15th Annual Schultz Lecture in Energy

The Getches-Wilkinson Center and American Indian Law Program are excited to co-host the 15th Annual Schultz Lecture: The Road to Tribal Clean Energy Transition is Paved With Sovereign Action.

Pilar Thomas
Quarles & Brady’s Energy, Environment & Natural Resources Practice Group

Thursday, October 5, 2023
5:30 p.m. (Mountain Time)
Wolf Law Building, Wittemyer Courtroom
Livestream option available

Attendee Logistics:
Lecture will be followed by a networking session with food and drinks for all registered participants.
Parking, Remote Access and CLE will be sent to registrants prior to the event.

The Schultz Lecture is free and open to the public, but registration is required to attend and/or receive the livestream link.


The Road to Tribal Clean Energy Transition is Paved With Sovereign Actions

With records amount of federal funding, changing state policies, and new attention to indigenous equity issues, Indian tribes and tribal communities have new opportunities to equitably participate in clean energy transition and decarbonization efforts. Many challenges remain, including lack of internal capacity,  lack of development support, and adverse state and utility polices.  Some challenges though, tribes can resolve for themselves through the exercise of sovereign rights and authorities.  This lecture will discuss these opportunities and challenges and the sovereign acts tribes can take to more fully participate in the clean energy transition for the benefit of their citizens.

Pilar Thomas

Pilar Thomas (Pascua Yaqui) is a partner in Quarles & Brady’s Energy, Environment & Natural Resources Practice Group. She focuses her practice on tribal renewable energy project development and finance, tribal economic development, federal Indian Law, and natural resource development. Pilar assists clients with strategic legal advice on tribal energy policy and planning; clean energy and infrastructure project development and finance; federal and state energy regulatory, programs, and policy efforts; and federal requirements for tribal lands development. She serves as general counsel for several tribes, Section 17 and tribal business entities.

Pilar previously served as the Deputy Director for the Office of Indian Energy Policy and Programs at the US Department of Energy, where she was responsible for developing and implementing policy and program efforts within the department and federal government to promote energy development, electrification, and infrastructure improvement on tribal lands. She also is the former Deputy Solicitor of Indian Affairs for the US Department of the Interior, where she advised the Secretary, Assistant-Secretary for Indian Affairs, and other Department officials on matters related to tribes, tribal law, and federal Indian law.  Ms. Thomas was Of Counsel at Lewis Roca, representing tribes on gaming and economic development matters.  She also served as the Interim Attorney General and Chief of Staff for the Pascua Yaqui Tribe and was a trial attorney in the US Department of Justice, Environmental and Natural Resources Division, Indian Resources Section.

Pilar serves on the NABA-AZ Board and is a past President and Secretary.  She also serves on the boards for GRID Alternatives and the Foundation for Natural Resources and Energy Law.  She previously served as the Chair and Vice-Chair at large for the ABA Section on Energy, Environment and Resources Native American Resources Committee.  In her spare time, Pilar teaches Indian Energy Law at both the Arizona State University Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law and the University of Arizona James Rogers School of Law (but not at the same time).

She received her J.D. from the University of New Mexico School of Law, magna cum laude, with a certificate in Indian Law, and her B.A. in Economics from Stanford University.

Thursday, October 5, 2023
5:30 p.m. (Mountain Time)
Wolf Law Building, Wittemyer Courtroom
Livestream option available

The Schultz Lecture is free and open to the public, but registration is required to attend and/or receive the livestream link.

During registration, please indicate your intent to join in person or remotely.


The Schultz Lectureship in Energy

In 2007, the Schultz Lecture in Energy was launched to support an annual lecture by renowned scholars in energy or natural resources law. This series was made possible by the generosity of John H. and Cynthia H. Schultz and allows the Getches-Wilkinson Center (GWC) to bring in thought leaders from across the country. Our speakers address emerging issues and challenges in the oil and gas, energy, and natural resources fields, providing valuable information to policymakers, practitioners, business executives, students, and the academic community.

John Schultz (CU Econ, Political. Science ‘51) (CU Law ‘53) was an oil and gas attorney whose impactful career in Colorado and the Western U.S. spanned the second half of the 20th century. John Schultz passed away on April 5, 2020, surrounded by family in the comfort of his own home in Lafayette, Colorado. Cynthia Schultz was a University of Colorado administrative staff member who served the University in many ways. She was a member of the Graduate School Advisory Council, the Graduate School Resource Committee, and on the Ad Hoc Task Force on Graduate Education. Cynthia passed away on December 20, 2011. Both John’s and Cynthia’s generosity of time with our students was exceptional.

Their legacies continue, in part, through their substantial gifts to the University of Colorado, Colorado Law, and to the GWC where we are so appreciative of the Schultz family’s generosity. The family’s continued commitment means that this lecture can be free and open to the public. The format (normally) includes a public reception following the talk, providing the opportunity to continue a lively discussion, as well as a dinner with the speaker, the extended Schultz family, the Dean, GWC faculty, and several law students.

The Schultz Lecture is free and open to the public, but registration is required to attend and/or receive the livestream link.


43rd Annual Colorado Law Conference on Natural Resources

Thursday, June 8 and Friday, June 9, 2023
University of Colorado School of Law
Wittemyer Courtroom

The Getches-Wilkinson Center and the Water & Tribes Initiative invite you to attend: 

Crisis on the Colorado River: From Short-Term Solutions to Long-Term Sustainability

The Colorado River is in crisis. Rapid declines in reservoir storage now threaten many longstanding agreements and operational norms, triggering curtailments in water deliveries and prompting emergency interstate and federal/interstate negotiations.

The challenge is two-fold: adopting rules to equitably “share the pain” in the short-term, while transitioning to a management framework to support long-term sustainability in what will likely be an increasingly arid future. It is both a water and a “people” problem, requiring innovations for stretching limited supplies through processes emphasizing equity and inclusion across all values, stakeholders, and sovereigns, including the United States, Mexico, Tribes, and the seven basin states.

Conference Program

CLE Accreditation Notice

Conference Recordings

Thursday, June 8th

Day 1, Part 1: https://youtu.be/egKHhNzk3Hk

              00:00 Welcome and Introduction
               19:13 Understanding the Challenges (and Opportunities)
               2:00:40 Current Negotiations and the NEPA Process
               2:39 Charles Wilkinson Tribute

Day 1, Part 2: https://youtu.be/yzzLTnhgHFM

00:00 The Evolving Role of Tribes
2:30:52 Insights from the Basin States

Friday, June 9th

Day 2, Part 1: https://youtu.be/OLXX8vyMf50

00:46 Thinking About a Sustainable Future
2:01:13 Some Specific Questions to Answer

Day 2, Part 2: https://youtu.be/Yfyb6dNLsx0

00:00 Some Specific Questions to Answer (Continued)
2:30:26 Themes, Lessons and Concerns: Can We Turn Crisis into Opportunity?

2022 Ruth Wright Distinguished Lecture in Natural Resources

Thursday, October 13, 2022

Mobilizing the Global Community on Climate Change:
An Indigenous Leadership Perspective

Fawn R. Sharp
President, National Congress of American Indians

Indigenous Peoples have long embraced a special responsibility to care for all living beings and steward their lands consistent with cultural, spiritual, and economic traditions. Fawn Sharp will share her perspectives on the relationship between human rights and climate justice, as well as advocacy under the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, comparative experiences among Indigenous Peoples around the world, and local needs of tribal leaders and communities in the United States.

Conference Recording

Conference Program

CLE Accreditation Notice

42 Annual Colorado Law Conference on Natural Resources

Thursday, June 16 and Friday, June 17

2026 May Be Too Late: Hard Conversations About Really Complicated Issues

There is no debate – demands for water across the Colorado River Basin exceed the shrinking supply. Chronic drought, record heat, increasing winds and aridity, as well as rampant wildfires are diminishing the Basin’s overall health and resilience. The historically low levels in Lake Mead and Lake Powell have invited unprecedented federal action and raise the specter of a looming energy crisis. To ensure a sustainable future, these harsh realities will require inclusive collaborations and innovative actions. We brought together a broad array of expertise and diverse perspectives from across the region to candidly discuss these complex challenges. Throughout this conference we examined potential options to advance sustainable water management, expand basin-wide conservation in every sector, and strengthen watershed resilience.

Conference Recording

Conference Program

CLE Accreditation Notice

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


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