Accessible Navigation.

Public Land Law Conference

Public Land Law Symposium April 17th and 18th Balancing Act & Paradigm Shift: The Role of PUblic Lands in America's Energy Future

Public Land Law Conference Schedule - April 17 & 18, 2013
For CLE information, please contact: 

Register HereRegister Now

Program Agenda

Wednesday, April 17, 2013 - Law Building, Room 201

12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. ~ Community Lecture: Transfer of the Kerr Dam to Tribal Ownership: A Story 85 Years in the Making


In 2015, the Kerr Dam on Montana’s Flathead River will be purchased and operated by Energy Keepers, Inc., a corporation wholly-owned by the Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribes. This acquisition will make history as a sovereign Indian nation assumes ownership of a major hydropower facility built on their ancestral land. Mr. Hovenkotter will discuss the controversial history of the dam, the Tribes’ plan for energy production and marketing, and the significance of the acquisition to Indian Country.

Speaker:  Joeseph Hovenkotter, General Counsel, Energy Keepers, Inc., Pablo, MT

6:00 p.m. – 7:10 p.m. - Law Building, Room 101

Evening Lecture: A Perspective on the Fight to Restore the Elwha River and The Penobscot River Restoration Trust:  A Coalition of Hydropower, the Penobscot Nation, and Environmental NGO's Restoring New England's Streams


Mr. Eric Eberhard and Mr. Scott Anderson will discuss the role of tribes and NGO’s in the restoration of endangered fisheries by dam removal on the Pacific and Atlantic coasts. The Elwha River in Washington State and the Penobscot River in Maine will serve as examples of how balance is maintained between environmental, cultural, political, and energy concerns in the management of America’s rivers.

Mr. Eberhard served as Chief Counsel for the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs. As a partner at the Seattle firm of Dorsey and Whitney Mr. Eberhard worked with the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe on the implementation of legislation to remove dams on the Elwha. Mr. Eberhard will provide an overview of the Tribe’s history in the Elwha River watershed, of the construction of the dams, and of the long struggle of the Tribe to restore the river.

Mr. Scott Anderson has served as a key project attorney for the Penobscot River Restoration Trust, a collaborative group of environmental NGO’s, the Penobscot Nation, and hydropower operators. This coalition dedicated itself to the removal of dams hindering migration of endangered Atlantic salmon, while maintaining current energy production. Mr. Anderson will discuss the role of dam removal as part of a strategic basin-wide plan to promote expansion of hydropower while balancing concerns for habitat restoration.

Speakers: Eric Eberhard, Distinguished Indian Law Practitioner in Residence, Seattle University School of Law, Seattle, WA, Scott Anderson, Verrill Dana, LLP, Portland, ME

Thursday, April 18, 2013 - University Center Ballroom, Third Floor

7:30 a.m. – 8:00 a.m.: Registration and Breakfast

8:00 a.m. – 8:30 a.m.: Welcome and Opening Remarks

8:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.: Land: Updated Regulatory Approaches to Energy Development on Public Lands

Renewable and nonrenewable energy development on terrestrial public lands is ubiquitous in the United States, from West Virginia coal to Washington wind. Its regulation, however, is not always encouraging, contemporary, efficient, or logical. This panel urges new ways of thinking about energy regulation on lands by highlighting two current areas of policy weakness – wind and federal coal – and one of policy strength – renewable energy development on Indian lands. Are the former sectors stifled by regulations out-of-step with current industry needs and preferences? Is the latter sector, ostensibly freed from federal agency oversight, on the verge of a significant and, perhaps, instructive boom?

Moderator:  Michelle Bryan Mudd, Associate Professor of Law, The University of Montana School of Law, Missoula, MT

Speakers: Rebecca Watson, Welborn, Sullivan, Meck & Tooley, P.C., Samuel Kalen, The University of Wyoming College of Law, Daniel Belcourt, Belcourt Law, P.C.

10:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.: Networking Break

11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.: Oceans: A New Frontier for Renewable Energy?

This panel will focus on existing legal and regulatory programs and policies governing the development of energy in Oceans, and potential reforms to those programs and policies.

The Outer Continental Shelf is perhaps the least explored and least understood area of public lands and resources. The oil and gas industry has been drilling off-shore for decades, but now the ocean is recognized as a new frontier for renewable energy, as well. Beyond several well-publicized oil spills, few Americans think of Oceans as a public resource which is accessible, not only for development for carbon-based energy, but also as for new forms of alternative enrgy. Also, much like our rivers, parks, and National Forests, Oceans and tidal lands are, in many ways, sensitiv ecosystmes which must be protected and sustained for the future in the public interest.

Moderator:  Alexandra Dapolito Dunn, Executive Director & General Counsel, Association of Clean Water Administrators, Washington, DC

Speakers: Robin Craig, William H. Leary Professor of Law, The University of Utah, S.J. Quinney College of Law, Salt Lake City, UT, Thomas Jensen, Holland & Hart LLP, Washington, DC

12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.: Lunch

1:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.: Rivers: Balancing Hydropower Development and Ecosystem Preservation

The rivers of America provide a substantial amount of renewable energy through the use of hydroelectric facilities, and there are competing calls for further development of these resources and restoration of the free flowing rivers they impact. This panel will consider whether existing legal regimes and regulatory structures are achieving the balance between calls for increased development of renewable resources and the importance of holistic aquatic ecosystems. Rivers are viewed as a potential new source of low-carbon electricity, but the necessity to mitigate the negative impacts of hydroelectric development, transmission, and other energy development is a common concern. Panelists will address utilizing existing legal tools to create new approaches to how we utilize, manage, and preserve American rivers while tapping their energy resource potential. Topics will also include the development of cooperative management practices within the existing legal framework, innovative development of the hydroelectric resource, and whether existing laws like the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act strike a proper balance of preserving some of the nation’s most ecologically important riverine resources and facilitating use of the federal lands to meet our energy needs.

Moderator:  Constance L. Rogers, Davis Graham & Stubbs, LLP, Denver, CO

Speakers:  Matthew Clifford, Attorney at Law and former Policy Director of Carpe Diem West, Oakland, CA, Robert L. Glicksman, J. B. and Maurice C. Shapiro Professor of Environmental Law, The George Washington University Law School, Washington, DC, Jeremiah I. Williamson, Assistant Attorney General, Wyoming Attorney General, Water and Natural Resources Division, Cheyenne, WY

3:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.: Networking Break

4:00 p.m. – 4:45 p.m.: Keynote Address: David Hayes, Deputy Secretary, U.S. Department of the Interior, Washington, DC

4:45 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.: Closing Remarks

5:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.: Reception