Water and Natural Resources Staff Listing



AG Employment Opportunities



Deputy Attorney General


James Kaste
James Kaste is Deputy Attorney General for the Water and Natural Resources Division of the Wyoming Attorney General’s Office. James received his B.A. in journalism from the University of Wyoming in 1995 and his J.D. from the University of Wyoming in 1998. He began his career as the law clerk for the Hon. Edward L. Grant and Hon. Nicholas G. Kalokathis in the First Judicial District Court of Wyoming. Before joining the Wyoming Attorney General’s Office in 2008, James was a partner in a private insurance defense firm in Cheyenne where he oversaw a broad range of litigation in wide variety of venues. His private practice focused on general civil litigation primarily professional liability defense with significant emphasis on medical malpractice litigation, insurance defense, commercial litigation, products liability defense, and insurance bad faith.

Since joining the office, James has represented the State of Wyoming in a wide variety of cases related to the natural resources and waters of Wyoming, including winter use in the National Parks, grazing on the public lands, coal leasing in the Powder River Basin, the expansion of natural gas fields in Sublette County, the Roadless Area Conservation Rule, and the Endangered Species Act. In addition to his supervisory responsibilities, James represents the Wyoming State Board of Control, and continues to represent the other client agencies within the Division as needed. James has also served as lead counsel in the interstate water dispute known as Montana v. Wyoming since 2012. The first phase of this interstate water compact litigation invoking the original jurisdiction of the United States Supreme Court was tried to a Special Master over the course of twenty-five trial days. Recently, James has also led the State of Wyoming and the Department of Environmental Quality’s legal team in all matters related to the bankruptcies of the three largest coal companies in Wyoming.

Supervising Attorneys General 

Christopher Brown
Chris Brown is a Senior Assistant Attorney General within the Water and Natural Resources Division. Chris is a Wyoming native from Cody and a United States Navy veteran. He received his J.D. with honor from the University of Wyoming College of Law in 2002, and is a member of the Order of the Coif. Before joining the Wyoming Attorney General’s Office in 2011, Chris was a partner in a private law firm in Powell, Wyoming, where he gained a broad range of legal experience including tort litigation, real estate and business transactions, employment law, administrative law, and water law.

Chris supervises the Water Section of the Water and Natural Resources Division, whose attorneys represent the Wyoming State Engineer’s Office, the Wyoming Water Development Commission, the Wyoming Department of Agriculture, and several divisions of the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality including the Water Quality, Land Quality, Industrial Siting, and Solid and Hazardous Waste Divisions. They also represent several professional licensing boards including the Board of Professional Engineers and Professional Land Surveyors and the Board of Professional Geologists. Chris’s primary representation responsibilities are to the State Engineer’s Office. He provides day-to-day advice and representation to that Office on all water related issues arising throughout the state, and national water issues affecting Wyoming. He is also the primary attorney providing legal representation to the state on all interstate river compacts and decrees such as those associated with the Colorado River. Chris is a member of the Western States Water Council and the Upper Colorado River Commission legal committee. He is also part of the litigation team defending the United States Supreme Court original action, Montana v. Wyoming.

Erik Petersen
Erik Petersen is a Senior Assistant Attorney General in the Water and Natural Resources Division of the Wyoming Attorney General’s Office. Erik received his Juris Doctorate degree from the George Washington University Law School in 2003. Later that same year, Erik joined the Washington D.C. office of Bracewell LLP, a full service law firm that specializes in assisting clients with energy and natural resource issues. Erik eventually left private practice in order to accept a position in the Environmental and Natural Resources Division of the United States Department of Justice. While there, Erik served as lead defense counsel in a number of cases involving wildlife and land management issues. At the same time, Erik taught administrative law at the George Washington University.

Erik supervises the Natural Resources Section of the Water and Natural Resources Division. The attorneys in the Natural Resources Section represent Wyoming’s Game and Fish Department and Wyoming’s Department of Environmental Quality, including the Air Quality Division, the Water Quality Division, and the uranium mining program. Erik also oversees the State’s natural resource litigation. Wyoming’s natural resource litigators represent Wyoming in federal litigation that the Governor determines necessary to protect the State’s natural resource interests. The subject matter of these cases is diverse and includes litigation arising under statutes such as the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, the Endangered Species Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, and the Federal Land Policy and Management Act. Erik frequently acts as Wyoming’s lead counsel in these cases, which have included (1) a challenge to EPA’s “Clean Power Plan” rule; (2) a challenge to EPA’s “Waters of the United States” rule; and (3) a defense of the most recent delisting of the Greater Yellowstone grizzly bear population.

Senior Assistant Attorneys General 

David DeWald
D. David DeWald is a Senior Assistant Attorney General in the Water and Natural Resources Division. David represents the State of Wyoming in natural resource litigation involving wildlife issues, such as cases brought under the Administrative Procedure Act, the Endangered Species Act, and the National Environmental Policy Act. His litigation experience includes appearances before every level of state and federal court, including merits experience before the Supreme Court of the United States. He also has served as lead counsel in numerous trials, administrative proceedings, and arbitrations.

David has represented several state agencies during his tenure with the office. He primarily represents the Wyoming Game and Fish Department and Commission, the agency charged with conserving Wyoming's wildlife resources. David advises his client on issues ranging from wildlife conservation to the promulgation of agency regulation and policy. David enjoys collaborating with Game and Fish because he works closely with professionals who ensure the State's wildlife are preserved for the next generation. 

Prior to joining the Wyoming Attorney General's Office, David practiced commercial litigation for a national law firm, where he represented a diverse array of corporate clients in class action, antitrust and trade regulation, products liability, and professional negligence litigation.
  
David received his Juris Doctor with High Distinction, Order of the Coif, from the Nebraska College of Law, where he served as Articles Editor for the Nebraska Law Review. He began his career as a law clerk for the Honorable John M. Gerrard of the Nebraska Supreme Court. An avid fisherman, David enjoys exploring waters throughout the state. He lives in Cheyenne with his family. 


Assistant Attorneys General 

Kelly Shaw 
Kelly Shaw is an Assistant Attorney General in the Water and Natural Resources Division of the Wyoming Attorney General's Office. Kelly earned her J.D. and a certificate in environmental and natural resources law from the University of Colorado Law School. She received her B.A. from the University of Colorado at Boulder, where she graduated magna cum laude with concentrations in international affairs, political science, and history. Before joining the Wyoming Attorney General's Office, Kelly worked for a nonprofit environmental group, the U.S. Department of the Interior, and a civil litigation firm.

Kelly primarily represents the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality, where she assists the Uranium Recovery Program in its efforts to establish a state program and advises the Water Quality Division on various legal issues. She also represents the Wyoming Board of Professional Geologists. During her time at the Wyoming Attorney General’s Office, Kelly has represented the State in administrative hearings, argued cases to the Environmental Quality Council, and presented oral argument to the Wyoming Supreme Court. She has also participated in the Department of Environmental Quality’s efforts to clean up contaminated soil and water under Wyoming’s Voluntary Remediation Program, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, and the Clean Water Act. 

Casey Kurnath
Casey Kurnath is an Assistant Attorney General in the Water and Natural Resource Division of the Wyoming Attorney General’s Office. Casey is a native New Yorker and received a B.A. in Environmental Studies from Stony Brook University. She earned her J.D. from the Maurice A. Dean School of Law at Hofstra University where she graduated cum laude with a concentration in Environmental and Energy Law. During her time there she served as an editor on the Hofstra Law Review and the president of the Hofstra Law Energy and Environmental Law Society. 

Casey Represents the Department of Environmental Quality’s Land Quality and Abandoned Mine Lands Divisions. In her role she provides day to day legal advice, deals with enforcement issues, and assists with various other legal issues. 

Sean Towles
Sean Towles is an Assistant Attorney General in the Water and Natural Resources Division of the Wyoming Attorney General’s Office. Sean primarily represents the State Engineer’s Office, providing day-to-day advice and representation on water related issues throughout the state. Sean also advises the State Board of Examining Water Well Drilling Contractors and Water Well Pump Installation Contractors.

A native of northern Colorado, Sean earned a BA in History from Colorado State University in 2011 before earning a JD and Master’s in Public Administration from Indiana University in 2015. During law school, Sean earned a CALI Excellence for the Future Award for his performance in Water Law, and completed internships with the Law Reform Commission of Liberia, the City of Fort Collins, and the Indiana Attorney General’s Office. Sean began his career as an attorney for the Indiana Attorney General’s Office, advising numerous state agencies and boards on a wide variety of issues and litigating state collections cases. Sean is licensed to practice law in Indiana, Colorado, and Wyoming. In his spare time, Sean enjoys coaching wrestling and playing drums.

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Paralegal

Cheryl Lobb
(307) 777-7895
cheryl.lobb@wyo.gov 

 


Attorney General
Bridget Hill