On July 21, Robert Keiter, Wallace Stegner Professor of Law at the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law, and Kirstin Lindstrom, a 2011 graduate of the College, presented a paper as part of a panel discussion at the 57th Annual Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Institute in Santa Fe.
The session was titled “Lessons from Nine Mile Canyon: Achieving Consensus Over Energy Development on the Public Lands.” Its focus was on lessons learned from the West Tavaputs and Nine Mile Canyon drilling proposals in eastern Utah that led to an agreement between environmentalists and an energy company allowing specific development to proceed without litigation. Keiter and Lindstrom provided a 20-minute introduction, followed by a discussion from panelists representing industry, land management, and preservation groups. Keiter and Lindstrom then conducted a Q & A session for the estimated 1,000 attorneys in attendance.
“It was extraordinarily intimidating to speak in front of that many attorneys, particularly because we were explaining to them how to avoid litigating public land energy development,” explains Lindstrom. “But I really believe in the message we presented — that alternative dispute resolution on public lands is a viable alternative and that it can and does work given the right circumstances. Having confidence in the message helped me to get over my nerves.”
Lindstrom became involved in the project last year after approaching College of Law Professor Jim Holbrook for advice in how she might build a career in Alternative Dispute Resolution focused on land use issues. “He suggested I consult with Professor Keiter, who fortuitously happened to be planning a paper and presentation on that topic at the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Annual Institute,” she says. Lindstrom then conducted Directed Research for Keiter on the project during Spring Semester, which included interviewing the participants in the Nine Mile Canyon negotiations.
“The panel received very positive reviews from several people who attended, and I heard the same thing second hand from other attendees that I didn’t know,” Keiter says. “Kristin did a great job on the project.”
Keiter and Lindstrom’s paper will be published in the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation’s Annual Institute Proceedings.