Howard Kenison

Howard Kenison
  • Overview
  • Experience
  • Media & Presentations
  • Professional & Community
600 17th Street
Suite 1800 South
Denver, Colorado 80202
T 303.454.0505
F 303.573.1956
Lorri K. Parker
T 303.454.0531
  • Colorado
  • U.S. District Court, District of Colorado
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, D.C. Circuit

Howard Kenison’s experience litigating environmental cases before state and federal courts and administrative agencies provides invaluable knowledge and insight for business clients dealing with the complex array of environmental laws that can impact commercial transactions.

His current practice includes environmental due diligence in corporate acquisitions and real estate transactions, air quality litigation and permitting, NEPA litigation for utility, water and transportation projects, environmental audits for corporate risk prevention, wetlands permitting and defense of enforcement actions, hazardous and radioactive waste facility litigation, water quality permitting and enforcement actions, superfund and natural resource damage litigation and environmental insurance litigation.

Howard is the former Colorado Deputy Attorney General in charge of Colorado's Superfund Litigation and he maintains key contacts with environmental agencies.

Awards & Recognition
  • Best Lawyers in America (2011-2018)
  • Best Lawyers in America, Denver Litigation – Environmental "Lawyer of the Year" (2016)
  • Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business, Natural Resources & Environment – Colorado (2014-2017)
  • Best Lawyers in America (2011-2018)
  • Colorado Super Lawyers (2007-2015, 2017)
  • Outstanding Alumni Award, University of Denver Sturm College of Law, Law Star (2011)
  • Distinguished Natural Resources Practitioner-in-Residence, University of Denver Sturm College of Law (2010)
  • Attorney of the Year, Law Week Colorado (2009)
  • Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent® Rated, “Top Rated Lawyer in Denver"
  • International Who’s Who Legal, Environmental Law (2012, 2014)

Environmental Liabilities and Due Diligence 

Howard regularly advises clients involved in complex asset, stock purchase transactions, real estate development projects and other business transactions concerning the allocation of environmental risks and liabilities, including environmental representations and warranties, indemnities and due diligence efforts. His experience litigating environmental cases provides a practical aspect to his advice not commonly found in more traditional environmental practitioners.

  • Representative cases: Howard has provided counsel to an electric generating utility concerning the potential environmental liabilities and the allocation of environmental risk arising from the acquisition, development and construction of a new generating facility.
  • Provide advice and counsel regarding potential environmental liability for real estate development project to be developed on a closed landfill on former federal facility.
  • Advise client regarding environmental representations and warranties and disclosures in stock purchase transactions.
  • Work with client to prepare request for proposals and expert studies to develop environmental baseline in purchase agreement.

Clean Air Act Litigation and Permitting

Howard represents utility clients in litigation involving air permits and counsel’s clients concerning permitting and compliance with state and federal clean air act laws.

  • Representative Cases: Howard currently represents a major electric utility seeking an air permit for a generating facility and is litigation counsel for this utility in several lawsuits related to the air permit. In the past he defended utilities involved in a visibility impact case brought under the federal Clean Air Act.

NEPA Litigation

Howard provides strategic advice and counsel to clients involved in preparation and litigation of Environmental Impact Statements for utility transmission, highway transportation and water projects, including litigation-sensitive advice regarding comments for the administrative record involving purpose and need, environmental impacts, noise, air quality, wetlands, air toxics, traffic demand and Section 4(f) parks and historic properties.

  • Representative Cases: He recently settled a case involving a Colorado mutual ditch company in litigation challenging the adequacy of an EIS, and he represents the Jefferson Parkway Public Highway Authority as environmental and litigation counsel involving the completion of the transportation beltway around Metro Denver. In the past, Howard has represented the E-470 Public Highway Authority and the Northwest Parkway Public Highway Authority as Special Environmental Counsel.

Hazardous Waste Facility Litigation and Permitting

Howard successfully represented a county government client before the Colorado Supreme Court regarding disposal of radioactive wastes. He advised the client on all aspects of Colorado's Hazardous Waste Act and Colorado's radiation control provisions, including the state permitting process and applicable local land use laws.

Wetlands Permitting and Enforcement 

Howard defends clients caught in federal wetland enforcement actions and represents developers and others seeking to obtain permits from the United States Army Corps of Engineers under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act.                

  • Representative Cases: He has represented developers in EPA and Corps enforcement cases that involve disputes over the agencies’ Clean Water Act jurisdiction, negotiations of the terms and conditions of Consent Decrees and Administrative Compliance Orders as well as the amount of civil penalties. Howard has also provided legal strategy concerning the development of alternatives analysis in complex 404 permit applications.

Superfund Litigation

Howard has extensive experience in Superfund litigation including cost recovery cases and natural resource damage matters. He has worked as counsel for clients involved in PRP committees and has negotiated resolution of superfund claims with environmental agencies. 

  • Representative Cases: As Deputy Attorney General, Howard's principal responsibility was to provide strategic litigation planning for seven major Superfund lawsuits in Colorado federal courts; these cases included one of the largest contaminated sites in the nation - the Rocky Mountain Arsenal Superfund Site. He was directly involved in all aspects of cost recovery claims under CERCLA Section 107 as well as claims for natural resource damages. Howard also represented the City of Lakewood, Colorado as a PRP at the Lowry Landfill Superfund Site and has argued Superfund issues before the U. S. Court of Appeals.
  • Howard recently settled EPA Superfund claims against a client at an historic mining site in South Dakota.
  • He is currently representing a client in a case related to the de-listing of a landfill.

Water Quality Permitting and Enforcement 

In addition to his wetlands practice, Howard provides advice and counsel to utility and other clients concerning NPDES permitting and represents clients where the government has initiated enforcement actions under state and federal water quality laws.

Environmental Audits for Corporate Risk Prevention 

To assist clients in avoiding government enforcement actions, Howard routinely advises clients undertaking environmental compliance and environmental management system audits. His counsel involves advice concerning the application of federal and state environmental audit and privilege laws designed to protect clients from environmental liabilities and penalties.

Environmental Insurance Litigation 

Howard served as environmental counsel for a large multi-state utility in a three-week jury trial seeking insurance recovery for releases of contaminates at three Superfund sites. The trial resulted in a $7.1 million verdict for his client.  He continues to work with our firm's insurance coverage team on environmental coverage matters. 

Media & Presentations
News Releases
Media Mentions
"Carbon Offsets From Soils and Forests A Primer for Colorado Lawyers," co-author, The Colorado Lawyer
"White Paper on the Rule of Law and Environmental Issues," International Rule of Law Symposium, New York City, NY
Panel Moderator and Reporter, ABA Standing Committee on Environmental Law, Conference on Environmental Priorities in Southeast Asian Nations, Bangkok, Thailand
Program Co-Chair, "U.S. Implementation of the Rio Agreements and Agenda 21," ABA Standing Committee on Environmental Law, 23rd Annual Conference on the Environment, Washington, D.C.
  • Colorado
  • U.S. District Court, District of Colorado
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, D.C. Circuit
Professional & Community


  • Litigation Counsel of America, Senior Fellow (2016)
  • 44th Spring Conference: The ABA Super Conference on Environmental Law, Program Chair (2015)
  • Fellows of the American Bar Foundation, Colorado State Co-Chair (2014), Chair (2015-2017)
  • American Bar Association (ABA) Standing Committee on Environmental Law, Past Chair (2005-2007)
  • ABA SEER, Chair Governance Committee
  • ABA Section of  Environment, Energy and Resources (SEER), World Justice Project Task Force, Chair (2009-2012, 2017)
  • ABA SEER representative to World Justice Forum II, Vienna, Austria (2009) and World Justice Forum III, Barcelona, Spain (2011)
  • ABA Working Group on Environmental Issues and the Rule of Law, Chair (2007)
  • ABA General Practice, Solo and Small Firm Division, Environment, Energy and Natural Resource Committee, Past Chair (2003-2005)
  • National Academy of Science's Transportation Research Board Committee on Environmental Issues in Transportation Law, Past Member
  • ABA Superfund Re-Authorization Work Group, Member
  • ABA SEER, Member and Past Council Member
  • ABA Sections of Litigation and Administrative Law, Member
  • Colorado Bar Foundation, Fellow
  • Colorado Lawyers Committee, Board Member
  • Colorado Bar Association (CBA), Member
  • CBA, Environmental Law Section Advisory Council, Past Member
  • CBA, Board of Governors (1981 – 1983)
  • University of Denver Sturm College of Law, Law Alumni Council, Past Chair (2000 – 2010)
  • Colorado Journal of International Environmental Law and Policy, University of Colorado Law School, past chair, Advisory Board (1992 – 2010)
  • 22nd Annual Conference on the Environment, Public Participation in Environmental Decision Making, Program Chair (1993)
  • 23rd Annual Conference on the Environment, U.S. Implementation of the Rio Agreements and Agenda 21, Program Co-Chair (1994)
  • Conference on Environmental Priorities in Southeast Asian Nations, Bangkok, Thailand, Rapporteur (1996)
  • Conference on Trade and the Environment in Pacific Rim Nations, Hong Kong, China, Panel Moderator (1993)

Community Involvement

  • Rocky Mountain Greenway Steering Committee, Member (2013 – present)
  • Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado, Board Member (2010 – 2016)
  • Sand Creek Regional Greenway Partnership, Board Member, (2009 – 2011)
  • Northeast Greenway Corridor Advisory Group, Working Group, Past Chair (2003 – 2013)
  • State Board of the Great Outdoors Colorado Trust Fund, Past Vice-Chair (1998-2002)
  • Colorado State Board of Parks and Outdoor Recreation, Member (1995-1998)
  • Task Force on Environmental Sustainability, City and County of Denver, Co-Chair (1999)
  • Colorado Center for Environmental Management, Past Chair (1991-1995)
  • Board of Trustees Historic Denver, Member (1992-1994)
  • Metro Denver Chamber of Commerce, Leadership Denver (1990-1991)
600 17th Street
Suite 1800 South
Denver, Colorado 80202
T 303.454.0505
F 303.573.1956
Lorri K. Parker
T 303.454.0531
  • University of Denver College of Law

    (J.D., 1972)

  • University of Washington

    (B.A., 1968)

  • Colorado
  • U.S. District Court, District of Colorado
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, D.C. Circuit

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