State-Local Conflict Over Fracking

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.

Martz Winter Symposium 2015 Seeds of Change: Responding to Global Change in a Bottom-up World

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”.

Schultz Lectureship in Energy – 2014 The Oil-Water Nexus: Where Development Meets the Environment

Jim Burke, NGL Energy Partners

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.

 

Celebrating the Great Law The Wilderness Act at 50

On September 3, 2014, the National Wilderness Preservation System—established and protected by the Wilderness Act of 1964—celebrates its 50th anniversary.  We are gathering on September 4th and 5th to celebrate Wilderness—“ornery old wilderness, scratchy, sweaty, and distant, but sacred every step of the way”—and to commemorate the great law so central to its protection. 

This is not an ordinary conference, full of dry presentations or heated policy debates.  Instead, this will be a full-throated love song to wild country.  We have brought together some of the most inspiring, insightful, and compelling Wilderness luminaries:  writers, storytellers, advocates, historians, educators, photographers, and other admirers. The most important invitee of all will be the public—those who make wilderness an important part of their lives, and those who simply take comfort in its existence.

Our goal will be to tell the story of the Wilderness movement over the course of the last 50 years, to rearticulate the ethos of the Wilderness community in light of that history, and to take a short moment to reflect on and appreciate the progress that has been made.

Martz Summer Conference 2014 Water and Air Quality Issues in Oil and Gas Development: The Evolving Framework of Regulation and Management

Presented by the Getches-Wilkinson Center for Natural Resources, Energy, and the Environment, in conjunction with the Air-Water-Gas Sustainability Research Network Technological advances for extracting oil and gas from shale deposits have ushered in a new era of energy development in key resource-rich pockets throughout the US. In this event, we review the ongoing efforts of governments and industry to develop the regulatory and management practices necessary to protect water and air resources, drawing on the latest scientific research to tackle areas of uncertainty and to inform future action.

Moderated By: Britt Banks, Executive Director Getches-Wilkinson Center

Speakers: Patty Limerick, Jim Erb, Joe Ryan, Corrie Clark, Kathryn Mutz, Laura Belanger, Cabell Hodge, Anna Carion, Olivia Lucas, Gary Kaufmann, James Martin, Jill Cooper, Rich Haut, John Adgate, Rick Collins, Mark Boling, Steve D’Esposito, Rich Whitley, Dan Grossm

GWC Distinguished Lecture – 2014 Are Colorado Public Lands Becoming a Sacrifice Zone for Oil and Gas?

Bruce Babbitt, Former Governor of AZ and Secretary of the Interior

Bruce Babbitt is a lifelong environmentalist and outdoorsman. Babbitt served as Arizona Governor from 1976-1987, successfully securing several wilderness designations. As Secretary of the Interior during the Clinton Administration, Babbitt launched a new era in wildlife protection by reintroducing wolves into Yellowstone National Park. Later, he reintroduced the California Condor to the Grand Canyon region. Babbitt also spearheaded Clinton’s ambitious program to protect expansive areas of federal lands as national monuments under the Antiquities Act. Clinton created 20 new monuments and expanded three existing monuments totaling nearly 8 million acres. The creation of these monuments protected some of the most contested and magnificent western landscapes, and this era stands as one of the highest points in conservation history.

Martz Winter Symposium 2014 Natural Resource Industries and the Sustainability Challenge

For more than two decades, sustainability has gained currency as a broad organizing principle for efforts to develop and use energy, natural resources, and the environment in ways that allow society to meet its needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. More recently, sustainability has been embraced by businesses across multiple sectors as part of a broader movement of corporate social responsibility. Hardly a day goes by without news of another corporate initiative on sustainability. Much of the enthusiasm for sustainability in the business community has been centered in “new economy” sectors and among retail giants such as Wal-Mart. Much of it has likewise been motivated by the realization that companies can actually save money by embracing more sustainable practices. 

In the traditional natural resources industries, there is an increasing recognition of the considerable challenges facing efforts to operationalize this broad concept in the context of resource extraction and development.  In the long run, the promise of sustainability will depend on the natural resource industries—those that provide energy, water, fiber, and raw materials for a growing population—translating this concept into action. 

This conference draws together people from different disciplines and backgrounds to discuss the specific challenges confronting efforts to operationalize sustainability in the context of natural resource industries broadly understood. The symposium will discuss the idea of sustainability and how it is taking shape in particular places and sectors; rigorously explore current efforts to re-organize certain business practices under the rubric of sustainability; and endeavor to identify practical, meaningful actions to deepen ongoing efforts to make sustainability a central tenet of our economic, social, and environmental future.