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 

CLE Accreditation Notice

Event Video Coming Soon

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

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

Water Markets and Private Investments in Western Agriculture:  A Road Forward?

Thursday, September 24th, 2020

Using market forces to shift the distribution and use of western water resources is a controversial topic. Some individuals fear that private investments in western agriculture will doom the sector, as water will inevitably flow to higher-paying uses and users in urban settings. To others, these investments allow agriculture to become more efficient and resilient, and when done correctly, can minimize any pain associated with large-scale water reallocations.

James Eklund
Founder and CEO, Eklund Hanlon LLC

Peter Fleming
General Counsel, Colorado River Water Conservation District

Event Video

Colorado River District Supply Planning Studies

CLE Info

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

Expanding the Toolbox of Water Financing Options

Tuesday, September 15th, 2020

Gone are the days when funding western water needs was merely a task of gaining Congressional authorization and appropriations for new dams and reservoirs. Today, federal funds are limited, and much of what needs to happen does not involve new infrastructure. A vast toolbox of potential funding strategies are, at least theoretically, available, although many options are unproven. Many such strategies are under consideration in Colorado for implementing the State Water Plan.

Event Video

Nancy A. Smith
Director of External Affairs, Colorado River Basin Program, The Nature Conservancy

Presentation

Lauren Ris
Deputy Director, Colorado Water Conservation Board

Presentation

CLE Info

Seventh Annual Martz Winter Symposium

A Green New Deal for Public Lands?

Friday, February 28th, 2020

The Seventh Annual Clyde O. Martz Winter Symposium will probe a provocative set of questions about the past and future of one third of our nation’s lands.  Challenges to be addressed include: Are current public land laws and management regimes sufficient to tackle the overwhelming problem of climate change?  Do the public lands serve all of the public, including historically marginalized groups?  Should public lands management be integrated into the broader ecological, economic, and social fabric?  How should public land managers address changing visitation and access patterns in the age of the internet and social media?  Our panelists come from diverse backgrounds, professions, and points of view, and they will address these questions in visionary and practical ways. The conference is for all who enjoy our public lands as well as those who want to learn more about them.

Event Video

2020 Ruth Wright Distinguished Lecture

Public Land Policy after the Trump Administration:
Is This a Turning Point?

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Professor John Leshy

University of California-Hastings College of Law

Since the Civil War, a strong, bipartisan consensus has developed in support of the national government’s owning large amounts of land. Over the last half-century, that consensus has favored managing more and more of these lands primarily for inspiration, education, human-powered recreation, and environmental conservation.

The Trump Administration has moved aggressively to open previously protected public lands to fossil fuel and other forms of intensive development and to roll back protections in a host of other ways, including starving and shrinking the agencies that manage these lands.
 
Is this the harbinger of a fundamental change in the trajectory of public land policy, or is it an aberration? Professor Leshy will be drawing upon material from his much-anticipated book, forthcoming from Yale University Press, with the working title Our Common Ground: A History of America’s Public Lands.

Event Video

12th Annual Schultz Lecture in Energy

Energy as a Locally Desirable Land Use

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Professor Hannah Wiseman  

Florida State University College of Law

Energy generation is a classic example of a locally undesirable land use (LULU). Everyone needs energy, but many residents fervently oppose proposals to build a wind farm on a local mountaintop or hydraulically fracture a gas well near their neighborhood. The response is therefore typically a “not in my back yard,” or NIMBY, argument. But changes in technology, markets, and the law are making energy different from other LULUs. These changes allow communities to make more choices about the types of energy they prefer and to better address concerns about undesirable energy development within their locality. From a technological perspective, advances in energy storage and distributed (on-site) energy generation mean that large generating equipment and transmission lines can sometimes be avoided in places where there is strong opposition to these land uses. Technological changes such as horizontal drilling also allow oil and gas companies to locate miles from the target formation, thus avoiding certain surface locations. (Pipelines are still a challenge, though.) In terms of markets, energy development is moving towards economically competitive distributed solar and mid-scale renewable generation coupled with battery storage—also aided by subsidies and mandates. Finally, a range of legal solutions, such as community choice aggregation, updated building and zoning codes, locally-applicable taxes on hydraulically fractured wells, and bonding requirements increasingly empower communities to better align energy development with residents’ preferences, or, at minimum, to better address the damages of energy development.

Event Video


40th Annual GWC Summer Conference

Charting a Better Course for the Colorado River: Identifying the Data and Concepts to Shape the Interim Guidelines Renegotiation

Thursday, June 6th and Friday, June 7th, 2019

On June 6-7, 1869, John Wesley Powell’s expedition down the Colorado was prepping for passage through the Canyon of Lodore, an arduous journey that ultimately cost the expedition a ship and a third of the expedition’s provisions. Exactly 150 years later we gear up for a journey through Colorado River rapids of a different kind: How best to navigate through the upcoming negotiation of the new Interim Guidelines. The existing Interim Guidelines (IG)—which expire after 2026—have been instrumental in slowing reservoir declines, delaying curtailments, and establishing a collaborative environment for subsequent innovations, but truly sustainable water management is still an unrealized goal. With the help of emerging drought contingency plan (DCP) programs, is the new negotiation (IG 2.0) the last best opportunity to craft a lasting solution to the river’s broken water budget?  If so, what data, concepts, frameworks, and principles are key to success? 

Event Program

Day One Video

Day Two Video

Speaker Presentations

Audio File Day One

Audio File Day Two