Friday, February 8, 2013

President Obama Nominates New Interior Department Secretary, Sally Jewell

On February 6th, President Obama named REI CEO, Sally Jewell to take the position. Ms. Jewell worked for Mobil Oil after obtaining a degree in mechanical engineering. She then led Washington Mutual commercial banking division for 19 years. She took over as CEO of REI in 2005; the company now makes $2 billion in sales per year.

President Obama’s selection of Ms. Jewell drew mostly positive responses. Environmental groups and conservation advocates are pleased to see a nature enthusiast nominated for the Department of Interior position. (It is reported that Ms. Jewell went on a month long hike in Antarctica.) Oil and gas industry representatives were pleased to see that her history included resource development.

However, there was some reluctance to her nomination. Senator Murkowski of Alaska, the senior Republican on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee commented on Ms. Jewell’s lack of a political career, stating, "I look forward to hearing about the qualifications Ms. Jewell has that make her a suitable candidate to run such an important agency." There is an air of mystery as to the direction she will take the department which causes concern. Also, one House Republican subcommittee chairman shared concerns about Ms. Jewell’s link to REI and their “radical political agendas.” REI has supported groups such as the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance and has promoted a bill intended to add wilderness protections to millions of acres of land in Utah.

President Obama said, “She knows the link between conservation and good jobs. She knows that there’s no contradiction between being good stewards of the land and our economic progress, that, in fact, those two things need to go hand in hand.” NRDC President Frances Beinecke stated, "Sally Jewell has the mind of an engineer, the heart of an environmentalist and the know-how of a businesswoman,” Salazar will step down in March and Ms. Jewell will begin her work as Secretary of the Department of Interior.

Angelica Oman
Graduate Program Assistant

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Program Alumni to assist in growing Land and Natural Resource Development Practice Group in the West at Jackson Kelly PLLC

Susan V. Anderson, graduate of the Environmental and Natural Resources Law & Policy Program, recently joined Jackson Kelly’s Denver office.  She was hired along with three others to grow the firms’ existing Land and Natural Resource Development Practice Group, focusing on Rocky Mountain oil & gas concerns and hard rock mining matters.  Jackson Kelly is a 190-year old law firm ranked Tier One nationally for natural resources law.  The Denver office of JK’s Land and Natural Resource Development practice group serves clients with the full range of services for environmental, hard rock and coal mining, and oil & gas legal needs.  The Firm draws from the experience and breadth of its 200+ lawyers to provide full litigation and transactional support to all facets of the national natural resources practice.

After several years of practice on the east coast, Ms. Anderson decided to follow her career dream to pursue natural resources law in the west.  She knew breaking into such a challenging and competitive field would be difficult.  She sought the counsel of a professor she worked with at American University, who suggested she look into the LL.M. program at DU.  She decided to complete another year of course work, focused on an area of law she was passionate about.  This opportunity afforded her the chance to write and research on topics highly relevant to natural resources issues in the Rocky Mountain states, including a petition to list the Arkansas River Speckled Chub (Macrhybopsis Tetranema) under the Endangered Species Act, construct a case study of land use and conservation easements in the San Luis Valley, and prepare a case study of the San Luis Valley-Calumet-Comanche Transmission Line Project.  She served as a research assistant and updated chapters that appear in Jan Laitos’s Natural Resources Law hornbook and in the Teacher’s Manual for a Toxic Torts Casebook.   Additionally, through the externship program, Ms. Anderson clerked for the United States Environmental Protection Agency, where she gained valuable experience conducting research and drafting legal memoranda on a variety of federal environmental statutes, focusing on issues associated with CERCLA liability, CWA definitional issues, and RCRA exemptions.   She completed her Master of Laws (LL.M.) in 2011, focusing on oil & gas, land use, federal wildlife, renewable energy and natural resources law.

Ms. Anderson is a 2002 Dean’s List graduate from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she participated in the Honors Study Abroad Program in London, England.  She received her Juris Doctor from American University Washington College of Law in 2006 where she was a Dean's Fellow, received nationally-ranked clinical training, and studied abroad in Santiago, Chile.