What Lies Beneath? Reasons to Care (and be Excited) About Groundwater in the Southwest

June 7-8, 2018 at the University of Colorado School of Law


As snowfall levels continue to disappoint, multiple efforts are underway across the Southwest to protect reservoir storage levels, particularly in Lakes Mead and Powell along the Colorado River. These reservoirs-the largest in the US-are critically important, but ultimately, they are dwarfed by the region's largest hydrologic asset: groundwater. Although barely mentioned in the Colorado's "Law of the River," groundwater is not only the primary water supply for many water users (especially in agriculture), but is intertwined with surface water in a variety of ways: physically, legally, and in management. Deplete one resource, and the other will undoubtedly be affected; enhance one, and the benefits can be mutual.


Featuring a blend of thematic and case study presentations from across the Southwest (defined broadly), this 2-day conference will examine a variety of salient topics, including:


  • Innovative cooperative and market-based governance arrangements in the Edwards Aquifer (TX), Diamond Valley (NV) and the San Luis Valley (CO)
  • Aiding groundwater dependent ecosystems in the San Pedro River (AZ) and the Colorado River Delta
  • Large-scale groundwater export schemes in California (Cadiz) and Nevada (SNWA)
  • Mitigating threats to water quality from oil and gas development (Pavillion, WY), new (and old) uranium mining near the Grand Canyon, and the western legacy of abandoned mines
  • Lessons from interstate compact disputes from groundwater pumping in CO, KS, NE, and NM
  • Using prior appropriation to regulate conjunctive use in the South Platte (CO)
  • Pending legal reforms in Arizona, and implementation challenges of California SGMA
  • The reach of decisions in Hawaii's "groundwater conduit" litigation, and Aqua Caliente in California
  • Using surface water imports to stabilize groundwater supplies
  • Applying emerging technologies for brackish groundwater desalination and aquifer storage and recovery throughout the region

>> See Details


2018 National Mining Hall of Fame inductees


The National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum (NMHFM) announced today the 2018 National Mining Hall of Fame inductees. This year’s inductees, selected by the National Mining Hall of Fame’s Board of Governors, represent exploration, extraction, management, education, and research and development in the U.S. mining industry. Their contributions have had significant and lasting impacts on the mineral and mining industry; these individuals were selected for being mavericks, thought leaders, researchers, educators, mentors, wealth builders, and philanthropists.


Professor John M. Guilbert, Dr. Leo J. Miller, Robert E. (Bob) Murray, and Douglas (Doug) B. Silver will join 240 other mining industry luminaries when formally inducted into the National Mining Hall of Fame on September 29th, 2018. Additionally, the Prazen Living Legend of Mining Award will be presented to the Freeport-McMoRan Foundation. The 31st Annual Induction Banquet and Ceremony will be held at the Ritz-Carlton in Denver, CO.

>> See Details


David Pierce Receives Robert L. Gernon Award


David E. Pierce, Topeka, Kansas, has been selected by the Kansas Continuing Legal Education Commission as the recipient of the 2017 Robert L. Gernon Award for Outstanding Service to Continuing Legal Education in Kansas.


David E. Pierce is a Professor of Law at Washburn University School of Law in Topeka, Kansas. He currently teaches Oil and Gas Law, Advanced Oil and Gas Law, Energy Regulation, and Drafting Contracts and Conveyances. Professor Pierce received his B.A. from Kansas State College of Pittsburg in 1974 and his J.D. from Washburn University School of Law in 1977. Then in 1982, he received his LL.M. from University of Utah College of Law. He began his career as a solo practitioner in Neodesha, Kansas. He then worked in-house for Shell Oil Company in Houston Texas, Gable and Gotwals law firm in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Shughart Thomson and Kilroy law firm in Kansas City, Missouri.

Professor Pierce was nominated by John W. Broomes of the Hinkle Law Firm, LLC, and Timothy E. McKee of the firm, Triplett Woolf Garretson, LLC. In their nomination letter, McKee and Broomes highlight the impact that Professor Pierce has had on the legal profession. "He has devoted innumerable hours to preparing and delivering continuing legal education through the Kansas Bar Association, The Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation, the Energy and Mineral Law Foundation, Washburn University School of Law and many other schools and institutions." The nomination package submitted for Professor Pierce supports this statement by including over 20 pages of publications, articles, and presentations where Professor Pierce has devoted his time and energy into educating groups about Oil, Gas, and Mineral Law.


Justice Robert Gernon worked tirelessly to improve the training, education and professionalism of attorneys in Kansas and across the nation. Professor Pierce is an outstanding representation of what it means to be a recipient of the Gernon award. On both a professional and personal level, Professor Pierce is viewed with utmost respect and affection by his peers, colleagues, and especially his former students. This was evident when the award was presented on October 6 in Wichita, Kansas, at the Kansas Bar Association luncheon during the annual Kansas Independent Oil and Gas Association meeting.


Professor Pierce is a past president of the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation and a member of the Kansas Bar Association and American Law Institute.


Established in 2005 and presented annually by the Kansas Continuing Legal Education Commission, the Robert L. Gernon Award for Outstanding Service to Continuing Legal Education in Kansas recognizes those individuals or organizations that have demonstrated a unique commitment to legal education for lawyers in Kansas and have provided outstanding service to continuing legal education. The award is named for Kansas Supreme Court Justice Robert L. Gernon (1943 - 2005), whose career included tireless devotion to the training, education and professionalism of attorneys in Kansas and across the nation. Previous award recipients include:  2016 - Foulston Siefkin, LLP; 2015 - Jan Hamilton, Topeka; 2014 - Steve Obermeier, Olathe; 2013 - Robert Collins, Wichita; 2012 - Cynthia Grimes, Lenexa; 2011 - J. Nick Badgerow, Overland Park; 2010 - Jack Scott McInteer, Wichita; 2009 - Mira Mdivani, Overland Park; 2008 - Sheila Reynolds, Topeka; 2007 - Hon. Robert J. Schmisseur, Pratt; 2006 - Philip Bowman, Wichita

Press Release



The Trustees of the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation are pleased to announce the election of the following Officers, Members-at-Large of the Board of Directors, and Trustees-at-Large for 2017-2018. These complement the trustees appointed by the Foundation's Constituent Law Schools, Bar Associations, and Oil and Gas and Mining Associations.

OFFICERS, 2017-2018

President:  Michael J. Malmquist, Parsons Behle and Latimer, Salt Lake City, UT

Vice President:  William B. Prince, Dorsey and Whitney LLP, Salt Lake City, UT

Secretary:  Rebecca W. Watson, Welborn Sullivan Meck and Tooley, P.C., Denver, CO

Treasurer:  Rachael E. Salcido, University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law, Sacramento, CA



Rob Risley, Freeport-McMoRan Inc., Phoenix, AZ

Sandra B. Zellmer, University of Nebraska-Lincoln College of Law, Lincoln, NE

Ann E. Lane, WPX Energy, Inc., Denver, CO

Khaled Abdel Barr, Lawson Lundell LLP, Vancouver, BC

Hadassah M. Reimer, Holland and Hart LLP, Jackson, WY

Neil G. Westesen, Crowley Fleck PLLP, Bozeman, MT



Jacqueline L. Weaver, University of Houston Law Center, Houston, TX, retired



Daniel P. Altikes, Antofagasta Minerals, Toronto, ON, Canada

John W. Andrews, Utah State Trust Lands Administration, Salt Lake City, UT

C. Mark Brannum, Jonah Energy LLC, Denver, CO

Timothy C. Dowd, Elias, Books, Brown and Nelson, Oklahoma City, OK

Lee Fanyo, Lewis, Bess, Williams and Weese P.C., Denver, CO

Pedro Freitas, Veirano Advogados, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Michael A. Gheleta, Somach Simmons and Dunn, Boulder, CO

Jana L. Grauberger, Liskow and Lewis, Houston, TX

M. Benjamin Machlis, Dorsey and Whitney LLP, Salt Lake City, UT

Carolyn L. McIntosh, Squire Patton Boggs (US) LLP, Denver, CO

Dawn G. Meidinger, Fennemore Craig, P.C., Phoenix, AZ

Margaret L. Meister, Modrall Sperling, Albuquerque, NM

Ramona L. Monroe, Stoel Rives LLP, Anchorage, AK

Gregory J. Nibert, Hinkle Shanor LLP, Roswell, NM

Sam Niebrugge, Davis Graham and Stubbs LLP, Denver, CO

Wells S. Parker, Dorsey and Whitney LLP, Salt Lake City, UT

Nora R. Pincus, Parsons Behle and Latimer, Salt Lake City, UT

Ignacio J. Randle, Estudio Randle, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Scott Regan, Whiting Oil and Gas Corporation, Denver, CO

Matthew Salzman, Stinson Leonard Street LLP, Kansas City, MO

Amy E. Seneshen, Welborn Sullivan Meck and Tooley, P.C., Denver, CO

Marcelle F. Shoop, National Audubon Society, Salt Lake City, UT

Juan Sonoda, Beretta Godoy, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Rebecca Tsosie, University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law, Tucson, AZ

Kevin K. Washburn, University of New Mexico School of Law, Albuquerque, NM

Press Release

PRESS RELEASE: July 19, 2017 - Martz Award


The Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation Announces the 2017 Recipient of the CLYDE O. MARTZ TEACHING AWARD

A primary mission of the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation is to promote the teaching of the law of mining, oil and gas, water, public lands, energy, environmental protection, and other related areas of natural resources law.  The greatest source of encouragement of knowledge of the law of natural resources development is through inspiration instilled by professors and other teachers of natural resources law. 

Clyde O. Martz, the eighth president of the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation, was a teacher of natural resources law whose casebook pioneered the teaching of the law of natural resources development as a whole, and who made many other contributions to the growth and stature of the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation and the study of the law of natural resources development, including the editing of the first edition of the American Law of Mining.  Accordingly, in 1993 the Trustees of the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation established the Clyde O. Martz Teaching Award to honor those who have performed meritorious teaching in natural resources law or development to students either in a classroom setting or at courses sponsored by the Foundation or other not-for-profit organizations.  Excellence in teaching performance is the primary criterion for the award, and consideration is given to the fostering of a broad understanding of the law, mentoring of students, and innovative style.


With mixed feelings of sadness and admiration, the Trustees of the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation are pleased to announce that the 2017 recipient of the Clyde O. Martz Teaching Award is Professor Federico (Fred) Cheever.  On June 10, 2017, Fred tragically passed away while on a rafting trip, but he will not be forgotten.  Fred's incredible mind and vibrant, joyous, and inclusive attitude has left an indelible mark on the community of natural resources students, scholars, and practitioners.


Fred guided generations of students with interests in environmental law, property law, and public land law at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law.  For many years Fred served as co-director of Denver Law's Environmental and Natural Resources Law program and as its associate dean.  He devoted countless hours to the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation, as the chair of four Natural Resources Law Teachers Institutes, the chair of the Natural Resources Law Teachers Committee for eight years, and as an author and speaker at Annual Institutes, Special Institutes, and Law Teachers Institutes. Fred also served the Foundation in a number of leadership roles, including as a Trustee at Large, a representative of the University of Denver, and a member of the Board of Directors.


Executive Director Transition


The Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation is pleased to welcome Alex Ritchie as the new Executive Director, effective July 26, 2017. Alex 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. Alex has worked as Senior Corporate Counsel for Suncor Energy (U.S.A.) Inc., and as an attorney in the Energy and Natural Resources and Corporate Transactions practice groups at Bryan Cave LLP (formerly Holme Roberts and 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.


Our thanks to outgoing Executive Director, Stevia Walther, for her five years of service to the Foundation. We wish Stevia a fulfilling retirement.


DOI collection available

Decision of the Department of Interior collection available: A law firm's library has decided to downsize and wants to give away its collection of Decisions of the Department of the Interior, including Vol. 48 (1922) through Vol. 68 (1961) and Vol. 70 (1963) through Vol. 95 (1988). There are also a Digest of Decisions set covering volumes 52-61, two Dicennial Index-Digest sets covering 1955-1964 and 1965-1974, and then two Quinquennial Index-Digest volumes covering 1975-1979 and 1980-1984. If you are interested in having these books or have a suggestion for where to donate them (other than Colorado School of Mines library), contact Robert A. Bassett.

Getting the Deal Through: Mining

Getting the Deal Through: Mining is now available to the Foundation's constituency at no charge as a PDF or as an eBook at

Proceedings for Sale

Proceedings of the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Institutes, volumes 1955-2003. Contact the Foundation for details.

Oil and Gas, Natural Resources, and Energy Journal (ONE J)

The University of Oklahoma College of Law's Oil and Gas, Natural Resources, and Energy Journal (ONE J) is a comprehensive publication dedicated to the advancement of domestic and international legal scholarship on oil, gas, and energy and natural resources law. ONE J offers in-depth articles by academics, practitioners, and other interested scholars. In addition, the Journal features comments and notes written by student members and editors on a wide variety of energy topics. More information is available at