Friday, April 2, 2010

DU Law Prof. Emeritus John A. Carver Jr. Remembers Former U.S. Secretary of the Interior Stewart L. Udall, 1920-2010

Stewart Udall, its youngest member, joined a cabinet of experienced and well-known public servants in January, 1961. In January, 1969, when the former Arizona Congressman who had become Kennedy’s Interior Secretary yielded his post to a Nixon appointee he was one of only two members of the original cabinet to have served all of those eight tumultuous years. [Stewart Udall on right in picture, John A. Carver Jr. on left.]

Now, nigh fifty years later, he is honored and revered and remembered as none of the others in the Johnson and Kennedy cabinets has been, indeed as no prior Secretary of the Interior in history.

I served under him in that Department for six years. How he managed to retain his post for eight years, and how only eight years as Interior Secretary could account for him becoming the acknowledged leader of the modern environmental movement, will be studied by Udall’s biographers for years to come.

I can only offer clues. For example, succeeding in pleasing two such different Presidents may have been aided by his close collaboration with First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy in her remaking of the White House followed by an equally close collaboration with First Lady Lady Bird Johnson in her drive to beautify America, starting with planting wild flowers along the interstate highways.

Udall’s now being recognized as patriarch and patron saint of the modern environmental movement is explained not by his management of the fractious bureaucracy of Interior but by how, in that office he could and did change the way people think. As his son, U.S. Senator Tom Udall, wrote this week in Time magazine, his father’s book, The Quiet Crisis warned Americans against the overuse of natural resources and the loss of open spaces. He argued that preservation of wilderness be given the same values as the exploitation of resources. The latter was fundamentally the mission of Interior before Udall took over.

I watched him as he drew about him the intellectual and inspirational leaders of the emerging environmental movement. He drew upon the Leopolds, Aldo and Luna, and upon Wallace Stegner. He tramped the C&O canal path with former U.S. Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas. The leaders of the Sierra Club and the Wilderness Society saw him as a fair arbiter in their conflicts with grazing and other private use of the public lands.

The Quiet Crisis, inspired by Rachel Carson, was followed with many more over the years.

Stewart’s genuine understanding and sympathy with the Native Americans he knew from his own experience led him to look to leaders like W. W. Keeler and Philleo Nash for improvements in Indian policy during his administration. Since leaving office, much of his work has been on behalf of the native peoples, including those in Hawai’i.

I cannot say that he and I agreed on everything, but from the first day I recognized that he had “it” in the very real sense of being a national leader. I am proud of my association with him.

John A. Carver, Jr.
Professor of Law Emeritus
University of Denver Sturm College of Law
Assistant Interior Secretary and Under-
Secretary 1961-1966

Denver, Colorado
2 April 2010

Thursday, April 1, 2010

French President Sarkozy Drops Plan for French Carbon Tax; Seeks Similar Tax at European Union Level

French President Nicholas Sarkozy has abandoned plans for a French national carbon tax. The decision, announced last week, came in the wake of regional French elections in which President Sarkozy's party suffered enormous electoral losses.

Now, however, President Sarkozy wants the European Union -- as opposed to several individual countries -- to impose a carbon tax to protect EU firms' competitiveness in a world market where almost no other countries have taken firm stands to reduce carbon emissions.

According to Jean-Francios Cope, a spokesman for the president's party, "The [carbon] tax will be European or it won't be at all," the BNA International Environment Daily reported ("French Government Abandons its Attempt at National Carbon Tax, Will Focus on EU Tax," March 24, 2010).

There is no doubt that European firms are concerned about the competitive disadvantage that the EU Emissions Trading Scheme puts on economic sectors operating on the continent. But enacting an EU-wide carbon tax is easier said than done. First, it would need to be proposed by the European Commission, which is the only EU institution that can propose legislation. Second, it would need unanimous approval from the 27 member state governments, a task that is hardly easy even in the best of times.

Does the pronouncement by President Sarkozy make headlines? Yes. Is it very practical? No. On the other hand, it is reassuring to know that politics is much the same everywhere. High aspirational goals made by some local political actors seeking approval in their own constituency often come to nothing on a larger stage in the end. This is likely to be the case in this instance.

--Don Smith

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Career Panel Spring 2010; Opportunities, Challenges, Trends Presented by Six Environmental and Energy Leaders

Pursuing a graduate degree is in effect building a foundation for the future. But what kind of future? And what does it take to effectively make the transition from student to worker?

The Environmental and Natural Resources Law & Policy Graduate Program sponsored a career panel recently at which these and other similar issues were discussed and analyzed. The panel, organized and brought together by Assistant Director Lucy Daberkow, reflected stories of success and determination related to many of the different aspects that a student must consider when preparing to move into the job market. Taken together the panelists provided insightful guidance about the job market and the future.

The panelists (in alphabetical order) were:
Among the key pieces of advice for those attending the session:
  • Look for ways to network with key actors in the field; volunteer to do research projects; take on writing assignments as a means of "proving your worth" to potential employers.
  • Be persistent and don't rely on a resume or CV to "open the door" for you.
  • Work on improving your writing; being a good writer is a benefit no matter what type of position you are seeking.
  • Talk to your friends about the type of work you are looking for; see if they have contacts with whom you should follow up.
  • Be committed to constantly learning about your field; learning can take many forms including reading about new developments and trends, attending conferences, meeting speakers.
  • Look for publications to contribute to; leaders tend to be interested in who is writing about the newest developments.
  • Be willing to look outside of the "normal" places for work; this includes outside of Colorado and outside the U.S.
  • Look for contract/temporary work for federal agencies that can lead to permanent employment in the future.
  • Accept that in your career you are likely to have many different positions, many of which will be dictated by the trends in your field at a particular time.
Finding a new position or "inventing" a position for yourself are not always easy and things do not always happen when we would like them to. On the other hand, there are things that a student can control such as being as prepared as possible when an opportunity does come along.

Many thanks to each of our panelists who offered much advice and context for finding a job in tomorrow's job market. And thanks again to Lucy Daberkow for bringing together such a talented, energetic, and thoughtful panel.

To watch a video of the career panel, please click here.

--Don Smith

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Royal Dutch Shell and China National Petroleum Corporation to Partner on Gas Project

Earlier this month, Royal Dutch Shell, headquartered in London, and a China energy firm announced a deal involving a business relationship in Australia. Last week Royal Dutch Shell and the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) announced plans to develop a similar project in China. The aim of the deal announced last week is to partner in the development of gas located in Sichuan province.

According to Shell:
"The companies have submitted a production sharing contract to the Chinese central government for approval. Under the 30-year contract, Shell and CNPC would appraise and potentially develop tight gas (basin-centred gas) reservoirs in an area of approximately 4,000 square kilometres in the Jinqiu block of central Sichuan Province."
Click here to see a map of the specific location in China.

Malcolm Brinded, executive director of upstream international at Shell, said, "The agreement will strengthen our partnership with CNPC in developing cleaner energy to meet China's growing needs."

In reporting on the announcement, the Financial Times ("Shell Joins CNPC for Project," March 23, 2010) put the deal into greater context: "All of the world's largest energy companies are seeking partnerships with China's state-owned petrochemical groups, particularly in Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East where China is viewed more favourably than in some western countries."

In short, "the beat goes on"...western energy giants, particularly in Europe, are looking for ways to partner with China-based firms.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Meet Our Graduates: José Henriquez of Santiago, Chile

The latest posting in our "Meet Our Graduates" video series is now available. This posting involves José Henriquez, of Santiago, Chile, who graduted with his LLM in Environmental and Natural Resources Law & Policy in December 2009.

All of us at DU were delighted to have Jose study here, and we wish him great luck in all of his future professional endeavors. We are also happy to say that José and his family were not adversely impacted by the recent earthquakes that resulted in enormous damage and caused significant sadness in the great country of Chile.

To see José speaking in espanol about his experiences, please click here.

To see him speaking in English, please click here.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Colorado Springtime Snow: March 2010

Within about 35 minutes of the University of Denver Sturm College of Law you can be enjoying scenes just like these.

Several days ago we had a heavy snowstorm one day. The next day the sky was brilliantly blue and and the ground covered with a fresh layer of snow -- 12 inches in some places, more than two feet in others. It is difficult to capture in words how magical the mountains are after just such a snow so I'll let these pictures do the talking.

All of these were taken at Elk Meadow, a beautiful piece of mountainous land that includes city of Denver, Jefferson County, and federal lands that are all adjacent to each other.

A walk in nature on a day such as this one clears one's head and makes us remember why the Rocky Mountain West is such a great place to live, study, and build a career. I know of not one person who has lived here who has been disappointed.

Come out to Colorado and see for yourself. This is one of the nation's -- if not the world's -- most scenic spots.