Our Common Ground: A History of America’s Public Lands

Thursday, April 21, 2022

John Leshy, Author
Distinguished Professor of Law
University of California, Hastings College of Law

The little-known story of how the U.S. government came to hold nearly one-third of the nation’s land and manage it primarily for recreation, education and conservation.

America’s public lands include more than 600 million acres of forests, plains, mountains, wetlands, deserts, and shorelines. In this book, John Leshy, a leading expert in public lands policy, discusses the key political decisions that led to this, beginning at the very founding of the nation. He traces the emergence of a bipartisan political consensus in favor of the national government holding these vast land areas primarily for recreation, education, and conservation of biodiversity and cultural resources. That consensus remains strong and continues to shape American identity. Such a success story of the political system is a bright spot in an era of cynicism about government. This book is essential reading for anyone who cares about public lands, and it is particularly timely as the world grapples with the challenges of climate change and biodiversity loss.

Panel Moderator

Professor Mark Squillace, University of Colorado Raphael J. Moses Professor of Law

Panelists

Eric Dude, U.S. Department of the Interior, Attorney/Advisory (2019 Colorado Law Wyss Scholar)

Alison Flint, The Wilderness Society, Senior Legal Director

Maria Handley, The Wilderness Society, Senior Director of Strategic Partnerships & Organizing

Professor Patty Limerick, University of Colorado Center of the American West

Johnsie Wilkinson, Colorado Law rising 3L (2021 Colorado Law Wyss Scholar)

Presented by the Colorado Law Wyss Scholar is U.S. Lands Conservation, the Colorado Environmental Law Journal, and the Getches-Wilkinson Center.

Our Common Ground Event Video

14th Annual Schultz Lecture in Energy

Thursday, March 31, 2022

Tapestry, X’s Moonshot for the Electric Grid
Audrey Zibelman
Vice President, X’s Electric Grid Moonshot

Nations are finally committing to greenhouse gas emission reduction targets that could limit global warming. However, technical obstacles to the decarbonization of electric power could yet prevent those commitments from being realized.

The low carbon electrical grids of the future will need to be powered by millions of geographically decentralized, weather-dependent power generation assets. Today’s grids are virtually the opposite: hierarchical, centralized and concentrated. Anything less than a seamless transition from the former to the future state could significantly impact the reliability, affordability and safety of electric power that is already being challenged by climate change.

A modern data-driven grid can enable such a seamless transition. Harnessing the quadrillions of gigabytes of data generated by future connected power systems is key to real-time visibility into grid assets; to improving dispatch, reduced outages, and to our ability to simulate future scenarios optimized around the decentralized future grid.

Audrey Zibelman discusses the opportunities and challenges for governments, utilities, system operators, developers and customers of harnessing data to accelerate decarbonization policy with reliable affordable power.

14th Annual Schultz Lecture in Energy Video

CLE Accreditation Notice

41st Annual Colorado Law Conference on Natural Resources

Thursday, September 30 and Friday, October 1

Equity in the Colorado River Basin: How to Sustainably Manage a Shrinking Resource

Simply put – demands for water in the Colorado River Basin exceed supply.  Chronic drought, record heat, and rampant wildfires are already affecting the Basin’s overall health and resilience, and the historically low levels in Lakes Mead and Powell led to an unprecedented call on the river.  These compounding challenges come at a time when several key components of the “Law of the River” are sunsetting in 2026.  Key players are already revisiting the 2007 Interim Guidelines, Minute 323, and the 2019 Drought Contingency Plan.  Relatedly, endangered fish recovery programs relevant to the region expire in 2023.  Meanwhile, 48% of Tribal households in the U.S. do not have access to reliable water sources, clean drinking water, or basic sanitation.  These harsh realities hasten the need to advance sustainable water management, improve watershed resilience, and ensure clean water access through collaborative decision-making.  We look forward to bringing together diverse expertise from across the region to draw the roadmap to an equitable future in the Colorado River Basin.

41st Annual Colorado Law Conference on Natural Resources

Equity in the Colorado River Basin Conference Recording

Conference Program

CLE Accreditation Notice

Land, Water, & People: The Natural Resource Priorities of the Biden Administration

Thursday, May 13, 2021

Colorado Law Dean James Anaya leads a moderated conversation with Secretary Haaland and Congressman Neguse exploring both agency and legislative priorities regarding public lands and water management, resource extraction, energy development, and related tribal issues – with an environmental/climate justice lens.

Land, Water, and People Event Video Now Available

CLE Accreditation Notice

Farther & Faster: The Integral Role of Technology in an Equitable Clean-Energy Economy

Friday, April 30, 2021

Join us for a conversation among two strong voices for creative entrepreneurship who will discuss what it will take to scale up the varied technologies needed to advance an equitable clean-energy economy. Newly appointed Executive Director of the Department of Energy’s Loan Program, Jigar Shah, is a seasoned clean energy entrepreneur, author, and acclaimed podcast host known for his work to create and advocate for market-driven solutions to climate change. Among his many accomplishments, Attorney General Weiser founded the Silicon Flatirons Center for Law, Technology, and Entrepreneurship at Colorado Law, where he catalyzed critical conversations among diverse stakeholders to propel the future of law, policy and entrepreneurship. From strategic investments and the free market, to related law and policy, Shah and Weiser will discuss transforming existing energy infrastructure, accelerating growth of utility-scale solar and wind, expanding domestic manufacturing of electric vehicles, analyzing nuclear potential, and how all of these efforts will advance technology breakthroughs and create jobs.

Farther and Faster Event Video Now Available

CLE Accreditation Notice

The Water & Tribes Initiative: Tribal Water Rights & a Sustainable Vision for the Colorado River Basin

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

The 30 federally recognized tribes in the Colorado River Basin depend on the Colorado and its tributaries for a variety of purposes, including cultural and religious activities, domestic, irrigation, commercial, municipal and industrial, power generation, recreation, instream flows, wildlife, and habitat restoration. Twenty-two of these tribes have recognized rights to use 3.2 million-acre feet of Colorado River system water annually, or approximately 25 percent of the Basin’s average annual water supply.  In addition, 12 of the tribes have unresolved water rights claims, which will likely increase the overall volume of tribal water rights in the Basin. With the oldest water rights in the basin, tribes are poised to play a significant role in balancing water demand and supply and otherwise shaping the future of the region. Join leaders of the Water & Tribes Initiative in a conversation about the role of tribes and other sovereigns and stakeholders in advancing a sustainable vision for the Colorado River.

Water and Tribes Initiative Policy Briefs:
The Status of Tribal Water Rights in the Colorado River Basin

A Common Vision for the Colorado River System: Toward a Framework for Sustainability

Water and Tribes Event Video Now Available

CLE Accreditation Notice

2021 Ruth Wright Distinguished Lecture in Natural Resources

Are We Saved? Tempering Our Expectations for Natural Resources Management under the Biden Administration

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Marcilynn A. Burke
Dean and Dave Frohnmayer Chair in Leadership and Law
University of Oregon School of Law

Almost forty years ago, Dean Derrick Bell, published the book entitled, And We Are Not Saved: The Elusive Quest for Racial Justice.  In his book, he tells a story of apparent triumphs, followed by continuing travails.  He describes the United States as a place that seemingly has made great progress in its efforts to achieve racial justice, but how its facial progress actually masks and sustains systemic failures.

The challenges in the management of the nation’s natural resources, though very different (and yet not unrelated to racial justice), are nonetheless quite complex and woven into the very fabric of the nation.  The country has many urgent needs with respect to energy development, preservation and conservation, climate change, and climate justice.  This presentation will outline a few of the great hopes for natural resources management under the Biden Administration and this next cycle of “reform.”  It will examine some of the factors that make it more likely for us to be saved or save ourselves, so that at the conclusion of the Biden Administration, we do not utter the words of the prophet Jeremiah.  “The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.”  Jeremiah 8:20 

Event Video

CLE Accreditation Notice

13th Annual Schultz Lecture in Energy

Climate Change and Innovative Paths to a Sustainable Future

Thursday, March 4, 2021

Dr. Steven Chu
U.S. Secretary of Energy 2009-2013
William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of Physics and
Professor of Molecular and Cellular Physiology
Stanford University

Multiple industrial and agricultural revolutions have profoundly transformed the world. Their unintended consequence is that we are changing the Earth’s climate. Recent data will be presented that indicates our climate is even more sensitive than previously known and is changing faster than ever before. In addition to climate risks, we face many challenges – like how to provide enough clean energy, water, air, and food to a world of 7.7 billion people (and likely to grow to 11 billion by 2100). Dr. Chu will discuss the technical challenges and potential solutions that could provide better paths to a sustainable future. How we transition from where we are now to where we need to be within 50 years is arguably the most pressing set of issues that science and innovation has had to address.

Event Video

Colorado CLE Accreditation Notice

Meeting the Challenges of Improved Water Management in the West: Session Four

Investing in Healthy Headwaters

Tuesday, October 27th, 2020

The relationship between healthy forests and reliable water supplies has been understood for centuries, and is increasingly important in an era of climate warming, forest disease outbreaks, and devastating fires.  However, the water management community historically has not been heavily engaged in efforts to protect and restore healthy source water areas. This is now changing in many pockets throughout the West, and lessons are being learned that might suggest opportunities for broader regional efforts.

Kimery Wiltshire
President, Carpe Diem West

Mike McHugh
Senior Water Resources Project Manager, Aurora Water

Event Video

CLE Info

Meeting the Financial Challenges of Improved Water Management in the West: Session Three

A Role for the Business Community

Wednesday, October 14th, 2020

Many members of the business community are increasingly concerned that western water scarcity is a threat to producing and selling their products, and more generally, to maintaining the healthy social and economic conditions that are needed to sustain strong economies. A variety of initiatives are now underway to address this concern, and to address water management issues both within and outside of their sphere of operations.

Mike Bernier
Director of Sustainability and Environmental Affairs, Swire Coca-Cola

Todd Reeve
Chief Executive Officer
, BEF/Business for Water Stewardship

Event Video

CLE Info