Law & Policy Program Update

Apr 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 six experienced attorneys as well as second- and third year students studying environmental and natural resources law. This 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, Heather Tanana, Jamie Pleune, Beth Parker, and Tom Mitchell have published articles or book chapters on timely issues with a particular focus on water and permit reform. Heather Tanana has become a prominent voice on tribal water rights in the Colorado Basin and has been featured in numerous local, national, and international media outlets including NPRUSA TodayHigh Country NewsDeseret News, and Al Jazeera. Her article, Voices of the River: The Rise of Indigenous Women Leaders in the Colorado River Basin will be published in the Colorado Environmental Law Review this Spring. Together with Beth Parker, she also co-authored an amicus brief in Arizona v. Navajo Nation (No. 21-1484) and Dep’t of Interior v. Navajo Nation (No. 22-51). Additionally, their co-authored article, Indigenizing the Right to a Healthy Environment: Indigenous Efforts to Advance the Human Right to a Healthy Environment will be published by Pace Environmental Law Review this Spring.  Permit reform has also been a hot topic this spring. Jamie Pleune’s research on the topic has been featured in news articles, interviews, and blogs hosted by Yale Law School and Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. She published Playing the Long Game: Expediting Permitting Without Compromising Protections and a second article will be published this June. She also presented at the Shapiro Symposium hosted by George Washington and focused on the America the Beautiful Initiative. Her work on the topic, Creating a Transparent Methodology for Measuring Success within a Continuum of Conservation for the America the Beautiful Initiative, will be published this Spring.  Tom Mitchell continues to research and write on oil and gas issues and share his wisdom and experience with the group. John Ruple is still on leave to the White House Council on Environmental Quality, where he is serving as Senior Counsel.