Dalva L. Moellenberg


Dalva L. Moellenberg

Dal manages Gallagher & Kennedy’s Santa Fe office, practicing primarily with regulated industries, particularly in the areas of environmental and natural resources law and administrative law and litigation. For over 30 years, Dal has represented businesses in environmental, natural resources, and other sophisticated regulatory matters, working with legislative and regulatory bodies at the federal level, in both Arizona and New Mexico, and in the local markets of his clients. He also handles complex litigation and transactions involving regulated matters.

Dal concentrates his practice on water quality and water rights, Superfund, hazardous waste, mining law and mined land reclamation, and oil and gas regulation. His experience includes all types of administrative proceedings, including rulemaking, permitting and licensing, defense of regulatory enforcement actions, appeals of agency actions, and settlement, alternative dispute resolution, and litigation concerning environmental and other regulatory matters. He has appeared in administrative proceedings before the EPA Environmental Appeals Board, New Mexico Water Quality Control Commission, Environmental Appeals Board, Mining Commission, State Engineer, Superintendent of Insurance, Public Regulation Commission, and other agencies in New Mexico and Arizona. He has negotiated federal and state settlements regarding numerous matters, including federal Consent Decrees settling claims under the Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act, and CERCLA, including natural resource damage claims. Recent appellate experience includes appeals before the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals and the New Mexico Supreme Court and Court of Appeals, as well as appeals of administrative actions in the New Mexico District Courts.

Dal has been named a Southwest Super Lawyer since 2007, recognized among the Best Lawyers in America since 1999, and is ranked in Chambers USA.

Representative Experience

  • Acting as the lead industry attorney in proceedings before the New Mexico Water Quality Control Commission regarding the adoption of water quality control regulations for copper mines and dairies in accordance with 2009 amendments to the New Mexico Water Quality Act. These matters included development of industry strategy and representation in rule development proceedings conducted by the New Mexico Environment Department, public hearings before the Commission, and appeals to the New Mexico Court of Appeals and Supreme Court.
  • Representing mining clients in New Mexico and Arizona in obtaining and maintaining mining claims on public lands and obtaining permits needed for mining operations, including federal and state water quality permits, air quality permits, mined land reclamation permits, and authorization for mining on state and federal public lands.
  • Representing businesses in defending and settling compliance and enforcement actions brought by federal and state agencies under various environmental laws, including the federal Clean Water Act, Toxic Substances Control Act, Endangered Species Act, and Migratory Bird Treaty Act, and state water quality, air quality, and other environmental laws.
  • Representing businesses conducting due diligence and negotiating contract terms concerning the acquisition of businesses and real estate, particularly relating to compliance with environmental laws and assessment of liability under Superfund and other environmental cleanup laws, acquisition and transfer of mineral rights, and leases and other rights on public lands.
  • Representing industries in the assessment, negotiation, settlement, and litigation relating to response actions under federal and state Superfund and other cleanup laws and natural resource damage claims, including negotiation of numerous consent decrees filed in federal and state courts.
  • Government relations advocacy before legislatures and federal and state agencies on behalf of various regulated entities, including the mining, oil and gas, chemical, and agriculture industries.

Bar & Court Admissions

  • Arizona, 1985
  • New Mexico, 1993
  • U.S. District Court, District of Arizona, 1985
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, 1991
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit, 2020

Associations & Memberships

  • State Bar of New Mexico, Member
  • State Bar of Arizona, Member
  • State Bar of New Mexico, Environmental Law and Natural Resources Law Section, Member
  • New Mexico Mining Association, Environment Committee, Chairman
  • New Mexico Chamber of Commerce Environment, Water and Land Use Policy Committee, Vice-Chair
  • Western New Mexico University Board of Regents, Member, 2023-2028

Honors & Awards

  • AV Preeminent Peer Review Rating, Martindale-Hubbell
  • Best Lawyers in America®, Environmental Law, 2001-2024; Litigation - Environmental, 2011-2024; Natural Resources Law, 2016-2024
  • Best Lawyers in America®, Santa Fe Lawyer of the Year, Environmental Law, 2016, 2020, 2023
  • Best Lawyers in America®, Santa Fe Lawyer of the Year, Natural Resources, 2022
  • Chambers USA®, 2004-2008, 2013-2023
  • Southwest Super Lawyers®, Environmental Law, 2007-2023
  • Business Today News, Top 10 Influential New Mexico Lawyers Transforming Natural Resources & Environment Law, 2023
  • ALM Media Legal Leaders, Arizona’s Top Rated Lawyers, 2018
  • Doc Weiler/Marvin Watts Award for Professionalism, New Mexico Mining Association, 2012
  • Arizona's Finest Lawyers, 2011

Published Works

  • RCRA Regulation of Mining and State and Federal Mined Land Reclamation Programs, Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration, 1990 and 1994
  • Turning Gold into Solid Waste: RCRA Regulation of Industrial Processes, Arizona State Law Journal, 1991

Press Releases

Speaking Engagements

  • New Mexico Water Law Conference, CLE International (Multiple Topics)
  • WQARF Reform, Continuing Legal Education, State Bar of Arizona
  • WQARF Reform, Continuing Legal Education, Arizona Chamber of Commerce
  • Environmental Regulation of Mining, Continuing Legal Education, State Bar of New Mexico
  • Water Quality and Toxic Substances, Continuing Legal Education, Arizona State University, Center for Environmental Studies
  • Environmental Law Concerns for Developers, National Business Institute
  • Preservation of Cultural Resources on Federal Public Lands in Arizona, National Business Institute
  • Endangered Species and Wildlife Protection, National Business Institute
  • Mineral Resource Management Issues, National Business Institute