People

John E. Putnam

Managing Partner

Denver Office
303.825.7000 C 720.236.6718
Washington, DC Office
202.955.5600

Education and Clerkships

J.D., with honors, University of Chicago, 1993
Judicial Law Clerk, Judge David M. Ebel, United States Court of Appeals, 10th Circuit
B.A., summa cum laude, Williams College, 1990

Bar Admissions

Colorado
District of Columbia
Many Federal District Courts, Courts of Appeals

Resources


P3 Airport Projects: An Introduction for Airport Lawyers

John E. Putnam

John Putnam counsels and litigates on behalf of public and private entities on the development and operation of infrastructure. John has extensive experience providing clients with strategic advice on airport, electricity, surface transportation, water, and other infrastructure projects throughout the country. He counsels clients regarding a wide range of environmental, energy, and transportation issues, including public utilities laws, the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), air quality, climate change, noise, transportation regulations, and natural resources.

Representative Experience

Electricity and Energy Projects

  • Representing solar industry trade association in Colorado PUC dockets and settlements regarding net metering and solar policy issues
  • Representing large electric customer in dispute with utility regarding inadequate service
  • Represented independent power producer in Colorado Public Utilities Commission dockets to renew expiring power purchase agreements for gas-fired assets, including electric resource planning and Colorado Clean Air-Clean Jobs Act dockets
  • Represented independent power producers in PUC litigation to retire coal-fired facilities in the Denver Metropolitan Area to provide opportunities for IPP assets
  • Represented major demand side management provider in DSM dockets
  • Representing power generators, fuel providers, and motor vehicle manufacturers in Clean Air Act regulatory matters
  • Represented brownfield development interests in successful PUC litigation to strike environmental tariffs that would have burdened infill development
  • Represented wind IPPs in PUC dockets regarding power purchase agreement awards
  • Represented municipality in disputes regarding proposed transmission line upgrades
  • Represented local government in dispute regarding feasibility of using of conditional water rights hydroelectric purposes
  • Represented local government developing land use ordinances relating to energy projects
  • Represented parties in due diligence regarding energy generation asset transactions

Airport Projects

  • Representing large and small airports, including the City of Los Angeles (LAX) and the City of Philadelphia, in efforts to secure approvals and defend airport development projects
  • Counseling airports on the full range of federal transportation and environmental laws
  • Representing City of Phoenix in litigation regarding FAA flight route changes
  • Representing airport sponsors in administrative and judicial litigation regarding compliance with federal grant and other regulatory requirements
  • Represented coalition of airports in litigation to reverse FAA decision to close control towers
  • Representing airport sponsors in administrative and judicial litigation regarding compliance with federal grant and other regulatory requirements
  • Represented the City of Minneapolis in litigation against the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport that resulted in a settlement that provided noise insulation to almost 10,000 homes
  • Represented hub airport in successful litigation against the Federal Aviation Administration for failing to protect airport airspace from a proposed wind project
  • Represented hub airport against a nationally prominent wealthy landowner in litigation for noise and overflights of a historic property in Florida
  • Represented the City and County of Denver, City and County of San Francisco and the City of Los Angeles in defense of False Claims Act actions regarding alleged noncompliance with Clean Air Act

Transit and Highway Projects

  • Representing State in P3 procurement of major highway improvements
  • Representing transit providers in environmental processes regarding proposed transit improvements
  • Representing Colorado local governments in efforts to promote proposed local highways and avoid incompatible highway proposals
  • Represented private entity in securing approval for a major public-private partnership for an interstate highway in Colorado
  • Represented public and private entities in efforts to secure highway and transit connections to airports, infill development, and other projects

Environment, Air, and Water Projects

  • Representing an authority in rezoning of former urban military base to enable infill reuse of property
  • Representing a national foundation in efforts to promote alternative fuel use and infrastructure
  • Representing a Colorado municipal entity in NEPA and Clean Water Act processes regarding the development of new water infrastructure
  • Representing Utah municipality regarding drinking water infrastructure permitting and compliance
  • Secured settlement to eliminate conditional water rights on the Crystal River in Pitkin County, Colorado, that threatened client interests
  • Secured injunctions against construction of high-definition television towers on behalf of a Colorado municipality
  • Represented public and private entities in Clean Air Act compliance and enforcement matters

Professional and Civic Activities / Awards

  • Best Lawyers® Administrative/Regulatory Law "Lawyer of the Year" award for Denver (2017, 2019)
  • Best Lawyers in America® for Administrative/Regulatory Law (2016–2019)
  • Chairman and Member, Planning Board for City of Boulder (2013–Present)
  • Co-Founder and Vice President, Team Colorado Whitewater Racing Club (2012–Present)
  • General Accountability Office Expert Panel, Air Traffic Control: Experts' and Stakeholders' Views on Key Issues to Consider in a Potential Restructuring (2016)
  • General Accountability Office Expert Panel, Federal Aviation Administration: Preliminary Observations of Potential Air Traffic
    Control Restructuring Transition Issues
    (2016)
  • Regional Air Quality Council, Member (Appointed by Governor Ritter in 2009 and Governor Hickenlooper in 2015)
  • Partners for Rural Improvement and Development in Ethiopia, Co-Founder and Chairman (2005–Present)
  • Super Lawyers® for Environmental Law; Environmental Litigation (2011–2012)
  • Chairman and Trustee, Open Space Board of Trustees, City of Boulder (2008–2013)
  • General Accountability Office Expert Panel, FAA Airspace Redesign, An Analysis of the New York/New Jersey/Philadelphia Project (2008)
  • Chairman, United States Transportation Research Board, Subcommittee on Aviation and Climate Change (2007–2012)
  • Member, National Research Council, Committee on Developing an Environmental Design Tool (2003–2005)
  • Secretary and Member, United States Transportation Research Board, Committee on the Environmental Effects of Aviation (2002–2012)
  • Chair and Member, City of Boulder Environmental Advisory Board (2002–2007)
  • Colorado Lawyers Committee, Board of Directors and Education Task Force (1998–Present)

Frequent Speaker Regarding

  • Environmental review requirements for infrastructure and airspace changes
  • Air quality requirements for transportation and energy projects
  • Climate change regulation and adaptation
  • Land use requirements
  • Infrastructure permitting
  • Airport noise and regulation

News & Publications

Presentations

Rocky Mountain Land Use Institute Conference
03.09.18
ACI-NA/ACC Planning & NEPA Workshop
11.30.17
33rd Annual AAAE Basics of Airport Law Workshop and 2017 Legal Update
10.17.17
33rd Annual AAAE Basics of Airport Law Workshop and 2017 Legal Update
10.16.17
Annual ACI-NA Conference and Exhibition
09.17.17
Annual CML Conference
06.21.17
CAOA Spring Conference
06.08.17
Airport Governance Considerations
03.28.17
32nd Annual AAAE Basics of Airport Law Workshop and 2016 Legal Update
11.15.16
32nd Annual AAAE Basics of Airport Law Workshop and 2016 Legal Update
11.15.16
32nd Annual AAAE Basics of Airport Law Workshop and 2016 Legal Update
11.13.16
National Outdoor Recreation Conference and River Management Symposium
05.17.16
National Outdoor Recreation Conference and River Management Symposium
05.17.16
Electric Utility Consultants, Inc.: Wind Project Development & Acquisition Due Diligence
01.28.16
Annual National CLE Conference
01.06.16
31st Annual AAAE Basics of Airport Law Workshop and 2015 Legal Update
11.03.15
31st Annual AAAE Basics of Airport Law Workshop and 2015 Legal Update
11.02.15
31st Annual AAAE Basics of Airport Law Workshop and 2015 Legal Update
11.01.15
City of Phoenix v. FAA
Annual ACI-NA Conference and Exhibition
10.04.15
Annual CML Seminar on Municipal Law
10.03.15
Webinar Presenter
Electric Utility Consultants, Inc. Webinar
08.26.15
Webinar Presenter
Electric Utility Consultants, Inc. Webinar
07.08.15
Presentation to the City of Longmont
06.02.15
Seminar Presenter
Kaplan Kirsch & Rockwell Legal Seminar Series
05.13.15
NextGen and Airports
Annual AAAE National Aviation Environmental Management Conference
April 2015
Precision Based Navigation and Noise: Where Do We Stand Post PBN Blueprint?
Annual ACI-NA Environmental Affairs Conference
March 2015
Microgrids and Other Innovative Energy System Developments
Annual ACI-NA Environmental Affairs Conference
March 2015
Webinar Presenter
Kaplan Kirsch & Rockwell Webinar
12.12.14
Colorado Association of Transit Agencies Fall Transit Conference and EXPO
09.10.14
ACC/AAAE Airport Planning, Design and Construction Symposium
02.23.11
Rocky Mountain Land Use Institute Conference
04.03.09
ACC/AAAE Airport Planning, Design and Construction Symposium
02.26.09
Rocky Mountain Land Use Institute Conference
04.21.05

Publications

Kaplan Kirsch & Rockwell
2005–Present
Kaplan Kirsch & Rockwell and Harris Miller Miller & Hanson Inc.
12.10.14
4 Aviation Emissions Report 15 at 111
02.28.12
Transportation Research Circular: Critical Issues in Aviation and the Environment 2011
March 2011
Transportation Research Board's Airport Cooperative Research Program
09.28.09
Co-Author of "Airports, Nonaircraft Emissions, and Climate Change" and "Environmental Review Process" chapters
Transportation Research Board Circular E-C138
September 2009
Co-Authored with Daniel S. Reimer
2 Journal of Airport Management 1 at 82–95
October–December 2007
Introduction to Airport Air Quality Law
Kaplan Kirsch & Rockwell 
2005
Transportation Research Circular Number EC069, Critical Issues in Aviation and the Environment at 18
August 2004

News

North American Windpower
07.15.15

Education and Clerkships

J.D., with honors, University of Chicago, 1993
Judicial Law Clerk, Judge David M. Ebel, United States Court of Appeals, 10th Circuit
B.A., summa cum laude, Williams College, 1990

Bar Admissions

Colorado
District of Columbia
Many Federal District Courts, Courts of Appeals

Resources


P3 Airport Projects: An Introduction for Airport Lawyers