Alison D. Garner

Alison D. Garner

Senior Attorney


Alison helps clients anticipate, navigate, and respond to the complexities of natural resources litigation.

Alison brings her broad public service experience advising decision-makers in complex litigation to her current practice helping clients develop natural resources projects, counseling on strategies for NEPA and other permitting issues. She also defends projects under federal and state public lands laws. Alison likewise advises energy industry clients through project permitting processes and in regulatory proceedings before state and federal commissions.

Before joining Dorsey & Whitney, Alison worked from 2008 to 2017 at the U.S. Department of Justice, Environment and Natural Resources Division, where her practice included litigation of NEPA and various federal land and wildlife management statutes. She also litigated challenges to large infrastructure projects and loan guarantees, as well as various Indian law and inverse condemnation issues. She represented client agencies within the Departments of Agriculture, Interior, Transportation, and Defense.

Alison most recently worked for the Utah Office of the Attorney General, where she advised high-level government officials on a variety of administrative matters and long-standing disputes.

Education & Admissions

University of Utah, S. J. Quinney College of Law (J.D., 2003),

  • O’Hara Fellow
  • Certificate in Environmental & Natural Resources Law
  • Journal of Land, Resources, and Environmental Law, Note and Comment Editor

Utah State University (B.S., Political Science, 2000)


  • Utah
  • District of Columbia
  • U.S. District Court for Utah
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit


Representative Experience

  • Successfully defended a challenge to a significant amendment to the Black Hills National Forest Land and Resources Management Plan and an alleged violation of a past settlement agreement. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit affirmed.
  • As lead counsel, reached a settlement of claims alleging a decades-long breach of federal trust responsibilities.
  • Reached a settlement in a challenge to 58 grazing permits in five national forests in three states.
  • Successfully defended a challenge to multi-agency decision regarding bison management near Yellowstone National Park. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed.
  • Successfully defended claims under NEPA, NHPA and the DOT Act to the DOT’s approval of the Mid-County Parkway project, a new highway construction project in Riverside, California.
  • Successfully defended a challenge to a large project addressing a mountain pine beetle infestation on the Black Hills National Forest. Some project activities took place in the Norbeck Wildlife Preserve, a unique preserve within the forest, with certain claims brought under the Norbeck Organic Act—one of two cases to have addressed the unique Act. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit affirmed.
  • As lead counsel, reached a settlement in a long-running inverse condemnation case.
  • As lead counsel, defended the State in appellate mediation for decades-long litigation involving criminal jurisdiction in Indian Country. 
  • Lead counsel preparing for formal arbitration defending the State’s compliance with the 1996 tobacco Master Settlement Agreement. Negotiated a settlement in 2018 to avoid protracted litigation and secure approximately $300 million for the State over ten years.
  • Represented multiple state agencies, boards, and commissions and advised on a variety of state government matters, including contracts, procurement, and other general counsel work. Also regularly conducted training for clients on compliance with state laws, policies, and procedures regarding open meetings, records access, and public ethics.