David Neslin
Of Counsel
Tim Canon
Mave A. Gasaway
Erin K. Murphy
Charles L. Kaiser
Senior Of Counsel (Retired)

Public Lands

Because much of the land across the West is owned by federal, state, and tribal governments, mineral exploration and development occurs in large part on public lands. Our experienced, comprehensive public lands practice continues the firm’s rich heritage in public land law. Our public lands team includes lawyers who have served in senior legal positions responsible for public lands issues within federal and state government entities and who maintain excellent relationships with relevant agencies throughout the West and in Washington, D.C.

We assist companies ranging from the largest in the world to small startups in acquiring, operating, and defending mineral rights on public lands for oil and gas, coal, hard rock minerals, and other mineral resources. DGS assists clients in acquiring mineral development rights on public lands, including obtaining oil and gas and coal leases, perfecting and maintaining mining claims, obtaining and renewing rights-of-way, completing land exchanges, and prosecuting mineral patents. Operational issues DGS lawyers work on include assisting clients with applications for permits to drill, plans of operation, access rights, unitization, acreage limitation issues, lease assignments, lease suspensions, notices of non-compliance, bonding, logical mining units, and the proper payment of royalties and severance taxes. DGS lawyers routinely litigate widely-reported public lands cases in federal courts across the Rocky Mountain West, California, Alaska, and the District of Columbia and before the Interior Board of Land Appeals, Minerals Management Service, Bureau of Land Management, and Office of Surface Mining.


April 2016

U.S. Forest Service Developing Policies Addressing Mitigation on National Forests and Grasslands

The U.S. Forest Service is developing national policy to address mitigation of adverse impacts in National Forests and Grasslands and is seeking public input on this policy.  

March 2016

Planning For Problems: BLM Issues Proposed Revisions to Resource Management Planning Regulations

On February 25, 2016, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) published proposed revisions to its resource management planning regulations, last revised in 2005. The proposed revisions fundamentally shift the land use management planning process from more local resource management planning to a sweeping landscape-scale approach that may make more difficult the analysis and consideration of local conditions, issues, and impacts. 

Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On - Recent Developments Concerning Induced Earthquakes

States are adopting new regulatory requirements to address seismic concerns, and last month the Sierra Club filed a first-of-its-kind RCRA lawsuit over this issue. Please join us for a discussion of these developments.

January 2016

BLM Issues Venting, Flaring, and Leaking Rule – And a Jurisdictional Challenge May Be Brewing

Today, the Department of Interior (DOI)/Bureau of Land Management (BLM) issued its much-anticipated proposed rule on venting, flaring, and leaking from oil and gas operations on onshore federal and Indian leases, along with a four-page fact sheet. DOI's press release, which discusses the proposal largely in terms of air quality, notes that the rule will "help curb waste of our nation's natural gas supplies, reduce harmful methane emissions and provide a fair return on public resources for federal taxpayers, Tribes, and States." DOI is proposing to update NTL-4A by requiring operators to limit venting and flaring through new technologies, processes, and equipment including storage tanks, adopt leak detection and repair programs, and limit gas losses during liquids unloading. The proposed rule would also prohibit venting, except during emergencies and other limited exceptions–effectively implementing a "no venting" standard. Finally, the rule proposes to clarify when operators owe royalties on flared gas and allow BLM to set royalty rates at or above 12.5 percent of the value of production.

Erin Murphy Joins DGS

Erin Murphy has joined the Trial Department of Davis Graham & Stubbs LLP as an associate. Ms. Murphy's practice will focus on commercial litigation and litigation counseling in the fields of natural resources, energy, public lands, and environmental law.

November 2015

DGS Strengthens Public Lands Practice Adds Robert C. Mathes, Kathleen C. Schroder, and Timothy R. Canon

DGS Strengthens Public Lands Practice Adds Robert C. Mathes, Kathleen C. Schroder, and Timothy R. Canon

Denver public lands attorneys Rob Mathes, Katie Schroder, and Tim Canon will join the Natural Resources Department of Davis Graham & Stubbs LLP effective December 1. Mr. Mathes and Ms. Schroder have joined the firm as partners and Mr. Canon as an associate.

August 2012

DGS Attorneys Appointed to Leadership of the ABA SEER Public Lands and Resources Committee

Davis Graham & Stubbs LLP partner Connie Rogers has been appointed Chair and associate Elizabeth Titus has been appointed a Vice-Chair of the Public Lands and Resources Committee of the American Bar Association’s (ABA) Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources (SEER) for 2012-2013.

July 2012

DGS Attorneys to Speak at the 58th Annual Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Institute

Davis Graham & Stubbs LLP partner Connie Rogers and associate Sam Niebrugge will be speaking at the 58th Annual Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Institute on July 19-21 in Newport Beach, California. The Institute is organized by the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation (RMMLF), a collaborative educational non-profit organization dedicated to the scholarly and practical study of the law and regulations relating to mining, oil and gas, water, public lands, land use, conservation, environmental protection, and other related areas.


July 2011

The Icarus Solar Project: Public (and Private) Land Issue Impacts

29th Annual Real Estate Symposium

Federal and state research has documented levels of solar radiation suitable for utilityscale solar power plant development on a significant portion of land administered by the BLM in southern California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, and Utah. In connection with initiatives of Congress and the Obama and Bush administrations to promote development of renewable energy nationwide, the Department of the Interior under both Interior Secretaries Salazar and Kempthorne has adopted policies and initiatives to help speed such development.


October 2010

Noted Public Lands Attorney Constance Rogers Returns to DGS

Davis Graham & Stubbs LLP today announced that Constance L. Rogers has returned to the firm as a partner, effective October 1. Ms. Rogers recently served as the Deputy Solicitor for Energy and Mineral Resources in the U.S. Department of the Interior, where she provided counsel to the Secretary, Deputy Secretary and Interior Department agencies on matters involving the development of energy and mineral resources on public lands and the Outer Continental Shelf. She returns to one of the largest energy, public lands and natural resources practices in the Rocky Mountain West.


August 2010

Air Quality Constraints on the Public Lands

Law Seminars International Energy Development on Public Lands

January 2010

DGS Partner Constance Rogers to Join U.S. Department of the Interior

Davis Graham & Stubbs LLP today announced that natural resources partner Constance L. Rogers has been selected to serve as the Deputy Solicitor for Energy and Mineral Resources in the U.S. Department of the Interior, effective February 15, 2010. Ms. Rogers will be relocating to Washington D.C.


January 2009

Bob Lawrence to Speak at Program on Native American Religious Practices and Public Lands in the West

Bob Lawrence was one of the panelists for a special evening program held at the CU Law School on January 21, 2009, "Public Lands-Private Ceremonies: Native American Religious Practices and Public Lands in the West."


Public Lands-Private Ceremonies: Native American Religious Practices and Public Lands in the West

University of Colorado School of Law and Center of the American West

August 2006

Davis Graham & Stubbs Expands Its Natural Resources Practice

Davis Graham & Stubbs is pleased to announce that Constance L. Rogers has joined the firm as an associate. She will continue her focus on natural resources law.


October 1999

Narrowing Scope - Widely Used Nationwide Permits Will Become More Restrictive

The Colorado Journal

Over the last 25 years, the federal regulation of wetlands and other aquatic sites has become increasingly strict and now affects virtually every major construction and development project. Although one recent case has confirmed a significant supposed 'loophole' in the federal wetlands program, several other recent and pending developments will make this strict program substantially more complex and restrictive.