Utton Center Partners with NREL Program to Host CLE Events

June 30, 2017

The Utton Center partnered with the Natural Resources and Environmental Law program to bring four speakers for Continuing Legal Education events during the 2016–2017 academic year. These evening lectures are coordinated with the Natural Resources, Energy and Environmental Law Section of the New Mexico State Bar and are free to members, the law school community, and the public. General credit hours can be earned by attending the series.


This year, Professor Burke Griggs, visiting Associate Professor at Washburn University School of Law, presented on “Litigating the Groundwater Revolution: the Infamous Past, the Maddening Present, and the Uncertain Future of Interstate Groundwater Dispute Resolution.” His remarks focused on the large number of interstate disputes before the Supreme Court over shared water supplies and how the Court’s decisions may inform subsequent conflicts.


Professor Max Minzner, presently serving as Federal Energy Regulatory Commission general counsel, returned to the School of Law to deliver a lecture entitled, “Supreme Energy: The 2015–16 FERC Trilogy.” A reception was held for the law community and alumni. In addition, Professor Minzner met with law students to discuss “Reflections on a Legal Career of Public Service."


U. S. Forest Service Southwest Region Director, Steven Hattenbach, presented “Federal Lands Transfer and Your National Forests. ” He discussed the major legal arguments and positions surrounding the current debate over ownership and administration of federally owned lands. In particular, he focused on those issues in the context of the history and current status of National Forests in the Southwest.

The final lecture of the year was given by Regents Professor Kevin Washburn, who has returned to the UNM School of Law after serving as the Senate-confirmed Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs at the U. S. Department of the Interior from 2012–2016. He was the highest-ranking official for federal Indian policy, overseeing nearly 8,000 employees of the Bureaus of Indian Affairs and Indian Education. He spoke on “Enlisting Tribal Governments in Public Lands Management,” a discussion of the laws authorizing tribal contracts and the practical challenges for tribes and the federal government in implementing these initiatives in the public lands context.


In addition, in cooperation with the Environmental Law Society, the Center hosted three lunchtime career discussions for students. UNM School of Law graduate Stephanie Tsosie, now Associate Attorney with Earthjustice, spoke on “Beginning Your Career in Environmental Law.” UNM professor David Gutzler, UNM Department of Earth & Planetary Sciences, and Shaleene Chavarria discussed the results of a multi-university study called “Water Supply Vulnerabilities.” Erik Schlenker-Goodrich, Executive Director of the Western Environmental Law Center spoke on “Strategic Climate & Fossil Fuel Advocacy in a Dynamic Political Environment.”