Bennett W. Raley - Trout Raley Montaño Freeman Sinor Thompson, P.C.
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Bennett W. Raley

Listed in Best Lawyers since 2008
Phone: 303-861-1963

Bennett W. Raley is a shareholder with the Denver law firm of Trout, Raley, Montaño, Witwer and Freeman, P.C.  His practice specializes in state and federal court litigation, and federal administrative and legislative strategy.  Mr. Raley has practiced in the fields of water law and related federal environmental laws since 1983. He served as the Assistant Secretary for Water and Science, Department of the Interior, for the years 2001-2004.  His responsibilities as Assistant Secretary included the development and execution of legal strategies relating to the operation of federal water projects throughout the West.  He has both state and federal court experience, as well as extensive experience in working with state and federal agencies.

Legal Experience

Trout, Raley, Montaño, Witwer & Freeman, P.C., Colorado Shareholder
.  Natural resources firm with emphasis in water and environmental law and litigation.  (Formerly Hobbs, Trout & Raley, P.C., Hobbs & Trout, P.C., Trout & Raley, P.C., and Trout, Witwer & Freeman, P.C.)  (2004-present; prior 1992-2001)

Current work includes representation of Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District and its Municipal Subdistrict on a wide range of matters, including legal support for ongoing operation of the Colorado-Big Thompson Project and the Windy Gap Projects, permitting and negotiation of a Carriage Contract for the Windy Gap Firming Project, general Reclamation law matters, ESA-related legislation in the United States Congress, interstate compact strategy development, and participation in negotiations between the Seven Basin States of the Colorado River and participation in the Basin States discussions with the Department of the Interior regarding the 1944 Mexican Treaty.  Mr. Raley also represents the Colorado River Energy Distributors Association in Endangered Species Act and NEPA litigation regarding the operation of Glen Canyon Dam.

Special Assistant Attorney General, State of New Mexico (1998-2001). Litigation counsel in federal court Endangered Species Act litigation; strategy related to federal and interstate issues on the Rio Grande and Pecos River.

Special Assistant Attorney General, State of New Mexico (2011-present).  Litigation Counsel in federal court litigation relating to the operation of the Rio Grande Project and implementation of Rio Grande Compact.

Chief Counsel, United States Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Federalism and Property Rights.  Leave of absence for 100 days of the Contract with America, 104th Congress (1995).    

Assistant Secretary for Water and Science, Department of Interior Responsible for United States Geological Survey and Bureau of Reclamation.  Responsibilities included budget and policy for Reclamation and USGS; lead federal negotiator for Colorado River Water Delivery Agreement of 2003; finalization of Lower Colorado River Multi-Species Conservation Plan; Administration lead for CalFed Process; development and implementation of Water 2025; Grand Canyon Adaptive Management Program, including approval and implementation of 2004 Grand Canyon Experimental Flow Program; Reclamation response to 11 September 2001; initiation of NRC review of Construction Management and other functions of Reclamation; development of first Reclamation Section 7 Handbook.  (2001-2004)

Staff Counsel, United States Senator Hank Brown, 102nd Congress Responsibilities included preparation of analysis and questions relating to privacy, reproductive rights, and natural law issues for the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings on the nomination of Judge Thomas to the Supreme Court; preparation of analysis and questions for the Foreign Relations Committee hearings on matters related to BCCI; preparation of legal and political analysis and planning related to wilderness designations and negotiation of wilderness water rights provisions of 1993 Colorado Wilderness Act, Clean Water Act Reauthorization, Endangered Species Act, 1872 Mining Law, and western public lands and water issues.  Responsibilities also included issues relating to S.12 (Cable Reregulation) and Telecommunications.  (1991–1992)

Attorney, Davis, Graham & Stubbs, Denver, Colorado. Areas of practice included state and federal water quality and quantity issues, mining, real estate, commercial transactions, commercial lending, bankruptcy, and environmental permitting.  Litigation experience included state and federal judicial and administrative proceedings, multi-week trials, complex federal court litigation involving over 50 parties and 6 interrelated matters, preparation of appellate briefs in state and federal courts, and oral argument before state and federal district courts, and the Colorado Supreme Court.  (Partner, January 1990 – June, 1991.  Associate, May 1983 – December 1989.)

Colorado State UniversityBS 1979University of Colorado at BoulderJ.D. 1983

Office Location

1120 Lincoln Street, Suite 1600
Denver, CO 80203-2141
United States

Lawyer of the Year Awards

2017 Lawyer of the Year in Water Law of the Denver Metro Area2014 Lawyer of the Year in Water Law of the Denver Metro Area
Bennett W. Raley has earned a Lawyer of the Year award for 2017!Bennett W. Raley has earned a Lawyer of the Year award for 2014!

Practice Areas

Environmental Law
Water Law

Other Information

Gender: Male