ALEX RITCHIE is the Executive Director of the Rocky Mountain Mineral Foundation. He comes to the Foundation from the University of New Mexico School of Law, where he held the Leon Karelitz Chair in Oil and Gas Law and taught oil and gas law, advanced oil and gas law, property law, natural resources law, energy law, and business associations. Before joining the UNM law faculty, Alex was Senior Corporate Counsel for Suncor Energy (U.S.A.) Inc., based in Denver. Alex joined Suncor in 2009 after ten years in the Energy and Natural Resources and Corporate Transactions practice groups at Bryan Cave LLP (formerly Holme Roberts & Owen LLP). In addition to numerous Foundation papers and law review articles, Alex is a co-author of the Tenth Edition of Cases and Materials: The Law of Oil and Gas (Foundation Press 2016) (with Martin, Kramer and Hall). Over the course of his career, Alex has represented clients in oil and gas, mining, corporate, securities, commercial, mergers and acquisitions, and environmental matters.
REBECCA W. WATSON is a shareholder in the law firm of Welborn Sullivan Meck & Tooley, P.C. in Denver and serves on the Board of the Rocky Mountain Mineral Foundation as Vice President and President-elect (2019-2020). Rebecca has a distinguished 40-year career representing natural resource, oil and gas and renewable energy clients and in high-level public service in the federal government. As Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management of the U.S. Department of Interior in the George W. Bush administration, she had oversight over 3 energy resource bureaus including BLM, led 12,000 employees and managed a $1 billion budget. Prior to that, she served as Assistant General Counsel for Energy Policy at the U.S. Department of Energy. Rebecca was named the 2011 Distinguished Natural Resources Practitioner-in-Residence at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law, her alma mater, and has been repeatedly nationally recognized as a top energy and natural resources lawyer. She speaks and writes frequently on public land and energy topics. Rebecca is a Trustee on the Board of the Buffalo Bill Center of the West museum in Cody, Wyoming and serves on the Jefferson County, Colorado Open Space Advisory Committee.
SANDRA A. SNODGRASS is a partner in the Denver office of Holland & Hart LLP. She helps natural resource developers, pipeline companies, traditional and renewable energy companies, and other clients successfully navigate the complex federal environmental review and permitting processes for a variety of proposed projects. Her extensive experience includes National Environmental Policy Act compliance and litigation; Endangered Species Act Section 7 consultation, Section 10 habitat conservation plans and incidental take permits, candidate conservation agreements, species listing issues, and litigation; development of avian and bat protection plans and bird and bat conservation strategies under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act; Bald and Golden Eagle Act permitting issues; Clean Water Act Section 404 permits; National Historic Preservation Act Section 106 consultation; right-of-way grants under the Federal Land Policy and Management Act and Mineral Leasing Act; voluntary conservation agreements; and certificates of public convenience and necessity under the Natural Gas Act. Ms. Snodgrass joined Holland & Hart in 1999 after graduating from Northwestern University School of Law.
SANDRA B. ZELLMER is a Professor and Director of Natural Resources Clinics at the University of Montana School of Law. Previously, she was the Robert B. Daugherty Professor at the University of Nebraska College of Law. She teaches public lands, wildlife, water law, torts, and related courses. Zellmer has recently served as a board member of the Society for Wilderness Stewardship and the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation, and is a member scholar of the Center for Progressive Reform. She is a vice-chair of the ABA Section on Environment, Energy, and Resources--Committee on Public Lands. Zellmer has published dozens of law review articles as well as several books, including Legal Control of Water Resources (2018) (with Thompson, Leshy, and Abrams), Natural Resources Hornbook (2015) (with Laitos), A Century of Unnatural Disasters: Mississippi River Stories (NYU 2014) (with Klein), and Comparative Environmental and Natural Resources Law (2013). Before teaching, Zellmer was an attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice Environment and Natural Resources Division, representing the National Park Service, Forest Service, and other federal agencies. She also practiced law at Faegre & Benson in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and clerked for the Honorable William W. Justice, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Texas.
HOLLY DOREMUS is the James H. House and Hiram H. Hurd Professor of Environmental Regulation at the University of California, Berkeley, Co-Director of the Law of the Sea Institute, and Co-Faculty Director of the UC Berkeley Institute for Parks, People, and Biodiversity. She is an elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. She holds a B.S. in biology from Trinity College (Hartford, CT), Ph.D. in plant physiology from Cornell University, and J.D. from UC Berkeley. Her scholarship focuses on biodiversity protection, the intersection between property rights and environmental regulation, and the interrelationship of environmental law and science.
JAKE LI specializes in endangered species law, policy, and science. He focuses on developing innovative and pragmatic strategies to conserve imperiled species. This work includes nearly every aspect of the Endangered Species Act, especially consultations, permitting, recovery planning, and funding. He uses a variety of approaches in his work, ranging from traditional advocacy to data science to partnerships with industry. From 2010 - 2018, Jake held various positions at Defenders of Wildlife, including as Director of the Center for Conservation Innovation and Vice President of Endangered Species Conservation. Before joining Defenders, Jake practiced environmental law at Latham & Watkins. He holds a B.S. from Drexel University and a J.D. from Cornell University Law School. At Cornell, he also completed graduate courses in conservation biology and herpetology. Jake has coauthored over ten peer-review studies on the performance of the Endangered Species Act and other wildlife laws. He is also the coeditor, with Don Baur, of the upcoming third edition of the book, Endangered Species Act: Law, Policy, and Perspectives (2019).
TOM FRANCE, Regional Executive Director, Northern Rockies, Prairies, and Pacific Regional Center, National Wildlife Federation, Missoula, MT
JOAN GOLDFARB is an Attorney-Advisor with the U.S. Department of the Interior, Office of the Solicitor, in Washington, D.C. Joan primarily advises the Fish & Wildlife Service on matters involving section 4 of the Endangered Species Act. She has been with the Solicitor’s Office since 1991, having also worked on matters involving natural resource damages under CERCLA, and provided legal advice to the Office of Surface Mining, Reclamation, and Enforcement. Joan received her J.D. from Boston College Law School, where she was the managing editor for the Boston College Environmental Affairs Law Review. She has a B.A. in English and Mathematics from Wesleyan University.
LAWSON FITE, General Counsel, American Forest Resource Council, Portland, OR
ANDREW C. MERGEN is Deputy Section Chief in the Appellate Section of the Environment and Natural Resources Division, U.S. Department of Justice, where he supervises a wide variety of litigation. He has presented oral arguments in all 13 federal courts of appeals and several state intermediate and supreme courts. Mr. Mergen has also taught at several law schools including, most recently, Harvard Law School. Mr. Mergen has written on, among other things, federal water rights, A Misplaced Sensitivity: The Draft Opinions in Wyoming v. United States, 68 Colo. L. Rev. 683 (1997) (with Sylvia F. Liu); on energy development on public lands, Surface Tension: The Problem of Federal Private Split Estates, 33 Land & Water L. Rev. 419 (1998); and more recently on climate change and the Endangered Species Act, The Role of Climate Change in ESA Listing Decisions, 53 Rocky Mt. Min. L. Fdn. 67 (2016) (with Murray Feldman). He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the George Washington University School of Law.
PARKER MOORE - Principal, Beveridge & Diamond P.C. (Washington, D.C.) As Co-Chair of B&D’s Natural Resources and Project Development practice group and the Firm’s NEPA, Wetlands and ESA Section, Parker focuses his practice on successful project development and regulatory compliance. Parker has helped clients across the country overcome complicated federal permitting and authorization obstacles for major projects, create bulletproof administrative records, and defend their projects against citizen suits. The Endangered Species Act and other federal wildlife protection laws are a cornerstone of Parker’s practice. He has advised clients on ESA issues arising in every state except Maine, Hawaii, and Rhode Island. His active ESA matters include serving as counsel to a coalition of ten upstream and midstream oil and natural gas companies in developing a multi-state, multi-species habitat conservation plan – one of the largest in ESA history – that will provide the companies with a 50-year incidental take permit for five bat species; counseling energy industry clients in the development of a nationwide candidate conservation agreement with assurances for the monarch butterfly; developing a programmatic Section 7 consultation agreement between the USFWS and USACE to streamline consultations for the oil and gas industry for projects in West Virginia requiring CWA nationwide permits; and advising the developers of several FERC-jurisdictional pipelines on strategies for ensuring defensible Section 7 consultations.
FRANK LUPO is an Assistant Regional Solicitor with the U.S. Department of the Interior, Office of the Solicitor, Southwest Region. Frank leads the Southwest Region’s Natural Resources group, which primarily advises the Fish & Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, and Bureau of Reclamation. Frank has been with the Solicitor’s Office since 2009. He was previously an Honors Attorney with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in New Orleans assisting with environmental law matters related to post-Katrina recovery and rebuilding. Frank completed a judicial clerkship with the State of Alaska Court of Appeals in Anchorage. He received his J.D. from Lewis and Clark School of Law with certificates in Environmental and Natural Resources Law and Criminal Law and has a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Florida.
BRET SUMNER is a senior partner at the law firm of Beatty & Wozniak, and he is the head of the firm’s federal practice group. Bret specializes in oil and gas and environmental matters. Bret handles oil and gas litigation and he regularly defends permits and projects from challenges in federal courts, and before administrative adjudicatory entities. Bret advises companies on compliance with federal statutes, including the Endangered Species Act, National Environmental Policy Act, Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Federal Land Policy and Management Act, and National Historic Preservation Act. He regularly advocates on behalf of clients before Executive Branch Departments and federal agencies, including the Department of the Interior, Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Land Management, Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the Environmental Protection Agency.
WILLIAM SCHENK, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, Helena, MT
SARAH STAUFFER CURTISS is a partner in the Portland, Oregon office of Stoel Rives LLP, where she maintains an environmental regulatory and permitting practice, with an emphasis on protected species and major project permitting. She joined Stoel Rives after graduating with honors from Lewis and Clark Law School in 2007, where she was an associate editor for Environmental Law. Sarah has significant experience representing clients in matters involving the Endangered Species Act, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, and the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act. She regularly represents clients in the mining, forest products, wind, solar, utility, and oil and gas sectors. She received her BA from Pacific Lutheran University and MA from the University of Chicago. A Montana native, Sarah is an avid outdoorsperson and enjoys floating the rivers of the west with her husband and children.
ARIEL STAVITSKY is an associate in the Portland office of Stoel Rives LLP. Ariel’s practice spans environmental compliance, risk management, and litigation, along with natural resource and land use permitting. She represents clients in mining, fishing, farming, manufacturing, transportation, utility, and oil and gas industries. Ariel worked as an environmental consultant in Atlanta, GA before attending law school at the University of Oregon, where she was executive editor for the Oregon Law Review and completed consecutive Bowerman Fellowships in Energy Law and Policy. She has served as a law clerk for the Oregon Department of Justice, General Counsel Division, Natural Resources Section; judicial extern for the Honorable Circuit Judge Diarmuid F. O’Scannlain of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit; and law clerk to the Honorable Magistrate Judge John V. Acosta of the U. S. District Court, District of Oregon. Ariel volunteers on the mentoring committee for Women in Environment and spends her free time training her stubborn rescue boxer, Duke.
RAYA B. TREISER, Counsel, WilmerHale, Washington, D.C.
SARAH JUDKINS is an associate at Kaplan, Kirsch & Rockwell in Denver, Colorado. Her practice focuses on environmental, energy, and natural resources issues.
CALLY YOUNGER is the Deputy Solicitor for the Division of Land Resources for the Department of the Interior. In this capacity, she and her division provides counsel to the Bureau of Land Management on land use planning, among other issues. Previously, she served as Counsel to the BLM Director in Washington D.C. Cally served as counsel to former Governor of Idaho C.L. "Butch" Otter for five years prior to joining the Department of the Interior. As counsel to Governor Otter, Cally focused on public land use issues, the Endangered Species Act and nuclear energy. Cally lives in Washington D.C. with her husband and three boys. She is a graduate of the University of Idaho College of Law.
MARTIN NIE is Professor of Natural Resources Policy and Director of the Bolle Center for People and Forests in the W.A. Franke College of Forestry and Conservation at the University of Montana. As appointed by the Secretary of Agriculture, Nie served from 2014-2018 on the U.S. Forest Service’s National Advisory Committee for Implementation of the National Forest System Land Management Planning Rule and in 2010 was part of the Forest Service’s National Science Panel focused on the development of the planning rule. Nie is author of multiple articles focused on federal public lands and wildlife conservation and is recent co-author of “Making Forest Planning Great Again? Early Implementation of the Forest Service’s 2012 Planning Rule (Natural Resources & Environment 33, no. 3, 2019) and “The Forest Service’s 2012 Planning Rule and Its Implementation: Federal Advisory Committee Member Perspectives (Journal of Forestry 117, no. 1, 2019).
VANESSA L. RAY-HODGE is an enrolled member of the Pueblo of Acoma and Partner in the Albuquerque office of Sonosky, Chambers, Sachse, Endreson & Perry, LLP. Ms. Ray-Hodge works in all areas of the firm’s practice with a special focus in water rights and energy and economic development issues. Ms. Ray-Hodge also regularly advises and represents tribal clients on matters involving land into trust, reservation boundary issues, treaty rights, tribal jurisdiction and regulation, gaming, natural resources development, and infrastructure development. She regularly assists tribes in navigating issues related to federal environmental and regulatory compliance statutes and in working with federal agencies at the local and national level.
Prior to rejoining Sonosky, Ms. Ray-Hodge served as the Senior Counselor to Solicitor Hilary Tompkins at the Department of the Interior. At Interior, Ms. Ray-Hodge advised the Solicitor on Indian Affairs issues and was integral in a multitude of decisions. Some of her key efforts included addressing the Supreme Court’s decision in Carcieri v. United States, to continue to take land into trust for tribes, culminating in the Solicitor’s M-Opinion 37029 (March 12, 2014); participating in settling tribal trust lawsuits, including working with the Secretary’s Trust Reform Commission; advising senior Departmental officials on tribal consultation requirements, economic and natural resources development issues in Indian country, including oil and gas operations, and Indian gaming and water rights litigation and settlement issues.
Ms. Ray-Hodge attended Wellesley College graduating in 2000 with a major in Anthropology. She went on to Columbia Law School graduating in 2003 with honors as a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar. Ms. Ray-Hodge is licensed in Oregon, New Mexico and Washington D.C.
RYAN C. RUSCHE is an Attorney for the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead Nation, Pablo, MT. Over his career Ryan has served as both in-house and outside counsel to the Fort Peck Tribes, and a term as the Roosevelt County Attorney. He is married and has two awesome kids.
KIM DIANA CONNOLLY is a Professor of Law, Vice Dean for Advocacy and Experiential Learning, and the Director of the Environmental Advocacy Clinic at the University at Buffalo School of Law. One of Kim’s areas of academic interest is natural resources, and she has published and lectured extensively in the area of wetlands, domestically and internationally. She also teaches Ethics in Context as an intensive summer course. As an academic, Kim likes working on real-world matters, and together with her clinic student attorneys has successfully provided thousands of pro bono legal and policy support for many environmental and natural resource matters since leaving private practice in Washington DC in 1999. She holds an AB in chemistry from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a JD magna cum laude from Georgetown University Law Center, an LLM in environmental law with highest honors from George Washington Law School, and a certification in restorative practices from the International Institute of Restorative Practices.