The Stegner Center’s Research Fellows Program aims to facilitate informed dialogue and policy development by providing objective legal and policy analysis of the environmental and natural resource issues facing Utah and the western United States
During the 2016-17 academic year, Professor Ruple and College of Law alum Mark Capone published two articles on the National Environmental Policy Act. NEPA, FLPMA, and Impact Reduction: An Empirical Assessment of BLM Resource Management Planning in the Mountain West, 46 Envtl. L. 101 (2016) found that BLM management plan revisions can increase energy production while simultaneously reducing development related environmental impacts. NEPA and the Energy Policy Act of 2005 Statutory Categorical Exclusions: What are the Environmental Costs of Expedited Oil and Gas Development?, 18 Vt. J. Envtl. L. 371 (2017) found that the amount of impact reduction that results from the NEPA review process is directly proportional to the level of environmental review. Their work is summarized in NEPA: Studies in Effectiveness, 14 American Bar Ass’n Public Land and Resource Committee Newsletter 7 (2017).
The Transfer of Public Lands Movement: The Battle to Take “Back” Lands that Were Never Theirs by Professor Ruple critically reviews the public lands transfer movement; it was accepted for publication in the Colo. Nat. Res., Energy & Envtl. L. Rev. He also presented The Rise and Fall of Planning 2.0 and Other Developments in BLM Land Management Planning, at the 63rd Annual Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Institute, and this paper will appear later this year in the Institute’s Annual Proceedings.
Professors Keiter and Ruple collaborated with University of Virginia law student Andrew Ognibene to publish National Monuments and National Conservation Areas: A Comparison in Light of the Bears Ears Proposal, Stegner Ctr. White Paper No. 2016-02 (2016). Increasing student involvement in academic research is an important Research Program goal over the coming years. Second-year law students Caitlin Ceci and Michael Henderson both received Stegner Center Fellowships for the 2017-08 academic year. Ms. Ceci and Professor Ruple are currently working on an article critiquing H.R. 622, the “Local Enforcement for Local Lands Act.” If passed, this bill would eliminate Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management law enforcement authority on federal lands and create block grants for states that choose to assume these responsibilities. Mr. Henderson is focusing his efforts on possible National Monument reductions and state efforts to control activities on federal land.
National and regional media outlets are increasingly turning to the Stegner Center’s Research Program for information on public land law. Professors Keiter and Ruple were interviewed by National Public Radio, Minnesota Public Radio, Utah Public Radio, Wisconsin Public Radio, the Washington Post, U.S. News & World Report, Rolling Stone, National Geographic, Outside Magazine, Politico, the Huffington Post, and regional papers across the country.
Professor Ruple Testified before the U.S. House Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources regarding the “Federal Land Freedom Act.” He also presented on public land management issues to the National Conference of State Legislators, at the Rocky Mountain Land Use Institute, and at the Property and Environment Research Center’s Workshop on Innovations in Public Land Management.
The Stegner Center’s Research Program is made possible by the generous support of our principal sponsors: AHE/CI Trust, ESRR Endowment Fund, and the Wilburforce Foundation.