Barkley J. Sturgill, Jr.


Barkley J. Sturgill, Jr. (“BJ”) leverages more than 30 years of experience in the energy and natural resource development sector to help clients take advantage of business opportunities and navigate complex legal issues. As a former in-house counsel in the energy industry, including most recently as Senior Vice President, General Counsel, and Secretary of a major U.S. metallurgical coal operator and developer, BJ brings a unique perspective and understanding of his clients’ business, regulatory, and legal outlook. He is a trusted advisor to energy clients, who rely on his guidance to ensure smooth day-to-day operations of their companies.

BJ’s practice focuses on leading clients through complex transactions, including mergers, acquisitions, and divestitures; counseling on strategic business decisions, corporate governance, regulatory compliance, and risk management; and assisting with financing transactions and a variety of agreements including leasing and other real estate transaction agreements, contract mining and related operating agreements, development agreements, joint ventures, and commodity sales and marketing agreements.

Representative Experience

  • Extensive experience in establishing in-house legal teams for publicly traded natural resources development companies with particular focus on public company regulatory compliance matters and reporting obligations, development of internal policies and procedures, financing and credit facilities, public and private equity transactions, general mining and operations matters (including regulatory compliance), and mergers and acquisitions. Counsel for major natural resources companies in coal development operating regions including Central Appalachia, Northern Appalachia, Illinois Basin, Southern and Northern Powder River Basin and Western Bituminous Region focusing on private, federal, and state leasing; acquisition and development of coal properties and operations in all operating regions; negotiation with federal and state environmental and mining agencies; representing companies in federal and state courts and administrative proceedings; and counsel related to development of public disclosure documents
  • Coordinated response to and negotiated settlements with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Justice (DOJ), as well as various state mining and environmental agencies, by and through consent decrees resulting from pervasive enforcement actions under the federal Clean Water Act which included detailed injunctive relief requirements and the development of an extensive compliance management system
  • Led efforts to defend a novel approach by the EPA to withdraw the specification for placement of surface mining overburden into streams under §404(c) of the Clean Water Act effecting a “veto” of a validly issued “valley fill” permit issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The Final Determination by EPA led to due process and substantive challenges on an issue of first impression in the District of Columbia Federal District Court, DC Circuit and ultimately by and through a Petition for Writ of Certiorari before the Supreme Court of the United States
  • Defended several large citizens suits brought by local and national Non-Governmental Organizations seeking redress under the Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act and litigation arising under challenges to government action under the National Environmental Policy Act
  • Negotiated and closed several large acquisitions and divestitures in the major coal producing regions through equity and asset transactions that included due diligence, real property, equipment, bonds, financings, and permits across various state and federal regulatory agencies
  • Coordinated legal team to address, negotiate, litigate, and resolve widespread surface subsidence claims related to extensive long wall mining operations in the Northern Appalachian region
  • Coordinated management, lender’s counsel, and outside counsel in large-scale financings including term loan credit agreements, revolvers, asset-based lending credit agreements and receivables financing arrangements with attendant reasonable and acceptable collateral packages

Licensed In

  • Kentucky
  • Missouri


  • J.D. Northern Kentucky University Salmon P. Chase College of Law
  • B.A. Washington and Lee University


  • Kentucky Bar Association
  • Missouri Bar
  • American Bar Association
  • Fayette County Bar Association
  • Energy and Mineral Law Foundation, Trustee


  • Editorial staff, Northern Kentucky Law Review
  • Class Representative, Student Bar Association


  • “Acid Mine Drainage: Balancing Environmental Protection and Mining Realities,” Journal of Natural Resources & Environmental Law: Vol. 10: Iss. 2, Article 4 (1995)

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Press Release
LEXINGTON, Ky. – Barkley J. Sturgill, Jr. (“BJ”) has joined the Lexington office of Stept...

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