Carlos R. Romo

Carlos R. Romo


Phone: 303-861-2828 ext. 2531

Federal Lands

Energy and Natural Resources


Carlos Romo is nationally recognized in environmental and natural resources law. He helps clients in a variety of industries navigate complex regulatory requirements, and has particular expertise in state and federal permitting, environmental due diligence in M&A transactions, and state and federal litigation and class action matters. His clients include developers, utilities, water authorities, oil and gas companies, renewable energy developers, trade associations, mining companies, refineries and chemical companies, landowners, and resort operators.

Carlos previously worked for 10 years in the energy and natural resources practice at Baker Botts in Austin, Texas.  Carlos is currently an Adjunct Professor of Law at The University of Colorado School of Law where he teaches Public Lands and Resources Law. Carlos has been recognized by 5280 Magazine, Best Lawyers in America, and Super Lawyers as a top natural resources and environmental lawyer.

Representative Experience:

Natural Resources Transactions. Carlos has substantial experience in a variety of natural resource transactions involving oil and gas companies (upstream, midstream, and downstream), gas stations, wind energy developers, ski and golf club resorts, water and waste entities.  Clients rely on Carlos’ aptitude for analyzing complex environmental and natural resource regulatory requirements in due diligence and negotiating deal documents to manage regulatory risks. Carlos’ most recent deals include: drafting and negotiating a conservation credit agreement for a 522MW wind farm; analyzing and drafting indemnity provisions for an acquisition of a 500-mile oil pipeline; and performing environmental due diligence on deals involving multiple ski and golf club resorts on public lands.

Waste. Carlos is uniquely familiar with regulatory requirements related to solid waste disposal and recycling.  He recently served as lead counsel for a group of state and national trade associations on a Colorado rulemaking regulating technologically enhanced naturally occurring radioactive materials (TENORM). Throughout his career, Carlos has worked closely with clients using innovative technologies to recycle waste products into beneficial products, whether it is recycling produced water for reuse in oil and gas operations or spent catalysts to recover precious metals. Carlos is deeply familiar with CERCLA and RCRA permitting and litigation matters, and he helped resolve legacy environmental liabilities tied to a copper mining company in a $1.5 billion bankruptcy proceeding.

Oil and Gas Disputes.  Carlos is actively involved in many oil and gas disputes, including disagreements over siting, surface use, breach of contract, nuisance and trespass litigation, and royalty class actions. Clients rely on Carlos’ familiarity with agreements in the upstream and midstream context to help navigate complex breach of contract actions. He has represented both landowners and operators and has litigated oil and gas issues in state and federal trial and appellate courts. Carlos’ experience includes state and federal class actions involving royalties, deductions, and marketing issues in oil and gas production.

Endangered Species Act. Some of Carlos’ most signature environmental permitting and litigation matters involve endangered species. He was instrumental in drafting innovative “hybrid” conservation agreements for the dunes sagebrush lizard and lesser prairie chicken. One of his major successes was the appeal of an adverse order involving water rights and alleged impacts on endangered whooping cranes. His river authority client played a key role in overturning the order in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and Carlos helped defend the judgment in the U.S. Supreme Court. Carlos also assists clients obtain ESA Section 7 and Section 10 incidental take permits for infrastructure projects, and recently helped a renewable energy company obtain conservation credits to enable construction of a 522MW wind farm.

Water. Carlos’ water practice includes water rights and water quality permitting under state water rights frameworks and federal Clean Water Act discharge and wetlands permits. He has extensive experience in obtaining water rights with impacts on endangered species and in conducting due diligence and negotiating a variety of agreements in water-related transactions.

Clean Air Act. Carlos has over a decade of experience working on a variety of Clean Air Act matters. He is particularly knowledgeable about regulations targeting emissions from power plants and oil and gas sources and air enforcement matters. Most recently, he assisted clients navigate Colorado Aid Quality Control Commission contested rulemakings related to ozone nonattainment and regional haze.

Representative Experience
Natural Resources Transactions & Litigation

  • Led environmental diligence and negotiation of indemnities and terms in purchase of former chemical refining facility
  • Led environmental diligence and negotiation of special indemnity over the purchase of a 500 mile crude oil pipeline
  • Led environmental diligence and negotiation of indemnities over the purchase of numerous gas stations
  • Led environmental diligence in acquisition of multiple ski resorts across country and on public lands
  • Led environmental and water rights diligence in acquisition of multiple golf club resorts
  • Evaluated overriding royalty interests in dispute over royalty payments
  • Evaluated National Environmental Policy Act and Presidential Permit requirements for pipeline, bridge and electricity transmission cross-border projects from U.S. to Mexico

Natural Resources Litigation

  • Represented oil and gas operator in complex state mass action involving surface use and trespass claims
  • Represented oil and gas operator in class actions involving royalty deductions from oil and gas production and allocation under pooling provisions
  • Represented oil and gas companies in common law nuisance and trespass actions
  • Represented responsible party in on-site response to major oil spill and coordinated Natural Resource Damage Assessment activities post response
  • Represented oil and gas operator in action alleging subsurface trespass from pooled operations
  • Obtained summary judgment on breach of contract and tort claims related to gas gathering company’s shutdown of 900-mile gas gathering system
  • Successfully defended and challenged BLM and USFS permits on NEPA grounds in federal court
  • Developed defenses for RCRA enforcement against hazardous waste recycling facility
  • Represented energy companies in contested enforcement proceedings, resolving suits with significant reductions in penalties through settlement negotiations
  • Defended low-level radioactive waste rulemaking from temporary injunction in federal court
  • Represented multinational chemical company in RCRA enforcement suit filed by EPA
  • Assisted copper mining company in resolving legacy environmental liabilities as part of a $1.5 billion bankruptcy proceeding

Clean Water Act and Water Rights

  • Represented water authority in highly contested water rights and reservoir construction application involving environmental flows and ESA claims
  • Assisted utility navigate NEPA and Clean Water Action Section 404 wetlands requirements to obtain a Presidential Permit
  • Advised client on enforcement action involving complex multi-party NPDES discharge permit
  • Conducted water rights due diligence and assisted in negotiation of complex purchase and leaseback of multiple golf club resorts
  • Conducted water due diligence and assisted in negotiation of complex purchase agreements for ski resorts
  • Argued for intervenor in federal court district suit involving voting rights and groundwater management
  • Assisted private equity firm in developing drinking water supply
  • Reviewed potential common law and injunctive remedies for protecting water rights during drought conditions
  • Developed strategy for junior water rights holder to avoid enforcement issues during drought conditions
  • Evaluated regulatory requirements for oil and gas water reuse and recycling projects in various states
  • Analyzed availability of groundwater and surface water rights in Eagle Ford Shale area and recommended strategy for obtaining water
  • Analyzed groundwater conservation district regulations and rules related to exempt and non-exempt uses
  • Recommended appropriate terms for water supply agreements addressing drought conditions
  • Evaluated new facility’s compliance with thermal discharge and cooling water intake structure requirements

Endangered Species Act

  • Negotiated purchase of Lesser Prairie Chicken conservation credits for 522MW wind farm in New Mexico
  • Drafted industry comments on proposed Migratory Bird Treaty Act incidental take permit program. Evaluated habitat conservation agreements for oil and gas upstream and midstream companies
  • Drafted industry comments on BLM Draft Environmental Impact Statement and Land Use Plan Amendments affecting greater sage grouse
  • Drafted industry association comments on proposed endangered species listing and evaluated legal issues associated with habitat conservation plan permits
  • Assisted in developing innovative hybrid Candidate Conservation Agreement with Assurances and Habitat Conservation Plans for the Dunes Sagebrush Lizard and Lesser Prairie Chicken
  • Evaluated Section 7 consultation and permit requirements for pipeline company
  • Developed strategies for multinational energy company to manage risks from Endangered Species Act actions
  • Drafted and negotiated permit conditions for incidental take of endangered species
  • Evaluated water rights issues and drafted motions in federal district court litigation over environmental flows and endangered species

Clean Air Act

  • Represented clients in contested rulemaking proceedings related to ozone and regional haze before the Colorado Air Quality Control Commission
  • Evaluated effects of moving to “serious” and “severe” ozone nonattainment
  • Challenged expansion of ozone nonattainment area in U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit
  • Successfully represented associations in case involving oil and gas and air regulation in Colorado Supreme Court
  • Represented clients in responding to EPA regional haze proposals and in petition to stay rule in U.S. Court of Appeals
  • Developed strategy for oil and gas industry response to methane rulemakings
  • Evaluated impact of new climate rules on power industry
  • Drafted briefs in appeals courts and the U.S. Supreme Court on nuisance and preemption under the federal CAA
  • Drafted successful briefs in Texas Supreme Court related to trespass from “migratory air particles” from oil and gas operations
  • Represented developer of a $9 billion Liquefied Natural Gas export facility in contested air permit proceedings
  • Defended against challenges to power plant Clean Air Act permits in state court
  • Developed defenses and led drafting of federal court motions in Clean Air Act citizen suit involving power plant
  • Evaluated potential challenges to NSPS regulations
  • Analyzed applicability of various state and federal air permitting regulations to equipment upgrades, changes in operations and permit renewals

J.D. (with honors), The University of Texas School of Law, 2007
B.A. (with honors), Stanford University, 1999
Fulbright Scholar

Publications, Speeches, and Presentations

Much Ado About CEQ: The Uncertain Effects of NEPA Streamlining Regulations, American Bar Association Section on Energy Environment & Resources, May 2020

Recent Developments in Clean Water Act Permitting & Litigation, Colorado Bar Association Section on Natural Resources & Environmental Law, April 2019

Co-Chair, Administrative Law and Natural Resources Development Special Institute, Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation, February 2019

A Year for the Birds: ESA Developments and a New Interpretation of MBTA, American Bar Association Section on Energy Environment & Resources, February 2018

Implications of Recent Nuisance and Trespass Cases, Law360 “Expert Analysis” July 2017

Administration Announces Far-reaching Air Regulations for Oil & Gas Exploration, Production, and Transportation Industry, Environmental Update, May 2016

EPA Regulation of Existing Oil & Gas Sources: Immediate and Long-Term Challenges, Bloomberg’s Daily Environment Report, September 2015

EPA’s ‘Blueprint’ for Regulation of Methane from Oil and Gas Sources, BNA Environment, February 2015

Nuisance Law: Key Developments and Emerging Issues, February 2015

Permitting & Siting Energy Projects: ESA, MBTA, & Other Issues, February 2015

Mexico Energy Reform and U.S. Presidential Permits for Cross-Border Projects, BNA Environment, January 2015

Fracking From the Frontlines: A Review of Key Hydraulic Fracturing Issues, Including the Interaction of Local, State and Federal Law and Cross – Cutting Regulatory Developments, October 2014

Analysis: Are We There Yet? Carbon Capture Sequestration and Cost-Effectiveness Analyses, July 2014

Analysis: Hydraulic Fracturing, Uncooperative Federalism and Technological Innovation, Law360, April 2014

Hydraulic Fracturing, Uncooperative Federalism, and Technological Innovation, Journal of Environmental & Energy Law, March 2014

Law360 Analysis: Debunking the Myth Of Hydraulic Fracturing, August 2013

Playing to Win and Planning the End Game: The Critical Role of Process, Procedural Options, Forum Selection and Appeals to State and Federal Levels, November 2010

Bar and Court Admissions

State Bar of Colorado –Natural Resources & Environmental Law Section

State Bar of Texas – Environmental and Natural Resources Law, Administrative Law and Appellate Law Sections United States District Court for the District of Colorado United States District Court for the District of Columbia United States District Courts for the Southern and Western Districts of Texas

United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit

United States Court of Appeals for Ninth Circuit

Other Professional Affiliations

Colorado Hispanic Bar Association, President-elect

Colorado Access to Justice Commission, Pro Bono Committee

Leadership Conference on Legal Diversity, Fellow

Honors and Distinctions

Finalist, Austin Under 40 (Legal Category)

Super Lawyer-Rising Star in Environmental Litigation

Best Lawyers, Natural Resources Law

5280 Magazine, Top Natural Resources Lawyer in Denver


Fluent in Spanish


best-Lawyers top-lawyers Super Lawyers

Our Location

ACBJ1801 California Street, Suite 3400
Denver, Colorado 80202
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Phone 303.861.2828
Fax 303.861.4017