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): 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.
  • Clean Water Act Section 404: Successfully oversaw permitting of wetlands fill in southern Alabama to enable construction of copper tube manufacturing facility.
  • 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 risks associated with acquisition of potentially contaminated property; assists same in resolving such risks.
  • Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act: Resolved, to companies’ satisfaction, inadvertent violations of EPCRA with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
  • Endangered Species Act: Successfully represented forester accused of illegally “taking” endangered red-cockaded woodpeckers; analyzed and submitted comments on various proposals for industry associations and energy companies to list species such as Eastern diamondback rattlesnake and black pine snake as endangered or threatened; 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.
  • 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 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.

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

  • Fellow of the Alabama Law Foundation
  • 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)
  • 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

Memberships & Activities

  • Alabama School of Fine Arts, Board of Trustees, Chairman
  • Mountain Brook Library Foundation, Board of Trustees
  • Kiwanis Club of Birmingham, Immediate Past Secretary and Board of Directors
  • Alabama Humanities Foundation, Board of Trustees, Chairman (2005-2012)

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