented national disaster response firm in connection with CAA Asbestos NESHAP program enforcement and compliance matters.
  • Represented data center, telephone and wireless companies in connection with CAA construction, Title V, and other permitting and compliance matters for backup generators.
  • Represented oxygenate blender in connection with EPA CAA Fuels Program registration and compliance matters, including advice regarding RIN transactions and related renewable fuels compliance matters.
  • Represented Colorado landfill operator in defense of Compliance Advisory alleging CAA Title V permitting and NSPS violations.
  • Represented Colorado Interstate Gas Company in defense of a Clean Air Act enforcement action alleging violations of the federal NESHAPs, NSPS and PSD programs, for which CIG agreed to pay a penalty in the amount of $987,757, to pay permit fees in the amount of $32,243 and to perform an ambient air monitoring Supplemental Environmental Project for a period of two years. U.S. v. Colorado Interstate Gas Co., No. 2:09-cv-00649-TS (D. Utah 2009).
  • Represented Colorado firm in connection with CAA Fuels Program enforcement case relating to the alleged unlawful blending or refining of various fuels products at a facility in Colorado. U.S. v. Aspen Petroleum Prods., Inc., No. 07-cv-02382 (D. Colo. Jan. 17, 2008).
  • Represented petroleum company in connection with CAA permitting and compliance matters at oil refineries in North Dakota and Montana.
  • Represented home builder and brownfield developer in connection with obtaining approvals for PCB remediation in connection with the redevelopment of the former Asarco Globeville facility in Colorado.
  • Represented commercial developer in connection with obtaining approvals for PCB remediation at Brownfield redevelopment in Chicago.
  • Represented retail developer in connection with national environmental due diligence and real estate acquisition matters.
  • Represented various casino developers in connection with environmental due diligence and acquisition of casino properties in Black Hawk and Cripple Creek, Colorado, and Las Vegas and Reno, Nevada.
  • Represented various developers in connection with environmental due diligence an acquisition of commercial and residential properties in Colorado, including properties in the Union Station redevelopment, the River North (RiNo) District, Minturn, and Boulder.  
  • Represent various investors and producers in connection with environmental diligence and acquisition of oil and gas assets in Colorado and West Virginia.
  • Represented municipality and ski resort in effort to defeat Public Service Company of Colorado’s second attempt at a proposed environmental tariff. Docket No. 10AL-908E & Decision No. C12-0158.
  • Represented Colorado Interstate Gas Co. and Wyoming Interstate Co. in connection with Public Service Company of Colorado and Black Hills/Colorado Electric Utility Company LP’s emission reduction plans prepared pursuant to HB 10-1365, the Clean Air — Clean Jobs Act. Docket Nos. 10M-245E, 10M-254E.
  • Represented electric cooperative utility in effort to defeat four ballot initiatives proposed in 2010 before the Colorado Title Review Board which would have created air emission, renewable energy and other requirements and limitations.
  • Represented group of six ski resorts in connection with Public Service Company of Colorado’s 2009 electric rate case, including successful effort to defeat first of its kind broad form environmental indemnity and environmental agreement, and costly demand ratchet. Docket No. 09AL-299E & Decision No. C10-0286.
  • Represented national wind energy firm in connection with the 2008 Colorado Resource Plan proceedings before the Colorado PUC. Docket No. 07A-447E.
  • Represented national retail developer in Colorado land use matters.
  • Represented solid waste firms in obtaining major amendments to certificate of designation for solid waste disposal facility and conditional use permits for transfer station operations.
  • Represented mining company in connection with Type II land use permitting and other land use matters in La Plata County, Colorado.

Recognition & Leadership

  • Listed, Chambers USA Guide, 2007-2018
  • Listed, The Legal 500 United States, 2014 and 2018
    • Listed, Environment - Litigation, 2014 and 2018
    • Listed, Litigation - Product Liability and Mass Tort Defense - Toxic Tort, 2014
  • Team Member, U.S. News - Best Lawyers®, Best Law Firms Edition, "Law Firm of the Year," Environmental Law, 2016
  • Team Member, a U.S. News - Best Lawyers® "Government Relations Law Firm of the Year," 2014
  • Recipient, "Environmental Connection Presenter of the Year," International Erosion Control Association, 2013
  • American Marshall Memorial Fellowship, German Marshall Fund of the United States (2007)
  • Member, Denver Metro Chamber Foundation, Leadership Denver Program (2006)
  • Adjunct Professor, Hazardous Waste Law and Environmental Enforcement, University of Colorado School of Law
  • Certified Professional in Erosion and Sediment Control (CPESC)
  • Gubernatorial Appointee, Chairman, Colorado Solid and Hazardous Waste Commission (2005-2016)
  • Gubernatorial Appointee, Vice Chairman, Colorado Air Quality Control Commission (2004-2007)
  • Member, Alumni Board of Directors, Lewis & Clark Law School (2007-2013)
  • Member, American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE)
  • Member, International Erosion Control Association (IECA)
  • Member, National Association of Industrial and Office Properties (NAIOP)
  • Member, Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation
  • Member, American Bar Association, Environment, Energy and Resources Sections 
  • Member, Colorado Bar Association
  • Private Pilot, Single Engine Land, Instrument Rating
  • Member, Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA)

Credentials

Education
  • J.D., Lewis & Clark Law School, 1998
    • Certificate in Environmental and Natural Resources Law
    • Associate Editor, Law Review
    • Environmental Moot Court
  • B.S., Engineering and Environmental Science (Civil Engineering), University of Notre Dame, 1995
Admissions
  • Colorado
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia
Languages
  • Spanish