Walter brings over thirty years of experience providing representation, advice and counsel to businesses and individuals in their dealings with Indian tribes and public land management agencies, like the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Forest Service and New Mexico State Land Office. Walter's practice is focused on natural resources, energy and environmental law.
Clients throughout the west and across the country seek Walter's advice in matters involving transactions, disputes and consultations with Indian tribes and other Native American groups. In addition, clients look to Walter when pursuing federal lands leasing, development, and related permitting and environmental compliance efforts under the National Environmental Policy Act ("NEPA"), Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, the Endangered Species Act, and related federal statutes.
Walter also is actively involved in community and professional non-profit organizations. He has served as President of the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation, a world-class continuing education provider for professionals working in the areas of natural resources development and environmental law. In addition, Walter is Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Albuquerque Academy, an independent day school.
Walter serves as President of Modrall Sperling and Chair of the Executive Committee.
Sale of Navajo Coal Company — Led a multi-disciplinary counsel team in completing a series of interrelated transactions between BHP Billiton New Mexico Coal, Inc. (BBNMC) and its subsidiaries and the Navajo Nation and Navajo Transitional Energy Company, LLC (NTEC), a wholly owned enterprise of the Navajo Nation. The multi-faceted transaction included, among other elements, the sale of BHP Navajo Coal Company (BNCC), the owner and operator of the Navajo Mine, a large surface coal mining operation located on the Navajo Reservation in New Mexico, to NTEC.
Indian Law Experience — Represented clients in a range of transactions seeking to secure agreements, leases, and/or rights-of-way on Indian lands, and addressing forum selection, waivers of immunity from suit, tribal regulation, and deciphering tribal and federal law to identify and acquire any necessary approvals to help ensure enforceable agreements.
Public Lands Matters — In the general stream adjudication on the San Juan River in northwestern New Mexico, successfully opposed claims by the New Mexico State Land Office that sought to apply the federal reserved water rights doctrine to lands granted to the State of New Mexico through the New Mexico Enabling Act and related legislation. See State of New Mexico ex rel. State Engineer and United States, et al. v. New Mexico Commissioner of Public Lands, 2009-NMCA-004 (2008).