Stephen Anstey is an attorney and member of Kilpatrick Townsend’s Energy, Fintech, and Native American Affairs teams as well the Firm’s Government & Regulatory, Generative AI, and Digital Assets and Distributed Ledger Technology practices. Stephen also founded and leads the Kilpatrick Townsend Digital Assets Regulation Blog. He represents businesses, organizations, and governments on federal regulatory, compliance, grant, financing, tax, and executive agency matters. His practice focuses on energy, sustainability, ESG, COVID relief, Tribal law, distributed ledger technology (including blockchain), and digital assets (cryptocurrencies, stablecoins, tokenization, and central bank digital currencies (CBDCs)). Stephen also has expertise relating to the implementation and administration of the $1.2 trillion Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, $280 billion CHIPS Act, and $433 billion Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). In addition, he has worked extensively on pro bono civil rights cases, including discrimination and LGBTQIA+ matters.
Regulatory and Public Policy
Stephen advises his clients on federal regulatory and policy matters affecting numerous industries, including renewable energy, conventional energy, sustainability, ESG, agriculture, health care, housing, telecommunications, hospitality, and infrastructure. He supports his clients throughout the entire regulatory process, ensuring their interests are met in federal agency rulemaking and program administration.
Stephen also counsels his clients on federal program requirements, funding opportunities, eligibility, and compliance standards. He has helped his clients advocate for and effectuate change on regulatory matters concerning the Department of the Treasury, Internal Revenue Service, Department of Agriculture, Environmental Protection Agency, Department of the Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, Department of Transportation, Federal Aviation Administration, and Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Stephen has helped his clients navigate, guide the implementation of, and benefit from numerous federal programs related to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as grant programs and tax incentives established by the $1.2 trillion Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) and the $485 billion Inflation Reduction Act (IRA).
Stephen counsels his clients on regulatory, tax incentive, and grant programs across the energy sphere. He represents and supports his clients on broad energy development and financing initiatives concerning various sectors, including energy storage, chemicals, carbon, capture and sequestration, biofuels, sustainable aviation fuels, solar, wind, hydropower, and hydrogen.
Digital Assets and Distributed Ledger Technology
Stephen advises on digital assets and distributed ledger technology regulation, development, compliance, legislation, and administration, as well as related topics. He founded and leads the Kilpatrick Townsend Digital Assets Regulation Blog. The blog covers the development of digital assets and distributed ledger technology regulation, use cases, and policy, focusing on cryptocurrency, stablecoin, tokenization, and central bank digital currency as well as blockchain technology.
Native American Affairs
Stephen represents his Tribal clients on a broad range of legal and regulatory issues. His litigation experience includes cases concerning rights-of-way, oil and gas, water rights, contract disputes, and treaty rights. He has represented clients before federal courts throughout the country, including the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit and the U.S. Court of Federal Claims. He has also represented clients before federal agency adjudicatory bodies like the Interior Board of Indian Appeals.
Stephen counsels his clients on federal grant and financing initiatives, with an emphasis on energy development, COVID-19 relief, emergency response, and economic development. He has helped his clients secure significant federal funding and navigate issues related to climate change, broadband and technology, energy, agriculture, infrastructure, water, hospitality, disaster and crisis response, and Tribal government services.
Education and Accolades
Stephen earned his LL.M. from Harvard Law School and his J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School. Prior to receiving his LL.M., he was one of approximately 20 law school graduates from around the world accepted into the Harvard Law School Graduate Program as a Visiting Researcher.
Stephen was recognized as one of the "Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch" in 2022 for Native American Law and in 2023 for Commercial Litigation and Native American Law by The Best Lawyers in America®. He was also recognized as a Washington D.C. “Rising Star” in 2023, and the four years immediately preceding, for Native American Law by Super Lawyers magazine. Additionally, U.S. News & World Report and Best Lawyers selected Kilpatrick Townsend as the 2020 “Law Firm of the Year” for Native American Law.
Represented enrolled members of the Comanche, Caddo, Apache, Cherokee, and Kiowa Tribes of Oklahoma, who own a trust allotment outside of Anadarko, Oklahoma, in actions for trespass and condemnation arising from the continued operation of a natural gas pipeline for more than sixteen years after the easement expired. After being turned away by multiple firms, the landowners approached Kilpatrick Townsend, who agreed to take the case. We obtained dismissal of the gas company’s condemnation claims, and the federal district court for the Western District of Oklahoma entered summary judgment against the gas company for trespass. On appeal, the Tenth Circuit affirmed the dismissal of the condemnation claims and affirmed summary judgment on trespass. Marcia W. Davilla, et al. v. Enable Midstream Partners, L.P., et al., No. 5:2015cv01262 (W.D. Okla. 2016); Marcia W. Davilla, et al. v. Enable Midstream Partners, L.P., et al., No. 17-6088 (10th Cir. 2019); Enable Oklahoma Intrastate Transmission LLC v. 25 Foot Wide Easement, No. 17-6188 (10th Cir. 2018).
Obtained reversal of the trial court’s dismissal of trespass claims against an oil pipeline company on behalf of a putative class of individual Indian allottees in the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals. The appellate court held that the allottees were not required to exhaust administrative remedies with the Bureau of Indian Affairs before pursuing their claims in federal court. Chase v. Andeavor Logistics, L.P. (8th Cir. 2021).
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Harvard Law School LL.M. (2016)
University of Michigan Law School J.D. (2013)
University of Connecticut B.A. (2010) Political Science
District of Columbia
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit (2021)
U.S. Court of Federal Claims (2018)
U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia (2017)
U.S. District Court for the District of North Dakota (2019)
U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas (2018)
Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians Tribal Court - Honorable Allie Greenleaf Maldonado (May-Aug 2012)
University of Michigan Native American Law Students Association, Chair (2011-2012)
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