Laura J. Riese

Laura J. Riese


P: 303.892.7454

F: 303.893.1379




Matthew Parker

P: 303.892.7536

Admitted In

  • Colorado

Laura Riese is a partner in the Natural Resources, Energy Industry, Environmental Law, and Safety & Health Groups of Davis Graham & Stubbs LLP. She has 25 years of experience working in the field of regulatory compliance and has worked on numerous CERCLA, NEPA, RCRA, CWA, CAA, ESA, MTBA, OSHA, and MSHA issues for clients throughout the country. She has worked on numerous major projects including refinery permitting and acquisitions, permitting of cogeneration facilities, wind project permitting, cleanup of contaminated mine sites, onshore and offshore oil development, and hydraulic fracturing rulemakings. Ms. Riese leads and manages national and international incident investigation and audit teams and has worked on high-profile matters such as the Deepwater Horizon incident and the Pinal Creek mining site in Miami-Globe, Arizona. She is also an expert in process safety management and risk management plans. 

Ms. Riese has earned an AV® Preeminent™ Peer Review Rating from Martindale-Hubbell, and is a fellow of the Colorado Bar Foundation. She served on the faculty of the University of Denver’s Environmental Policy and Management Program for 10 years. She has also served on the Executive Committee of DGS and is the recipient of the University of Denver’s Excellence in Environmental Education award. Ms. Riese also has been selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© in the field of Environmental Law.

Ms. Riese is a frequently invited speaker and recognized expert on environmental and health and safety topics and has presented internal seminars for clients on issues such as onshore and offshore mineral and resources development and emerging issues in the energy industry. Ms. Riese is a graduate of the Colorado Leadership Forum and the Colorado Association of Commerce and Industry’s “50 for Colorado Program.” 

Ms. Riese has made numerous presentations on a breadth of environmental and regulatory topics including to the following organizations: 

  • National Enforcement Training Institute 
  • Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Institute 
  • Environmental Protection Agency - Region VIII 
  • Colorado Bar Association - Annual Convention 
  • Denver Bar Association 
  • Colorado Oil and Gas Association 
  • National Oil Recyclers Association 
  • Solid Waste Association of North America 
  • Colorado Hazardous Waste Management Society 
  • Rocky Mountain Association of Environmental Professionals


University of Denver, J.D., Order of St. Ives, 1989
Dickinson College, B.A., 1984

February 2016

Oil and Gas Operators: Don't Be Caught Off Guard By PHMSA Crude Oil Sampling and Analysis Plan Requirements

If you somehow missed the new Department of Transportation (DOT) Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Transportation Administration (PHMSA) requirements for unrefined petroleum product sampling plans (49 C.F.R. § 173.41, effective July 7, 2015), you are not alone (I stand with you!). 

August 2015

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.

High Risk, Questionable Reward

On July 31, 2014, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a request for information (RFI) on various changes to the Risk Management Program (RMP) under Section 112(r)(7) of the Clean Air Act, including completely replacing the current RMP rule and its sister regulation, the Process Safety Management (PSM) standard, with a new framework for regulating high-risk industries. The comment period associated with the RFI closed on October 29, 2014. EPA has published over 570 comments submitted by industry members, state and local agencies, public citizens, and non-governmental organizations in response to the RFI. This Client Alert analyzes the bulk of those comments for common themes that illustrate anticipated areas for programmatic revision. It further identifies certain ideological conflicts which must be resolved before any final rule can issue with broad-based support.

RFI Background

In response to Executive Order 13650, entitled "Improving Chemical Facility Safety and Security," was issued August 1, 2013 in response to several recent major chemical accidents, including the explosion at the West Fertilizer Facility in West, Texas. The Executive Order required numerous federal agencies to form a Chemical Facility Safety and Security Working Group (Working Group) to identify how to reduce the incidence of major chemical incidents at chemical facilities. On May 1, 2014, the Working Group issued its report to the President recommending a number of initiatives, including modernizing the RMP and PSM standards by May 1, 2015. EPA and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) both issued RFIs intended to assist in determining whether and how to modernize the RMP and PSM standards. Following-up on publication of the Working Group's report and OSHA's RFI, which signals that OSHA may apply an expanded PSM program to ammonium nitrate, reactive chemicals, and oil and gas drilling, servicing, and production facilities, EPA published its own RFI intended to improve and/or expand its RMP rule.


A Sweet or Sour Development? EPA's Reduction of Sulfur Content in Gasoline Under the Tier 3 Program

Gasoline sulfur levels have already been reduced by up to 90 percent as a result of the United States Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) Tier 2 Gasoline Sulfur Program. On March 3, 2014, EPA issued a pre-publication notice finalizing its newest fuels program (the Tier 3 Program) intended to further reduce gasoline sulfur content, as well as exhaust and evaporative emissions from vehicle engines.

March 2014

New Fund Available for the Investigation and Cleanup of Petroleum-Impacted Properties

Effective January 31, 2014, the Colorado Division of Oil and Public Safety (Division) promulgated regulations implementing Colorado Revised Statute § 8-20.5-103(9) which established the new Petroleum Cleanup and Redevelopment Fund (Fund). The Fund was created using money the State received in settlement of certain claims related to the Petroleum Storage Tank Fund.

July 2010

Sweeping OSHA Reform in the Miner Safety and Health Act of 2010

Co-authors: Laura Riese and Denee DiLuigi

There is no question that coal mine safety has captured the attention of the U.S. Congress. With the scrutiny arising from the recent fatalities in the mining industry, Congress is likely to act swiftly on the major mine safety reforms in the newly christened "Robert C. Byrd Miner Safety and Health Act" (H.R. 5663).


February 2010

Stormwater Construction and Development Point Source Effluent Limits: New Source Effective Date February 1, 2010

Co-authors: Laura J. Riese and Denee A. DiLuigi

On December 1, 2009, the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) published the Effluent Limitation Guidelines and Standards for the Construction and Development Point Source Category (“C&D Rule”). The C&D Rule will apply where a construction activity discharge is required to have NPDES permit coverage because it is either: (1) a stormwater discharge associated with industrial activity; or (2) a stormwater discharge associated with small construction activity.


August 2009

Environmental Enforcement Series

Join us for three breakfast briefings examining environmental enforcement issues, including how to successfully navigate inspections during the Obama years, an update on environmental audits and voluntary disclosure, and a discussion of recent changes and developments in air and water quality enforcement.


DGS Attorneys Co-Presented at the Annual Steamboat CLE Conference

DGS attorneys Laura J. Riese and Chad D. Williams co-presented at the annual Steamboat CLE Conference with Daniel J. Dunn, Esq., and Hannah Naumoff-Dulski, Esq., on "What to Do When the Enforcer is at Your Door." 


May 2009

Public Notice for New General Permit for Produced Water Treatment Facility Discharges – Public Comments Accepted

On April 24, 2009, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, Water Quality Control Division (“WQCD”) published a public notice for a new general permit for discharges from produced water treatment facilities associated with oil and gas exploration and production activities.


April 2009

Handling OSHA Inspections and Investigations

Rocky Mountain Environmental Health and Safety Peer Group Presentation

April 2007

Davis Graham & Stubbs Attorneys Featured at Oil & Gas Industry Roundtable

Davis Graham & Stubbs partners Laura Riese, John Jacus and John Elofson will be panelists for a national oil and gas industry roundtable in Houston on April 26-27.  The conference, “Measuring Return on Environment” will be presented by MetaVu, a business consulting firm in Denver.


October 2006

Davis Graham & Stubbs Offering Free Seminar on Environmental Laws Impacting Real Estate Development

Davis Graham & Stubbs is offering a complimentary breakfast briefing on Wednesday, October 18, 8:00 to 9:00 a.m. in their offices. The seminar, “Environmental Hot Topics in Real Estate Development” is hosted by the Davis Graham Real Estate Group to brief developers, homebuilders and contractors about key environmental issues impacting construction and development in Colorado. Three environmental partners, Adam Cohen, Laura Riese and Zach Miller, will cover the increased penalties for stormwater discharge and how to avoid them with the permitting process; the new stringent Colorado regulations on asbestos found in soil; and the stricter requirements under wetlands regulation that affect construction projects.


February 2006

Davis Graham & Stubbs Names New Executive Committee for 2006

Davis Graham & Stubbs has appointed its 2006 executive committee, which provides leadership for the firm's financial and strategic management. The firm's partners re-elected Christopher L. Richardson, a partner in the 115-lawyer firm's Finance & Acquisitions Group, to another two-year term as managing partner of the firm and chair of the Executive Committee. The new members of the Executive Committee, Tom Bell, Laura Riese, and Deborah Friedman, join Tom Johnson, Chuck Kaiser and Ron Levine, who served on the committee in 2005. The firm's Executive Director, Barbara Pierce, will continue to serve as an ex officio member of the committee.


December 2002

New Regulation of Condensate Storage Tanks in Colorado - Postponement of Revised SPCC Plan Regulations

The Environmental Practice Group pf Davis Graham & Stubbs LLP would like to alert its clients and friends in the oil and gas industry to two very recent developments that may affect their operations in Colorado.


October 2002

EPA Revises SPCC Rule

Almost every significant coal mining operation has a Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure Plan (SPCC Plan). The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a Final Rule in July 2002 promulgating its latest revisions to the SPCC Plan requirements contained in the Oil Pollution Prevention and Response regulation. 67 Fed. Reg. 47042 (July 17, 2002). The SPCC rule, which EPA initially promulgated in 1973 under the authority of the Clean Water Act, drives EPA's oil spill prevention and response program primarily by its mandate that certain facilities prepare a detailed written SPCC plan and/or Facility Response Plan.


July 2002

Environmental Checklists for Resource Projects to Mineral Law Foundation

On July 24, 2002 Roger Freeman and Laura Nagle, partners in DGS' Environmental Practice Group, presented a detailed paper reviewing the variety of environmental permits, authorizations and licenses required to initiate start-up operations of oil and gas extraction facilities. The associated outline and paper are widely applicable to the variety of start-up operations common to the extraction and resources industry, including the coal mining industry.


November 2001

RCRA Subtitle I: The Federal Underground Storage Tank Program

ELR News & Analysis

Until the mid-1980s, underground storage tanks (USTs)—other than those containing hazardous wastes—went largely unregulated.  In 1984,1 Congress amended the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA)2 to add Subtitle I,3 creating the federal UST regulatory program, which Congress expanded in 1986.4


September 2000

Know Your Surroundings: The Average Company Should Take Extra Care to Comply With Laws

Colorado Journal

Environmental crimes are scary business. Statutes like the Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act, and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act carry stiff criminal penalties for certain "knowing" and negligent violations.


February 1999

Deep Containers: Petroleum Storage-Tank Owners and Operators Face New Regulations

The Colorado Journal

Businesses and public entities as diverse as convenience stores and school districts are now operating under a new set of mandatory underground storage-tank rules. The new federal rules, which went into effect on Dec. 22, 1998, require tank operators either to upgrade their old fuel tanks or stop using them. The new state rules, adopted Dec. 21, 1998, establish risk-based cleanup standards for underground storage-tank leaks occurring on or after Feb. 1.


October 1998

A Sensible Superfund Settlement for Operators

1998 International Used Oil Conference & Trade Show

CERCLA's primary purposes are (1) to provide the government with authority to respond to the release of threatened release of hazardous substances, pollutants or contaminants into the environment; (2) to establish a broad scheme for imposing liability on four classes of persons designated in the statute as responsible; and (3) to create a fund, known as the Hazardous Substance Superfund, to finance the cleanup of hazardous substance releases. A release of petroleum does not trigger CERCLA response actions. However, a release of used oil containing hazardous substances may trigger CERCLA response actions.


May 1998

Superfund: Threat or Menace?

National Oil Recyclers Association

CERCLA's primary purposes are (1) to provide the government with authority to respond to the release of threatened release of hazardous substances, pollutants or contaminants into the environment; (2) to establish a broad scheme for imposing liability on four classes of persons designated in the statute as responsible; and (3) to create a fund, known as the Hazardous Substance Superfund, to finance the cleanup of hazardous substance releases. A release of petroleum does not trigger CERCLA response actions. However, a release of used oil containing hazardous substances may trigger CERCLA response actions.