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 an emphasis on supporting natural resource projects and recreation and tourism businesses on public lands. Dale’s clients include ski areas, renewable energy developers, lodging and resort owners, rafting companies, outfitters and guides, water supply developers, helium developers, oil and gas companies, and other project proponents.

Dale helps his clients obtain and implement special use permits, special recreation permits, rights of way, easements, outfitter and guide permits, leases, and other authorizations from the United States Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the Army Corps of Engineers, and other federal and state agencies. He regularly assists clients with forest plans, resource management plans, environmental impact statements, and environmental assessments.

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 Federal Land Policy and Management Act, and the Clean Air Act.

Dale also represents helium developers and oil and gas companies in matters before the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission. Dale was an active participant on behalf of his clients in the Commission’s 2019 Mission Change Rulemaking that fundamentally changed the Commission’s regulations and permitting process. He has since helped clients receive approval for multiple Oil and Gas Development Plans under the new rules.

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. 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.

J.D., University of Denver Sturm College of Law, first in class, 2016
B.A., The University of Puget Sound, 2004


Habitat Conservation Plans, Endangered Species Act: Law, Policy, and Perspective (3rd ed.), American Bar Association (2021) (co-author)

The Forest Service EADM Rule: A Thoughtful Approach to Creating Efficiency and Implementing NEPA’s Intent for Special Use Administration, ABA Public Lands and Resources (Mar. 12, 2020).

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)

Representative Experience
Regularly assist ski areas obtain new Forest Service special use permits associated with the acquisition and purchase of ski resorts.

Regularly assist ski areas obtain necessary development approvals and advise on special use permit fees, special use permit compliance, and other ongoing operational issues.

Successfully obtained new Forest Service permit for 100-year old cabin on Forest Service lands.

Successfully negotiated perpetual road easement for 5,000-acre inholding of private property surrounded by National Forest.

Part of team that helped obtain Forest Service right-of-way for large, trans-boundary transmission line.

Successfully advocated on behalf of client in Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission’s Mission Change Rulemaking for important revisions to proposed wildlife provisions.

Represented operator in obtaining OGDP for helium development project under new COGCC rules.

Represented oil and gas company in obtaining multiple OGDPs for natural gas development under new COGCC rules.

Helped clients negotiate mitigation requirements for Florida Panther in order to obtain incidental take statement under Section 7 of the ESA.

Other Professional Affiliations
Co-authors a quarterly newsletter on Congress and federal agencies for the Foundation for Natural Resources and Energy Law (formerly the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation).

Member of the publications committee agencies for the Foundation for Natural Resources and Energy Law.

Active Participant in the Western Governors’ Association’s Species Conservation and Endangered Species Act Initiative

Honors and Distinctions
Listed in Best Lawyers Ones to Watch, Environmental (2021-2023) and Administrative Law (2022-2023)

Our Location

1801 California Street, Suite 3400
Denver, Colorado 80202

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Email: info@williamsweese.com
Phone 303.861.2828
Fax 303.861.4017

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