Natural Resources Law Network

Special Issue: July 2021


The Trustees Council Approves Changing the Name of the Foundation to “The Foundation for Natural Resources and Energy Law”!

The Foundation is excited to announce that it will change its name to “The Foundation for Natural Resources and Energy Law.” The Board of Directors proposed the change, and after robust, productive, and collegial discussions, the proposal was approved by the Foundation’s Trustees Council at its July 16 meeting.

Although changing the name of the Foundation has been proposed at various times over the organization’s 67-year history, the Board and the Trustees Council has determined that the time has come. The change is the culmination of the Foundation’s robust three-year strategic plan implementation efforts and introspection during the pandemic as to the critical need to stay relevant, be resilient, and adapt. The change promotes membership retention, development, and growth, takes advantage of the rapidly changing nature of practice in natural resources and energy law for many of our current and potential constituents, and coincides with many of the Foundation’s strategic plan objectives. The name change also responds to input we received from numerous stakeholders over the past few years, including in-house counsel and practitioners outside the Rocky Mountain West, young lawyers and students, and specific recommendations from some of our strategic planning committees. 

Due to the incredible work of our past leaders and volunteers, the Foundation’s geographic area and subject matter coverage has greatly expanded over time. The new name encompasses and respects the history and significance of oil and gas and mining law, which will continue to be major focus areas for the Foundation. But “Mineral”—the sole word in our name relating to our subject areas—is not descriptive of the many natural resources and energy law areas we cover and have covered for many years, including water, non-mineral public lands, wildlife and species protection, air and water quality, cultural resources, and Indian law. The geographic limitation in our name to “Rocky Mountain” is not inclusive of the significant number of our members and constituents from the mid-continent, eastern, southern, and other areas of the United States, or our many active participants from Canada and Latin America. It also makes it more challenging to meet our strategic planning goals to attract young professionals and others outside the Rocky Mountain region who may perceive the Foundation as a regional organization.

2020-2021 President Stuart Butzier, who chaired the Trustees Council meeting where the name change proposal was presented, fully discussed and approved, said: “I appreciate the seriousness and diligence with which the Board considered the input of stakeholders and conducted its deliberations, the helpful counsel of a focus group of 11 past presidents who provided their advice, and the vision and support of the Trustees Council, as we worked through the process to evaluate and fully embrace making such an important change. The Foundation will be well-served to continue its top-notch programming under the new name, and will never forget the countless contributions that have built and sustained our premier organization for ongoing success into the future.”

The new name was chosen after extensive deliberation by the Board with assistance from the Foundation’s strategic planning consultant and modified based on input from the past presidents focus group. The shorthand for the new name is intended to be “The Foundation,” not an acronym. It is terminology familiar to long-time members that respects our history. “Natural Resources and Energy” broadly reflects and accurately describes our mission and is not limited by geography. Simply put, the name carries the gravitas the organization deserves.

The name change will not happen immediately, but in a measured way designed to promote recognition and acceptance while preserving the goodwill associated with the current “Rocky Mountain” brand that for so many represents quality, scholarship, and collegiality. To that end, the Foundation has engaged a branding firm to assist with a phased brand launch over the next year, culminating in a celebration of the Foundation’s history and new brand at the 68th Annual Institute in July 2022. 

 

Introducing the Foundation’s 2021-2022 Officers, Directors, and Trustees-at-Large

At its annual meeting on July 16, the Trustees Council elected the Foundation’s Officers, Directors, and Trustees-at-Large for 2021-2022. Except for the incoming President, Scot W. Anderson, whose accession from Vice President to President is covered under the Foundation’s Bylaws, the slate of Officers, Directors, and Trustees-at-Large are nominated by the Foundation’s Nominating Committee after careful consideration of nominations submitted by Trustees.

New President Scot Anderson said: “This is an exciting time for the Foundation. Our two immediate past presidents, Rebecca Watson and Stuart Butzier, provided exceptional leadership through the pandemic and kept the Foundation moving forward while the world was standing still. We asked our volunteers and staff to provide new content and programming in innovative ways, and they did so efficiently and effectively, again and again. And now due to their extraordinary effort and dedication, we are ready to emerge from the pandemic as strong as ever with live programs beginning next month. We have an excellent Board for the 2021-2022 term that will build on the momentum we maintained throughout the pandemic.”

The following are the Officers, Directors, and Trustees-at-Large for 2021-2022:

Officers

President            Scot W. Anderson, Hogan Lovells US LLP, Denver, CO
Vice President    Rachael E. Salcido, University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law, 
                              Sacramento, CA
Secretary            Hadassah (Dessa) M. Reimer, Holland & Hart LLP, Jackson, WY
Treasurer            Monika U. Ehrman, University of North Texas College of Law, Dallas, TX

Past President Board Members

2020-2021 Stuart R. Butzier, Modrall Sperling, Santa Fe, NM
2019-2020 Rebecca W. Watson, Welborn Sullivan Meck & Tooley, P.C., Denver, CO

Board of Directors Members-at-Large

Keith B. Hall, Louisiana State University Paul M. Hebert Law Center, Baton Rouge, LA
Jared A. Hembree, Hinkle Shanor LLP, Roswell, NM
Philip C. Lowe, U.S. Department of the Interior, Office of the Solicitor, Lakewood, CO
Nora R. Pincus, Boart Longyear, West Valley City, UT
Connie L. Rogers, Terra Law Group, Lakewood, CO
Kathleen C. Schroder, Davis Graham & Stubbs LLP, Denver, CO

Trustees-at-Large 

Kevin C. Abbott, University of Pittsburgh School of Law, Pittsburgh, PA
Nicolle Snyder Bagnell, Reed Smith LLP, Pittsburgh, PA
Oscar R. Benavides, Rodrigo, Elias & Medrano Abogados, Lima, Peru
Deana M. Bennett, Modrall Sperling, Albuquerque, NM
Austin W. Brister, McGinnis Lochridge LLP, Houston, TX
William B. Burford, Kelly Hart & Hallman, Midland, TX
Joshua B. Cook, Crowley Fleck PLLP, Billings, MT
Wendy Bowden Crowther, Parsons Behle & Latimer, Salt Lake City, UT
Sarah Y. Dicharry, Jones Walker LLP, New Orleans, LA
Mary Lou Fry, Equinor, Austin, TX
Erik Goldsilver, Borden Ladner Gervais LLP, Toronto, ON
Heidi Hande, Enerplus Resources (USA) Corporation, Denver, CO
Peter B. Hays, King & Spalding LLP, Houston, TX
Kuno Kafka, Antofagasta Minerals Canada, Toronto, ON
Ramsey Kropf, Somach Simmons & Dunn, Boulder, CO
Alison J. Lacy, Fasken, Toronto, ON
Lamont C. Larsen, Davis Graham & Stubbs LLP, Denver, CO
Monte Mills, University of Montana School of Law, Missoula, MT
Abby L. Risner, Greensfelder, Hemker & Gale, P.C., St. Louis, MO
Bruce F. Rudoy, Babst Calland, Pittsburgh, PA
Elizabeth A. Schulte, U.S. Department of the Interior, Office of the Solicitor, Salt Lake City, UT
Shanisha Y. Smith, Baker & Hostetler LLP, Houston, TX
Pilar M. Thomas, Quarles & Brady LLP, Tucson, AZ
Adam M. Vela, Cimarex Energy Company, Denver, CO
Jeff Weems, Staff Weems LLP, Houston, TX

 

Professors Reed Benson and Monika Ehrman Receive the Clyde O. Martz Teaching Award

The Foundation’s Trustees Council is pleased to announce that Reed D. Benson and Monika U. Ehrman are the 2021 recipients of the Clyde O. Martz Teaching Award.

 

Reed D. Benson

Professor Reed D. Benson joined the University of New Mexico (UNM) law faculty in July 2008, contributing a broad background in environmental work, including five years as executive director of WaterWatch of Oregon. In addition to teaching courses on water law, natural resources and public lands, and administrative law, he chairs the UNM Natural Resources and Environmental Law Program.

Before coming to UNM, Professor Benson spent six years on the law faculty of the University of Wyoming, where he taught a variety of courses and served as faculty adviser to the Wyoming Law Review. He previously worked in private law practice in Colorado, as a staff attorney for a regional conservation group, and as an attorney for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in Washington, DC. He was a Fulbright Scholar in 2015, serving as Visiting Chair in Water and the Environment at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta, Canada.

Since he began teaching at the University of Wyoming and then at the University of New Mexico, he has been an outstanding teacher of water, natural resources and public lands, and administrative law, both in the classroom and in countless presentations given at Foundation institutes and other non-profit and governmental organizations.

Professor Benson consistently fosters a broad and deep understanding of the law through his creative and thoughtful approaches to relevant and timely issues. His tremendous body of scholarship is accessible and beneficial to scholars, practitioners, students, and laypersons. He never hesitates to engage in discussion and exchange viewpoints in a patient and respectful way, regardless of whether the audience agrees or disagrees with him.

Professor Benson also is a devoted and empathetic mentor of students and junior lawyers. He has committed countless hours to serving on the Foundation’s Scholarships Committee, Natural Resources Law Teachers Committee, and Board of Directors. He cares deeply about the strength of the Foundation and its members, new and old.

Professor Benson's writing focuses on water law and environmental issues facing the West. He has written extensively on the federal dimensions of water management issues, including the operation of federal water projects and the application of the Endangered Species Act to water. He is a co-author of the 7th edition of the Water Resource Management casebook from Foundation Press.

 

Monika U. Ehrman

Professor Monika U. Ehrman joined the faculty of the University of Oklahoma (OU) College of Law in 2013. In 2021, she accepted a position at the University of North Texas at Dallas College of Law. She also currently serves on the Board of Directors for Matador Resources.

Before teaching, Professor Ehrman served as general counsel of a privately held oil and gas company in Dallas, as senior counsel with Pioneer Natural Resources, and as an associate attorney at Locke Lord LLP. Before law school, she worked as a petroleum engineer in the upstream, midstream, and pipeline sectors of the energy industry.

Professor Ehrman is a tireless teacher and advocate for oil and gas students. She actively brings students into the profession by mentoring them and advising them on educational and career paths, and remains a steadfast friend and ally to her former students once they are in practice. While at OU, she developed and served as the faculty director of the Oil & Gas, Natural Resources, and Energy Center, served as the faculty sponsor for the Oil and Gas, Natural Resources, and Energy Society, and also taught in the Energy Management program at the OU Price College of Business.

Professor Ehrman has quickly become a leading scholar in oil and gas law. She is a co-author of the 7th edition of Cases and Materials on Oil and Gas Law with several past recipients of the Clyde O. Martz Award and has published eleven law review articles. She has received an OU Faculty Impact Award and was the Association of International Petroleum Negotiators Educator of the Year in 2019. In addition to her own scholarship, Professor Ehrman is well-known for her commitment to academic collegiality and her support for the development of other teachers and scholars. For example, in 2017, Professor Ehrman founded, and has since chaired annually (except during the pandemic), the Natural Resources Law Teachers Workshop at the Foundation’s Annual Institute to foster the development of natural resources scholars and new scholarship.

Professor Ehrman is also devoted to fostering a lifetime of natural resources legal education after law school. In addition to her scholarly publications, she has written countless papers and publications for the Foundation and other organizations to help educate practitioners, students, regulators, and others on oil and gas law developments. Her presentations for the Foundation and other organizations are heralded for their clarity, accessibility, humor, and the use of visual animations and other innovations to engage the audience. In addition, she has been an incredibly active Foundation leader. Last week she was elected the Foundation’s Treasurer, and she has previously served on the Board of Directors and the Natural Resources Law Teachers Committee. She has been on the faculty of the Oil and Gas Law Short Course since 2006.

 

About the Clyde O. Martz Teaching Award

Clyde O. Martz, the eighth president of the Foundation, was a professor who inspired generations of natural resource lawyers. His casebook, Cases and materials on the law of natural resources (The Development of public land law in the United States), pioneered the teaching of natural resources law. Martz also made critical, early contributions to the growth and stature of the Foundation, including the editing of the first edition of the American Law of Mining. To honor those contributions, in 1993, the Trustees of the Foundation established the Clyde O. Martz Teaching Award to recognize those teachers (either in the classroom or in Foundation or other nonprofit CLE courses) who have performed meritorious teaching of natural resources law. Excellence in teaching performance is the primary criterion for the award, but fostering a broad understanding of the law, mentoring students, and innovative style are considered.

 

Penn State Law Is Admitted as a Constituent Law School

At the Trustees Council meeting on July 16, the Trustees voted to admit Penn State Law as a Constituent Law School of the Foundation based on the unanimous recommendation from the Credentials Committee and the Board of Directors. Please welcome Penn State Law!

Penn State Law provides a program of, and demonstrates a continuous interest of its faculty and school in, mineral and natural resources law. Their programs and demonstrated interest in these subject areas promote the educational objectives relating to the Foundation’s mission. Their law school location, which is in the same building as the School of International Affairs, creates particular synergies in the area of international law. And their presence on a campus with an official “Energy University” mission, and with departments focused on solid and liquid mineral extraction and other energy subject areas, enhances opportunities for their law students and professors to engage in interdisciplinary work in the energy area. Penn State Law recently created a Center for Energy Law & Policy to serve as a central hub for law- and policy-related energy and natural resources work around the University.

Their current curriculum in environmental, energy, natural resources, and international law is stronger than ever and demonstrates their still-growing interest in and commitment to these areas. The full-time professors who make up the core of their program include Jamison E. Colburn, Joseph H. Goldstein Faculty Scholar and Professor of Law; Lara B. Fowler, Senior Lecturer and Affiliate Faculty, School of International Affairs; Ross Pifer, Associate Dean for Clinics and Experiential Learning; Daniel E. Walters, Assistant Professor of Law, affiliate faculty member in the Department of Political Science, and affiliated researcher in the Institutes of Energy & the Environment at the Pennsylvania State University; and Hannah J. Wiseman, Professor of Law, Professor and Wilson Faculty Fellow in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, and Institutes of Energy and the Environment Co-Funded Faculty. Many of these professors are already actively involved in the Foundation, having given engaging talks and serving on committees.

 

The Virtual 67th Annual Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Institute Was a Success!

The Virtual 67th Annual Institute is complete, and the overall feedback we have received to date is tremendous. More than 1,250 people registered for the institute. Like our in-person annual institutes, the general session had the highest attendance, with more than 811 attendees online. And though we did not expect many registrants to view all six days of talks, attendance at each session was excellent and greatly exceeded our expectations.

The Foundation is indebted to the army of volunteers who worked to make the program possible and free to members, including 12 members of the Program Committee, 66 speakers, and over 150 constituents who submitted topic proposals or participated in planning meetings. We are particularly grateful to Chair Connie Rogers (Terra Law Group, Golden, CO) and the Program Committee, most of whom selflessly continued on the committee for a second year in the midst of the pandemic. 

The speakers are too numerous to name, but other members of the Program Committee included Kevin Abbott (University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA), Michelle Bryan (University of Montana, Missoula, MT), Tim Canon (PDC Energy, Denver, CO), Drew Cloutier (Hinkle Shanor, Roswell, NM), Jeff Faillers (Erwin Thompson Faillers, Reno, NV), Charles Kazaz (Blake, Cassels & Graydon, Montréal, QC), Jessica Laramie (Western State Colorado University, Gunnison, CO), Nora Pincus (Boart Longyear, West Valley City, UT), Diana Sanclemente (Sanclemente Fernandez Abogados, Bogota, Columbia), David Schwan (ConocoPhillips Company, Houston, TX), and Virginia Schweitzer (Fasken, Ottawa, ON)

 

Planning Underway for the 68th Annual Institute; Professor Bruce Kramer Named Chair

Although the Virtual 67th Annual Institute is barely in the books, planning is already underway for the 68th Annual Institute, which will be held in-person on July 21-23, 2022, at the Marriott Mountain Resort in Vail, Colorado. After two virtual annual institutes, we are confident most of you are ready to gather in person again with your fellow natural resources and energy law attorneys, in-house counsel, academics, landmen, and other professionals to rekindle old friendships and make new relationships.

To lead the 68th Annual Institute, new President Scot Anderson has appointed Professor Bruce Kramer as the Program Chair. A long-time professor at Texas Tech University School of Law, Bruce is a nationally known oil, gas, energy, and land use legal scholar, and has advised companies on a wide array of legal issues and strategies in the energy arena for more than 40 years. He is the co-author of several important books that have become definitive references for energy lawyers, including two multi-volume treatises, The Law of Pooling and Unitization and Williams and Meyers Oil and Gas Law (since 1996).

Although it may seem way too early to start thinking about next July, we expect room reservations at the conference hotel to go quickly for our premier event in Vail, which historically has been our most popular location. Look for an announcement of room reservation information in the next month.