Carolyn McIntosh counsels clients on complex environmental compliance matters and environmental, natural resources and commercial litigation. In addition to her environmental litigation and regulatory work, Carolyn counsels a variety of companies on federal land use approvals and in the renewable energy and clean technology (cleantech) arena. She has devoted much of her career to addressing exposure, remediation and cost recovery litigation related to contaminated sites under state and US federal laws in California, Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Massachusetts, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming. She has been the lead environmental counsel on dozens of site remediation matters, concerning regulatory compliance, arbitration and litigation.

Previously, Carolyn served as an assistant attorney general for the state of Colorado for Superfund and hazardous waste management and as a special assistant attorney general to the state of Montana, implementing its Superfund program. Carolyn has litigated cases involving the applicability of state hazardous waste management laws to the Rocky Mountain Arsenal, air quality regulatory requirements in Colorado, remediation at radioactive mill processing facilities, zoning land use and the National Environmental Policy Act.

Carolyn has extensive experience handling compliance, permitting and federal land use matters, including advising clients in Colorado, New Mexico and Nevada regarding BLM land use approval matters, air permitting for waste management companies, Clean Water Act permitting issues for the Department of Energy's Hanford installation, and hazardous waste and solid waste permitting for local governments and the waste management industry. Carolyn has represented the City and County of Denver, and the states of Colorado and Montana in major Superfund litigation and environmental compliance matters, including Lowry Landfill, the Denver Radium Sites and Uravan. She also regularly provides environmental due diligence counseling.

Carolyn has served on a number of local government boards and commissions, including 12 years on the Lafayette City Council, the last four years of which she served as the mayor of Lafayette. Carolyn served for three years on the Boulder County Long Range Planning Commission, and for four years, she participated in the Urban Drainage and Flood Control District. Additionally, Carolyn served on the Denver Regional Council of Governments Board for 10 years and on the Metro Mayor’s Council for four years. She was also a founding member of the Northwest Parkway Public Highway Authority. Carolyn is a current member of the Colorado Law Alumni Board, chairing its Nominations Committee and serving on the Diversity Committee. She is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Squire Patton Boggs Foundation, which promotes the role of public service and pro bono work in the practice of law and the development of public policy.

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  • University of Colorado School of Law, J.D., 1981
  • Middlebury College, B.A., cum laude, 1978


  • Colorado, 1981


  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th, 9th, and 10th Circuits
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit

Memberships & Affiliations

  • First vice president and former trustee, American Exploration & Mining Association
  • Adjunct professor, Natural Resources Law, Tulane Master of Jurisprudence in Energy and Environmental Law Program, Tulane Law School, 2022-present
  • Member, Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation Trustees Council
  • Co-chair, American Bar Association, Section on Environment, Energy & Resources, Superfund & Natural Resource Damages Newsletter Committee
  • Member, Colorado Law Alumni Board, Diversity and Nominations Committees, 2007-2017
  • Member, Law360, Environmental Editorial Advisory Board, 2011 and 2016
  • Former President of the Board, Connected Organizations for a Responsible Economy (CORE), 2005-2012
  • Member, Colorado Water Conservation Board, 2002-2004
  • Former managing partner, Denver Office, Patton Boggs LLP, 1993- 2002
  • Member, The Alliance of Professional Women
  • Former adjunct professor, Environmental Law and Permitting, Environmental Policy and Management Program, University of Denver
  • Former associate adjunct professor, Environmental Law and Permitting, Environmental Policy and Management Program, Environmental Sciences Department, Colorado School of Mines
  • Co-founder, Board of Governors member, instructor and ERM designation recipient, Environmental Risk Management Program, Texas State University
  • Listed as a key lawyer in The Legal 500 US 2023 for Environment: Litigation and Environment: Regulatory
  • Recognized in The Best Lawyers in America 2021-2024 for Environmental Law, Environmental Litigation and Natural Resources Law
  • Ranked in Who’s Who Legal: Environment 2014-2015 and 2022
  • Named a Colorado Super Lawyer by Super Lawyers 2006-2010 and 2018-2022
  • Recognized in Denver Business Journal as one of 2016’s Top Women in Energy
  • Recognized as one of the top 40 women influencers in metro Denver’s energy sector by the Denver Business Journal 2015
  • Recognized as one of the 2015 Top Women Lawyers by Law Week Colorado 2015
  • Listed in Chambers USA for Colorado Natural Resources & Environment since 2012
  • Ranked in Top Rated Lawyers Guide to Energy, Environmental & Natural Resources Law 2012
  • Recognized as a Super Lawyer by Super Lawyers Business Edition 2011
  • Nominated a Litigation Commentary & Review Fellow, January/February 2010
  • Listed in Women of Accomplishment by Law Week Colorado 2009
  • Finalist of the Outstanding Women in Business (Professional Division) recognitions by the Denver Business Journal 2006
  • Named a Litigation Counsel of America Fellow

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  • Speaker and Moderator, “We Believe in You and Your Brownfield Redevelopment, Too: Creative Solutions at Superfund Sites,” American Bar Association, Superfund Master Class, May 16, 2022.
  • Program Co-chair and Speaker, “Engaging and Working with Experts,” Foundation for Natural Resources and Energy Law, May 6, 2022.
  • Co-author, “Mining Law Fifth Amendment Takings Analysis,” submitted to the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources hearing An Examination and Consideration of Updates to the Mining Law of 1872, October 5, 2021.
  • Co-author, “Waters of the United States: Experts’ Essays,” American Water Works Association Journal, Fall 2021.
  • Speaker, “Restoring Abandoned Mines: Good Samaritans or Risky Policy,” Environmental Law Institute webinar, February 4, 2021.
  • Moderator, American Bar Association program “EPA's Financial Assurance Rules for the Mining Industry and Why Every Industry Should Take Note,” April 13, 2016.
  • Co-author, “Successfully Bringing a Superfund Subrogation Claim,” Superfund and Natural Resources Damages Litigation Committee Newsletter, Vol. 10, No. 1, Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources, American Bar Association, November 2014.
  • Guest, “The Practical Environmental Considerations That Exist in Acquiring or Securing Real Estate Financing,” Capital Thinking Radio Show, November 14, 2013.
  • Author, “Uncertainty in Clean Water Act Permitting Continues,” Rock Products, June 2013.
  • Author, “Resumption of Mining in the Comstock Historic District of Nevada,” Mining and Mineral Extraction Newsletter, Vol. 7, American Bar Association, Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources, Spring 2013.
  • Author, “Sackett: A Victory, But Not A Solution,” Coal Age, April 2012.
  • Author, “The EPA Overstepped Its Statutory Authority Under the Clean Water Act,” Coal Age, October 2011.
  • Presenter, “The Changing Face of Regulation,” Rocky Mountain AGL Regional Conference, June 9, 2011.
  • Author, “Uncertainty Follows EPA Edict,” Aggregates Manager, October 2010.
  • Author, Chapter 6 “The Changing Landscape of Greenhouse Gas Regulation: A Sound Investment or a Bill of Goods?” of Recent Developments in Greenhouse Gas Regulations (Aspatore Books “Inside the Minds” series), Summer 2010.
  • Co-author, “Incorporating Smart Grid Projects into Your Municipal Electric Utility System,” Colorado Municipalities, April 2010.
  • Presenter, “The Nuts and Bolts of Stimulus Funding: What Type Applies to Your Business?” Connected Organizations for a Responsible Economy (CORE) Workshop, Denver, Colorado, June 30, 2009.
  • Author, “Colorado’s Share of the Stimulus,” ColoradoBiz, May 2009.
  • Author, Chapter 7 “EPA Regulation” of Nanotechnology & FDA-Regulated Products: The Essential Guide, February 2009.
  • Author, “A Railroad’s Environmental Legacy,” Counsel to Counsel, May 2008.
  • Co-author, “The Nanotech Revolution – The Next Big Thing Is Ultra Small,” ColoradoBiz, December 2007.

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