James Curry

Area of Emphasis

Jim Curry is the Managing Shareholder of the Firm’s Washington, D.C. office and a member of the Energy and Natural Resources, Environmental and Transportation Safety groups. He focuses his practice primarily in Pipeline and HazMat Safety and Motor Vehicle Safety, Regulatory and Compliance.  Mr. Curry represents clients in a variety of transportation safety and energy matters, including matters at the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), state commissions, and federal courts.  His nationwide practice covers compliance and strategic counseling, policy, inspection preparation, internal audits, due diligence, enforcement, and litigation.  Mr. Curry has experience in all sectors of the pipeline industry, including gas transmission, gathering and distribution, oil, NGL and products pipelines, LNG facilities, and products and chemicals terminals.  He also counsels clients on motor vehicle safety issues arising under the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) regulatory programs, and PHMSA and Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) hazardous materials and rail safety matters.

As a former PHMSA attorney, Mr. Curry represented the agency in pipeline safety enforcement matters arising in the Western Region, collaborating with agency engineers to pursue dozens of cases.  He was also involved in the development of rulemakings, interpretations, special permits, and congressional testimony. In his enforcement role, Mr. Curry worked closely with the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on complex pipeline litigation involving claims under the Pipeline Safety Act, Clean Water Act, and Clean Air Act.  These efforts led to a significant civil Consent Decree addressing crude oil pipelines on Alaska’s North Slope. Mr. Curry also served as a presiding official at agency hearings, and prepared final orders and decisions on petitions for reconsideration. Today, Mr. Curry relies on this experience to build comprehensive strategies to help clients achieve their safety regulatory objectives.


Mr. Curry earned his B.S. from Boston University is 2001, and his J.D. from Seton Hall University School of Law in 2005.  During law school he was law clerk for the U.S. Department of Justice’s Environment and Natural Resources Division, Environmental Enforcement Section and a judicial intern for The Honorable Peter F. Boggia in the Superior Court of Bergen County, New Jersey.

Prior to joining Babst Calland, he worked for a prominent Washington, D.C.-based energy, environmental and natural resources law firm.

Memberships and Affiliations

Mr. Curry is admitted to practice before the District of Columbia and Maryland State bars, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. He received the PHMSA Administrator’s Team Eagle Award in 2007 and 2010, and the U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary’s Silver Medal in 2009. Mr. Curry has been listed in The Best Lawyers in America© in the Oil and Gas Law Section since 2020 by BL Rankings.

  • Presenter, “Pipeline Development in Support of Petrochemical Expansion in the Appalachian Basin,” Northeast U.S. Petrochemical Construction Conference, Pittsburgh, PA, June 19, 2017.
  • Presenter, “Regulatory Update,” 2017 API Pipeline Conference, Austin, TX, April 25, 2017.
  • Presenter, “PHMSA and the Year Ahead:  An Update on Rulemakings, Policies and What’s Next for Pipeline Safety,” Kinetic webinar, January 31, 2017.
  • Presenter, “PHMSA Regulation of Underground Gas Storage,” Platts’ 15th Annual Gas Storage Outlook Conference, Houston, TX, January 12, 2017.
  • Co-Author, “PHMSA Increases Civil Penalties and Commits to Providing Detailed Calculations in Individual Cases,” The PIOGA Press, October 2016.
  • Presenter, “Potential Implications of PHMSA’s Proposed Regulations for Gas Transmission Lines,” AGA Legal Forum, Asheville, NC, July 2016.
  • Presenter, “PHMSA Construction Regulations, Procedures and Protocols,” Kinetic webinar, June 16, 2016.
  • Co-Author, “Proposed Rule Impacts Gas Gathering,” The American Oil and Gas Reporter, May 2016.
  • Co-Author, “Proposed Federal Regulations Expand Pipeline Requirements,” Marcellus Business Central, April 8, 2016.
  • Co-Author, “PHMSA Proposes Significant Changes to Gas Gathering Line Regulation, The PIOGA Press, April 2016.
  • Co-Presenter, “Pipeline Safety Program Update,” Marcellus Shale Coalition’s Pipeline Safety Seminar, State College, PA, March 2, 2016.
  • Speaker, “Pipeline Safety Regulations,” American Gas Association’s 8th Annual Energy Market Regulation Conference, Albuquerque, NM, October 2015.
  • Panelist, “Natural Gas Liquids: Challenges and Opportunities for Development in the Appalachian Basin,” Marcellus Shale Coalition’s Shale Insight 2015, Philadelphia, PA, September 2015.
  • Speaker, “Transportation Safety Issues for the Midstream Sector: Pipelines, LNG Facilities, and Crude by Rail,” Energy & Mineral Law Foundation’s Understanding Appalachian Basin Midstream Assets, Canonsburg PA, April 2015.
  • Speaker, “Service Externalities – Safety and Environmental Issues,” the Association of Transportation Law Professionals’ Transportation Forum XI, Washington, DC, November 2014.
  • Speaker, “Association of Oil Pipelines 2013 Annual Business Conference,” Newport Beach CA, September 2013.
  • Contributing Author, “AGA FERC Manual:  A Guide for Local Distribution Companies,” American Gas Association, 2013 Edition.
  • Author, “Will FERC Abandonment Policy Fit Today’s Market and Regulatory Environment?” Natural Gas & Electricity, Vol. 29, Issue 3, pp. 10, October 2012.
  • Author, “Pipeline Records Verification:  Compliance Questions for Operators,” Pipeline and Gas Journal, Vol. 239, Issue 9, September 2012.
  • Author, “How will changing pipeline safety requirements affect America’s growing gas supply?,”  Trends, ABA Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources Newsletter, Vol. 44, Issue 1, September 2012.
  • Author, “The Potential Impact of New Pipeline Safety Laws on PHMSA’s Regulatory Initiatives,” Pipeline and Gas Journal, Vol. 239, Issue 4, April 2012.
  • Author, “The National Transportation Safety Board’s Report on San Bruno: Implications for Pipeline Safety, Pipeline & Gas Journal, Vol. 238, Issue 11, November 2011.
  • Author, “Pipeline Safety: Attorneys Ready for the Challenge,” Pipeline & Gas Journal, Vol. 238, Issue 8, August 2011.

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