News Types: Press Releases

Former Texas Law Exchange Student Julian Bordacahar Will Be Legal Counsel at Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague

Juan Bordacahar will be Legal Counsel at the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague. Mr. Bordarahar completed his LL.M. at the Geneva Masters in International Dispute Settlement (MIDS). He graduated from the University of Buenos Aires in 2013, after spending a semester as an exchange student at the University of Texas School of Law, where he studied International Investor/State Arbitration and International Commercial Arbitration.

Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation Constituent Law School Opportunities for Law Students

The Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation invites you to visit the Professors & Students page of our website to see all the great opportunities for law students at our Constituent Law Schools (CLS), including:

  • Student attendance at RMMLF courses: Seven upcoming courses are open to students. Waived registration fees and travel cost reimbursement may be available:
    • Cross-Border Natural Resource Transactions: A Video-Linked Workshop & Networking Event, June 15, 2017 – Albuquerque, Anchorage, Bismarck, Denver, Houston, Phoenix, Portland, Sacramento, Salt Lake City, Toronto, Vancouver
    • 63rd Annual Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Institute, July 20-22, 2017 – Santa Fe, New Mexico
    • Indian Law and Natural Resources: The Basics and Beyond, September 26-27, 2017 – Westminster, Colorado
    • Oil and Gas Law Short Course, October 16-20, 2017 – Westminster, Colorado
    • Federal Oil & Gas Leasing Short Course, October 16-19, 2017 – Westminster, Colorado
    • The National Environmental Policy Act, November 2-3, 2017 – Denver, Colorado
    • Oil & Gas Joint Operations and the New AAPL Form 610 Model Form Operating Agreement, November 3-4, 2016 – Houston, Texas
  • Student Memberships:  Full-time students may become Annual Members of the Foundation. Join for only $25.
  • Networking Grants: Planning a natural resource law-related networking event? Apply for a Foundation Networking Grant. This program supports collaborative events among student organizations, CLS Trustees, law professors, local law firms, and other Foundation members, that foster education, generate interest in mineral law and related areas, and increase awareness about the Foundation’s educational programs and opportunities.
  • Scholarships:  The 2017-18 Joe Rudd & RMMLF Scholars have been selected—31 students from 18 CLS received a total of 34 scholarships. Their names will be published on our website by the end of the month. The application process will open again in January 2018.

Visit our website at https://www.rmmlf.org for more information. We appreciate your help in getting the word out about these opportunities.

Professor Melinda Taylor and Professor David Adelman Speak at U.S.-Mexico Border Wall Conference

On April 28, Professor Melinda Taylor and Professor David Adelman spoke at a U.S.-Mexico Border Wall conference held at Texas Law. Their presentations focused on the environmental impact of the wall and ways to minimize the impact. For example, a wall would prevent water from flowing across the Mexican border, and there is also wildlife that migrates across the border, including the endangered ocelot, also known as a dwarf leopard, located in south Texas and northern Mexico. “US Fish and Wildlife has spent a lot of money to preserve this animal and there are only a couple dozen left,” Professor Taylor observed.

This symposium marked the 10-year anniversary of the implementation of the Secure Fence Act and it reflected on the potential expansion and hardening of the physical and political reality of the U.S. border wall. It brought together interdisciplinary panels of expert researchers, scholars, activists, and community members who have studied, documented, and experienced the impacts of this structure. This event was sponsored by the Bernard and Audre Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice at Texas Law.

Read a CNN article quoting Professor Taylor on the environmental impact of the wall.

7th Annual Austin Electricity Conference a Success

On April 20-21, 2017, The University of Texas at Austin convened the 7th Annual Austin Electricity Conference. The conference is an annual, invitation-only conclave of engineers, economists, policymakers, lawyers and other experts in the electric utility industry, drawn from academia, industry, government, and NGOs. The conference follows the Aspen Institute model, in which extended plenary discussions are organized around short (less than 10 minutes) panel presentations so as to promote cross disciplinary discussion among the invited participants. In this way, the model treats all invited participants as “presenters” and puts less emphasis on formal panel presentations.

This year’s AEC explored economic, engineering, legal, and policy issues posed by decarbonization of the electric grid. The speed of this growth trajectory for renewables poses evolving challenges for grid managers, regulators, and industry participants alike.

In electricity policy, “decarbonization” is in the air. As the name implies, decarbonization entails shifting the fossil fuel mix towards less intense producers of carbon dioxide together with reduced reliance on fossil fuels for electric generation over time. Scholars and think tanks have explored the possibility of rapid, deep decarbonization, demonstrating that it is at least technically possible. Indeed, the rate of decarbonization of the electric generation mix seems to be accelerating accordingly, driven by market forces particularly relating to low natural gas prices and declining cost of renewables, improved methods for integrating renewable energy into the electric grid, and a growing list of federal, state and local policy incentives.

The latter category comprises a smorgasbord of old and new policies, including (i) the EPA’s Clean Power Plan and mercury rules, (ii) new, more aggressive renewable state clean energy standards like the “50% by 2030” renewable energy goals established recently by the states of New York and California, (iii) even more aggressive clean energy goals adopted by some municipal governments, and (iv) attractive financial incentives for the adoption of rooftop solar and other zero-emission, distributed energy alternatives. Even in the absence of aggressive state and local policy incentives, the low marginal costs of wind and solar generation (combined with federal tax credits) have facilitated the growth of those technologies in competitive wholesale markets.

Over two days, panelists and attendees participated in four panels. Panel 1 analyzed Deep Water Decarbonization Plans. Panel 2 discussed Zero-carbon Generation Technology. Panel 3 explored Managing the Decarbonization Grid. Panel 4 talked about Decarbonization Policy.

Conference organizers included David Adelman from the University of Texas School of Law, Ross Baldick from the Cockrell School of Engineering, Varun Rai from the LBJ School of Public Affairs, David Spence from the McCombs School of Business and the University of Texas School of Law, and John Butler and Melinda Taylor from the Kay Bailey Hutchison Center for Energy, Law, and Business.

Professor Melinda Taylor Moderates Panel at Earth Day Texas 2017

On April 21, 2017, Professor Melinda Taylor, the executive director of the Kay Bailey Hutchison Center for Energy, Law, and Business moderated a panel at the Environmental Law & Policy Symposium held during Earth Day Texas 2017. Earth Day Texas is the world’s largest eco-conference and exhibition. The Environmental Law & Policy Symposium—“People, Planet, and Profit”–brought together leading legal scholars and subject matter experts from environmental organizations, business, academia, and the government for what was  a lively discussion of fundamental issues with broad ramifications for those affected by and interested in sustainability and environmental law. This symposium was a truly unique opportunity to hear a series of discussions of environmental thought leaders, with diverse perspectives, on legal issues relevant to charting a course for a future that is both protective and productive.

The panel that Professor Taylor moderated was titled “Reconciling energy and economic development with protection of the public health and the environment. Panelists included Michael Gerrard (Andrew Sabin Professor of Professional Practice, Columbia Law School), David Bookbinder (Chief Counsel, Niskanen Center), Scott Tinker (Bureau of Economic Geology, The University of Texas), and Diana Liebmann (Partner, Haynes and Boone, LLP). Tinker’s talk covered the global big picture importance of secure, affordable, and available energy supplies for developing and developed countries. Gerrard discussed the U.S.’s GHG reduction goals pursuant to the Paris Accord and the linkage between decisions about energy systems and options for achieving climate goals. Bookbinder discussed the economic impacts of regulating GHG emissions, drawing from information about the economies of states where regulations are in force. Liebmann discussed the importance of reliable sources of supply and transmission for electricity for economic development and the existing hurdles to ensuring reliability.

Affiliated Faculty Update

KBH Center Distinguished Oil and Gas Scholar Professor Owen Anderson spoke at the UT Law CLE 2017 Fundamentals of Oil, Gas and Mineral Law on April 13—the day before the 43rd Annual Ernest E. Smith Oil, Gas and Mineral Law Institute. Professor Anderson spoke on the key provisions in an oil and gas lease.

Professor Anderson also chaired a panel at the OU Law School Oil and Gas, Natural Resources, and Energy Journal Symposium on April 7 on the Future of International Oil and Gas Investment, Law & Policy. Panelists included John Lowe, George W. Hutchison Professor of Energy Law, SMU Dedman School of Law, David Percy, Professor and Borden Ladner Gervais Chair of Energy Law and Policy, University of Alberta Faculty of Law, and Shelby Bush, General Counsel of Hillwood Energy.

Professor Ernest Smith was a panelist on the Future of Domestic Oil and Gas Law & Policy panel.

Professor Smith also recently published two articles in the Texas Journal of Oil, Gas, and Energy Law, one on solar energy in Texas, the other on the traditional oil and gas lease.

Professor Anderson was reelected as Vice President of Education of the Association of International Petroleum Negotiators (AIPN), an independent not-for-profit professional membership association that supports international energy negotiators around the world and enhances their effectiveness and professionalism in the international energy community.

Professors Smith, John Dzienkowski, Bob Peroni, and Anderson (along with Professors John Lowe at SMU Dedman School of Law and David Pierce at Washburn University School of Law) have submitted a manuscript to West Academic, the nation’s leading provider of law books, academic products, and legal reference materials, for a new one-volume treatise: Oil and Gas Law and Taxation.

Professor Anderson will lead a panel on May 17 at the second annual AIPN International Petroleum Summit in Houston, Texas, that will discuss Coming Disruption in the Energy Sector, caused by increasing electric vehicles, improvements in electricity storage, and increasing investment in wind and solar.

He will deliver several lectures at the University of Melbourne the week of May 14, as well as a lecture on May 22 to the Australian Institute of Energy on the energy policies of the Trump Administration. RSVP here. View event announcement here.

Professor Anderson will also give lectures on decommissioning, service contracting, and regulatory compliance in New Plymouth and Wellington, New Zealand, on May 24-26. View event announcement and register here.

His work on pore-space ownership was cited and relied upon by Professor Jianlin Chen as part of her ongoing research. See Jianlin Chen, Optimal Property Rights for Emerging Natural Resources: A Case Study on Ongoing Atmospheric Moisture, 50 University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform 47 (2016).