Maria O

Maria O'Brien

Listed in Best Lawyers since 2007

Maria O'Brien has practiced in the areas of Natural Resources, Environmental and Utility law for more than fifteen years. Her primary focus is on water resources, water quality, and related regulatory matters including National Environmental Policy Act ("NEPA") and Endangered Species Act ("ESA") compliance.  She represents clients from both public and private sectors before the Office of the New Mexico State Engineer, the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission, and in state and federal court.  Maria's experience includes permitting of water and energy projects, the purchase and lease of water rights, water utility matters, litigation involving protection and acquisition of water resources, water planning and water quality issues.  

Connecticut CollegeBA 1984University of Rhode IslandMS 1988University of New MexicoJ.D. 1991
Rocky Mountain Mineral Law FoundationState Bar of New Mexico

Case History

Energy Projects
  • Assisted numerous energy projects with water and siting related matters as well as continuing to advise BHP Navajo Coal Company on all of its water matters related to its coal mining operations in the San Juan River Basin.  Assisted Exxon Mobil and Phelps Dodge on water matters relating to mine closure issues.   
Municipalities and Regulated Water Suppliers
  • Ongoing representation of several municipalities and regulated water suppliers around the state including the City of Carlsbad, City of Rio Rancho, and New Mexico Water Service Company with regard to water planning, acquisition and litigated water supply matters.
Aamodt Litigation
  • Representation of the Pueblo of Pojoaque in the settlement of Indian claims in the longest running federal court adjudication in the country.  A settlement agreement was enacted into law when it was signed by President Obama on December 8, 2010 as the Claims Resolution Act of 2010.  Continued representation of the Pueblo on implementation of the settlement related to water and environmental matters.

Client Comments

"Maria O'Brien's expertise in water law has served us extremely well over the years. Her breadth and depth of knowledge in this area is second to none, as is her ability to effectively identify and address the critical issues and inherent nuances that are encountered in this unique field. Maria fully understands and works towards our business goals, and uses just the right mix of friendliness and firmness as circumstances dictate. "

Office Location

500 Fourth Street, NW, Suite 1000
P.O. Box 2168
Albuquerque, NM 87103
United States

Lawyer of the Year Awards

2016 Lawyer of the Year in Water Law of the Albuquerque Metro Area2013 Lawyer of the Year in Water Law of the Albuquerque Metro Area
Maria O'Brien has earned a Lawyer of the Year award for 2016!Maria O'Brien has earned a Lawyer of the Year award for 2013!

Practice Areas

Water Law