Dale Ratliff

Dale Ratliff


Email: dratliff@williamsweese.com
Phone: (303) 861-2828 ext. 2588

Energy and Natural Resources
Federal Lands
Administrative Law

Dale Ratliff provides clients with full-cycle legal guidance on public lands, environmental, and natural resource issues.  Dale’s practice focuses on environmental and administrative law, with a particular emphasis on natural resource projects on public lands, including oil and gas development, transmission infrastructure, renewable energy development, water supply infrastructure, and ski area development.  Dale has substantial experience working under a broad cross-section of environmental and public lands laws, including the National Environmental Policy Act, the Endangered Species Act, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, the Bald and Gold Eagle Protection Act, the Clean Air Act, the Federal Land Policy and Management Act, and the Administrative Procedure Act.

Dale is a graduate of the University of Denver Sturm College of Law where he finished first in his class and focused his scholarship on environmental, natural resource, and water issues.  During law school Dale served on the editorial board of the University of Denver Water Law Review, worked as an extern for Colorado Supreme Court Justice Gregory J. Hobbs, Jr., and worked for the environmental non-profit Earthjustice.  Prior to law school Dale worked as a ski patroller on Aspen Mountain and as a professional fly-fishing guide in Basalt, Colorado, southwestern Alaska, and Chilean Patagonia. 

Federal Lands and National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).  Dale has substantial experience working on a variety of federal-land and NEPA-related matters, from both a permitting and a litigation perspective.  Dale’s NEPA experience includes federal oil and gas development, onshore and offshore renewable energy development, transmission infrastructure, water supply infrastructure, and ski area development.  Dale also has experience reviewing and commenting on federal land use plans.

Endangered Species and Migratory Birds.  Dale has represented wind-energy developers, ski areas, and oil and gas companies in a variety of matters arising under the Endangered Species Act, Migratory Bird Treaty Act, and the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act.  Dale has a comprehensive understanding of the various conservation tools available under the ESA, such as Habitat Conservation Plans and Candidate Conservation Agreements, and has also helped clients negotiate mitigation requirements in order to obtain incidental take statements under Section 7 of the ESA.  Dale was also an active participant in the Western Governors’ Association’s recent Species Conservation and Endangered Species Act Initiative.

Clean Air Act.  Dale has experience working under numerous provisions of the Clean Air Act and has developed a particular expertise in methane matters related to the oil and gas industry.  Dale played a central role representing an oil and gas trade association, as a member of a joint industry working group, in a significant rulemaking before the Colorado Air Quality Control Commission and has also drafted comments on proposed federal rules and defended companies in both federal and state enforcement actions.

Litigation and Appellate.  Dale worked as part of team that helped secure a unanimous ruling from the Colorado Supreme Court in case of first impression concerning the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission’s authority under the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Act.  Dale served as a primary drafter at both the certiorari stage and on the merits.  Dale has also assisted on litigation matters arising under NEPA, the Federal Land Policy and Management Act, and the Clean Air Act, and is well-versed in federal procedural and administrative law issues.

J.D., University of Denver Sturm College of Law, first in class, 2016

B.A., The University of Puget Sound, 2004


Senate Bill 19-181: Colorado Enacts First-of-its-kind Oil and Gas Legislation, ABA Trends (Nov./Dec. 2019)

NEPA and the Case of Climate Change: An Analysis of the Climate Change Considerations Required to Satisfy NEPA in Energy and Infrastructure Projects, 65 Rocky Mt. Min. L. Inst. 28-1 (2019) (co-author)

The Common Law of Liable Party CERCLA Claims, 70 Stan. L. Rev. 191 (2018) (co-author)

Laying the Groundwork: NEPA’s Purpose, Levels of Agency Review, and Process Overview, 2017 NO. 5 Rmmlf-Inst Paper No. 1 (Nov. 2017) (co-author)

A Proper Seat at the Table: Affirming a Broad Winters Right to Groundwater, 19 U. Denv. Water L. Rev. 239 (2016)

How Much is Enough? Consideration of The Pece Criteria and Voluntary Efforts in Listing Decisions, 2015 NO. 6 Rmmlf-Inst Paper No. 12 (Nov. 2015) (co-author)

Court Report, Ark. Game & Fish Comm’n v. United States, 736 F.3d 1364 (Fed. Cir. 2013), 17 U. Denv. Water L. Rev. 409 (2014)

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