Friday, December 31, 2010

Reflections on a Successful and Productive Year; Thanks to Faculty, Staff, Students, Alumni, Adjuncts, Friends of the Program

As 2010 nears an end it is only appropriate to reflect back on the people and events that made the year such a successful and productive one for all of us associated with the Environmental and Natural Resources Law (ENRL) program at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law.

It is nearly impossible to call attention in this year's final blog posting to everything and everyone that really merits attention, and so what we have tried to do is identify a handful of illustrative examples of why our program is the best of its kind in the U.S. and the western hemisphere. In reading this last posting of the year readers will also note the Sturm College of Law's continuing commitment to further expanding and developing a program that already is considered one of the best in the world.

So with that, let's begin.

The Blog

  • This year marked our 20,000th blog "hit." We are now averaging about 1,600 hits a month, something we thank all of you for!
  • We have enjoyed contributions from near and far (for example, Argentina, Chile, the European Union, Peru, the Philippines, Thailand, to name a few).
Program Highlights
  • The Sturm College of Law and the University Board of Trustees adopted an ambitious and far-reaching strategic plan for the College of Law. One of the key elements was the naming of the Environmental and Natural Resources Law program as a "flagship" program.
  • The College of Law established an Environmental and Natural Resources Law Certificate for JD graduates.
  • The LLM and Masters in Resource Law Studies programs attracted the most diverse group of students in the history of the program. Students from 14 different countries studied at the College of Law during 2010, making the DU ENRL program one of the most -- if not the most -- diverse program of its kind in the U.S.
  • A new series of three three-credit cutting-edge courses that consider the sustainable development of natural resources was added to the curriculum: (1) Emerging International Trends in Sustainable Natural Resources Development; (2) Sustainable Natural Resources Development and Nation States; and (3) Community Expectations and Sustainable Natural Resources Development. The courses are taught by Luke Danielson, an attorney with vast experience in the field and Cecilia Dalupan, Associate Director of the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation and an expert in the field.
  • A new course Renewable Energy for the 21st Century: Technology, Policy & Markets was approved by the faculty. It is taught by Robert Noun, Director of External Affairs at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
Faculty Highlights
  • Professor and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Fred Cheever continued to provide strategic leadership to the ENRL program.
  • Professor K.K. DuVivier wrote several ground-breaking articles about renewable energy.
  • Professor Mike Harris, Director of the Environmental Law Clinic, provided leadership for one of the nation's most effective student clinic experiences.
  • Professor Jan Laitos was a guest professor at the Austral University in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
  • Professor Rock Pring and his wife Kitty continued to lecture world-wide about their pioneering book, Greening Justice: Creating and Improving Environmental Courts and Tribunals.
  • Professor Tom Romero, who joined the faculty in August, was active in tying together the strands that link history with the environment.
  • Professor Don C. Smith, Director of the ENRL Program, produced several interviews with leading environmental figures from across the world.
  • Professor Ann Vessels, Director of the College of Law Externship Program, continued to expand one of the country's largest legal externship programs.
  • Professor Annecoos Wiersema, who joined the faculty in August, established a Sustainable Development Reading Group for the faculty.
  • Professor Ed Zieglar resumed teaching in August after a year long stint teaching and researching at various European law schools.
Student Highlights
  • Students in the Environmental Law Clinic continued their important and successful work on behalf of several outside clients.
  • Nearly 10 students won prestigious scholarships from the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation.
  • Many, many students were involved in externships that ran the gamut from federal, state, and local governments, to private law firms, to NGOs and advocacy groups.
Thanks, Merci, Gracias

The number of people who deserve a big thank you for the program's successes is so long it would take a year to name everyone. But a few who come to mind for special recognition:
  • All of the adjunct professors that are an integral part of the program. These individuals are the top practitioners in their fields and they give of their time and energy to make this program a practice-focused experience for our students.
  • The entire library staff, and especially Gary Alexander, Director of the Library, and International, Foreign, and Comparative Law Librarian Joan Policastri and Caryl Shipley. The College of Law library contains a vast amount of information that is key to our program's success, and the library personnel deserve a big thank you for all the time they spend supporting our students and program.
  • The Educational Technology Department, headed by Director Jessica Hogan. Wayne Rust, Saul Wiley, and Joan Pope make all of our lives easier and more efficient.
  • The program's wonderful and engaged alumni. The ideas, support, and energy provided by all of you continually enrich and enhance a program that "belongs" to all of us.
  • The multitude of "friends of the program," who while may not having formal connections to DU nevertheless provide us perspectives and ideas that improve the program.
Without question, we have been unable to include everything and everyone that made 2010 a great year. That is the problem with these kinds of lists. And so next December we will strive to be even more complete.

Looking ahead, we wish all of our readers a wonderful final day of 2010 and a Happy New Year for 2011! ¡Próspero año Nuevo en 2011!

Don C. Smith
Environmental and Natural Resources Law Program

Lucy Daberkow
Assistant Director
Environmental and Natural Resources Law Graduate Program

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

December LLM and MRLS Graduates: Celebrations and Official Recognition

Without question, one of the most satisfying times of the academic year is when graduating students are recognized and their accomplishments celebrated.

December 2010 was certainly no different for the University of Denver Sturm College of Law Environmental and Natural Resources Law Program. Lucy Daberkow, Assistant Director for the ENRL Graduate Program and I, were delighted to wish all of our graduates well and extend to them best wishes as they begin their professional futures.

These pictures represent two of the key events during December. The first picture depicts the scene at the December graduation ceremony. The picture illustrates the diversity of our program as well as the fact that our graduates are a very impressive group! Beginning on the far left is Alex Aidaghese, originally from Nigeria and currently an LLM student; me; Juliet Briggs, LLM graduate from Nigeria; Payal Sathe, LLM graduate from India; Lucy; Eva Kuoni, LLM graduate originally from Mexico who now lives and works in Denver; Kris Ellis, MRLS graduate from the U.S.; Tonye Oki, 2005 graduate who is originally from Nigeria but now lives and works in Denver and teaches "Negotiating Natural Resources Law Agreements," in the ENRL program. The two very young ladies in front -- many of you will recognize them right away -- are Emma (left) and Amelie (right) Daberkow from the classes of 2025 and 2027 respectively.

One of the aspects of the graduation ceremony that Lucy and I very much enjoy is meeting the families of our graduates. Everyone at the ceremony -- the proud parents, spouses, children, significant others, friends -- each enjoys the event and has their own personal pride in the graduate they have come (many times long distances) to recognize. Lucy and I salute all of these individuals as well since they have often made significant sacrifices and have provided enormous encouragement along the way to support their graduate.

The second picture was taken after a graduation lunch where Lucy and I celebrated with three of our graduates, Ms. Briggs next to me, Ms. Sathe, Lucy, and Ms. Kuoni on the far right-hand side of the picture.

Some of the graduates were not able to attend either event, but we also wish them well.

We experience these occasions with mixed emotions. On one hand, it is difficult to realize that we may not see these graduates again for a very long time. But on the other hand, it is exciting and satisfying to watch them go forth and put to use what they have learned.

In biding these students goodbye and good luck, Lucy and I are reminded of the words of the famous British historian Edward Gibbon: "The winds and waves are always on the side of the ablest navigators."

Don C. Smith
Environmental and Natural Resources Law Program

Monday, December 27, 2010

"A Change of Climate in Cancun:" Adjunct Professor Cecilia Dalupan Reflects on This Month's UN Climate Change Meetings in Mexico

What a difference a year makes. Leading up to the 15th Conference of the Parties (COP) of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Copenhagen in December of 2009, expectations had been enormously high. The goals were tremendously challenging - international binding agreements on a post-2012 climate framework, including controversial issues such as the fate of the Kyoto Protocol and whether the U.S. and developing countries like China would agree to carbon emission reduction commitments. Those meetings were marked by a number of large protests and covered by intense media scrutiny as the biggest political names arrived and over 30,000 delegates from governments, NGOs, business, and other sectors attempted to complete negotiations in a conference complex built to hold 15,000 people.

The atmosphere at the COP 15 negotiations and some of the language used in meetings there struck me as negative and unproductive, sometimes downright toxic. In the end, negotiations in Copenhagen were not completed as originally designed under the action plan decided by the parties two years before in Indonesia (the Bali Action Plan or BAP), and the limited agreements made were to continue the work and to “note” the voluntary Copenhagen Accord put forward by a number of delegations.

In contrast, expectations for the 16th COP in Cancun talks were manageable, even low, and media attention seemed scant especially by comparison with Copenhagen. This was particularly true for the United States where domestic issues on the legislative agenda dominated the news. It turns out that a sober and reasonable level of media coverage may actually be more productive, as the 24-hour news cycle which thrives on sound bites and hyperbole often can not reflect the sensitivities and complexities of multilateral negotiating processes, much less the difficult and often very technical substance of negotiations.

When I arrived for the second week of COP 16 in Cancun in early December, the differences I immediately noted were obvious but, as it turns out, not superficial – sunny and much more pleasant climate (pun intended) and improved logistical arrangements. Noting the even more obvious heavily armed security forces all over the place as I left the airport, I arrived after what seemed like just a few minutes at Cancunmesse, the first conference center which housed among others, registration, NGOs, media and many party (country/delegation) offices. I recalled, in contrast, the bitter cold and long lines at the massive complex at COP 15 in Copenhagen.

From Cancunmesse, all delegates and accredited representatives had to take shuttle busses to the Moon Palace where negotiating meetings were held. While both venues were situated along the Hotel Zone, they were several kilometers apart. While I heard some complaints about this lay-out, it was probably more manageable for security reasons and it did avoid the over-crowding that often characterized COP 15 and contributed to the already high level of stress there.

The COP 16 organizers apparently took some logistical notes from COP 15 and the results were impressive. I would soon conclude that that this may have been the case not just with respect to logistics, but also to the negotiating process itself. As is typical with most COPs, there were multiple meetings that took place almost every hour of the day dealing with the many different parts of the puzzle that make up the ongoing negotiations towards new global agreements on climate change.

The distinct and increasingly complex parts of the puzzle fall under two main negotiating tracks: the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long Term Cooperative Action (AWG-LCA) and the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Kyoto Protocol (AWG-KP). These two parallel but inter-connected tracks were decided at COP 13 in Bali. Under these working groups were a multitude of negotiations on many different sections.

I noted a generally positive and at times even upbeat tone of negotiations. Bouncing back from the disappointments at Copenhagen, there also seemed to be a real desire to move forward with clear accomplishments, however modest, to set the stage for other difficult issues that will hopefully be addressed and agreed upon in South Africa in late 2011. The host Mexican delegation, led by their Foreign Secretary and President of COP 16, Patricia Espinosa (picture to the left), constantly emphasized transparency in negotiations and recognized the importance of avoiding even the perception that closed-door meetings were being held with select parties or that alternative texts were being developed outside of the main negotiating sessions.

These negotiations, as with other UN processes, seem to have a language all their own consisting of acronyms, too many and sometimes too long (although it has been difficult to avoid some that I’ve already used here such as COP, AWG-LCA, AWG-KP, BAP etc). I also noted more than ever at these meetings the (over)use of certain catch phrases, for example, “form follows function” (or substance) in the meetings that I followed on the legal form of the outcome of negotiations.

I believe that the two assertions often heard in the different sessions, while used at times to mind-numbing, mantra-like proportions, ultimately and actually ended up characterizing – and saving - the negotiations. These were the terms, “party-driven process” and “let’s not allow the perfect to be the enemy of the good.”

At the end of the day, it appeared to me that the overriding sentiment of more than 190 delegations was that the agreements made in Cancun reflected the consensus of the parties, that parties believed that their work drove the process and the outcome. To my knowledge, there were no controversial closed-door meetings or parallel texts and the consensus seemed to be that the Mexican delegation, in its leadership role, went to great lengths to undertake consultations in a transparent manner. Common ground was reached on a number of issues on which compromises were made, and equally recognized was the need to continue working on unresolved issues such as mitigation commitments. The substantive agreements and outcomes of these meetings are now incorporated in official instruments, also known as the Cancun Package, all of which are posted on the UNFCCC website (

The final day of negotiations that began on December 10 and ended the following day reflected these substantive agreements, but probably more importantly, the progress made on process. President Espinosa - greeted with a standing ovation at the plenary - announced that consultations had been taking place and new consolidated texts had been developed which reflected on-going negotiations, emphasizing that these were not “Mexican texts” (inevitably calling to mind the “Danish text” that was circulated at Copenhagen).

Parties were given a few hours to study these texts and when the plenary session resumed after 9:00 pm, many parties took the floor in general support of adopting the texts with their positions marked by words such as inclusiveness, trust, transparency, and flexibility. And yes, “let’s not allow the perfect to be the enemy of the good.” Delegations, including China and the United States, concurred with adoption and were met with applause, sometimes cheers. Bolivia, however, maintained its position against the texts citing, among others, the lack of clear agreement on the Kyoto Protocol and mitigation targets. The general plenary adjourned, followed by the AWG-LCA and AWG-KP plenary sessions which commenced after midnight.

At about 3:00 am, the general plenary reconvened and adopted decisions on both the outcome of the work of both negotiating tracks despite the lone resistance of Bolivia. President Felipe Calderon (picture to the left) of Mexico later addressed the plenary, citing among others the confidence regained in the UN process, and he too was met with a standing ovation.

While the COP decisions in Cancun are not a global treaty, they are legal agreements adopted as official UNFCCC decisions, unlike the Copenhagen Accord. A number of the Accord’s provisions - such as emission reduction pledges and a $100 billion per annum Green Climate Fund for mitigation and adaptation programs in developing countries – are now formal agreements under the UN process.

A key message and outcome from Cancun was renewed confidence in multilateralism, however guarded or tenuous. The decisions adopted there moved the negotiating process forward and parties have reason to be cautiously hopeful that broader international agreement might be possible.

There was a moment during the plenary when a delegate who was seated somewhere up front stood up and turned around to walk to the back of the very large conference room. The camera was focused on the podium, and the delegate walked front and center of the camera’s view, prominent on the three massive screens up front. As the delegate walked and realized this, he quickly raised his hand and waved, causing laughter to break out among the thousands in the hall. That shared humorous moment was a fitting symbol of both our common humanity and capacity for convergence – the most important reminders from Cancun.

Cecilia Dalupan
Adjunct Professor

Editor's note: Cecilia Dalupan has attended meetings of the UN Framework Convention of Climate Change in Bonn, the Hague, Buenos Aires, and most recently at Copenhagen and Cancun where she served as one of the civil society advisors to the Philippine Delegation. She is an Associate Director of the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation. She is also a principal of the Sustainable Development Strategies Group together with Luke Danielson, and both are adjunct professors at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law co-teaching the courses on Sustainable Natural Resources Development.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Happy Holidays From Denver! Feliz Navidad Desde Denver!

All of us in the University of Denver Sturm College of Law Environmental and Natural Resources Law program wish our friends from across the world -- from Argentina and Chile in the south to Canada and Russia in the north and every country in between -- a very happy holiday season and warm wishes for the coming year.

Special times of the year may be different for each individual, but what brings us together is a shared commitment to a clean and safe environment that provides all of us the resources to live healthy and productive lives. In reaching this goal the world needs engaged, dedicated, and hard-working professionals who will remain steadfast even when success seems so difficult to achieve.

All of us in Denver are enriched by our students, our graduates, and our global community of friends. May 2011 be a wonderful year for all of you!

Don C. Smith
Director, Environmental and Natural Resources Law Program

Lucy Daberkow
Assistant Director, Environmental and Natural Resources Law Graduate Program

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

"The Next West: 20th Anniversary Land Use Conference" to be held March 3 and 4, 2011, at Sturm College of Law

The Rocky Mountain Land Use Institute (RMLUI), headquartered at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law, will hold its annual conference in Denver on March 3 and 4, 2011.

"'The Next West: 20th Anniversary Land Use Conference' presents a singular opportunity to explore both change and continuity in the region's communities and landscapes over the past two decades while beginning to look ahead to the next 20 years, to the 'New West,'" William Shutkin, RMLUI director said recently.

According to Mr. Shutkin:
"An extraordinary confluence of forces is changing the way communities across the West and the nation plan, grow and define their success. Climate change, technology, globalization, urbanization and a new wave of immigration are challenging old rules and patterns of development -- both physical and economic.

"As the region begins to emerge from the current economic crisis, professionals and citizens alike will need to understand the forces driving our land use and development patterns, forces that cut across geography, disciplines, fields and sectors. Like never before, they will be called upon to design new models that join prosperity, community and ecology in a bold vision tailored to the needs of a rapidly changing region in a radically changing world."
For information about the conference agenda, please click here. To register, please click here.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Natural Resources Extraction in Congo: "Treasure Amid Turmoil," According to the Financial Times

The abundance of natural resources in the Democratic Republic of Congo alongside the difficulty of actually operating there are explained in a fascinating recent article in the Financial Times.

In "Treasure Amid Turmoil" (Dec. 16, 2010), the FT reports that "As metal and mineral prices rise, Congo's bountiful deposits are growing in investor allure -- though seizures of western assets point to the difficulties of operating in a failing state." The article highlights the political, social, and development-related challenges associated with doing business in Congo. The role of multinationals in working in the country is explained. One thing is clear -- the road ahead will not be an easy one by any means.

The opportunities and challenges involved in operating in a country such as the Democratic Republic of Congo are more fully explored and analyzed in a pioneering three course series that the University of Denver Sturm College of Law has developed. Taught by resources experts, Luke Danielson, a Gunnison, Colorado, attorney, and Cecilia Dalupan, associate director of the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation, the "Natural Resources Development Series" considers how to operate sustainably in three contexts: (1) internationally; (2) within nation states; and (3) within communities where the work actually takes place. The first course -- dealing with emerging international trends -- will be offered over two long weekends in late February and late March 2011. The blog will be reporting more detail on this first course in the coming weeks. The second and third courses will be offered in one-week sessions in July 2011. Each course counts for three credits.

Balancing the competing interests in natural resources development so as to move towards a sustainable model is no small feat. It will take a new generation of practitioners who have studied and thought about what works and what does not work. DU's new series will help prepare this new generation.

Don C. Smith
Environmental and Natural Resources Law Program

Friday, December 17, 2010

"Global Boom in Resource Spending" Predicted by the Financial Times; $120 Billion to be Spent on Mining Next Year

One of the world's most important business newspapers, the London-based Financial Times, is predicting a 2011 "global boom" in resource-related spending.

In a front page story this week ("Global Boom in Resource Spending," Dec. 15, 2010), the FT described the boom in this manner:

"The boom in capital expenditures, which extends to oil, natural gas and agribusinesses, comes amid sharply rising prices for commodities such as copper, iron ore, crude oil, sugar and wheat."

A particular area noted for growth will be mining. In this regard, the FT reported:
"Global mining expenditure is set to hit a record $115-120 billion next year, above the peak of $110 billion set in 2008, according to a survey of senior industry executives and consultants."
The FT's report on resource investment underscores why the Environmental and Natural Resources Law program at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law is serving such an important need. The future we are heading into is not likely to resemble anything we have encountered in the past, particularly bearing in mind the resource-intensive nature of the economies of countries such as China and India.

Our aim at DU is to prepare our students to operate in this environment, and that is a commitment we feel very strongly about. Our range of international resources-related courses continues to expand, and thus news of this sort is taken very seriously as we consider how best to design a curriculm that meets the needs of tomorrow's professionals. In short, we believe the University of Denver is "the" place to study and learn about these issues.

Don C. Smith
Environmental and Natural Resources Law Program

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Professor Rock Pring and Kitty Pring, Authors of Ground-Breaking Study on "Environmental Courts and Tribunals," Speak in Chile and Australia

The ground-breaking book Greening Justice: Creating and Improving Environmental Courts and Tribunals, authored by Professor Rock Pring of the University of Denver Sturm College of Law and alternative dispute resolution-expert (and wife) Catherine Pring, continues to generate enormous interest all across the world.

Most recently the Prings were invited to critique the proposed legislation for Chile’s new environmental courts and tribunals (ECT) at the University of Chile Environmental Law Conference in Santiago.

According to Professor Pring, "Chile has just adopted sweeping reforms to their environmental laws and enforcement institutions, of which the new ECT will be a central feature." While there, the Prings advised Chile’s national Environment Minister, the Superintendent of the Environment, and attorneys for the Ministry and Superintendency on the new institution.

In September, they co-presented on “Judicial Challenges with ECTs” at the Australasian Conference of Planning and Environment Courts and Tribunals (ACPECT) in Sydney, Australia, and presented a paper on “Specialized ECTs: The Explosion of New Institutions to Adjudicate Climate Change” at the Conference on Environmental Governance and Democracy co-sponsored by Yale Law School and the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) in New Haven, CT.

The Prings co-direct the University of Denver Environmental Courts and Tribunals (ECT) Study – which they began in 2007 – researching, writing, and advising about these specialized environmental adjudication bodies. To learn more about the study, please click here.

Professor Pring says, "The goal of the Prings’ ECT Study and book is to provide needed assistance to governments and civil society around the world on how to establish or reform ECTs, with guidance on best practices, in line with the University of Denver’s motto of 'A private university working in the public interest.'”

Monday, December 13, 2010

"Renewable Energy Project Development and Regulation" Course Debuts in January 2011; Enhances and Strengthens DU's Leadership in Renewables Law

An exciting and timely new course to be offered for the first time in the spring 2011 semester at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law will be "Renewable Energy Project Development and Regulation."

Recently I sat down with Adjunct Professor Mark D. Safty (pictured at left), a partner at and practice group leader for Holland & Hart's Energy & Infrastructure Group. We talked about his experience and the reasons he is looking forward to teaching this course.

Mr. Safty has been lead counsel in the development, acquisition, financing, and refinancing of more than three dozen power generation facilities. Moreover, he has been involved in hydroelectric, coal, natural gas, and fuel oil powered facilities and projects. To put it in brief, he has experience in all regulatory, financial, and operational aspects of the energy generation industry.

More recently Mr. Safty has served as the group leader his firm's renewable energy practice, where by all measures he has assembled one of the country's top renewable energy project development practice teams. He is widely sought after as a speaker at renewables-related conferences and has been asked to contribute to numerous publications including the International Power & Utilities Finance Review.

In his role leading Holland & Hart's renewable energy practice, Mr. Safty pays close attention to the legal, policy, and business development trends associated with renewables. We talked about a broad range of topics that are involved with a renewables-related practice, and he offered his observations about the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead for the renewables sector.

More specifically Mr. Safty provided this overview of his course, which will begin on Jan. 12, 2011:

"This course will examine the broad range of legal topics that a renewable energy lawyer must understand in order to practice effectively. We will examine the structure, regulation, and functioning of the electric energy industry in the United States. We will explore in detail the law applicable to the development, ownership and operation of renewable energy projects across the spectrum of technologies. Significant emphasis will be placed on the practical 'real world' issues encountered in developing, financing and operating these projects.

"While the primary focus of this course is the regulation and development of renewable energy projects, we will also explore the renewable energy policy arena and its implications, and the mechanics and issues associated with financing energy

"Finally, the course will also address legal, policy and economic and financing issues associated with the expansion and improvement of the transmission grid to support renewable energy development. Various guest lecturers including leading practitioners in the field and developers of renewable energy projects in the region will participate in the course."

Two things struck me about his approach to his work and his upcoming class. He is extremely engaged in the renewables sector through his client work as well as his association with various renewables-related business groups. Second, he has a desire to impart his knowledge and his 'lessons learned' based on his experience to a generation of future professionals whose work will be essential to the future of American electricity generation and distribution system. Moreover, anyone who meets him will learn what it means to be a true professional whose passion for his work is reflected in his engaging and personable style.

With the addition of Mr. Safty's course in the spring of 2011, the Environmental and Natural Resources Law program is well on the way to establishing the Sturm College of Law as "the" leader in renewable energy studies among all American law schools. This is a moniker we take seriously and are committed to fulfilling for our students and our community. Mr. Safty's course joins two other high profile renewables-related courses and complements some of the nation's finest externship opportunities as provide by the College of Law Legal Externship Program.

Students interested in learning more about renewable energy project development, and all that it entails, should not miss this course or the College of Law's other renewables offerings for that matter. There is no better place to learn about renewables than here in Denver, the center of the new energy economy.

Don C. Smith
Environmental and Natural Resources Law Program

Friday, December 10, 2010

ENRL Graduate Program Announces 2010 Scholarships: Lauren Suerth Wins Col. Jan and Marjorie Laitos Award, Rocio Urbina Wins Marilyn Alkire Award

Lauren Suerth (top photo) and Rocio Urbina (bottom photo), students in the Environmental and Natural Resources Law Graduate Program at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law, have been awarded named scholarships.

Lauren Suerth has been chosen as this year’s recipient of the Col. Jan M. and Marjorie G. Laitos Scholarship. Established in 1997, this scholarship supports students of outstanding merit who demonstrate a sincere commitment to the study of natural resources and environmental law.

Ms. Suerth received her BS in Community and Regional Planning from Iowa State University and served as a member of AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps before beginning her masters studies. Ms. Suerth is currently pursuing a Master of Resources Law Studies and works as a research assistant and as a blogger for the College of Law’s Rocky Mountain Land Use Institute TriplePundit Blog. We are extremely proud of Ms. Suerth and are confident she will be greatly successful in a future career in sustainable development and community planning.

Rocio Urbina has been chosen as this year’s recipient of the Marilyn Alkire Scholarship. Established in 1998 by Marilyn Alkire, a 1977 JD graduate, this scholarship is awarded to an LLM candidate who demonstrates the potential for making significant contributions to the field in his or her future career.

Ms. Urbina, who is an international student from Perú, received her LLB from the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Perú and worked as a legal assistant at the Office of the Comptroller General of Perú and as a tax advisor for the Peruvian Internal Revenue Service. Ms. Urbina is currently pursuing her LLM in Environmental and Natural Resources Law and Policy and works as a case manager for a local law firm. Ms. Urbina plans to return to Perú after her LLM studies and hopes to work for the Peruvian Government. We feel truly honored to have her in the program and are certain she will continue to accomplish great things in the natural and environmental law areas.

Lucy Daberków
Assistant Director
Environmental and Natural Resources Law Graduate Program

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Hiring News: Kelli Schulte, 2010 Masters in Resource Law Studies Graduate, Begins Work as Program Analyst for the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

Kelli Schulte, a 2010 Masters in Resource Law Studies Graduate from the University of Denver Sturm College of Law, has been hired by the Bureau of Reclamation, which is part of the U.S. Department of Interior.

According to Ms. Schulte:
"As a Program Analyst in the Policy and Administration Office I participate with senior analysts in the preparation of policies, directives and standards, and provide guidance for Reclamation programs. In doing so, I research laws, precedents, and program procedures to develop new policy for Reclamation programs. I also review program-related reports to ensure proper implementation of such programs is occurring at the regional and local level.

"At the present time I am engaged in the development of revised funding criteria for mature Reclamation programs and I am assisting in the development of program criteria and funding announcements for projects that are in their early stages. I work with my team members to develop program budgets and to respond to Congressional and Department (Department of the Interior) level budget inquiries and I suspect I will have the opportunity to engage with many inter-governmental and non-federal entities during my time with Reclamation.
The Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) is a contemporary water management agency, with a history in dam building. Today it has shifted its focus from construction to operation and maintenance. It is the largest wholesaler of water in the nation providing drinking water to more than 31 million Americans and irrigating more than 10 million acres of farmland. Reclamation is also the second largest producer of hydroelectric power in the western United States providing more than 40 billion kilowatt hours annually.

Reclamation places a heavy emphasis on fulfilling its water delivery obligations in an efficient and environmentally sound manner. Nevertheless, with today’s increasing water resource challenges, Reclamation must look beyond its obligation to deliver water, in order to meet the competing needs, of an increasing population, with limited water resources. It does this through a variety of programs that address various needs and concerns throughout the west.

Don C. Smith, Director of the Environmental and Natural Resources Law (ENRL) program, said, "We are delighted with the news that Ms. Schulte has begun working for the Bureau of Reclamation. While studying at DU, Kelli established herself as an individual committed to the proper oversight of the country's resources. She will now carry out this commitment in her new role with the Bureau."

Lucy Daberkow, Assistant Director of the ENRL Graduate Program from which Ms. Schulte earned her degree, said, "From the day Kelli began our program in August 2009 through May 2010 when she graduated, Kelli was an enthusiastic and engaged student who learned from everyone she met and every course she took. We wish her great success in her new position."

Monday, December 6, 2010

Nigerian Attorney and DU LLM Graduate Tonye Oki Passes Colorado Bar Examination; Prepares to Join the Colorado Bar

Tonye Tony Oki, a Nigerian Barrister, Solicitor, and Advocate, and a 2006 University of Denver Sturm College of Law LLM graduate in Environmental and Natural Resources Law & Policy, passed the July 2010 Colorado Bar Examination.

Mr. Oki, who is a chartered arbitrator as well as an Adjunct Professor of Law who co-teaches (along with Denver attorney James King) Negotiating Natural Resource Agreements at DU, has worked on Africa-China affairs for Divine Oil and Gas of Denver. He has also practiced law in Nigeria.

Lucy Daberkow, Assistant Director for the Environmental and Natural Resources Law (ENRL) graduate program, said, "Tonye Oki has been a wonderful member of our graduate program community since the day he began studying here in August 2005. Since his graduation, Tonye has been tireless in his efforts to help other graduates and in his support of our program. This is a wonderful achievement for Tonye."

Don C. Smith, Director of the ENRL, said, "Adjunct Professor Oki and I first met in the spring of 2006 when he was a student in a course I taught called 'Comparative Environmental Law.' From the day we met, I knew Tonye was going to make major contributions in this field. Two years ago I approached him about co-teaching Negotiating Natural Resource Agreements, and he has done an excellent job in that regard too. Our program has no greater supporter than Adjunct Professor Oki and he has no greater fans than Ms. Daberkow, the faculty he studied under, and me. We are thrilled at his professional achievement."

Mr. Oki is a member of numerous professional bodies including the International Mining Professionals Society USA, the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators UK. and the Nigerian Bar Association.

Editor's Note: In the picture above, Don Smith is on the left, Lucy Daberkow is in the middle, and Tonye Oki is on the right.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

What We Are Reading

"Adapting to Climate Change: Facing the Consequences," The Economist, Nov. 27-Dec. 4, 2010

"Capitalism Can Save the Planet," Philip Stephens, Financial Times, Nov. 26, 2010

"China Hits Top in Clean Energy League Table," Financial Times, Nov. 20, 2010

"Energy," Special Report, The Wall Street Journal, Nov. 29, 2010

"How to Live With Climate Change," editorial, The Economist, Nov. 27-Dec. 4, 2010

"International Business Insight: Latin America," Special Report, Financial Times, Nov. 23, 2010

"Managing Climate Change," Special Report, Financial Times, Nov. 29, 2010

"South African Power & Energy," Special Report, Financial Times, Dec. 2, 2010

"US Innovative Lawyers 2010: Special Report," Financial Times, Dec. 1, 2010

Friday, December 3, 2010

Leonardo G. Rodríguez, Argentine Lawyer and 2008 LLM Graduate, Speaks About Argentine Mining Law to Gathering at China Mining Congress & Expo

Leonardo G. Rodríguez, an Argentine attorney who earned his LLM in Environmental and Natural Resources Law at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law, recently presented his latest book, entitled Argentine Law on Mining, at the "Third Seminar on Mining Investment Opportunities in Argentina," held in Tianjin, China.

Mr. Rodríguez, an associate attorney at the Buenos Aires-based firm of Marval O'Farrrell & Mairal, spoke at the 12th Annual China Mining Congress & Expo.

Mr. Rodríguez's book attracted the attention of many lawyers and investors who are considering investing in (or have already invested in) the Argentine mining sector.

He shared a panel with the Argentine Mining Secretary, Eng. Jorge Mayoral, the Governor of the Province of La Rioja, Luis Beder Herrera, and representatives of Chinese companies investing in Argentina, and the Argentine Chamber of Mining Companies.

According to Mr. Rodríguez, who was recognized as the "Outstanding LLM Student of the Year" in 2008 at the Sturm College of Law, "Over the years China Mining has evolved into one of the most influential mineral exploration/extraction trade events in the world, and has come to play a critical role in bringing together top policy makers and leading industry figures."

China Mining Congress & Expo attracted more than 3,500 delegates from 55 countries and featured over 420 booths.

Don C. Smith, Director of the Environmental and Natural Resources Law (ENRL) program at the Sturm College of Law, said, "Leonardo Rodríguez is expanding his reputation from his home country of Argentina to China, one of the most resources 'intensive' countries of the world. Congratulations to him on being asked to speak at this prestigious event with such an impressive panel."

Lucy Daberkow, Assistant Director for the ENRL Graduate Program, said, "Students often ask me how to become more involved in international work. I can point with considerable pride to what Leonardo is doing, and encourage potential graduate students to see what one of our most recognized alumni is doing in the international sphere."

Editor's Note: In the first picture, Mr. Rodríguez in on the left; in the second picture, he is the second person from the right.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

December 2, 2010: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Marks its 40th Birthday

Today marks the 40th anniversary of the establishment of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The EPA was officially established on Dec. 2, 1970, as the result of President Richard M. Nixon's "Reorganization Plan No. 3" issued in July 1970. The following day President Nixon appointed William D. Ruckelshaus as the first head of the EPA. The new agency consolidated federal research, monitoring and enforcement activities in a single agency. EPA's self-described mission "is to protect human health by safeguarding the air we breathe, water we drink and land on which we live."

To see 40 years of images related to the American environment and the work of the EPA, please click here.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

"Environmental and Natural Resources Law Certificate" Established by Sturm College of Law; Certificate Reflects Long-Standing Strength of DU Program

A "Certificate in Environmental and Natural Resources Law" is now available for University of Denver Sturm College of Law students who meet certain criteria as established by the faculty of law.

The Certificate "is intended to acknowledge a path of specialized learning within the JD program. As such, it is a supplement to the basic JD degree," Don C. Smith, Director of the ENRL program said.

All enrolled law students in good standing are eligible for the ENRL Certificate. Please click here to learn more about the requirements for earning the certificate.

Graduates who earn the certificate will have this so noted on their diploma as well as on their transcript.

The establishment of the ENRL Certificate reflects the long-standing strength of the College of Law ENRL program "which is one of the oldest and most extensive environmental and natural resources law programs in the nation," Mr. Smith said. "For a century, the program, our faculty, and our students have provided leadership in the development, understanding, and application of environmental and natural resources law and in related fields."

Students who earn the certificate will benefit from an enhanced all around exposure to the College of Law's courses and will be seen in the market place as having special expertise, thus improving their competitive advantage in the job search process.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Colorado Governor’s Energy Office (GEO) Ushers in the "New Energy Economy;" Matt Futch of GEO Speaks to DU Students About Ground Breaking Program

Recent ground breaking legislation positions Colorado as a national leader in energy policy reform.

Colorado House Bills 1365 and 1001 set aggressive goals for expanding renewable energy distribution and reducing greenhouse gases, while prioritizing economic growth linked to the energy sector.

Recently, Matt Futch, Utilities Program Manager at the Colorado Governor's Energy Office (GEO), delivered a webinar presentation to University of Denver Sturm College of Law students that focused on distributed energy in Colorado, as well as the recent energy legislation. Mr. Futch presented highlights of the recent legislation, including:
  • Mandatory retirement of and pollution control systems on coal plants.
  • Minimum of 30 percent of total electric sales from eligible renewable resources by 2020.
  • Requirement that three percent of total energy must be obtained from distributed generation resources such as solar PV and small hydro systems.
In addition, Mr. Futch described the complexity behind Colorado’s electric power sector.

Mr. Futch’s presentation was arranged through the Law 4701 course, “Energy Policy and Economics,” which I teach. The webinar was open to all students and faculty, and those interested may access his presentation by clicking here.

Mr. Futch and the Colorado Governor’s Energy Office have played an active role with the College of Law. In addition to delivering periodic presentations and energy policy updates, the Colorado Governor’s Energy Office also hosts externships that are available through the College of Law Legal Externship Program.

DU is fortunate to host an engaging speaker like Mr. Futch, who is able to discuss these cutting edge energy issues. I highly recommend that those interested in energy policy take the time to review Mr. Futch’s presentation. The eyes of the nation are on Colorado to see how our new energy policy unfolds.

Ensuring stable energy prices is important to economic stability, since energy is used in virtually every production process. Innovative energy production also has the potential to jump start technological innovation and job growth. although these benefits may not be realized for quite some time.

Dr. Catherine Keske
Professor of Agricultural and Resource Economics
Colorado State University
Adjunct Professor
Sturm College of Law

Editor's note: In photo above, Matt Futch is on far left; College of Law Professor K.K. DuVivier is second from left; students are on the far right.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Bruce Kirchhoff, DU JD Graduate and Vice President and General Counsel of Royal Gold Inc., Talks About the Business of Buying and Managing Royalties

The University of Denver Sturm College of Law has many outstanding alumni practicing in the natural resources sector. One such alumnus is Bruce Kirchhoff, a 1984 JD graduate, who serves as Vice President and General Counsel for Royal Gold, Inc., a Denver-based precious metals royalty company.

Recently I set down with Mr. Kirchhoff to find out more about Royal Gold, which the Denver Business Journal recently recognized as among the "fastest growing" companies in Colorado ("Royal Shines Gold," Oct. 10, 2010).

According to Mr. Kirchhoff, "Royal Gold owns and manages royalties primarily on precious metals mines with a focus on gold. Our royalty portfolio provides investors with a unique opportunity to capture value in the precious metals sector without incurring many of the costs and risks associated with mine operations."

He went on to explain that Royal Gold owns a large portfolio of producing, development, evaluation, and exploration stage royalties located in some of the world's most prolific gold regions. "Through this high quality portfolio," Mr. Kirchhoff said, "Royal Gold maintains upside potential though any exploration successes by the operators and benefits when new reserves are produced."

Mr. Kirchhoff has over 20 years experience in a broad range of business, commercial, and corporate matters affecting natural resources companies. Most recently he was a partner with Carver Kirchhoff Schwarz McNab & Baily, where he represented hardrock and industrial minerals clients as well as mineral exploration and development companies. Earlier in his career he was a senior attorney with Cyprus Amax Minerals Company.

Despite his busy schedule, Mr. Kirchhoff has been extremely generous in his support of the Environmental and Natural Resources Law program at DU. Several years ago he co-taught "International Mining Law & Policy." In more recent years, he has spoken to various DU law courses about his work and experience, thus providing students with invaluable insight into the mining sector. We are delighted that he is part of the College of Law community. Preparations are underway to have Mr. Kirchhoff speak to ENRL program students in spring 2011.

Royal Gold is headquartered in Denver and traded on the NASDAQ Global Select Market and on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

Don C. Smith
Environmental and Natural Resources Law Program

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Associate Professor Tom Romero Comments on New Poll Finding That Latinos, Asians More Concerned Than Whites About Environment

Associate Professor Tom Romero of the University of Denver Sturm College of Law recently brought an article to our attention. The article, "Latinos, Asians more worried about environment than whites, poll finds," was published in The Los Angeles Times (Nov. 20, 2010).

Professor Romero, who teaches Water Law and Property Law, added these observations:
"These findings are not surprising given the scholarship of the environmental justice movement that has documented the fact that the burdens of industrial development have almost always been borne by communities of color. As a result of past as well as present practices of racial discrimination in housing and employment markets, communities of color in California, as well as Colorado, live in large concentrations near hazardous chemical waste disposal sites, refineries, industrial operations, freeways and railroads.

"As such, these communities suffer disproportionately ill health and social effects created by air, noise, and water pollution. Yet, that such a large percentage of Latinos and Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the California survey, many of whom are recent migrants from the developing world, identified a concern with the environment also speaks to an emerging multi-racial and international sensibility about the laws and policies protecting the environment that has ramifications that stretch far beyond California.

"As the article points out, ignoring the concerns of Latinos, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, African Americans, and American Indians is poor advocacy for all of us lawyers and policy makers concerned about protecting the environment."
Professor Romero is one of the Environmental and Natural Resources Law program's full-time professors. He teaches and researches in the areas of the legal history of the American West, Latinos and the law, school desegregation in multiracial contexts, property, land use, water law, and urban development and local government in the United States and Latin America. Professor Romero is currently completing a book-length manuscript on law and race relations in post-World War II Denver.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Four University of Denver Law Students Win Prestigious Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation Scholarships

Four University of Denver Sturm College of Law students in the Environmental and Natural Resources Law (ENRL) program have earned prestigious scholarships from the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation (RMMLF).

The scholarships, which were announced today, are awarded to students enrolled at one of the 30 laws schools affiliated with the RMMLF. The award winners demonstrate, among other things, "a commitment to the study of natural resources law." The RMMLF, which is one of the leading practitioner-oriented organizations of its kind in the world, includes many of the world's preeminent oil and gas and mining attorneys.

The recipients of the Spring 2011 RMMLF Scholarships are:
  • Raven Adams, a JD student who expects to graduate in May 2012.
  • Alex Aidaghese, an LLM student originally from Nigeria who expects to graduate in May 2011.
  • Luis Antonio La Rosa Airaldi, an LLM student from Peru who expects to graduate in May 2011.
  • Rocio Urbina-Linares, an LLM student from Peru who expects to graduate in May 2011.
Don C. Smith, Director of the ENRL program, said, "To win a Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation scholarship is one of the top honors that any student studying in the field of natural resources can aspire to. Consequently, we are extremely proud of each of these students not only for what he or she has accomplished so far, but also for what they will likely contribute to the natural resources field in the future. Our winning students reflect the depth and diversity of DU's ENRL program, with one of the winners from the U.S. and the other three orignially from Nigeria and Peru."

Lucy Daberkow, Assistant Director of the ENRL graduate programs said, "Recruiting the best students for our program is one of our top priorities. Clearly, the RMMLF recognizes their potential in future careers as natural resources practitioners."

For many past recipients, the award of a RMMLF scholarship is one of the highlights of their academic career. It is worth noting that 24 scholarships in total were given to students applying from the 30 law schools that are affiliated with the Foundation. Four of the 24 were awarded to Sturm College of Law students.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

What We Are Reading: Week of Nov. 14-20, 2010

A listing of some of the key articles that we have read this past week:
  • "China Buys Up the World, and The World Should Stay Open for Business," The Economist, Nov. 13-19, 2010
  • "Chinese Takeovers: Being Eaten by the Dragon," The Economist, Nov. 13-19, 2010
  • "Energy Special Report," Financial Times, Nov. 1, 2010
  • "Power to the European Market: A Single Energy Market Would be Good for Consumers, the Environment and Security," The Economist, Nov. 13-19, 2010

Friday, November 19, 2010

Hiring News: Mochamad Kasmali, 2009 LLM Graduate, Rejoins Indonesian Firm Soemadipradja & Taher as Senior Associate

Mochamad Kasmali, an Indonesian lawyer and 2009 LLM graduate from the University of Denver Sturm College of Law, has rejoined the Jakarta, Indonesia-based firm of Soemadipradja & Taher as a senior associate.

Kasmali originally joined Soemadipradja & Taher (S&T) in 1996 and was with the firm for four years before joining Newmont Indonesian subsidiary companies in 2000.

In mid 2010, after spending almost 10 years with Newmont Indonesian subsidiary companies and a short internship with one of the leading environmental law firms in Colorado, Temkin Wielga Hardt & Longenecker LLP, Kasmali returned to once again join S&T.

Kasmali’s main areas of practice include energy and natural resources, the environment and general corporate. Kasmali is currently advising clients on a wide range of energy and resources and corporate matters.

Kasmali obtained his Sarjana Hukum (Bachelor of Laws) degree in 1995 from Airlangga University, Surabaya, majoring in Civil Law and his LLM in Environmental and Natural Resources Law & Policy degree from the College of Law.

He is a licensed Advocate and a member of the Indonesian Advocates Association (Peradi) as well as the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation and the Australian Mining Petroleum Law Association.

Don C. Smith, Director of the Environmental and Natural Resources Law (ENRL) program in which Kasmali studied, said, "Kasmali was a wonderful student and a great person who made many friends while studying in Denver. He was always willing to share his expertise in Indonesian law with students from other parts of the world."

Lucy Daberkow, Assistant Director of the ENRL graduate program, noted that Kasmali "is a talented lawyer who learned a great deal in our program. All of us in Denver wish him continued success in a career that will be highlighted by his contributions to Indonesian law and beyond."

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Rocky Mountain Land Use Institute, Headquartered at College of Law, Begins Blogging on "Triple Pundit: People, Planet, Profit"

The Rocky Mountain Land Use Institute (RMLUI), which is affiliated with the University of Denver Sturm College of Law, has begun authoring a special section for the Triple Pundit: People, Planet, Profit blog. The special section can be accessed by clicking here.

The Triple Pundit blog describes itself as "an innovative new-media company for the business community that cultivates awareness and understanding of the triple bottom line" by providing "expert editorial coverage and group discussions on sustainable business in the 21st century."

In announcing that the RMLUI would join the Triple Pundit, William Shutkin, RMLUI director said, "Here, University of Denver Sturm College of Law students will report on emerging, novel and contested land use and development issues from a sustainability perspective. We believe the development of the American West, and indeed the entire planet, necessitates a closer and more responsible look at not only how we use natural resources but how we build our communities and economies. We invite you to comment and engage with us over issues of interest to you. And we invite you to suggest topics for us to research and report on from our unique perspective as law students. But most of all, we invite you to take these ideas and share them within your friends and colleagues so we can all be involved in a more informed and forward-thinking discussion about our future.

Allison Alturas, a law student, will edit the blog. Regular blog contributors include the following students: John Bartholomew, Chris Boeckx, Matt Brodahl, Dave DeNovellis, Stephen Gruber, Tripp Hall, and Lauren Suerth. To read more about the contributors click here.

Among the recent blog postings:

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

New Streaming Video Highlights Sturm College of Law Environmental and Natural Resources Law & Policy Program, "One of the Best in the World"

The Environmental and Natural Resources Law (ENRL) program at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law is featured in a new streaming video, which can be accessed by clicking here.

The video features interviews with various individuals who are involved with the program including Don C. Smith, ENRL director, Howard Kenison, a 1972 JD alum and nationally recognized environmental and energy law attorney who practices at Lindquist and Vennum, and Professor George (Rock) Pring, an internationally known environmental and resource law professor.

Students featured in the video are Kristi Disney, who will earn her JD and LLM in Environmental and Natural Resources Law degrees in 2011, and Matthew Wagner, who earned his Masters in Resource Law Studies degree in 2010.

Among other topics, the video points to the excellent externship program, headed by Professor Ann Vessels, which provides students a wide range of opportunities to work for federal, state, private, and non-profit institutions. Many consider the environmental and natural resources law externships available at the College of Law "second to none" in the United States.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Steve Bain and Bob Bassett, Two Leading International Natural Resources Attorneys, Compare International Mining and Oil and Gas Work With DU Students

Two of America's leading natural resources lawyers, Steve Bain and Bob Bassett, spoke recently about the differences and similarities in the fields of international mining law and international oil and gas law to a large group of University of Denver Sturm College of Law students in the Environmental and Natural Resources Law program.

The event, which was sponsored by the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation (RMMLF) and organized by law student Carrie Golden, attracted a group of DU law students from the U.S. as well as Canada, Chile, China, Japan, Nigeria, and Peru, thus reflecting the widely diverse nature of the ENRL student body.

Mr. Bain, a shareholder at Welborn Sullivan Meck & Tooley, teaches International and Comparative Petroleum Law & Policy. He noted that mining law is in many respects "more regulated" than oil and gas law largely because mining has been going on for hundreds of years while the exploration for and extraction of oil and gas is a much more recent development. On the other hand he noted that oil and gas development takes place worldwide while mining development generally happens in more confined regions of the world.

Mr. Bassett, manager of the Minerals Practice Group at Holland & Hart, teaches International Mining Law & Policy. Before beginning his presentation, Mr. Bassett encouraged students to become familiar with the RMMLF. "The Foundation is widely recognized as the source for lawyers to learn from scholarly works written by practicing lawyers. The Foundation is an invaluable resource." He also noted that individuals involved with the Foundation "build relationships with others. Knowing other practitioners is very important."

Mr. Bassett said that mining dates back to the Roman Empire and Greece. "Many of the concepts first established by the Greeks are still used today," he said. He also noted the capital intensive nature of building mines and the relatively small profit margin that exists in many mining projects.

The two men also made other key observations on various related topics:
  • Sustainable Development: Mr. Bassett said the first time he heard about the concept of "sustainable development" was in the context of mining. Now he said an important issue for mining companies is "how can a mining project be designed to be 'sustainable' from an economic perspective. In other words, how can a local community's economy be made to continue on after a mining project is closed." Mr. Bassett noted that mining projects can, and have in many instances (e.g., in Australia, Canada, and the U.S.) provided revenues for government that can then be invested in other sectors, such as education.
  • The "Impact" of Development: Mr. Bain noted that mining projects are much more visible to people, and thus often attract more opposition than oil and gas projects. He also pointed out that the "return on investment" for oil and gas projects tends to be considerably higher than for mining projects as a result of the considerable capital investments that must be made in the development stage of mining.
Don C. Smith, director of the ENRL program, said, "Adjunct Professors Bain and Bassett provided a fascinating look at the issues that are uppermost in the minds of oil and gas and mining developers. Everyone attending the event as well as all the students who have studied under these gentlemen has benefited enormously from their insight and experience. The College of Law is privileged to have a strong relationship with both Mr. Bain and Mr. Bassett."

Mr. Smith also noted the longtime relationship between the College of Law and the RMMLF. "The College of Law was one of the founding members of the RMMLF and remains active in the Foundation today. Professor Jan Laitos is the College of Law's trustee to the Foundation and Professor and Academic Dean Fred Cheever is a trustee at large," he said.

Editor's Note: Steve Bain is shown alongside student Alphonsus Ihuoma in the top photo; Bob Bassett is shown in the second photo.

Monday, November 15, 2010

"Smart Growth and Sustainability: Principles and Practices" to be Offered in Spring 2011 and Taught by Professor William Shutkin

A new course that addresses smart growth and sustainability has been added to the University of Denver Sturm College of Law Spring 2011 curriculum. "Smart Growth and Sustainability: Principles and Practices" will be taught by William Shutkin, director of the Rocky Mountain Land Use Institute that is affiliated with the College of Law.

According to Professor Shutkin:
"To be successful and to ensure a resilient, prosperous America in the twenty-first century, sustainable development professionals will need to understand the many forces driving our land use and development patterns, forces that cut across geography, disciplines, fields and sectors – from global warming to globalization, housing to transportation, energy to economic development, public policy to politics. They will need to be prepared to work in and among many different contexts – urban and rural, commercial and residential, agricultural and recreational – and social groups – affluent and low-income, from an increasingly rich mix of ethnic and racial backgrounds. And most importantly, emerging sustainable development professionals will need a new mind- and skill-set capable of integrating the economic, social and environmental goals that define sustainability. Like never before, they will be called upon to design new business models, policies and strategies, to join profitability, community and ecology in a bold development vision tailored to the needs of a radically changing region in a radically changing world.

"This course is designed to help equip next-generation sustainable development professionals with the foundational knowledge and tools they’ll need to make the most of this extraordinary opportunity disguised as a singular challenge. It will introduce them to the companion concepts of smart growth and sustainability, nested frameworks for physical and economic development born of a desire to redress the perceived past failures of markets and public policies while providing an affirmative alternative for the future. It explores the policies, processes, techniques and capabilities required to effectively and creatively manage growth and land use change in the light of the dramatic shifts beginning to transform the way we approach and even conceive land use and development.

"With an emphasis on practical knowledge, the course will examine the history and fundamentals of the land use planning and regulation and growth management systems, covering a range of cultural, legal and ecological issues in the process. By way of case studies and best practices, we will focus on new, “sustainable” approaches at the intersection of real estate development, land use planning, economic and community development and environmental law and policy, and will try to anticipate innovations in practice, policy and technology on both the near and far horizons. We will also pay attention to the different scales – individual, corporate, community, region, state, nation and beyond – at which sustainability methods are applied and consider the many legal, political as well as cognitive/behavioral forces that influence land use and development patterns and practices."
The course works products and performance evaluation include:
  • Preparation for and participation in each class session (15 percent): In advance of each class session, Professor Shutkin will randomly select up to 4 students to be discussion leaders for that session. The selected students will be required to carefully read the assigned materials, synthesize them and, with the session’s core questions (listed in the syllabus) as a guide, help lead the class. In addition, discussion leaders and class members as a whole should review periodicals (e.g., major newspapers or trade journals) and websites on a weekly basis so as to be able to introduce each week timely, late-breaking events or information bearing on the session’s subject matter.
  • Personal/career vision statement (10 percent)
  • Smart growth/sustainable development policy memorandum (25 percent)
  • Innovation report and presentation (team) (50 percent)
The course will meet from 3 to 6 p.m. on Wednesdays beginning Jan. 12, 2011.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Kate Iverson, DU JD Graduate and Assistant General Counsel at Denver's RTD, Discusses "Fastracks" Light Rail Project During Speakers Series

Kate Iverson, Associate General Counsel for the Regional Transportation District in Denver, spoke recently to University of Denver Sturm College of Law students about Fastracks, the RTD's major light rail project that is currently being built.

Ms. Iverson, a 2006 JD graduate from the College of Law, described Fastracks as a multi-billion dollar comprehensive transit expansion plan to build 122 miles of new commuter rail and light rail, 18 miles of bus rapid transit, and the stations and parking spaces needed to support the system. She said that the West Corridor Light Rail project would be finished in 2013, Union Station in 2015, and the East Corridor Rail and Gold Line Rail in 2016.

She explained the unique nature of the Eagle P3 Project, which will involve the 22.8 mile East Corridor to Denver International Airport as well as the 11.2 mile Gold Line commuter rail to Arvada and Wheat Ridge and a starter segment to south Westminster on the Northwest Rail commuter rail corridor. The interesting aspect of the project is that it consists of a public/private partnership that will build out this portion of Fastracks. "It's a design, build, finance, operate, and maintain project," she said.

Among her responsibilities include meeting and negotiating with local governments to discuss what work will be done in a particular jurisdiction, who will pay for it, and who will maintain it. She is also centrally involved in issues related to utilities and trails that happen to intersect with Fastracks. She also negotiates with railroads to obtain Fastracks' access to railroad rights of way.
Don C. Smith, director of the Environmental and Natural Resources Law (ENRL) program, said, "The work that Kate Iverson is doing at Fastracks is a key element in what will ultimately be one of the largest light rail networks in the American west. Having her speak at the College of Law benefits students desiring to learn more about this vast undertaking and provides an inside view of what a large city transport development attorney does. I am sure Kate will be back over the next few years to share the progress on this project, which has the potential of changing transport patterns all across the Denver metropolitan area."

Ms. Iverson's presentation, which was part of the ENRL Speakers Series, was co-sponsored by the Land Use Law Society.

For a map of the Fastracks project, please click here.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

DU Environmental and Natural Resources Externships: "Some of the Best Opportunities in the Nation," Professor Ann Vessels Says

Students studying environmental and natural resources issues at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law were advised recently to take advantage of the law school's many excellent externship opportunities. Students attending an Environmental and Natural Resources Law (ENRL) advising session heard Professors Fred Cheever, Rock Pring, and Ann Vessels, director of the College of Law Legal Externship Program, extol the benefits of undertaking one or more externships during law school.

Professor Vessels said, "We have some of the best environmental and natural resources externships in the country here at the Sturm College of Law. The Denver area specifically, and Colorado more generally, are excellent locations for the types of externships you are looking for." She noted that externship opportunities range from working for federal and state agencies, to non-profits and think-tanks, to private firms. Moreover, there is often a link between a student's externship experiences and their ability to get a job after graduation, Professor Vessels said.

Professor Pring noted that, "Externships are a great way to learn as well as meet key individuals. It also allows you to list the externships on your resume, which can be very impressive to prospective employers. I highly recommend [doing externships]."

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Nino Coppero, Environmental and Natural Resources LLM Student, Elected to Student Bar Association Senate

We would like to congratulate LLM student Nino Coppero for his election to the University of Denver Sturm College of Law Student Bar Association (SBA) Senate.

Nino comes to our program from Peru where he graduated with honors from the Universidad Peruana de Ciencias Aplicadas (UPC) with a degree in Law. Nino is currently on leave from his job at one of Peru’s top natural resources and environmental law firms, Rodrigo, Elias & Medrano.

Luis Carlos Rodrigo, one of the firm’s partners and Sturm College of Law Adjunct Professor, had this to say about Nino: “ I can say that Nino is currently one of our best lawyers and collaborators specialized in mining and environmental law.”

We are extremely proud of Nino and his accomplishments while at the University of Denver LLM program. Enhorabuena, Nino!

Lucy Daberkow
Assistant Director
Environmental and Natural Resources Law Program