Thursday, March 3, 2011

Adjunct Professor Catherine Keske Involved in Major Environmental Quality Project in Mali, West Africa

Catherine M. Keske, Ph.D., an Adjunct Professor of Environmental & Resource Economics at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law, recently returned from the Republic of Mali where she is the principal investigator on a project involving local leaders and aimed at enhancing enviromental quality in agricultural activities.

Professor Keske, who is an Assistant Professor of Agricultural and Resource Economics at Colorado State University, is leading a team of U.S. academics who are focusing on the impact of climate change on the livestock and agricultural sectors in the small west African nation.

Professor Keske's work is particulary important since much of Mali's economy is centered on agricultural production.

While in Mali, Professor Keske was interviewed on a national TV program. To see the interview please click here.

Don Smith, Director of the Environmental and Natural Resources Law Program at the Sturm College of Law, pointed to the importance of this project and the role Professor Keske is playing. "Catherine Keske's efforts in Mali are aimed at improving lives and the economy in a region that faces challenging days ahead, not least because of a rise in temperatures. I am confident that she brings the same passion to this effort that she displays in the courses she teaches at DU. Dr. Keske has a wonderful reputation among her students, and her courses are an important part of our broad and comprehensive course offerings."

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Alan J. Gilbert, Senior Advisor to Interior Department Secretary Ken Salazar, Speaks about the Department and Explains "Honors Attorney Program"

Alan J. Gilbert, Senior Advisor to U.S. Department of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, spoke yesterday at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law.

Mr. Gilbert, who spoke about the work of the Department of Interior, was the March speaker in the Environmental and Natural Resources Law Program's Speaker Series.

In particular, Mr. Gilbert noted several key initiatives that have been undertaken by the Department under the direction of Secretary Salazar, who formerly served as a U.S. Senator from Colorado as well as Colorado Attorney General.

One top initiative involves energy development on public lands. "This is very, very important," Mr. Gilbert noted. "President Obama and Secretary Salazar want to promote energy development on public lands," he said. The Obama Administration is particularly keen to encourage the development of utility-size renewable energy generation on public lands.

As part of this effort, Secretary Salazar has instituted a "fast track" program that encourages utility-size renewables projects on public lands. Moreover, the Department is working to make sure that the way the Bureau of Land Management reviews applications for these projects is more effectively integrated into the way the government looks at renewables.

A second top initiative is called the Water SMART Program, which is aimed at "finding more water in the west by managing public water resources better and more efficiently," Mr. Gilbert said.

The matter of improving consultation between the Department and Native American tribes is another key initiative. The Department's goal is to develop new processes that will facilitate and improve the consultations now and into the future, he said.

America's Great Outdoors: A Promise to Future Americans is also among Secretary Salazar's prioritities. This is an effort to protect special lands and waters managed by the Department across the country in consensus with the states, local authorities, and other interested parties as well as to reconnect Americans with the outdoors. An executive summary of this program can be accessed by clicking here.

Finally the Youth in the Great Outdoors, which emphasizes employing, educating, and engaging young people in the preservation of America's natural and cultural heritage, is another key priority for Secretary Salazar.

Before closing, Mr. Gilbert called special attention to the Honors Attorney Program, which is part of the Department's Office of the Solicitor. Current solicitor Hilary Tompkins reinstated the program last year, and he encouraged students to consider applying for it if they were interested in natural resources law work. The program, which is designed to recruit highly qualified junior attorneys, is 14 months in length during which Honors Attorneys work on the full range of environmental laws relating to management of the nation's public lands, national parks and wildlife refuges, general administrative and government business law, and law related to the U.S.' relationship with Indian Tribes.

Don Smith, Director of the Environmental and Natural Resources Law Program, said, "It was a pleasure for the College of Law to host Alan Gilbert, a key long-time advisor to Secretary Salazar. Students benefit enormously by learning from individuals such as Mr. Gilbert, whose life experience is rich and expansive when it comes to understanding the country's resource policies. We at DU hope that Mr. Gilbert returns soon and often to the College of Law."

Mr. Gilbert has taught at the College of Law on several occasions, including serving as the prestigious Practitioner in Residence.

Editor's note: From left to right, Alan J. Gilbert, Law Professor K.K. DuVivier, Don Smith, Professor Emeritus and former U.S. Undersecretary for the U.S. Department of Interior John A. Carver Jr.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Sturm College of Law Professor Celia Taylor, Adjunct Professor Anita Halvorssen, and LLM Graduate Diego Parravicini Join Sustainability Effort

Three individuals with University of Denver Sturm College of Law ties have been asked to participate in Sustainable Companies, an Oslo, Norway-based effort aimed at studying how to better integrate environmental protection in the decision-making process in companies with the aim of contributing to sustainable economic development.

Professor Celia Taylor, who teaches about Securities Regulation, Business Law, and Corporations and Corporate Governance, Adjunct Professor Anita Halvorssen, who teaches the Law of Sustainable Development and Trade and Global Climate Change Law and Policy, and Diego Parravicini, a 2009 LLM graduate of the Environmental and Natural Resources Law Graduate Program and now an attorney with the Buenos Aires-based firm of Beccar Varela, have been asked to join a global group of experts examining the key issues.

The research effort, which is being co-ordinated by the University of Oslo Faculty of Law, began in January 2010. According to the project's organizers the aim of the undertaking is as follows:
Taking companies’ substantial contributions to climate change as a given fact, companies have to be addressed more effectively when designing strategies to mitigate climate change. A fundamental assumption is that traditional external regulation of companies, e.g. through environmental law, is not sufficient. Our hypothesis is that environmental sustainability in the operation of companies cannot be effectively achieved unless the objective is properly integrated into company law and thereby into the internal workings of the company.
The Norwegian Research Council has provided vital financing for the project, which will run through December 2012.

Lucy Daberkow, Associate Administrative Director of the Environmental and Natural Resources Law Graduate Program, said, "It is very impressive for the Sturm College of Law to have three participants in this important study. Professor Taylor, Dr. Halvorssen, and Mr. Parravicini will contribute excellent perspectives, from the United States and Argentina respectively, to this global study that aims to learn more about integrating environmental considerations into the heart of business decision-making."

Monday, February 28, 2011

IKEA Announces Major Solar Power System at its New Store Near Denver

By Michael Dietrich, Masters of Resource Law Degree Candidate 2011

Colorado's reputation as the center of the "new energy economy" received another boost recently when a major retailer announced plans for a solar power installation on the roof of a new building, which is being built just south of Denver.

One of the world's favorite furnishings retailers, Swedish-based IKEA, announced recently it will install a large solar array on the roof of its store under construction in Centennial. And this is not IKEA’s only venture into renewable power. The Centennial store is part of a new renewable energy initiative that includes eight other installations by IKEA, which it is estimated will eliminate the emmissions of 5,269 tons of CO2 a year, or the equivalent of keeping 856 cars off the road. Other solar projects include IKEA properties in Brooklyn, Pittsburgh, and Tempe, AZ. Solar water heating systems are being used in Charlotte, NC, Draper, UT, Orlando and Tampa, FL.

The new Centennial store is scheduled to open next fall, and will consist of 60,000-square-foot solar array built by REC Solar, according to a statement from IKEA.

It is estimated the 2,212 panels will produce approximately 740,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity annually, equal to the emissions of 102 cars or providing electricity for 64 homes in a year. The 415,000-square-foot store will also be the first IKEA store in the country to integrate a geothermal component as part of its heating and cooling system.

“We are excited about furthering our sustainability commitment with solar panels on the future Centennial store,” said Doug Greenholz, IKEA U.S. real estate manager. “Similar to geothermal, solar energy will reduce greatly the new store’s energy costs and carbon footprint as well as contribute to our vision of creating a better everyday life for the many.”