About Aleava

Aleava Sayre is a partner in Stoel Rives’ Environment, Land Use & Natural Resources group who focuses her practice on environmental law, mining law and litigation. Her exceptional public speaking and presentation skills, her ability to adapt complex legal and technical information to different settings, and her solution-oriented approach allows her to effectively advocate for her clients before an array of audiences.

In the environmental and regulatory space, she counsels clients in environmental issues arising under federal, state, and local laws that relate to project development, administrative challenges or proceedings, enforcement actions, and litigation. Her substantial experience working with technical experts, nuanced and novel legal issues, and with regulatory officials enables her to identify potential substantive or procedural obstacles and proactively develop solutions that achieve her clients’ objectives.

As a litigator, Aleava develops and implements strategies to develop a successful case to persuade courts to rule in favor of her clients or to secure a favorable settlement. Well-versed in complex commercial, regulatory, and real estate litigation, Aleava understands how to shape positive outcomes for her clients.

Mining, like many of the regulated industries represented by Aleava, requires a sophisticated understanding of the industry and the unique challenges facing companies engaged in mineral exploration and development. With more than twelve years of specific experience working with companies in the mining sectors, Aleava has an in-depth understanding of the industry’s needs and challenges. She applies this knowledge to assist mining clients in all stages of mineral exploration, development, operations, and closure, as well as in the areas of environmental compliance, environmental permitting and environmental review.

Before joining Stoel Rives, Aleava was an attorney at Stinson Leonard Street LLP. After law school, she was a law clerk for the Honorable Harriet Lansing of the Minnesota Court of Appeals.

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  • Environmental review under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the Minnesota Environmental Policy Act (MEPA).
  • Coordination with environmental, engineering, and other technical consultants to develop and integrate robust technical analyses and reports into environmental review, environmental permitting, and litigation.
  • Compliance and permitting under the Clean Water Act, Minnesota’s Water Pollution Control Act, Minnesota’s Water Law, and other applicable laws relating to water quality, water discharge, wetlands, stormwater, and water appropriation.
  • Compliance and permitting for air emissions, hazardous waste, and other permitting associated with project development and operations.
  • Defense of regulated industries in enforcement proceedings arising under federal, state, or local law.
  • Evaluation and resolution of potential liability under Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) or Minnesota Environmental Response and Liability Act (MERLA).
  • Aligning project development activities, environmental review, and permitting for regulated industries such as mining, railroads, and landfills.


  • Acquiring mineral tenure for federal, state, and private mineral interests.
  • Assembling federal, state, and private lands necessary for the successful permitting and operation of a mineral development project.
  • Preparing federal mineral lease applications for filing with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).
  • Navigating federal and state permitting and leasing requirements for mineral exploration and mining operations.
  • Representing clients in negotiations with the U.S. Forest Service, BLM, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and other federal and state agencies with jurisdiction over mining.
  • Advising clients with respect to federal and state land exchanges associated with mineral exploration and mineral development.
  • Obtaining access to federal, state, and private lands for purposes of mineral exploration, mineral development, and environmental baseline studies.
  • Assisting clients with legal issues and risk analyses associated with conceptual studies, prefeasibility studies, and other technical studies and reports.
  • Conducting due diligence related to mining transactions or investments, including evaluation of mineral tenure, surface interests, and regulatory compliance.
  • Protecting outstanding and reserved mineral rights.
  • Resolving legal disputes related to mineral rights arising under leases or other contractual agreements.
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Honors & Activities

Professional Honors & Activities

  • Included in The Best Lawyers in America® (currently: Mining Law, Natural Resources Law), 2022–2023
  • Selected as a Minnesota Lawyer Up & Coming Attorney, 2014
  • American Bar Association, Section of Environment, Energy and Resources - Mining and Mineral Extraction Committee, former Co-Chair, 2018–2019
  • Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation (RMMLF)
    • Mineral Law Newsletter, Reporter
  • Minnesota State Bar Association, Environmental, Natural Resources, and Energy Law Section, former President
  • Minnesota Women Lawyers

Civic Activities

  • Women’s Debate Institute, Board of Directors, 2007–present
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Insights & Presentations

Insights & Presentations

  • Presenter, “Annual Mining Law and Public Lands Update,” Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation (RMMLF) Annual Institute, 2019
  • Moderator, Panel on Permit Streamlining for Public Lands, American Bar Association, March 2019
  • Co-Presenter, “The Trump Era of Environmental Law After Year One – What Has Happened and What Comes Next,” Minnesota State Bar Association, 2018
  • Guest Lecturer, Session on Environmental Review and Permitting, Washburn Law School, 2017 and 2019
  • Presenter, “Land and Legal Issues for Miners: Securing Mineral Rights on Federal Acquired Lands,” American Exploration & Mining Association’s 124th Annual Meeting, 2018
  • Co-Presenter, “New Mining in Old Districts - Is it as easy as it sounds? Lessons Learned from the Great Lakes Iron Ranges,” American Exploration & Mining Association’s 124th Annual Meeting, 2018
  • Co-Author, “Minnesota Court of Appeals Holds that Silica Sand Mining Operations is not a ‘New Project’ Subject to Setback Permitting Requirements,” RMMLF, Mineral Law Newsletter, Number 4, 2015
  • Co-Presenter, “Great Lakes Copper-Nickel Mining: Projects, Opportunities and Obstacles,” American Exploration & Mining Association, 2015
  • Co-Author, “Minnesota Court of Appeals Concludes EIS Is Not Required for Expansion of Taconite Mine,” “Minnesota Court of Appeals Holds that State’s Sale of a State Mining Lease Does Not Constitute a Project Triggering Environmental Review,” and “Minnesota District Court Refuses to Dismiss Claims that Water Appropriation Permitting Violates the Minnesota Environmental Rights Act and the Public Trust Doctrine,” RMMLF, Mineral Law Newsletter, 2014
  • Co-Author, “United States Forest Service Issues Draft EIS for Federal Hardrock Mineral Prospecting in the Superior National Forest,” and “Minnesota Enacts New Legislation Streamlining State Environmental Review and Permitting for Projects,” RMMLF, Mineral Law Newsletter, 2011
  • Co-Presenter, “Stormwater and Environmental Enforcement,” Minnesota Trucking Association, 2010
  • Presenter, “A Clean Shot: Complying with MPCA’s New Industrial Stormwater Permit,” Minnesota Trucking Association, 2010
  • Co-Author, “Minnesota Legislature Declines to Pass New Mining Legislation” and “The Perfect Storm: A New Permitting Requirement and Increased Enforcement for Industrial Stormwater Run-Off,” RMMLF, Mineral Law Newsletter, Number 3, 2009
  • Co-Author, “Minnesota Court of Appeals Hears Oral Argument in Minnesota Steel Case,” RMMLF, Mineral Law Newsletter, Number 3, 2009
  • Co-Author, “New Interest in Non-Ferrous Mining Triggers State and Federal Environmental Reviews,” RMMLF, Mineral Law Newsletter, Number 1, 2009
  • Presenter, “What’s Next? MPCA’s New Multi-Sector Stormwater Permit Program,” Minnesota Regional Railroads Conference, 2008
  • Co-Author, “Notes & Trends: Environmental Law – Clean Water Act; TMDLs,” Bench & Bar of Minnesota, May/June 2007

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