David Neslin

David Neslin

Of Counsel

David Neslin assists clients with energy and environmental matters, including policy issues involving federal, state, and local regulation, administrative proceedings before government agencies, and legal disputes arising under various resource and environmental laws, including the National Environmental Policy Act, Endangered Species Act, Clean Water Act, Federal Land Policy and Management Act, and Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Act.

Prior to joining Davis Graham & Stubbs LLP, Mr. Neslin led the Colorado Oil & Gas Conservation Commission for four years, where he oversaw record levels of oil and gas permitting, development, and production.  Under his leadership, the COGCC also completed bellwether rulemakings to tackle emerging regulatory issues, including those involving hydraulic fracturing, green completions, and waste management.

Prior to entering government service, Mr. Neslin was a partner in the Denver office of Arnold & Porter, where his practice centered around permitting and litigation on behalf of major development projects facing complex regulatory requirements and extensive public opposition.  While at Arnold & Porter, he had extensive dealings in the recreation industry, including representation of Vail Resorts in securing federal, state, and local approvals for the largest ski area expansion in Colorado history.

While with the State, Mr. Neslin served as chair of the State Review of Oil and Natural Gas Environmental Regulations, which conducts peer reviews of state environmental programs, and as Colorado’s representative to the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission, which provides leadership on domestic oil and gas issues.  He also assisted the Ground Water Protection Council in developing and promoting the hydraulic fracturing website www.FracFocus.org.

Mr. Neslin has worked with federal and state legislators, regulators, industry representatives, environmental groups and other stakeholders to encourage responsible regulation of energy development, and he frequently writes and speaks on this subject. He has also been listed in the Denver Business Journal’s Who’s Who in Energy 2013 – 2016. He also has been selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© in the fields of Energy Law and Natural Resources Law and has earned the AV Preeminent® Peer Review Rating™ from Martindale-Hubbell®.


University of Washington, J.D., cum laude, Order of the Coif, 1983
University of Washington, B.A., 1980


Representative Matters

  • Government of Colombia:  Assisting a group of four government agencies in developing new environmental and technical requirements for the exploration and production of unconventional oil and gas.
  • Local regulation issues:  Representing oil and gas operators in connection with efforts by Colorado local governments to regulate development.
  • Sacramento Municipal Utility District: Represented a public utility in obtaining a $40 million judgment against the federal government for failure to timely remove spent nuclear fuel.
  • Telluride Ski Resort: Represented a ski resort in successfully resolving the largest wetlands enforcement action at that time in Colorado.
  • Loon Mountain Resort: Represented a ski resort in obtaining approval for major expansion and in resolving alleged Clean Water Act violations.

Related News

Colorado Anti-Oil and Gas Initiatives Move Toward November Ballot

On August 8, 2016, environmental groups and supporters filed their Petition for Verification of Signatures for two oil and gas ballot initiatives with the Secretary of State and claimed to have enough signatures to add the initiatives to the November ballot.

Colorado Supreme Court Re-Affirms State Preemption of Local Government Fracking Bans

Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On – Recent Developments Concerning Induced Earthquakes

As the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission recently noted, “the dramatic increase in earthquake activity in the midcontinent since 2009 has focused attention on …

Governor’s Task Force Implications

Join us for a discussion of the new COGCC rules to implement Governor’s Task Force Recommendations 17 and 20. Topics will include: New rules governing …

COGCC Adopts Rules Implementing Task Force Recommendations No. 17 and 20

On January 25, 2016, the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (“COGCC” or “Commission”) approved rules for coordinating the work of the COGCC with local …

52 DGS Attorneys Named Best Lawyers®

Fifty-two Davis Graham & Stubbs LLP attorneys were named Best Lawyers® by publisher Woodward/White, Inc. in its annual guide recognizing legal excellence. The 2016 edition of The Best Lawyers in America is based on a peer-review survey in which more than 43,000 attorneys comment on the legal abilities of other lawyers in their practice areas. The publication only recognizes the top four percent of attorneys in the country.

EPA Fracking Report Finds State-Based Solutions Are Best

Clearing the Waters: EPA Finds No Systemic Impacts to Drinking Water from Hydraulic Fracturing Activities

On June 4, 2015, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a draft study report entitled Assessment of the Potential Impacts of Hydraulic Fracturing for …

The Federal Government Joins the Fray: The BLM’s Final Hydraulic Fracturing Rules

On March 20, 2015, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) issued its final rules for hydraulic fracturing on federal and tribal lands (Final Rules). The Final Rules govern approximately 700 million subsurface acres overseen by the BLM, and they culminate a rulemaking process that began in November 2010.

Viewpoint: Can the oil and gas task force lead Colorado to the pennant?

Air Quality Summit

It’s hard to deny that air quality regulations are one of the most important government initiatives impacting business and industry today. To help understand what the latest and likely future air quality requirements will look like, we have assembled three panels consisting of some of the leading federal and state regulators, as well as several industry and air quality planning experts, to provide their perspectives.

Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission Adopts Changes to Enforcement and Penalty Rules

On January 5, 2015, the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) amended Rules 522 and 523 governing enforcement and penalties. These amendments implement House Bill 14-1356, which the legislature adopted last April.

Colombian Environmental and Technical Regulation

Oil Spilled Is Down Amidst Oil Boom

Coloradans sometimes ask me about the potential environmental harms of oil and gas development, including fracking. With the current oil boom in Colorado, some assume a corresponding increase in oil spilled. In fact, the opposite is true.

COGCC Shuts Down Wastewater Injection Site in Response to Small Earthquakes – How This Could Impact Colorado Operators

This past Tuesday – June 24, 2014 – the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) issued a press release, explaining that it had ordered High Sierra Water Services to temporarily cease operating a 10,000 barrel-per-day injection well in Weld County. The COGCC described the order as “a precautionary step” that would enable the agency to analyze whether well operations are tied to recent low-level seismic activity nearby.

Hydraulic Fracturing: Recent Trends & Updates

Please join us for this seminar discussing the recent trends and legal updates surrounding hydraulic fracturing. Our guest speaker, Mike Paque, Executive Director of the Ground Water Protection Council, will address the recent report from the Secretary of Energy Advisory Board, FracFocus 2.0 Task Force.

The Devil’s in the Details: EPA’s Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Hydraulic Fracturing Disclosure

On May 9, 2014, the U.S. EPA issued a pre-publication copy of an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) requesting public comment on regulatory and voluntary mechanisms for obtaining information on chemical substances and mixtures used in hydraulic fracturing (HF) operations.

The Future of Fracking

Enforcement Issues Facing the Oil and Gas Industry

Please join us for two seminars on current enforcement issues affecting oil and gas operators in Colorado. Our first panel, on April 17, will begin …

The Colorado Experience: Producing Energy While Protecting the Environment

Producing Energy While Protecting the Environment: A Government Regulator’s Perspective on Unconventional Gas in the U.S.

Responsible Regulation of Unconventional Development: A U.S. Perspective

Responsible Regulation: Bridging the Gap Between the Pivotal Promise and the Perceived Peril of Unconventional Oil and Gas Development

DGS Partners to Speak at the Hispanic National Bar Association Annual Convention

DENVER – AUGUST 21, 2013 – Davis Graham & Stubbs LLP partners Damian Arguello and David Neslin will be speaking at the Hispanic National Bar …

Shale Gas Radio Interview

Nuisance, opportunity in oil and gas development

The Shale Gas Revolution: A U.S. Perspective

AAPL Pooling Seminar

Shale Gas Development “Need Not Cost Environment”

Leading environment journalist, Sonja van Renssen, is joined by David Neslin, former director of the Colorado Oil & Gas Conservation Commission (the government agency that regulates all oil and gas development in the state of Colorado), to discuss Shale Gas Development.

Hydraulic Fracturing: A Comparison of Regulatory Approaches and Trends for the Future

2013 Survey on Oil & Gas

COGCC Issues New Drilling Setback Rules

Strange Bedfellows – Bicycles and Hydraulic Fracturing

What do bikes and hydraulic fracturing have in common? Prior to this week, the answer was probably very little. On February 4, 2013, however, the Colorado Supreme Court unanimously issued an opinion striking down the City of Black Hawk’s ban prohibiting bicycle traffic on certain local streets. 

State Regulation of Hydraulic Fracturing and Other Environmental Issues Associated With Unconventional Gas Development

COGCC’s “Setback” Rulemaking Means More Regulation for the Oil and Gas Industry

Hydraulic Fracturing Litigation: Recent Developments and Current Issues in Cases Involving Alleged Water Supply Impacts

Hydraulic Fracturing Litigation: Recent Developments and Current Issues in Cases Involving Alleged Water Supply Impacts

Sustainable Development:Producing Energy While Protecting the Environment

DGS Partners Zach Miller and David Neslin to Participate in RMMLF Special Institute

Davis Graham & Stubbs LLP partners David Neslin and Zach Miller will be participating in the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation (RMMLF) Special Institute on …

Natural Gas Supports Healthy Job Growth in Colorado

Colorado Supreme Court Decides Grand Valley Citizens’ Alliance Case

Yesterday, the Colorado Supreme Court decided Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission v. Grand Valley Citizens’ Alliance, No. 10SC532 (Colo. June 25, 2012), which involves …

Ukraine sees Colorado as model for sound gas development

Federal Oversight of Hydraulic Fracturing

EPA Issues Permitting Guidance on Hydraulic Fracturing Activities Using Diesel

On the same day that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) issued its proposed rules governing hydraulic fracturing operations on federal and Indian land (read the DGS Alert), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a draft of its long-awaited “Permitting Guidance for Oil and Gas Hydraulic Fracturing Activities Using Diesel Fuels.”  The guidance is intended to aid in the permitting of oil and gas hydraulic fracturing using diesel fuels under the Safe Drinking Water Act’s (SDWA) Underground Injection Control Program (UIC) where EPA is the permitting authority – including, importantly, in Pennsylvania and New York.  The guidance, however, suggests that it also would prove useful to state UIC permit writers.  It also notes that some states may seek to revise their current UIC program to follow the guidance.

Read More…

BLM Issues Proposed Rules Regulating Hydraulic Fracturing

DGS Partner Dave Neslin to Speak at Global Workshop on Shale Gas Development

Hydraulic Fracturing in Colorado

Hydraulic Fracturing: Regulatory Update

DGS Partners Dave Neslin and Gail Wurtzler to Speak at CHWMS Workshop

Guest Commentary: Get to the Truth on Fracking

DGS Partner to Speak at National Journal Policy Summit

Colorado’s Experience: Producing Energy While Protecting the Environment

David S. Neslin, Director of Colorado Oil & Gas Conservation Commission, To Join Davis Graham & Stubbs