The Utton Transboundary Resources Center addresses natural resources and environmental problems, in conjunction with the law school's faculty and students.


Utton Center Launches Biography of Al Utton

Al Utton

Al Utton–Aztec Eagle: International Waters, Research, Diplomacy, and Friendship

Reception and Book Reading by Michele Minnis
Thursday, September 24, 5–7 p.m.
UNM School of Law Forum

RSVP Reception Purchase the Book

The Utton Transboundary Resources Center was established at the University of New Mexico School of Law to carry on the work of the late Professor Albert E. Utton (1931-1998) related to transboundary resource issues. Professor Utton was recognized as a visionary and man of diplomacy during his lifetime and received the Order of the Aztec Eagle medal from Mexico, that nation’s highest honor to foreigners in recognition of service to Mexico and humankind.

Al Utton book cover

Michele Minnis’s biography describes the experiences and decisions that powered Utton’s success and his efforts to inform decision-making and conflict resolution over the resources that cross frontiers of nations, states, and regions.

Al Utton was co-founder of The International Transboundary Resources Center (CIRT) and the Natural Resources Center (NRC) at the University of New Mexico School of Law. He was editor of the Natural Resources Journal for 36 years. He served in many civic capacities in Albuquerque and throughout New Mexico.

A native of Aztec, New Mexico, Al Utton received his undergraduate degree in geology from UNM. As a Rhodes Scholar, he received a law degree from Oxford University. Utton returned to New Mexico and became a faculty member at the School of Law in 1962. At the UNM School of Law he focused his talents and energies on natural resources and environmental law and policy. He created a new area of academic endeavor—international border studies.

An excerpt from the biography describes a project led by Utton and César Sepúlveda, head of the Instituto Matías Romero de Estudios Diplomáticos—his country’s “prep school” for diplomats:

The next Utton-Sepúlveda project, the US-Mexico Transnational Resources Study Group, produced the two-part 1977–78 landmark work, “Symposium on US-Mexican Transboundary Resources.” In a follow-on initiative, Utton and Sepúlveda were joined as principals by Stanley Ross, director of the Mexico-United States Border Research Program at the University of Texas at Austin. Results of that multi-year binational project, “The US-Mexico Border Region: Anticipating Resource Needs and Issues to Year 2000,” are reported in a book of the same name. Introducing it, Ross expressed an idea that had long motivated Utton:

“All too often we wait until issues are upon us in a confrontational atmosphere before we seek to develop responsive policy. Under those circumstances, the research and analysis on which policy should be based not only does not exist, but there is not time available in which to develop it.

“Here we are trying to anticipate transboundary resource problems before they are upon us—which will not be too long. Here we are trying to develop the research and analysis on the basis of which reasonable policy alternatives may be examined and the consequences of what we are doing and what we plan to do will be understood and considered. A great deal of the anticipated problems in the border region relate to its development—human development, industrial development, agricultural development, and energy resource development. In whatever form, development puts demands on transboundary resources and impacts the ecology of the region, which will affect the success of the development efforts and the quality of life of rapidly growing populations on both sides of the border.”

[Excerpt from Al Utton—Aztec Eagle, by permission of the author]

To perpetuate the legacy of Professor Utton, the Utton Transboundary Resources Center researches and provides information to the public about water, natural resources and environmental issues, with a particular focus on New Mexico and the Southwest. It also supports collaborative natural resource management using multidisciplinary expertise and inclusive, diverse stakeholder involvement.

Author Michele Minnis, PhD

Author Michele Minnis, PhD, was one of the founders of the University of New Mexico Master of Water Resources Program (est. 1991). While teaching fifteen years on its faculty she served twice as its acting director. For most of that time she was also associate director of the Natural Resources Center, created by Al Utton as an education, research, and public service arm of the Natural Resources Journal. In the early 1980s, Minnis designed and directed a legal writing program for first-year UNM law students. Now retired, she lives in Corrales.

For more information, contact Laura Burns at burns@law.unm.edu or 505-277-3253.


BIDTAH BECKER: “We’ve Only Just Begun—Tribal Water Rights Settlement Implementation”

Bidtah Becker gave a presentation on the challenges and opportunities of implementing a tribal water rights settlement. She laid a foundation by explaining key points of the law which underlies the determination of tribal water and by describing the Navajo Nation in relation to the Colorado River Compact. Then she described the project and the types of agreements that were required for implementation. She stated that following the finalization of a settlement agreement, parties should expect that much more will be required, perhaps more than originally anticipated.

Ms. Becker is currently Assistant Attorney General for the Natural Resources Unit of the Navajo Nation Department of Justice. She is an enrolled member and citizen of the Nation. The Natural Resources Unit handles legal matters pertaining to the development and use of the Nation’s land and natural resources and protection of the environment. Ms. Becker has participated in the negotiation of the Little Colorado River Water Rights Settlement and the San Juan Basin/Navajo Nation Water Rights Settlement. She graduated from the University of New Mexico School of Law in 2000 and the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in 1993.

While in law school, Ms. Becker was a founding member of the Tribal Law Journal. She is a proud mother to five-year-old Tazbah and nine-year-old Bahe and happily married to Paul Spruhan, also a 2000 graduate of UNM School of Law.

This presentation is sponsored by the UNM School of Law Natural Resources and Environmental Law Program and the Utton Center in cooperation with the Natural Resources, Energy and Environmental Law Section of the New Mexico Bar Association.


DR. BONNIE COLBY, University of Arizona: “Water Banking for a Resilient New Mexico Economy”

On March 27, Bonnie Colby, Ph.D., a professor in the University of Arizona's Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics presented the final lecture in our Resilience in Water Management project to participants from the Resilience in Water Management conference, and faculty and students from both the UNM Water Resource Program and UNM School of Law.

Dr. Colby's research is in water resource economics, and in particular, regional adaptation to drought and water scarcity. Some of her current projects involve designing new mechanisms to address water shortage risks across urban, agricultural and instream water uses. She discussed successful water banks in western states, the economics of water banking and what makes it work, and the effect of transaction costs on the rate of banking.

This lecture was presented as part of the “Water Resilience in a Time of Uncertainty” project underwritten by a grant from the McCune Charitable Foundation. Additional funding was provided by the New Mexico Water Resources Research Institute.

The PowerPoint presentation for Dr. Colby’s lecture can be viewed online.

See https://lawmedia.unm.edu/public/special_events/Utton_Transboundary_Resource_Center/ to view a videotape of Dr. Colby’s lecture.


Americans for a Clean Energy Grid Southwest Summit at UNM

Senator Martin Heinrich

The Utton Center partnered with Americans for a Clean Energy Grid and High Country News to host the Southwest Clean Energy Transmission Summit on April 1st at the University of New Mexico Science & Technology Park. The goal of the Summit was to improve our understanding of the opportunities and barriers in the development of clean energy transmission capacity.

The Summit brought together key stakeholder groups, including utilities, environmental advocates, consumer interests, landowners, state and federal elected officials and regulators, Renewable energy producers, and transmission developers.

Senator Martin Heinrich, Congressman Ben Ray Lujan, and Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham all addressed the Summit, inspiring discussions focused on the benefits of a robust and modern energy transmission grid in the Southwest.


Solicitor Hilary Tompkins, Department of the Interior

Hilary Tompkins, the Solicitor of the Department of the Interior, presented a Lunch & Learn lecture to students on April 6 describing her background and career path to her present position.

Solicitor Tompkins was named solicitor by former Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and currently serves Secretary Sally Jewell. The Department of the Interior has responsibility for most of our federal public lands and natural resources. This includes fostering the wisest use of our land and water resources, protecting our fish and wildlife, preserving the environmental and cultural values of our national parks and historic places, and ensuring the federal trust obligation to Native American Nations is met.

As a member of the Navajo Nation, Solicitor Tompkins grew up in New Jersey far from her Navajo roots. She related her experiences from her education at Dartmouth and Stanford Law School, serving as law clerk for the Navajo Nation Supreme Court, as U.S. Attorney in the Eastern District of New York, working in private practice, serving as Chief Counsel to former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, and as an adjunct professor at UNM School of Law.

At each juncture, Solicitor Tompkins followed her intuition and challenged herself to build a diverse and compelling set of credentials that led her to the next career opportunity.

The event was hosted by the Law and Indigenous People's Program with the Utton Center and the School of Law's Natural Resources and Environmental Law Program.


On Friday, March 20, 2015, Commissioner Norman Bay presented a CLE lecture “An Overview of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the Energy Markets Today.”

Given the alphabet soup of federal agencies, even Washington insiders can be unaware of FERC and what it does. Bay provided background on FERC and answered certain basic questions about the function of the FERC and its jurisdiction. He provided an overview of the energy markets today, focusing on significant trends and developments. Finally, he discussed several emerging challenges in the energy markets.

Commissioner Bay was welcomed back to the School of Law by a large group of alumni and former colleagues from his days as professor here. A reception was held in his honor following the lecture.

This event was hosted by the UNM School of Law Natural Resources and Environmental Law Program, the Utton Center and the Office of Advancement in cooperation with the Natural Resources, Energy and Environmental Law Section of the New Mexico Bar Association.


Hawks Aloft “Raptor Conservation”

Gail Garber, Hawks Aloft's executive director, presented a lecture on "Raptor Conservation" at a Lunch & Learn on April 13 hosted by the Student Animal Legal Defense Fund, the Natural Resources and Environmental Law program and the Utton Center.

Julia Davis, Hawks Aloft Education and Outreach Coordinator, and Gail brought Shadow, a screech owl that has an elbow joint injury; Sunny, a prairie falcon missing a wing tip; and Aguilita, a Red-tailed Hawk who is blind in her left eye. Hawks Aloft cares for twenty non-releasable birds of prey. The education birds have a permanent disability that would prevent them from surviving at-large in nature, but they are provided with housing, a natural diet, and veterinary care so they can live out their life spans.

Hawks Aloft conducts nest surveys in the Rio Grande bosque, and raptor nests are monitored throughout the nesting season by staff and volunteers. Hawks Aloft and the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service used the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 to protect the nesting season of birds in the Rio Grande bosque from April 15 until August 15 each year. Conservation, research, and education are the tools Hawks Aloft uses to preserve New Mexico's birds and their habitats.


Prof. Lee Paddock, Environmental and Energy Careers--The Washington, DC Market

Associate Dean Lee Paddock, Professor of Environmental Law Studies at George Washington University, visited the School of Law on February 25, to present a lecture on Washington, DC careers and Masters of Law programs. The Natural Resources and Environmental Law Program and the Utton Center hosted the lecture.

Dean Paddock shared his own career path and the many opportunities to practice in Washington, DC in private practice, government, and academia.

Prior to joining the faculty at GW Law, he was director of Environmental Legal Studies at Pace University Law School. He has also served as a senior consultant for the National Academy of Public Administration on several projects. In addition, he was an assistant attorney general with the Minnesota Attorney General's office for 13 years.


Utton Center Hosts Conference at the UNM School of Law “Water Resilience in a Time of Uncertainty—How Can Our Water Laws and Policies Better Support Water Resilience”

During Fall Break, the Utton Center convened 42 water policy decision-makers, water experts, practitioners, and academicians from New Mexico and across the West to develop new thinking about water management, analyze outcomes of previous ideas and proposals, and develop water law and policy recommendations for the State Legislature.

The discussions were framed around the concept of “water resilience,” meaning New Mexico’s legal and institutional ability to adapt and cope with changing water supplies and demands. This concept of resilience, as defined by Melinda Harm Benson and Robin K. Craig is “a new way of addressing the challenges ahead…acknowledging disequilibrium and nonlinear, continual change.”

Topics covered were:

  • A Framework for Resilience—Marilyn O’Leary, Visiting Research Professor, Utton Center, and Melinda Harm Benson, Associate Professor, Department of Geography and Environmental Studies, University of New Mexico
  • The Pressures on Water Supply—Dagmar Llewellyn, Hydrologist, Bureau of Reclamation, and Peggy Johnson, Principal Hydrogeologist, New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources, New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology
  • The Characteristics of a Resilient System—David Feldman, Chair, Department of Planning, Policy and Design, and Professor, Department of Planning, Policy U& Design and Political Science, University of California Irvine
  • New Sources of Water—Michael Hightower, Distinguished Member of the Technical Staff, Sandia National Laboratories
  • Current Resilience Factors in New Mexico—Adrian Oglesby, Director, Utton Center
  • Effective Strategies for Resilience—Elizabeth Kistin Keller, Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy, Sandia National Laboratories, and Stephen McCaffrey, Distinguished Professor of Law, McGeorge School of Law, University of the Pacific
  • Resilience and the Law—Dan Tarlock, Distinguished Professor of Law; Director, Environmental and Energy Law Program, IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, and Reed Benson, Keleher & McLeod Professor of Law, and Natural Resources and Environmental Law Program Director, UNM School of Law
  • Collaboration, conflict resolution, preventive diplomacy in adapting policy to address the impact of altered water supply—Aaron T. Wolf, Professor of Geography, College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences at Oregon State University

In the final session, participants worked together to develop ideas that will help make New Mexico water law and policy better support water resilience. Law students played a critical role in the planning and execution of the conference. David Ketai, Zachary Ogaz, Anne Minard, Elizabeth Reitzel, and Diego Urbina conducted the pre-conference research and made important contributions throughout the conference.

John Fleck, science writer for the Albuquerque Journal, delivered a dinner presentation on “Sharing Water: What an environmental experiment in Mexico can teach us about social capital, institutional arrangements, and the future of the Colorado River.”

PowerPoint presentations by the speakers will be posted at: http://uttoncenter.unm.edu/conferences/index.php

Blogs about the conference have been posted: http://www.inkstain.net/fleck/2014/10/change-stasis-and-or-resilience-in-new-mexico-water-policy/#comments and http://westernriverlaw.com/


“Aboriginal Indian Title Land Claims—Pueblo of Jemez v. United States.

Attorneys Yepa and Luebben; Professors Wolfley and LaVelle

Attorneys Yepa and Luebben; Professors Wolfley and LaVelle

On November 6, the UNM School of Law welcomed attorneys, David Yepa and Tom Luebben to deliver a lecture on “Aboriginal Indian Title Land Claims—Pueblo of Jemez v. United States.

David Yepa, is General Counsel for the Pueblo of Jemez, and primarily works in the area of Federal Indian law including water litigation and natural resource matters. He outlined the extent and use of the area now incorporated into the Valles Caldera National Preserve by the Jemez people since 1400 A.D and showed slides of the ruins left after many hundreds of years.

Tom Luebben, whose practice includes a wide variety of experience in aboriginal land claims throughout the United States, gave a history of the litigation and background of aboriginal land claim disputes and the background of treaties, pertinent legislation, and previous litigation.

Valles Caldera National Preserve

Valles Caldera National Preserve

The doctrine of aboriginal Indian title continues to be a fundamental part of federal Indian law and the Anglo-American common law of property. Indian title claims have continuing importance to Indian tribes, and Supreme Court case law continues to recognize that such claims persist until clearly extinguished. The lecture reviewed the law of Indian title and discussed the current case before the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, Pueblo of Jemez v. United States (oral argument presented at the law school on November 13, 2014), which utilizes the federal Quiet Title Act to assert Jemez Pueblo's Indian title to the Valles Caldera National Preserve. The Valles Caldera and Wavema (Redondo Peak) are Jemez Pueblo's most important sacred sites, analogous to Taos Pueblo's Blue Lake.

The lecture was hosted by UNM School of Law Natural Resources and Environmental Law Program and The Utton Center in cooperation with the New Mexico Bar Association Natural Resources, Energy and Environmental Law Section.


Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham’s “Water Innovation Summit”

Congresswoman Lujan Grisham hosted a “Water Innovation Summit” at the University of New Mexico on October 14. The all-day summit brought together experts from government entities, businesses, universities, and research centers to discuss strategies for tackling the state’s water resources challenges through cutting-edge technologies, innovative management, and policy solutions.

Representatives from the Bureau of Reclamation, the University of New Mexico, Los Alamos National Laboratory, the Nature Conservancy, and other entities held a series of discussions about the implications of New Mexico’s water resource issues.

Link: http://lujangrisham.house.gov/constituent-services/water-innovation-summit-2014.htm

Utton Center Director Adrian Oglesby presented remarks on “Supporting New Mexico Water Resilience with Law and Policy.”


NM Environment Department Secretary Ryan Flynn Delivers CLE Lecture “An Overview of EPA’s Proposed Rules for Existing Power Plants

Ryan FlynnOn October 22, the UNM School of Law welcomed Cabinet Secretary Ryan Flynn, New Mexico Environment Department for a Continuing Legal Education lecture. Secretary Flynn spoke on the rules proposed by the EPA in June 2014, which are aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions from existing and modified fossil fuel power plants under Section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act.

EPA’s proposal has broad implications for the economy and the environment and will generate a significant amount of litigation over the next few years. This discussion will provide an overview of the 111(d) rule-making process and discuss some of the legal issues surrounding the proposed rules.

On October 21, the Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit upheld the U.S. EPA’s approval of New Mexico’s State Implementation Plan addressing regional haze.

Prior to becoming Secretary, Flynn served as the Environment Department’s General Counsel and Legislative Coordinator. Before joining the Environment Department, Flynn practiced law at the Modrall Sperling law firm in the Commercial Litigation and Renewable Energy groups.

The lecture was hosted by UNM School of Law Natural Resources and Environmental Law Program and The Utton Center in cooperation with the New Mexico Bar Association Natural Resources, Energy and Environmental Law Section.


"Endangered Wolves" Lunch & Learn Lecture

Judy Calman

Judy Calman, Staff Attorney, NMWA

Attorney Judy Calman with the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance visited the UNM School of Law on October 8 and lectured on “Endangered Wolves.”

The endangered Mexican gray wolf is an emblem of the Southwest and the UNM mascot. The wolf was nearly wiped out in the early 1970s, prompting efforts to rebuild the population. Fewer than 85 Mexican gray wolves live in the wild.

WolvesJudy Calman moved to New Mexico in 2001, inspired by a life-long fascination with the West. After completing degrees in Biology and Philosophy, she has dedicated her career to environmental policy. She completed her law degree at the University of New Mexico, as well as a Masters in Environmental Law and Policy at the Vermont Law School.


UNM Community and Regional Planning Class - Water & Energy in NM: Conversations on Our Common Future

Darcy Bushnell, Director of the Joe M Ombudsman Program at Utton Center lectured on “Adjudication, Water Rights, and Appropriation” on September 24th for this seminar series that presents a wide range of research, issues, insights, and perspectives related to water and energy in New Mexico.


Utton Center Announces New Director Adrian Oglesby

Adrian Oglesby The Utton Transboundary Resources Center at the University of New Mexico School of Law is pleased to announce that Adrian Oglesby will assume the position of director as of July 1.

Prior to joining the Utton Center staff in June 2013, Oglesby served as an outside advisor, editor, and grant writer for the Center. As Senior Staff Attorney, he worked to identify and develop meaningful legal and policy solutions to the real and immediate natural resource challenges facing New Mexico.

Oglesby graduated from the University of New Mexico School of Law in 2000. Before earning his JD degree, he managed environmental cleanup projects. He has since run a successful law firm that provided legal counsel to tribes, farmers, and NGOs on water and environmental issues; represented the New Mexico Interstate Stream Commission on the Pecos River; and established and managed the Living Rivers Program for The Nature Conservancy in New Mexico.

Currently Oglesby is the Vice Chairman of the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District Board of Directors, President of the New Mexico Riparian Council, Chair-Elect of the Natural Resource Section of the State Bar, Chairman of the Mid-Region Council of Government’s Water Resource Board, and a member of the Tamarisk Coalition’s Board of Directors.

As the Utton Center addresses the critical water issues of New Mexico and the arid Southwest, Oglesby brings a wealth of background and experience to the Center’s efforts. He is already engaged in planning and facilitating water and natural resources projects that will expand the education of the students at the UNM School of Law and serve the state legislature, agencies, local governmental entities, and the communities of our state.


THE HON. IGNACIA S. MORENO Delivers CLE Lecture on "Environmental and Natural Resources Issues in Indian County."

The Utton Center and the Natural Resources and Environmental Law Program hosted an evening CLE lecture featuring The Honorable Ignacia S. Moreno, former Assistant Attorney General, Environment and Natural Resources Division, U.S. Department of Justice.

Her topic was "Environmental and Natural Resources Issues in Indian Country."

Ms. Moreno was nominated by President Barack Obama to be Assistant Attorney General for the Environment and Natural Resources Division in 2009 and, after her confirmation by the U. S. Senate in a 93 to 0 vote, served until June 2013.

The Environment and Natural Resources Division is a 650-person litigating component of the United States Department of Justice. As head of the Environment Division, former Assistant Attorney General Moreno was considered the nation’s top environmental lawyer. She was the first Latina to lead the Division in its nearly 104-year history.

Ms. Moreno led a dynamic discussion of environmental and natural resources issues in Indian Country. She reviewed the progress made to date and an agenda for the next two years. This agenda includes continuing to address water adjudications, pollution in Indian country, climate change, sacred sites, tribal trust litigation settlements, and the safe and responsible development of a domestic source of energy.

Continuing legal education lectures are offered by the University of New Mexico School of Law in cooperation with the Natural Resources, Energy and Environmental Law Section of the New Mexico Bar Association.


February 26 CLE Lecture: Stephen Farris and Steve Hernandez to Discuss U.S. Supreme Court Case Texas v. New Mexico.

On February 26, the Utton Center and the Natural Resources and Environmental Law Program hosted a CLE lecture featuring Stephen R. Farris, Assistant Attorney General of New Mexico and Director, Water, Environment and Utilities Division, and Steven L. Hernandez, Esq. of the Law Offices of Steven L. Hernandez in Las Cruces, discussing the Supreme Court case of Texas v. New Mexico and other ongoing Rio Grande water cases.

The U.S. Supreme Court has spoken: Texas can sue New Mexico for allegedly violating the Rio Grande Compact, but New Mexico will get its chance to end the litigation quickly. Texas v. New Mexico is not the only ongoing, high-stakes case over Rio Grande water, however. The outcome of these cases will be important for the entire state, but especially for water users in southern New Mexico along the Lower Rio Grande. This program featured two experienced New Mexico attorneys who offered very different views of Rio Grande water disputes.

This presentation can be viewed online at: https://lawmedia.unm.edu/public/special_events/2012_Natural_Resources_Speaker_Series/index.php


Correlative Rights Doctrine in Oil and Gas Jurisprudence

Professor David Pierce On November 13 Professor David Pierce discussed correlative rights doctrine in oil and gas jurisprudence at an hour-long CLE presentation hosted by the UNM School of Law Natural Resources and Environmental Law Program in cooperation with the New Mexico Bar Association Natural Resources, Energy and Environmental Law Section.

Director of the Washburn University School of Law Oil & Gas Center and the Norman R. Pozez Chair in Business and Transactional Law, Professor Pierce explored the history of the largely ignored private property aspects of correlative rights, offered insights into why this part of the doctrine has been stunted, and why we can expect the doctrine to play a much greater role in oil and gas jurisprudence in the coming decades. Most often correlative rights principles are applied as a limitation on state oil and gas conservation commissions to ensure any restriction on the rule of capture is administered in a fair manner.

Professor Pierce pointed out that hydraulic fracturing and the immense area where this technology can be applied will affect correlative rights jurisprudence going forward.

For more information, a video of this lecture may be viewed here.


A Water Rights Manual for Mutual Domestic Water Consumers Associations

The Utton Center is pleased to announce the publication of the Water Rights Manual for Mutual Domestic Water Consumers Associations. Written by law students Zackary Carpenter & Gregory Chakalian, class of 2011, the manual has been updated and edited by Darcy S. Bushnell, Stell Water Ombudsman of the Utton Center, UNM School of Law. The manual provides information and procedural guidance to MDWCAs in the acquisition and care of water rights in New Mexico. It has undergone extensive review by the Office of the State Engineer, organizations which provide services to Mutual Domestics and water attorneys. The manual was made possible by a grant from the McCune Charitable Foundation.


NREL Program & Utton Center Lunch & Learn on Hydraulic Fracturing

On October 16, Patrick V. Brady, Senior Scientist in the Geoscience Research & Applications Group at Sandia Laboratories, talked on the hydraulic fracturing boom in the United States to a full house at the Natural Resources & Environmental Law Lunch & Learn series. Attendees included students and faculty from the School of Law and the UNM Water Resources program, as well as Albuquerque attorneys.

Lunch and Learn

Photo: Ostroff Law, Commons Wikimedia

In his lecture, entitled What U.S. hydrofracking means for the World, Dr. Brady explained, in layman’s terms, the science and technology of hydraulic fracturing and the geologic features relevant to the process and its risks. He pointed out that scientists as yet do not have any long-term data on the environmental effects of the activity.

The lecture also covered water: the risks of disturbing geologic strata containing extremely salty water and the technologic options for dealing with toxic liquids generated by hydrofracking.

Dr. Brady pointed out that, though major shale formations exist around the world, the greatest extraction activity is occurring in the U.S., and he explained marketplace and social factors driving that imbalance.

He concluded by encouraging audience members to inform themselves of the facts surrounding hydrofracking and to apply that knowledge to "triangulate" to the truth amidst the controversy surrounding the practice.


Nawrs Is Live

The Utton Center and Joe M Stell Ombudsman Program are pleased to announce that the Native American Water Rights Settlement e-repository or NAWRS has gone live! This project has created a collection of settlement documents which represent the formalization of Native American water rights in the United States. Today, 30 settlements have been executed for a fraction of the 566 federally recognized tribes. The e-repository resides in UNM’s LoboVault and may be accessed at http://repository.nawrs.net

The repository currently includes executed settlement agreements and federal legislation relating to the settlements. The Collection continues to grow as state legislation, Tribal claims, court scheduling and procedural orders and Tribal water codes are added. UNM School of Law Prof. Jeanette Wolfley’s Indian Water Law class will be preparing water code abstracts in the fall semester of 2013.

The e-repository allows searches by settlement. The project has also developed a web search tool which may be accessed at http://NAWRS.net The tool facilitates searches by reservation, state, watershed or document type.

The NAWRS partners include Francine Jaramillo, Senior Policy Analyst - American Indian Law Center, Albuquerque NM; Darcy Bushnell, Water Ombudsman & Senior Staff Attorney, Utton Center, UNM – School of Law; Barbara Cosens, Professor of Law, University of Idaho College of Law & Waters of the West Program; and Karl Benedict, Ph.D., Director – Earth Data Analysis Center, UNM.

Darcy Bushnell of the Utton Center and Prof. Barb Cosens of University of Idaho introduced the repository and map on August 13 at the opening Luncheon of the 2013 Symposium on the Settlement of Indian Reserved Water Rights Claims at Buffalo Thunder, the Hilton of Santa Fe. The project is supported by the Native American Rights Fund, the National Congress of American Indians and the Western States Water Council.

Funding partners include the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Rocky Mountain Mineral Foundation.


Fall 2013 Dialogue newsletter available at Resource Links.

Dialogue is published by the New Mexico Water Dialogue, with the aim to promote the wise stewardship and ensure the availability of water resources for future generations of New Mexicans through support of community-based planning and creation of inclusive forums for education, communication, and development of common ground.


NREEL Newsletter link available at Resource Links.

The State Bar of New Mexico Natural Resources, Energy and Environmental Law Section ("NREEL") is an organization of lawyers who practice in or are interested in law relating to natural resources, energy and the environment. Our purpose is to provide our members, the State Bar and the public with information and dialogue concerning issues affecting natural resources, energy and the environment. We also seek to provide practicing lawyers with an opportunity to share ideas, legal research and networking with the goal of providing the highest possible quality of legal services to New Mexicans in the areas of natural resources, energy and environment. Membership in SONREEL is open to any lawyer who is interested in these issues.  The NREEL newsletter covers a wide range of Natural Resource and Environmental issues from fresh aquifer prospecting to wildfires impact on endangered species.