The Stegner Center’s Research Program was founded in 2012 to expand on the Center’s activities and influence. The Research Program builds upon earlier legal and policy analysis completed for the U.S. Department of Energy. The Research Program’s goal is to provide high quality, objective legal and policy analysis regarding the pressing environmental and natural resource issues facing Utah and the West. Our efforts provide resource managers, policy makers, and concerned citizens with unbiased information and an improved understanding of the legal considerations at issue with respect to some of the West’s most pressing issues.
Whenever possible, the Research Program employs students in its projects. Students employed by the program receive an opportunity to participate in scholarly research such as a first-of-kind effort to empirically assess how projects evolve through the NEPA process, whether project evolutions result in reduced environmental impacts, and if so, whether reduced environmental impacts are attributable to NEPA. This project involves reviewing approximately 100 Environmental Impact Statements and tracking changes in impact projections. Numerous efforts to “streamline” the NEPA process are underway, and quantitative information regarding NEPA’s efficacy will fill an important informational gap as policy makers and constituents debate reform options.
The Stegner Center’s Research Program is also involved in a comprehensive review of Utah’s Transfer of Public Lands Act and burgeoning state efforts to gain control of federal public lands. The Research Program is undertaking a wide-ranging review of the legal theories underpinning transfer demands; Western land acquisition and disposal history, policy, and law; the concerns underlying transfer efforts; and alternative means of addressing these concerns. Our effort will highlight the challenges faced by ongoing Transfer efforts as well as the options available to address pressing land management challenges, providing state legislators and stakeholders with much needed critical information regarding policy options.
The Stegner Center’s Research Program is made possible by the generous support of:
The AHE/CI Trust
The Behle Fund
The 444S Foundation, the Comstock Foundation, the Dorsey & Whitney Foundation, the Kendeda Fund, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Partnership Project, and the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation.