James L. Noles, Jr.

About Jim

Jim Noles teams with his clients to help them achieve their corporate or governmental goals and objectives while complying with the increasingly complex and challenging requirements of modern-day environmental law and regulation.

Prior to joining with his colleagues to found Barze Taylor Noles Lowther, LLC, Jim worked for two decades at a major Southern law firm, where he counseled and assisted clients on issues arising from brownfields redevelopment, environmental due diligence, landfill siting, environmental justice, the Endangered Species Act (ESA), the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA), the Clean Water Act (CWA), wetlands permitting, the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), as well as handling administrative appeals before the Alabama Environmental Management Commission.

In addition, Jim is one of the few lawyers in Alabama who routinely handles matters arising under the National Historic Preservation Act and associated federal and state historical and cultural resource laws.

And when litigation is required to bring a matter to conclusion, Jim’s experience in state and federal courts, coupled with his ability to partner with his colleagues at Barze Taylor Noles Lowther LLC, brings an added dimension of expertise to such situations.

Representative Experience

Some of Jim’s representative experience includes:

  • Alabama Water Pollution Control Act and Federal Water Pollution Control Act (aka Clean Water Act): and Federal Water Pollution Control Act (aka Clean Water Act): Assisted various municipalities in successfully negotiating resolution to separate enforcement actions by the Alabama Department of Environmental Management and environmental groups regarding operation of wastewater treatment plants. Defended clients against federal citizen suits brought by environmental groups pursuant to the Clean Water Act.
  • Brownfields: Developed and implemented legal strategy, and oversaw implementation of same, to enable company to take former foundry in Birmingham successfully through the Alabama Department of Environmental Management’s Voluntary Cleanup Program, ultimately culminating in sale of foundry site to third party. Successfully resolved regulatory and common law allegations against a former fertilizer processing facility in Chesapeake, Virginia.
  • Clean Water Act Section 404: Successfully oversaw permitting of wetlands fill in southern Alabama to enable construction of copper tube manufacturing facility. Currently representing mining company in central Alabama in ongoing EPA enforcement action for unpermitted fill of Waters of the United States.
  • Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA, aka Superfund) and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA): Routinely advises individuals, companies, and banks on legal strategy and resolution of risks associated with acquisition of potentially contaminated property.
  • Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act: Resolved, to companies’ satisfaction, inadvertent violations of EPCRA with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; clients have included metal plating facility, semi-conductor facility, and wood pellet plant.
  • Endangered Species Act: Successfully represented forester accused of illegally “taking” endangered red-cockaded woodpeckers. Analyzed and submitted comments for industry associations and energy companies on regulatory proposals (e.g., amendments to FWS regulations, listing of such species as the Eastern diamondback rattlesnake and black pine snake as endangered or threatened, etc.). Successfully represented residential community developer in resolving federal litigation associated with endangered Perdido Key beach mouse.
  • Environmental Justice: Counseled clients on matters relating to environmental justice in vicinity of clients’ facilities and assisted in resolution of same, to include situations in which complaints were made to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
  • Environmental Litigation: Successfully achieved dismissal of claims against plant manager following inadvertent release of wastewater from plant into nearby river. Successfully achieved dismissal of claims against wastewater treatment plant brought by downstream property owners. Successfully settled nuisance/trespass/negligence claims brought against cheese-making plant by neighboring residents and property owners.
  • Landfills: Counseled solid waste management company clients and host governments on various issues related to permitting of landfills, modification of landfill permits, administrative challenges (and subsequent legal appeals) to said permits, and negotiation of host government agreements. Defended client actions and activities in state and federal court.
  • National Environmental Policy Act: Shepherded a city through the development of an Environmental Assessment and a Supplemental Environmental Assessment in support of permitting and construction of a drinking water reservoir and successfully defended federal permit in subsequent legal action in federal court.
  • National Historic Preservation Act: Drafted and negotiated Section 106 Memorandum of Agreement that enabled city to construct athletic complex on historically and archaeologically sensitive land in central Alabama. Served as lead legal counsel overseeing achievement of Section 106 obligations, to include five major archaeological investigations, associated with construction of steel mill complex in southern Alabama. Timely resolved “cease-and-desist” order from U.S. Army Corps of Engineers preventing construction of church on historically sensitive property. Developed and implemented strategy for hotel developer to successfully construct hotel on historically sensitive property.
  • Renewable Energy: Assisted client with permitting associated with construction of utility-scale solar farm in central Alabama. Worked with automobile manufacturer in developing renewable energy strategy for Alabama-based plant.

There aren't many attorneys in Alabama who have made the acquaintance of a travelling rattlesnake skin buyer on his circuit of gas stations in south Alabama, or who have had the opportunity to negotiate the reconstruction of a 2000-year-old Mississippian mound, destroyed 70 years ago, with federal, state, and Native American agencies. I guess that's why I like practicing environmental law.”

James L. Noles, Jr.
Bio Extras


  • United States Military Academy, West Point, NY, B.S., International History, 1990
  • University of Texas School of Law, Austin, TX, J.D., 1997

Admitted to Practice

  • Alabama, 1997

Other Professional Experience

  • Captain, U.S. Army and U.S. Army Reserve (1990-1997)

Awards & Accolades

  • Chambers USA, Environmental, Ranked Individual
  • The Best Lawyers in America, Environmental Law, 2011-Present
  • The Best Lawyers in America, 2016 Lawyer of the Year, Environmental Law in Birmingham, Alabama
  • Mid-South Super Lawyers, 2012-Present
  • B-Metro, Top Lawyer, 2017-18
  • Wayne Greenhaw Service to the Humanities Award (2015)
  • Birmingham Business Journal Outstanding Director (Small Nonprofit Board Category) (2013)
  • Birmingham Business Journal Top 40 Under 40 (2005)
  • Fellow of the Alabama Law Foundation

Memberships & Activities

  • Auburn University College of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences, Affiliate Professor (Environmental Law; Property Law)
  • Alabama Governor’s School, Leadership Council
  • Alabama Environmental Law Section, Executive Council
  • Leukemia and Lymphoma Society – Light the Night, Corporate Chair (Birmingham, Alabama)
  • Alabama School of Fine Arts, Former Chairman, Board of Trustees
  • Mountain Brook Library Foundation, Former President, Board of Trustees
  • Kiwanis Club of Birmingham, Former Secretary and Board of Directors
  • Alabama Humanities Foundation, Former Chairman, Board of Trustees, Chairman (2005-2012)

Recent Publications and Speaking Engagements

  • “The Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act,” Birmingham/North Alabama/Middle Tennessee Environmental Professionals Associations’ Air Compliance Workshop, Pelham, Alabama (September 15, 2022)
  • “The Life and Times of an Environmental Lawsuit,” Alabama Forestry Association Annual Meeting, Orange Beach, Alabama (September 11, 2022)
  • “Consulting with Native American Tribes: Obligations and Opportunities,” Environmental Law and Regulation Conference, Sandestin, Florida (June 11, 2022)
  • “The Old Man and the Sea,” Natural Resources & Environment (Spring 2021)

© Barze Taylor Noles Lowther LLC

DISCLAIMER: No representation is made that the quality of the legal services to be performed is greater than the quality of legal services performed by other lawyers.

Privacy Policy