Water scarcity is increasingly dominating headlines throughout the world. In the southwestern USA, the looming water shortages on the Colorado River system and the unprecedented drought in California are garnering the greatest attention. Similar stories of scarcity and crisis can be found across the globe, suggesting an opportunity for sharing lessons and innovations. For example, the Colorado River and Australia’s Murray-Darling Basin likely can share many lessons, as both systems were over-allocated, feature multiple jurisdictions, face similar climatic risks and drought stresses, and struggle to balance human demands with environmental needs. In this conference we cast our net broadly, exploring several salient topics including: trans-boundary cooperation, water marketing, Indigenous water rights, environmental and social water needs, and drought coping.
This public event ias informed by three invitation-only meetings held immediately before the conference: an “Indigenous Water Justice” symposium; a “Social Dimensions of Environmental Water Management” workshop; and a “Drought Crises in Federations” symposium.
Sponsored By: Canadian Research Council Complutense University of Madrid (Spain) Forum of Federations (Canada) International Joint Commission (USA and Canada) Living Rivers (USA) McMaster Water Network (Canada) Murray-Darling Basin Authority (Australia) Tropica
Moderated By: Doug Kenney
Speakers: Invited Speakers & Panelists Include (listed alphabetically): Elizabeth Anderson (Florida International University) Reed Benson (University of New Mexico) Oliver M. Brandes (University of Victoria) Srinivas Chokkakula (Centre for Policy Research, In)
Bill Hedden, Executive Director, Grand Canyon Trust
Bill Hedden provided a report from the field, a description from an activist and stakeholder of what it’s like to live surrounded by deep, wild public lands. The lecture included a personal description of what the public lands can mean to an individual life. Followed by a broader scope and look ahead related to public lands issues, asking how our societal relationships with these lands must evolve in the 21st century. Hedden believes it is necessary to speak in new ways about these matters at a time when the very concept of public lands is once again under assault from the Congress and from state legislatures, attacked through well-funded disinformation campaigns, and, if all the rest isn’t clear enough, the land itself occupied by armed militias—our inheritance under threat from people who have not felt lucky to earn a living off of lands and resources belonging to all of us, but who feel resentful and determined to take the lands for themselves. Hedden notes the American people are in danger of losing something of inestimable value without really knowing what it is and, more importantly, without having a vision of what role this globally unique endowment might play in helping us find a way to live in harmony with our ever more stressed planet.
We celebrated the work of Distinguished Professor Charles Wilkinson, a prolific and passionate writer, teacher, and advocate for the people and places of the West. Charles’s influence extends beyond place, yet his work has always originated in a deep love of and commitment to particular places. We honor Charles’s work in the same way he approached it, by starting with place and expanding to include the entire country. We closed by coming back home to Boulder, where we are fortunate to call Charles a friend, colleague, and mentor.
Governor John Hickenlooper outlined his vision for a path to cleaner, more efficient forms and systems of energy at the University of Colorado Law School on November 12. In the 8th annual John H. and Cynthia H. Schultz Lecture, Hickenlooper discussed his views on energy development in the state and challenges facing a sustainable energy solution due to the growing rate of global energy consumption—set to rise more than 56 percent by 2040. The bottom line: We need a “miracle solution,” and it needs to be more affordable, more reliable, more effective, and cleaner than today’s energy, he said.
Dr. Ernest Moniz, United States Secretary of Energy
On August 31st, 2015, Dr. Ernest Moniz, United States Secretary of Energy visited Colorado Law to deliver his definitive remarks on the Iran nuclear deal, in a lecture titled Science for Security: The Role of the Department of Energy in Nuclear Security and Nonproliferation.
Innovations in Managing Western Water: New Approaches for Balancing Environmental, Social, and Economic Outcomes June 11th and 12th, 2015 Many aspects of western water allocation and management are the product of independent and uncoordinated actions, several occurring a century or more ago. However, in this modern era of water scarcity, it is increasingly acknowledged that more coordinated and deliberate decision-making is necessary for effectively balancing environmental, social, and economic objectives. In recent years, a variety of forums, processes, and tools have emerged to better manage the connections between regions, sectors, and publics linked by shared water systems. In this event, we explore the cutting edge efforts, the latest points of contention, and the opportunities for further progress.
Mike Connor, Deputy Secretary, United States Department of the Interior
The Distinguished Lecture Series was designed as a cooperative venture between the Getches-Wilkinson Center and the Colorado Natural Resources, Energy, & Environmental Law Review, to bring to the University of Colorado each year a distinguished figure in the fields of natural resource, energy, and environmental law and policy. The Annual Distinguished Lecture Series provides a forum for thought–leadership, allowing the Distinguished Lecturer to reflect on their experience and provide insights on the current state of natural resources, energy, and the environment. The articles and transcripts resulting from these lectures will be published in the Review.
Professor David Spence, University of Texas at Austin
The law is frequently called upon to resolve regulatory conflicts that arise when a majority mildly prefers policy X, and minority strongly prefers policy not X. Two emerging bodies of case law present this problem, both associated with the growing number of challenges to local restrictions on the use of hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) to produce oil and gas. One set of cases involves claims that these local restrictions are preempted by state oil and gas law; the other involves claims that, where a local ordinance survives preemption, it amounts to a regulatory taking. This lecture explores how the distribution of the costs and benefits of fracking drive the politics that provoke preemption and takings conflicts in the first place, and how the decision rules courts use to resolve preemption and takings claims try to address those distributional concerns.
Many believe that global institutions and frameworks are failing to generate necessary progress on issues such as climate change, water scarcity, biodiversity, food security, and poverty eradication; and that state, tribal and local governments and communities, innovative companies, social and technology entrepreneurs, NGOs, impact investors, consumers and philanthropists increasingly are taking the lead in creating bottom-up solutions to these challenges.
The conference explored this dynamic in detail, with an emphasis on the drivers behind these ground level innovations, and on how they can better “filter up” to inform the global conversations occurring on how best to address the various dimensions of “global change”.
This year, the lecture was delivered by James Burke, President of NGL Energy Partners. NGL Energy Partners is a leading gatherer, transporter, and marketer of crude oil and NGLs (Natural Gas Liquids) and a growing provider of oilfield water and wastewater handling and disposal services. The lecture covered the “Oil-Water Nexus,” focusing on the increasing importance of water and wastewater handling and disposal for unconventional oil and gas operations.