Best Lawyers for Natural Resources Law in America

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Lawyer
  • Location:
    Santa Fe, New Mexico
  • Practice Areas:
    Oil and Gas Law Native American Law Environmental Law Water Law Energy Law Corporate Law Mining Law Natural Resources Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Santa Barbara, California
  • Practice Areas:
    Real Estate Law Natural Resources Law Land Use and Zoning Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Houston, Texas
  • Practice Areas:
    Oil and Gas Law Natural Resources Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Miami, Florida
  • Practice Areas:
    Litigation - Land Use and Zoning Environmental Law Natural Resources Law Litigation - Environmental Land Use and Zoning Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Houston, Texas
  • Practice Areas:
    Natural Resources Law Commercial Litigation
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Washington, District of Columbia
  • Practice Areas:
    Natural Resources Law Litigation - Environmental Environmental Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Houston, Texas
  • Practice Areas:
    Litigation - Intellectual Property Natural Resources Law Litigation - Environmental Legal Malpractice Law - Defendants Bet-the-Company Litigation Litigation - Patent Commercial Litigation Litigation - Antitrust
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Austin, Texas
  • Practice Areas:
    Oil and Gas Law Litigation - Real Estate Litigation - Construction Litigation - Mergers and Acquisitions Natural Resources Law Litigation - Environmental
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Charleston, West Virginia
  • Practice Areas:
    Environmental Law Natural Resources Law Litigation - Environmental Oil and Gas Law Water Law Energy Law Energy Regulatory Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Santa Fe, New Mexico
  • Practice Areas:
    Litigation - Environmental Personal Injury Litigation - Defendants Product Liability Litigation - Defendants Natural Resources Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Seattle, Washington
  • Practice Areas:
    Natural Resources Law Mining Law Environmental Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Houston, Texas
  • Practice Areas:
    Real Estate Law Banking and Finance Law Natural Resources Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Santa Fe, New Mexico
  • Practice Areas:
    Environmental Law Natural Resources Law Litigation - Environmental Mining Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Lafayette, Louisiana
  • Practice Areas:
    Natural Resources Law Oil and Gas Law Energy Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    San Francisco, California
  • Practice Areas:
    Natural Resources Law Land Use and Zoning Law Environmental Law Litigation - Land Use and Zoning Litigation - Environmental Timber Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Addison, Texas
  • Practice Areas:
    Natural Resources Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Practice Areas:
    Water Law Environmental Law Natural Resources Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Houston, Texas
  • Practice Areas:
    Energy Law Corporate Law Natural Resources Law Project Finance Law Oil and Gas Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Albuquerque, New Mexico
  • Practice Areas:
    Bet-the-Company Litigation Commercial Litigation Mining Law Oil and Gas Law Natural Resources Law Antitrust Law Energy Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Boise, Idaho
  • Practice Areas:
    Environmental Law Water Law Natural Resources Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Lexington, Kentucky
  • Practice Areas:
    Mining Law Natural Resources Law Energy Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Tallahassee, Florida
  • Practice Areas:
    Environmental Law Litigation - Environmental Natural Resources Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Houston, Texas
  • Practice Areas:
    Oil and Gas Law Natural Resources Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Birmingham, Alabama
  • Practice Areas:
    Environmental Law Natural Resources Law Litigation - Environmental Commercial Litigation
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Sheridan, Wyoming
  • Practice Areas:
    Natural Resources Law Environmental Law Real Estate Law Energy Law Corporate Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Birmingham, Alabama
  • Practice Areas:
    Commercial Litigation Mining Law Workers' Compensation Law - Employers Litigation - Municipal Bet-the-Company Litigation Natural Resources Law Litigation - Environmental
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Phoenix, Arizona
  • Practice Areas:
    Litigation - Environmental Environmental Law Natural Resources Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Bridgeport, West Virginia
  • Practice Areas:
    Real Estate Law Energy Law Corporate Law Natural Resources Law Oil and Gas Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Dallas, Texas
  • Practice Areas:
    Oil and Gas Law Natural Resources Law Energy Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Morgantown, West Virginia
  • Practice Areas:
    Real Estate Law Natural Resources Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • Practice Areas:
    Natural Resources Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Washington, District of Columbia
  • Practice Areas:
    Natural Resources Law Energy Law Oil and Gas Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Denver, Colorado
  • Practice Areas:
    Native American Law Environmental Law Natural Resources Law
Lawyer
Donald P. Eriksen was awarded  "Lawyer of the Year" in

Donald P. Eriksen

Tucker Arensberg, P.C.
  • Location:
    Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • Practice Areas:
    Natural Resources Law Oil and Gas Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Santa Fe, New Mexico
  • Practice Areas:
    Natural Resources Law Oil and Gas Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Boise, Idaho
  • Practice Areas:
    Energy Law Environmental Law Water Law Natural Resources Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Charleston, West Virginia
  • Practice Areas:
    Natural Resources Law Mining Law Energy Law Energy Regulatory Law Oil and Gas Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Charleston, West Virginia
  • Practice Areas:
    Litigation - Environmental Natural Resources Law Water Law Environmental Law Energy Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Charleston, West Virginia
  • Practice Areas:
    Real Estate Law Mining Law Oil and Gas Law Natural Resources Law Energy Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • Practice Areas:
    Water Law Litigation - Environmental Environmental Law Energy Law Natural Resources Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Austin, Texas
  • Practice Areas:
    Energy Law Natural Resources Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Jackson, Mississippi
  • Practice Areas:
    Personal Injury Litigation - Defendants Natural Resources Law Banking and Finance Law Oil and Gas Law Appellate Practice Commercial Litigation Bet-the-Company Litigation Energy Law Product Liability Litigation - Defendants
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Lexington, Kentucky
  • Practice Areas:
    Environmental Law Mining Law Energy Law Natural Resources Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Fort Worth, Texas
  • Practice Areas:
    Natural Resources Law Oil and Gas Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Charleston, West Virginia
  • Practice Areas:
    Natural Resources Law Corporate Law Energy Law Administrative / Regulatory Law Oil and Gas Law Mergers and Acquisitions Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Lafayette, Louisiana
  • Practice Areas:
    Litigation - Environmental Energy Law Oil and Gas Law Natural Resources Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Grand Rapids, Michigan
  • Practice Areas:
    Water Law Oil and Gas Law Natural Resources Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Washington, District of Columbia
  • Practice Areas:
    Natural Resources Law Energy Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Houston, Texas
  • Practice Areas:
    Oil and Gas Law Natural Resources Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Seattle, Washington
  • Practice Areas:
    Natural Resources Law Litigation - Real Estate Litigation - Land Use and Zoning Real Estate Law Land Use and Zoning Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Evansville, Indiana
  • Practice Areas:
    Natural Resources Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Midland, Texas
  • Practice Areas:
    Commercial Litigation Oil and Gas Law Personal Injury Litigation - Defendants Personal Injury Litigation - Plaintiffs Natural Resources Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Seattle, Washington
  • Practice Areas:
    Environmental Law Energy Law Real Estate Law Natural Resources Law Land Use and Zoning Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Okemos, Michigan
  • Practice Areas:
    Natural Resources Law Municipal Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Lexington, Kentucky
  • Practice Areas:
    Energy Law Corporate Law Natural Resources Law International Mergers & Acquisitions Mining Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Bridgewater, New Jersey
  • Practice Areas:
    Environmental Law Litigation - Environmental Energy Law Natural Resources Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Practice Areas:
    Energy Law Natural Resources Law Environmental Law Oil and Gas Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Grand Rapids, Michigan
  • Practice Areas:
    Oil and Gas Law Eminent Domain and Condemnation Law Natural Resources Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Greensboro, North Carolina
  • Practice Areas:
    Natural Resources Law Environmental Law Mining Law Water Law Litigation - Environmental
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Santa Fe, New Mexico
  • Practice Areas:
    Native American Law Natural Resources Law Gaming Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Jackson, Mississippi
  • Practice Areas:
    Energy Law Oil and Gas Law Natural Resources Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Practice Areas:
    Energy Law Mining Law Litigation - Environmental Water Law Environmental Law Natural Resources Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Jackson, Mississippi
  • Practice Areas:
    Natural Resources Law Energy Law Oil and Gas Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Austin, Texas
  • Practice Areas:
    Energy Law Energy Regulatory Law Oil and Gas Law Natural Resources Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Cleveland, Ohio
  • Practice Areas:
    Oil and Gas Law Energy Law Natural Resources Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Practice Areas:
    Energy Law Oil and Gas Law Antitrust Law Bet-the-Company Litigation Natural Resources Law Commercial Litigation Appellate Practice
Lawyer
  • Location:
    New York, New York
  • Practice Areas:
    Energy Law Natural Resources Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Charleston, West Virginia
  • Practice Areas:
    Natural Resources Law Mining Law Energy Law Real Estate Law Oil and Gas Law Litigation - Real Estate
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Bridgeport, West Virginia
  • Practice Areas:
    Eminent Domain and Condemnation Law Litigation - Environmental Environmental Law Oil and Gas Law Litigation - Real Estate Commercial Litigation Litigation - Banking and Finance Litigation - Land Use and Zoning Natural Resources Law Energy Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Anchorage, Alaska
  • Practice Areas:
    Natural Resources Law Mining Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Phoenix, Arizona
  • Practice Areas:
    Water Law Natural Resources Law Environmental Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Denver, Colorado
  • Practice Areas:
    Oil and Gas Law Natural Resources Law Energy Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Charleston, West Virginia
  • Practice Areas:
    Mining Law Natural Resources Law Litigation - Environmental Environmental Law Energy Law Water Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Seattle, Washington
  • Practice Areas:
    Environmental Law Administrative / Regulatory Law Water Law Litigation - Land Use and Zoning Energy Law Natural Resources Law Litigation - Environmental Land Use and Zoning Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Portland, Oregon
  • Practice Areas:
    Natural Resources Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Lafayette, Louisiana
  • Practice Areas:
    Energy Law Oil and Gas Law Mining Law Natural Resources Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Practice Areas:
    Natural Resources Law Energy Law Oil and Gas Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Washington, District of Columbia
  • Practice Areas:
    Natural Resources Law Environmental Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Boise, Idaho
  • Practice Areas:
    Timber Law Energy Law Natural Resources Law Litigation - Environmental Environmental Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Baton Rouge, Louisiana
  • Practice Areas:
    Commercial Litigation Bet-the-Company Litigation Oil and Gas Law Personal Injury Litigation - Defendants Natural Resources Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Charleston, West Virginia
  • Practice Areas:
    Mediation Commercial Litigation Natural Resources Law Appellate Practice
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Charleston, West Virginia
  • Practice Areas:
    Energy Law Natural Resources Law Utilities Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Austin, Texas
  • Practice Areas:
    Commercial Litigation Oil and Gas Law Litigation - Environmental Natural Resources Law Bet-the-Company Litigation
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Seattle, Washington
  • Practice Areas:
    Litigation - Environmental Natural Resources Law Energy Law Environmental Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Phoenix, Arizona
  • Practice Areas:
    Environmental Law Water Law Natural Resources Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Wichita, Kansas
  • Practice Areas:
    Natural Resources Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Cheyenne, Wyoming
  • Practice Areas:
    Environmental Law Oil and Gas Law Natural Resources Law Energy Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Houston, Texas
  • Practice Areas:
    Litigation - Environmental Environmental Law Natural Resources Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Boise, Idaho
  • Practice Areas:
    Natural Resources Law Land Use and Zoning Law Environmental Law Water Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Austin, Texas
  • Practice Areas:
    Oil and Gas Law Natural Resources Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Billings, Montana
  • Practice Areas:
    Natural Resources Law Employment Law - Management Product Liability Litigation - Defendants Commercial Litigation Litigation - Environmental Litigation - Insurance Workers' Compensation Law - Employers Personal Injury Litigation - Defendants
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Santa Fe, New Mexico
  • Practice Areas:
    Environmental Law Litigation - Environmental Natural Resources Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Oxford, Mississippi
  • Practice Areas:
    Energy Law Commercial Litigation Natural Resources Law Utilities Law Oil and Gas Law Mass Tort Litigation / Class Actions - Defendants
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Seattle, Washington
  • Practice Areas:
    Environmental Law Natural Resources Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    San Francisco, California
  • Practice Areas:
    Real Estate Law Litigation - Land Use and Zoning Land Use and Zoning Law Natural Resources Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Phoenix, Arizona
  • Practice Areas:
    Natural Resources Law Energy Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Shreveport, Louisiana
  • Practice Areas:
    Environmental Law Energy Law Oil and Gas Law Mining Law Litigation - Environmental Real Estate Law Natural Resources Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Lansing, Michigan
  • Practice Areas:
    Energy Law Oil and Gas Law Natural Resources Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Austin, Texas
  • Practice Areas:
    Environmental Law Energy Law Natural Resources Law Mining Law Water Law Litigation - Environmental
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Santa Fe, New Mexico
  • Practice Areas:
    Mining Law Energy Law Natural Resources Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Troy, Michigan
  • Practice Areas:
    Natural Resources Law Environmental Law Energy Law Oil and Gas Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Ridgeland, Mississippi
  • Practice Areas:
    Litigation - Real Estate Energy Law Natural Resources Law Real Estate Law Banking and Finance Law Timber Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Cheyenne, Wyoming
  • Practice Areas:
    Litigation - Environmental Natural Resources Law Energy Law Environmental Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Practice Areas:
    Oil and Gas Law Natural Resources Law Mining Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Overland Park, Kansas
  • Practice Areas:
    Water Law Natural Resources Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
  • Practice Areas:
    Oil and Gas Law Natural Resources Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Billings, Montana
  • Practice Areas:
    Mergers and Acquisitions Law Natural Resources Law Banking and Finance Law Energy Law Corporate Law Tax Law Trusts and Estates Project Finance Law Real Estate Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Houston, Texas
  • Practice Areas:
    Natural Resources Law Commercial Litigation Oil and Gas Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Houston, Texas
  • Practice Areas:
    Natural Resources Law Corporate Law Securities / Capital Markets Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Charleston, West Virginia
  • Practice Areas:
    Energy Law Oil and Gas Law Commercial Litigation Litigation - Land Use and Zoning Litigation - Municipal Natural Resources Law Environmental Law Litigation - Environmental Mining Law Litigation - Regulatory Enforcement (SEC, Telecom, Energy)
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Bellevue, Washington
  • Practice Areas:
    Environmental Law Natural Resources Law Energy Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Boulder, Colorado
  • Practice Areas:
    Environmental Law Water Law Natural Resources Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • Practice Areas:
    Energy Law Environmental Law Natural Resources Law Litigation - Environmental
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Lake Oswego, Oregon Lake Oswego, Washington Vancouver, Oregon Vancouver, Washington
  • Practice Areas:
    Environmental Law Litigation - Environmental Natural Resources Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Baton Rouge, Louisiana
  • Practice Areas:
    Energy Law Oil and Gas Law Natural Resources Law Real Estate Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Austin, Texas
  • Practice Areas:
    Natural Resources Law Appellate Practice Administrative / Regulatory Law Litigation - Environmental Energy Law Insurance Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Seattle, Washington
  • Practice Areas:
    Environmental Law Energy Law Commercial Litigation Natural Resources Law Litigation - Environmental
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Denver, Colorado
  • Practice Areas:
    Natural Resources Law Energy Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Denver, Colorado
  • Practice Areas:
    Natural Resources Law Litigation - Environmental Administrative / Regulatory Law Energy Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Jefferson City, Missouri
  • Practice Areas:
    Natural Resources Law Environmental Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Bend, Oregon
  • Practice Areas:
    Natural Resources Law Water Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Atlanta, Georgia
  • Practice Areas:
    Environmental Law Water Law Natural Resources Law Government Contracts
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Lafayette, Louisiana
  • Practice Areas:
    Oil and Gas Law Natural Resources Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Albuquerque, New Mexico
  • Practice Areas:
    Natural Resources Law Energy Law Environmental Law Native American Law Oil and Gas Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Denver, Colorado
  • Practice Areas:
    Energy Law Environmental Law Natural Resources Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Jackson, Mississippi
  • Practice Areas:
    Commercial Litigation Oil and Gas Law Litigation - Banking and Finance Energy Law Legal Malpractice Law - Defendants Bet-the-Company Litigation Natural Resources Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Albuquerque, New Mexico
  • Practice Areas:
    Energy Law Natural Resources Law Native American Law Mining Law Oil and Gas Law Environmental Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Cheyenne, Wyoming
  • Practice Areas:
    Administrative / Regulatory Law Natural Resources Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Rapid City, South Dakota
  • Practice Areas:
    Litigation and Controversy - Tax Natural Resources Law Corporate Law Business Organizations (including LLCs and Partnerships) Litigation - Banking and Finance Real Estate Law Administrative / Regulatory Law Litigation - Real Estate Land Use and Zoning Law Tax Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Phoenix, Arizona
  • Practice Areas:
    Natural Resources Law Energy Law Environmental Law Water Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Ridgeland, Mississippi
  • Practice Areas:
    Energy Law Water Law Natural Resources Law Oil and Gas Law Litigation - Environmental
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Seattle, Washington
  • Practice Areas:
    Environmental Law Natural Resources Law Litigation - Environmental
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Evansville, Indiana
  • Practice Areas:
    Natural Resources Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Evansville, Indiana
  • Practice Areas:
    Natural Resources Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Houston, Texas
  • Practice Areas:
    Oil and Gas Law Natural Resources Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Birmingham, Alabama
  • Practice Areas:
    Environmental Law Mass Tort Litigation / Class Actions - Defendants Natural Resources Law Litigation - Environmental Energy Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Seattle, Washington
  • Practice Areas:
    Environmental Law Natural Resources Law Litigation - Environmental Land Use and Zoning Law Litigation - Land Use and Zoning
Lawyer
  • Location:
    San Francisco, California
  • Practice Areas:
    Land Use and Zoning Law Water Law Natural Resources Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Practice Areas:
    Oil and Gas Law Natural Resources Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Phoenix, Arizona
  • Practice Areas:
    Environmental Law Natural Resources Law Native American Law Water Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Atlanta, Georgia
  • Practice Areas:
    Energy Law Natural Resources Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Phoenix, Arizona
  • Practice Areas:
    Natural Resources Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Austin, Texas
  • Practice Areas:
    Oil and Gas Law Natural Resources Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Denver, Colorado
  • Practice Areas:
    Administrative / Regulatory Law Natural Resources Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Practice Areas:
    Natural Resources Law Litigation - Environmental Environmental Law Water Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Wichita, Kansas
  • Practice Areas:
    Natural Resources Law Energy Law Mining Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Austin, Texas
  • Practice Areas:
    Energy Law Oil and Gas Law Natural Resources Law

  • Location:
  • Practice Areas:

Practice Area Definition

Natural Resources Law Definition

“Natural resources” is an extraordinarily broad concept. The United States Geological Survey defines natural resources as “minerals, energy, land, water, and biota.” This definition includes the timber, metal, or stone that your house is built from, the fuel that produced the electricity that heats and cools it, the water in its pipes, and even the scenery that increases its value.

Natural resources law is occasionally confused with environmental law, but the fields are distinct. Environmental law is what you may not do; natural resources law is what you may do and how to do it. It is the body of law that organizes the discovery, development, allocation, ownership, management, and ultimately use of all the raw materials that our civilization is built from, and of the energy sources that make it run. In a practical sense, this term has come to mean the constellation of statutory, regulatory, and judicial law that customarily applies to the major natural resource industries such as mining, oil and gas, water, and forestry.

This body of law draws heavily from contract, property, and corporate law, but also has substantial overlap with environmental, tax, land use, administrative, and even tort law. The set of legal issues that confront, for example, a client wishing to organize a company to develop a particular offshore or onshore mineral deposit, is unique. Therefore, the diversity and specificity of these issues led to the emergence of specialized natural resource lawyers.

Natural resource lawyers also must be familiar with the business realities that affect their clients. They are experienced with the operational details and points of negotiation in the contracts and physical operations that are common and also unique to a particular resource. They must alert clients to potential traps for the unwary in the case law of their jurisdiction, navigate government regulations to accomplish their clients’ goals, and assemble transactions from the myriad property and operational issues that exist for each particular resource. For example, the mechanics and economics of the development of oil and gas versus hard minerals such as coal has led to dramatically different business structures and contracts to develop these distinct resources.

Some natural resource lawyers specialize in unwinding the often Gordian ownership of mineral resources, others are skilled in litigating the unique disputes that arise in the context of development joint ventures, and still others can structure natural resource projects from exploration, to development and sale. In recent years, the natural resource industries have acquired a significant international dimension; in this context natural resource lawyers can provide invaluable orientation and counsel to foreign companies investing in mineral projects in the United States, or domestic companies seeking to expand their presence globally.

Arthur J. Wright, Oil and Gas Practice Group Leader
Thompson & Knight LLP

Thompson & Knight LLP logo

“Natural resources” is an extraordinarily broad concept. The United States Geological Survey defines natural resources as “minerals, energy, land, water, and biota.” This definition includes the timber, metal, or stone that your house is built from, the fuel that produced the electricity that heats and cools it, the water in its pipes, and even the scenery that increases its value.

Natural resources law is occasionally confused with environmental law, but the fields are distinct. Environmental law is what you may not do; natural resources law is what you may do and how to do it. It is the body of law that organizes the discovery, development, allocation, ownership, management, and ultimately use of all the raw materials that our civilization is built from, and of the energy sources that make it run. In a practical sense, this term has come to mean the constellation of statutory, regulatory, and judicial law that customarily applies to the major natural resource industries such as mining, oil and gas, water, and forestry.

This body of law draws heavily from contract, property, and corporate law, but also has substantial overlap with environmental, tax, land use, administrative, and even tort law. The set of legal issues that confront, for example, a client wishing to organize a company to develop a particular offshore or onshore mineral deposit, is unique. Therefore, the diversity and specificity of these issues led to the emergence of specialized natural resource lawyers.

Natural resource lawyers also must be familiar with the business realities that affect their clients. They are experienced with the operational details and points of negotiation in the contracts and physical operations that are common and also unique to a particular resource. They must alert clients to potential traps for the unwary in the case law of their jurisdiction, navigate government regulations to accomplish their clients’ goals, and assemble transactions from the myriad property and operational issues that exist for each particular resource. For example, the mechanics and economics of the development of oil and gas versus hard minerals such as coal has led to dramatically different business structures and contracts to develop these distinct resources.

Some natural resource lawyers specialize in unwinding the often Gordian ownership of mineral resources, others are skilled in litigating the unique disputes that arise in the context of development joint ventures, and still others can structure natural resource projects from exploration, to development and sale. In recent years, the natural resource industries have acquired a significant international dimension; in this context natural resource lawyers can provide invaluable orientation and counsel to foreign companies investing in mineral projects in the United States, or domestic companies seeking to expand their presence globally.