Environmental, Natural Resources, & Energy

Natural Resources & Energy

Natural Resources

Stites & Harbison's attorneys have extensive national experience in representing extractive and associated industries related to energy production. These include companies engaged in mining, producing, transporting and selling energy resources such as coal, waste coal, oil and gas, and in the hardrock production of limestone, sand and gravel.

Our team also represents businesses and groups involved in all aspects of natural resource development and protection. This includes timber management, land reclamation, land conservation and mitigation of environmental impacts associated with resource development.

Regional, national, and international clients turn to the Environmental and Natural Resources attorneys of Stites & Harbison for cutting-edge advice on business and legal issues related to transactions, mining and selling coal and other extractive products, and related taxation. Clients include those engaged in mining, producing, transporting and selling energy resources such as coal, waste coal, oil and gas, and in the hardrock production of limestone, sand and gravel. We also provide legal advice on mining and related regulatory aspects of natural resources.

Recent examples of our representations in this area include:

  • Counseled developer of waste coal facility for sale and processing of slurry and coarse refuse in legacy site.
  • Advised seller of Powder River Basin operations on permitting and bonding requirements and lead negotiations with state and federal regulators.
  • Conducted due diligence for permitting, reclamation bonding, and compliance issues on Appalachian operations involving metallurgical coal.
  • Advised limestone producers on acquisitions of reserves and on acquisition, permitting, and sale of operations.
  • Negotiated transaction documents for sale of surface mining, underground mining, processing, and waste facilities in eastern Kentucky.
  • Represented buyer in due diligence and regulatory aspects of transaction for purchase of multi-state operations in Appalachia.
  • Represented an Appalachian coal producer against Cogentrix, Inc. regarding a "requirements" coal supply contract that resulted in a favorable arbitration award for the client of more than $8 million.
  • Counseled a large eastern, investor-owned utility and a regional generation cooperative on the largest bankruptcy of a coal supplier in the country, Horizon Natural Resources, and its pre-petition and post-petition failures to perform various coal supply agreements with those utilities.
  • Represented a coal company against a South Carolina utility regarding its alleged failure to perform a coal supply agreement.
  • Drafted amendments and revisions on behalf of a supplier with DTE, TVA, VEPCO, Southern Company Services and various other utilities and industrial users.
  • Represented private parties in numerous disputes on coal supply contracts, marketing and sales contracts, and the renegotiation of unfavorable agreements.

The group's depth of experience in the coal and utility industries is a practical plus. No problem with a coal supply contract is too large or too small for Stites & Harbison to bring added value to the client in resolving a dispute before it happens or in bringing an "outside the box" approach to satisfy both the coal supplier and coal user under such a contract.


Very few subjects have generated as much regulatory, political or social concern as electrical energy generation. Our country is in the process of reviewing policies related to traditional energy production and responding to environmental concerns. Although our firm’s experience with conventional power production technologies and related legal issues in the United States is extensive as described below, we continue to stay abreast of initiatives and regulatory proposals which may involve economic or operational constraints on existing technologies. We also monitor initiatives related to enhancements and incentives for reduced emissions and alternative energy development.

Stites & Harbison has an active Energy and Electrical Power practice and provides a broad spectrum of legal services related to the industry. From siting, permitting and constructing power plants and transmission facilities to prosecuting patents on electrical generating technology or negotiating and litigating power purchase or fuel supply agreements, the breadth of experience at the firm supports many facets of this vital industry.

Main Contact
What others are saying about us

. . . have a deep understanding of mining reclamation and related environmental issues. They translate this expertise into practical advice that I rely on regularly in my business.

This comment was collected as part of the U.S. News — Best Lawyers® "Best Law Firms" research process. (2018-19)
See more related to Natural Resources & Energy
Press Releases

Bluegrass Area Chapter of American Red Cross Elects Brady W. Dunnigan to Board

LEXINGTON, Ky.—The Bluegrass Area Chapter of the American Red Cross has elected Stites & Harbison, PLLC attorney Brady W. Dunnigan to its Board of Directors. He will serve an initial two-year term.

by Stites & Harbison, PLLC September 06, 2023
Client Alerts

Significant Merchant Electric Legislative Amendments Head to Governor's Desk

Over the past several years, Kentucky, similar to other states, has received many applications for industrial-scale solar generation and energy storage facilities in rural areas across the Commonwealth. Up to this point in time, seeking and receiving a Certification for Construction from the Kentucky State Board on Electric Generation and Transmission ("Siting Board") followed a framework developed before recent commercial interest in large-scale solar development arose in Kentucky. Attorney Bill Gorton takes a look at the issues and concerns that have arisen.

by William T. Gorton III March 24, 2023