Saturday, September 18, 2010

Former Assistant Secretaries of the Interior John A. Carver and Rebecca C. Watson Speak at Sturm College of Law; Key Issues and Challenges Explained

Two former Assistant Secretaries of the U.S. Department of the Interior, John A. Carver Jr. and Rebecca C. Watson, recently discussed their tenures at the Department of Interior in a wide-ranging presentation at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law.

Mr. Carver served as an Assistant Secretary during the administrations of President John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Baines Johnson while Ms. Watson served in the administration of President George W. Bush.

Former Secretary Carver, who also was a professor at the college of law from 1972 through the mid-2000s, began by describing the relationship between the nation's public lands and the history and development of the United States. He noted that during much of the country's history the matter of "what should be the ultimate disposition of these public lands" has been debated and pondered.

Among the key issues during his tenure, from 1961-1966, were the role of public lands in the provision of forage for cattle and the resulting grazing fees as well as undertaking a major land survey of Alaska, which at that time had only recently been admitted to the U.S. He also noted with some humor the challenges he faced between the policy officers in the department and the solicitor's office.

Former Secretary Watson, a Sturm College of Law 1978 JD graduate and currently a partner at the Denver-based firm of Welborn Sullivan Meck & Tooley PC, mentioned the major event -- the 9/11 terrorist attack -- that took place just before she assumed her role. That event played a large role in the projects she ultimately was involved in including how to protect critical energy infrastructure and the role of energy more generally as a national security issue. A second key focus was the matter of catastrophic wild fires and what could be done to reduce the risk of such catastrophies. Finally she described the concept of "cooperative conservation," which was emphasized by her boss, former Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton (also a DU JD graduate), and her ultimate boss President Bush.

Secretary Watson also told the students about the three guiding principals that she employed at the Department of the Interior including: (1) creating a team; (2) providing the team leadership in the form of defining where the team was headed and making decisions; and (3) the need to always be aware, from an ethical standpoint, of the high standards that one should uphold while in public office.

Despite the 40 years that separated Secretaries Carver and Watson, several observations are crystal clear. First, they both loved their time at the Department of the Interior. Secretary Carver said his time there represented "the best job I ever had." Second, the desire to serve the public was considered a high honor as well as an important responsibility to both secretaries. Third, because of their close associations with the College of Law there was much for all of us to learn about their pride and loyalty to an institution that has been and continues to be an important part of their lives.

And finally, it was simply impossible for those of us in the audience not to benefit from the professionalism these two leaders displayed in their respect for their roles as public servants. This is no small lesson to be considered in contemporary times that are often colored by disagreements and heated disputes. When we watch individuals from different times, different generations, and different political backgrounds provide thoughtful and respectful commentary about their careers and the challenges they faced we are reminded of the powerful positive examples that can be reflected in how one conducts his or her career.

John A. Carver Jr. and Rebecca C. Watson -- two esteemed members of the Sturm College of Law community, who taught all of us more about life and success in an hour than we often learn in months and even years.

--Don C. Smith
(Editor's note: John A. Carver Jr. is in the top photo; in the middle photo from left Rebecca Watson, John A. Carver Jr, Don C. Smith, Director of the Environmental and Natural Resource Law program, and Professor of Law K.K. DuVivier; bottom photo is of Rebecca Watson.)

Friday, September 17, 2010

Sherry Manning, 2010 Masters of Resource Law Studies Graduate, Returns to the Philippines to Work on Eco-Tourism Organic Farm

Sherry Manning, a University of Denver Sturm College of Law Masters in Resource Law Studies graduate, has returned to the Philippines where she lived from March 2006 to August 2008 while serving as a Peace Corps volunteer.

Ms. Manning's return to the Philippines will involve her efforts to help the ENCA Eco-Tourism Organic Farm become an official non-profit organization in the country. During her earlier time in the Philippines, Ms. Manning helped establish the ENCA farm as a leading eco-tourism destination.

The ENCA farm is located in the Cordillera Mountain Range in Tublay Benguet. The ENCA farm, which is named after Enrique and Carmen Cosalan, has been in the Acop and Cosalan families since the 1800s. For many generations the farm served as a means of sustenance for the families who lived there. Four years ago the farm was opened as an eco-tourism site for the public.

Through Ms. Manning's efforts, the ENCA farm has been recognized in Washington state as a non-profit organization. Ms. Manning and others are hoping that the ENCA farm will become a U.S. recognized non-profit in the near future. In the meantime, Ms. Manning will work from now until mid-December on seeking non-profit status in the Philippines.

The non-profit designation is important as part of the ENCA farm's fund raising efforts, which are aimed at helping the farm's programs develop and "become more accessible to organic farmers through the Philippines," according to Ms. Manning.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Colorado Bar Association Offers Free Memberships to Law Students

Students at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law may join the Colorado Bar Association for free, an offer that is sure to be of interest to all students studying environmental, energy, and natural resources law (among other topics).

Student members enjoy the rights and privileges of active members as may be defined by the Board of Governors.

The student membership application can be accessed by clicking here.

Joining the CBA is a great way to network with practicing attorneys and, as a consequence, build one's professional network. It is never too early for a student to begin thinking about how to establish and expand his or her own network of contacts.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Energy Special Sections in Financial Times and The Wall Street Journal

Two of the world's most authoritative newspapers, the London-based Financial Times and the New York City-based Wall Street Journal, published special energy sections on Monday, Sept. 13, 2010.

If you are even mildly interested in environmental, energy, and natural resources issues, these special sections are must reading. The sections cover all of the key issues including renewables, the role of fossil fuels, and where there is money to be made -- and lost -- in the energy sector.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Vestas to Build 3.0 Megawatt Wind Turbines in Colorado

Danish-based wind turbine manufacturer Vestas will build its largest turbine to date, the 3.0 megawatt V112 model, in Colorado.

First reported in the Denver Business Journal, "Vestas hopes new model will catch the wind" (Sept. 10, 2010), the 3.0 MW models are targetted to wind farms in the Midwest. Martha Wyrsch, Vestas Americas president, said, "Customer interest has been very high, and we're very excited about bringing the product to market.

According to Vestas, the 3.0 MW V112 model is "designed for onshore low- and medium-wind speed sites and for offshore sites anywhere around the world."

More about the V112 can be learned by clicking here.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Looking For Environmental, Energy, Natural Resources News and Trends in Colorado? Check out the Denver Business Journal

Readers of this blog are well aware of my affinity for leading news sources such as the Financial Times and The Wall Street Journal in terms of staying current about the news and trends in the ever-changing and evolving environment, natural resources, and energy sectors. I strongly believe there is no substitute for keeping on top of key events and knowing what key news and opinion makers are saying, doing, and writing.

Recently, however, it occurred to me that I'm leaving out a big segment of news and trends related to what is happening right here in the Denver region specifically and Colorado more generally. While it is often important to know what is happening in Washington and Brussels, Lima and Beijing (among others), it is also important to follow the news right here. And in that regard I have a suggestion: Follow the environment, energy, and natural resources coverage in the Denver Business Journal (DBJ).

Last week I met with Cathy Proctor, the DBJ reporter who covers these beats. Ms. Proctor, a graduate of the highly respected Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University near Chicago, covers the good and the great (and others as well I'm sure!) as she reports on the news and trends in the Denver area and Colorado. This coverage is important to all of us who live, study, and work here since her reporting helps us know more about what local firms are doing and thinking about in terms of their markets. For those of you considering working here, her reporting is likely to be indispensable to your understanding of these economic sectors. Many consider Ms. Proctor to be "the" reporter when it comes to these issues. You can also follow her blog.

Now that's not to say that The Denver Post, and other area media outlets are not covering these issues. However, the market segmentation of today's media often means that more focused publications -- in this case the DBJ -- deliver more targeted and regular coverage of the sectors they cover.

Looking ahead, I will more closely follow Ms. Proctor's coverage in the DBJ. Moreover, it is quite likely that she will be visiting the Sturm College of Law (probably early next year) to share her insights about trends in the environment, energy, and natural resources sectors. One can never be too well informed, especially when it comes time to impress a prospective employer.

(The DBJ is available in print form weekly on Fridays and on-line as well. The Westminster Law Library subscribes to the print edition as well as the on-line version. The print edition is available on Level 2 and the on-line version is available through the library's website.) Personal subscriptions are available through the DBJ website.

--Don Smith