Karen Billups Headshot

Karen K. Billups

Of Counsel
  • (202) 661-6340
  • (202) 997-5895
Download Resume kbillups@balch.com
  • University of Texas School of Law
    J.D., 1987
  • Southern Methodist University
    B.A., 1984
Bar Admissions
  • District of Columbia, 1987
About Karen
Karen brings decades of work experience in the Congress, federal government and the private sector, most recently as Staff Director of the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, crafting and negotiating complex energy, mining, forestry and environmental legislation and regulations. As partisanship in Washington has made action more difficult, Karen is noted for her ability to work with all sides to guide complex legislation into law with broad bipartisan support.
  • What do you find most exciting about your work?

    Affordable energy is the foundation of our economy and the lifeblood of the modern technological revolution.  Constantly evolving technology for the production, distribution and consumption of energy alters the landscape of our economy, often in ways that were previously thought impossible. At the same time, environmental requirements are constantly evolving and tightening. I’ve found that ensuring that our nation’s laws and regulations are relevant to the reality of energy and natural resource production on the ground, and allow for the production of the abundant, clean and affordable energy that keeps our economy moving, is a continuing, and ever-changing challenge. It is exciting to know that I will never run out of new things to learn and new problems to solve. 

  • What previous experiences, prior to your work at Balch, influence your practice?
  • What legal challenges are you looking forward to tackling in the future?
  • What do you see on the horizon in your area of practice?

Select Matters

  • Energy Legislation: Negotiated and drafted comprehensive energy legislation, including the Energy Policy Act of 2005, the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007.
  • Energy Policy and Modernization Act of 2016: Oversaw the Senate Committee process that produced the bipartisan Energy Policy and Modernization Act of 2016.
  • Oil Export Ban Repeal:  Drafted and Negotiated legislation and developed strategy for repealing the crude oil export ban contained in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016.  
  • Natural Resources Legislation: Drafted and developed strategy for the development and passage of hundreds of pieces of public lands, mining, parks and forestry legislation, including a package contained in the Defense Authorization Act of 2015 and the 2009 Omnibus Public Land Management Act.
  • Forestry: Negotiated legislation regarding and conducted oversight on federal Forest Service policy and funding, including fire management funding. 
  • Sealaska Legislation: Negotiated and developed strategy for enactment of Southeast Alaska Native Land Entitlement Finalization and Jobs Protection Act, transferring over 70,000 acres of Forest Service land to the Sealaska Corporation to finalize land claims under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act.
  • Nominations: Reviewed nominations and managed confirmation process for Presidential nominations for agencies jurisdictional to the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, including the Departments of Energy and Interior, and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
  • Oversight: Planned and prepared materials for hundreds of oversight hearings on regulations of jurisdictional federal agencies, energy markets, and environmental and natural resource production issues.
  • Project Development: Conducted oversight of regulation of production and infrastructure development, both off- and on-shore, with the Department of Interior, Environmental Protection Agency and Corps of Engineers.
  • Budget & Appropriations: Conducted oversight of budget of jurisdictional agencies, worked with appropriations staff on member priorities within the purview of energy and natural resources.



    • University of Texas School of Law, J.D., 1987
    • Southern Methodist University, B.A., 1984
    • U.S. District Court, District of Columbia, 1988
    • U.S. Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit, 1989
    Bar Admissions
    • District of Columbia, 1987