Friday, February 4, 2011

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

The latest offering in the Rocky Mountain Land Use Institute Conference series -- "The Next West" -- will take place at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law March 3-4, 2011.

“This year marks the 20th anniversary of the annual Rocky Mountain Land Use Institute Conference and, equally important, the emergence of a new kind of west," William Shutkin, Executive Director of the Institute, said.

"The 'Next West,' this year’s conference theme, is what awaits us as we grapple with the recent economic collapse, climate change, population growth and increasing constraints on our natural resources," he said. "It’s a singular opportunity to redefine and rebuild not just the region but the nation, disguised as an insurmountable challenge.

"That’s what this year’s conference is about -- engaging the tough issues of the day with an eye toward tomorrow’s opportunities for innovation and entrepreneurship in the way we use our land and natural resources and the way we develop our communities and economies. From technology and transportation to housing and economic development, the land use playing field is vast and full of exciting opportunities for those willing to chase them.”

The Institute, which is located at the College of Law, serves the public as an interdisciplinary, non-partisan forum for land use and environmental issues in the Rocky Mountain West.

For more information about the conference, please click here.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Interview With Nigel Haigh, An Expert on European Union Environmental Policy Making

Recently I had the pleasure of interviewing Nigel Haigh, one of the foremost experts on environmental policy making in the European Union.

His 1984 book, European Economic Community Environmental Policy and Britain, was the first attempt to analyze all EU environmental legislation and was the precursor of the current Manual of European Environmental Policy, the premier publication of its kind.

Mr. Haigh was director of the Institute for European Environmental Policy from 1980 to 1998. Previously he helped found the European Environmental Bureau and was its Vice-President from 1975 to 1979. He was a founding member of the Environment Agency for England and Wales (1995 to 2000) and was appointed by the European Parliament to the Management Board of the European Environment Agency (2000-2005). He is currently President of Environmental Protection UK.

My interview with Mr. Haigh was illuminating in many respects. In particular he offered his observations about the evolution of EU environmental policy making as well the major environmental challenges the world's largest economic market -- the European Union -- faces in today's world.

To view the video, please click here.

Don C. Smith
Environmental and Natural Resources Law & Policy Program

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Students Hear DU LLM Graduates Discuss Natural Resources-Related Opportunities in Latin America: Opportunities Need Careful Analysis, Students Told

Two Latin American-based natural resources attorneys -- Diego Parravicini and Leonardo Rodriguez -- who earned LLM degrees at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law spoke to more than 30 current students last week in a teleconference originating from Buenos Aires, Argentina. The two gentlemen presented on the opportunities and risks that should be managed as part of mining investment.

Mr. Rodriguez, a 2008 LLM graduate who practices at Marval O'Farrell & Mairal, began by noting the significant growth Argentina has experienced in recent years in the mining sector. He pointed out that Wang Xuelong, General Director at the China Geological Survey, has said, "We believe Argentina is the most appropriate destination for mining investments due to its huge geological potential." Mr. Rodriquez also noted that while Chile and Peru have been extensively explored for natural resources potential, less than half of Argentina has been similarly explored. As a result, in 2009 about $1.9 billion (US) was invested in the Argentina mining industry, a more than 1,000 percent growth rate since 2003. He also pointed to the rapid rise in minerals-related exports during the last decade. Mr. Rodriguez finished his presentation by describing a "favorable legal framework," which has resulted in large foreign investments in Argentina.

Mr. Parravicini, a 2009 LLM graduate who now practices law at Estudio Beccar Varela, spoke about the relative risks of investing in mining in Argentina. He began by noting that some provinces have banned the use of cyanide for mining. He also discussed the taxation on companies with fiscal stability benefits and zoning regulations that need to be taken into account of before investing. He emphasized that some risks need to be evaluated and managed by potential investors.

Looked at as a whole, the joint presentation provided students an excellent view of how these two Latin American lawyers analyze potential mining projects on behalf of their clients.

Don C. Smith, Director of the Environmental and Natural Resources Law & Policy (ENRL) program, said, "What made the session so valuable was for students to hear what it is like to operate 'on the ground,' to speak, in a Latin American country that has attracted considerable outside investment interest. Few U.S. law schools can boast that they have graduates who are working on a daily basis in Latin America on resources issues that must be undertaken in a considered and careful way by investors."

Lucy Daberkow, Assistant Director for the ENRL Graduate Program said, "DU is very fortunate to have among our graduates Leo and Diego, who are establishing themselves as mining law experts in Argentina and Latin America more broadly. Our current students benefited from hearing Leo and Diego talk about the realities of investing in Argentina, both in terms of the upside and in terms of risks to be managed."

DU has a long history of attracting some of Latin America's best lawyers to the LLM program. These students enrich the overall diversity of the ENRL program as well as contribute to the global nature of how natural resources are taught at DU.

Mr. Rodriguez' presentation can be accessed by clicking here. Mr. Parrivicini's presentation can be accessed by clicking here.