Law & Policy Program Update

Sep 01, 2023 | Stegner Center

The Law and Policy Program continues to conduct relevant, objective legal research on issues that affect western lands and resource management. The program includes five experienced attorneys as well as second- and third year students studying environmental and natural resources law. Last spring, the Law and Policy Program launched a blog, Posts from the Desk, which provides commentary on current trends in environmental law and policy and features projects that the center is working on.

Over the last six months, Jamie Pleune, Beth Parker, and Tom Mitchell have continued to publish articles and present on timely issues with a particular focus on water and permit reform. Jamie Pleune has become a prominent voice on issues related to permit reform. In May, she testified before the U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on Natural Resources, Subcommmittee on Oversight and Investigations, regarding causes of delay in the permit process. Additionally, her article, This Permit Reform Already Works, Why Aren’t More Mining Projects Using it? (co-authored with Edward Boling) was awarded an honorable mention from the American Bar Association Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources for the “Best Paper” of the 52nd Spring Conference. Beth Parker has also been busy with publications and presentations. In October, she will present “Tribal Water Rights in a Changing Landscape: Arizona v. Navajo Nation” at the CLE International Water Law Institute’s 29th Annual Water Law Conference. And her article Representing Tribes in Developing Tribal Lands will be published in November. Beth has also been working on launching The Great Salt Lake Project, in partnership with Professor Brigham Daniels. The project will be a policy accelerator for developing legally sound and politically feasible policy options for conserving and shepherding water to the Great Salt Lake. Tom Mitchell has been researching correlative rights, a topic that is becoming increasingly relevant as carbon capture and sequestration projects become more common. His research was warmly received at the Natural Resources Law Teachers Institute Works in Progress. John Ruple is still on leave to the White House Council on Environmental Quality, where he is serving as Senior Counsel.