News

Wendy Wagner, “Conference brings together law and public health,” (Yale Daily News)

Professor Wendy Wagner was quoted recently in a Yale Daily News article about a two-day conference on October 18-19, 2014 at the Yale Law School that brought together law and public health. The conference, which was entitled “Public Health in the Shadow of the First Amendment,” focused on the constitutionality of the Food and Drug Administration. Legal and public health experts also discussed “the extent to which scientific research, as currently conducted, is democratic.” According to Professor Wagner, “it is hard to quantify how pervasive commercial suppression of scientific results is.” “Some findings,” she observed, “are delayed or not reported at all because of legal barriers to free speech.” “Some scholars have avoided entering certain controversial fields of inquiry altogether”, she added.

Melinda Taylor, “Searching for a possible endangered species in the Eagle Ford Shale” (San Antonio Express News)

In an article about a 2010 proposal by an environmental group to list the spot-tailed earless lizard as a federally protected species that is hanging in limbo, the San Antonio Express-News quoted Energy Center Executive Director Melinda Taylor on the rare lizard’s habitat, which likely includes large swaths of the Eagle Ford Share, the prolific oil and gas field south of San Antonio.

Professors John S. Dzienkowski and Owen L. Anderson Teach Intensive Course on International Petroleum Transations in Lisbon

Professors Dzienkowski and Anderson with students from their International Petroleum Transactions intensive course.
Professors Dzienkowski and Anderson with students from their International Petroleum Transactions intensive course.

Professors John S. Dzienkowski and Owen L. Anderson taught an intensive course on International Petroleum Transactions on September 15-19, 2014 in Lisbon, Portugal.

The course was sponsored by the Sociedade Portuguesa de Direito Internacional, Portugal’s International Law Association.

 

“Mexico Energy Reform To Inject Billions Into Texas, Panel Told” (Law360)

By Jess Davis

 

Law360, Dallas (September 19, 2014, 7:38 PM ET) — The denationalization of the Mexican energy market after 75 years of government control will give Texas industry enormous opportunities for growth, with Mexico expected to spend more than $10 billion to import Texas goods and services in early stages of the overhaul, experts told a Texas Senate panel Friday.

 

Speaking to a Senate subcommittee formed to study the impact of Mexico’s landmark 2013 energy reforms, policy experts, economists and lawyers outlined the massive changes Mexico adopted and the opportunities the change provides for Texas companies and universities, not just in the energy sector but in manufacturing and technological research. Committee chair Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen, said the restructuring “will be a tremendous benefit not only to Mexico but also to the state’s economy.”

 

Primary and secondary impacts will give Texas $10.5 billion in additional economic activity, with 132,000 new jobs and more than $2 billion in tax revenue headed to the state, said Nathaniel Karp, executive vice president and chief economist of BBVA Compass. A tertiary effect, coming from increased regional trade as Mexico grows and improves its living standards and income, will generate $34.9 billion in incremental economic activity in Texas, Karp said.

 

“Texas stands to be the major beneficiary from the reform due to deep economic ties, geographic proximity and expertise in energy exploration, production and distribution,” Karp said.

 

Karp said Mexico will need Texas firms to provide physical resources, cutting edge technologies and human capital and expertise, particularly because more than half of Mexico’s resources are considered unconventional and needing horizontal drilling and fracking to be productive and with its two largest basins near the Texas border and the Eagle Ford Shale.

 

The Mexican government in August finalized legislative measures that open up its oil industry to private and foreign investment. It also laid out a road map for energy firms to grab a piece of Mexico’s vast oil and gas reserves: Model forms of contracts will be unveiled later this year, with bidding on reserves not held by state-owned Petroleos Mexicanos — also known as Pemex — and the awarding of contracts in 2015.

 

Jose Maria Lujambio Irazabal of the Texas and Mexico law firm Cacheaux Cavazos & Newton LLP, the former general legal counsel of the Mexican Energy Regulatory Commission, described the new model as free market, with regulation where needed. Among the options for contracts to develop oil and resources will be service contracts like those already used by Pemex, along with alternatives that could be more profitable, he said.

 

“The novelty here is we’re going to have licensing contracts, which will be almost like concessions, and production sharing contracts, which are the ones that will give the best incentives for private companies to invest in Mexico,” Lujambio said.

 

He said while Texas may not need to make any legislative changes to best take advantage of the reforms, the U.S. may need to change its process for granting permits for cross-border infrastructure like gas and fuel pipelines and electricity transmission lines.

 

Mexico’s energy reforms have gotten significant attention, but they’re just part of a broad reform agenda that includes changes to its labor, education, economic competition, telecommunications, finances and tax, as well as updates in social areas like the justice and penal systems, electoral changes and transparency.

 

Cesar Martinez, a vice president at consulting firm Vianovo, called the reforms in Mexico a paradigm shift equivalent to the signing of the North American Free Trade Agreement.

 

Within the energy sector, Martinez said, the first area likely to see growth is in the midstream sector, with pipeline infrastructure one of the key areas for partnerships between Texas and Mexican companies. And as the reforms continue to be implemented, opportunities will arise in actual drilling for shale oil and gas, in improving the Mexican energy grid and power generation capacity and in human capital, with educational exchanges between Texas and Mexico universities, he said.

 

Sen. Kel Seliger, R-Amarillo, asked whether the opportunity for American companies would be mainly in an advisory and support role, providing guidance, technology and workers. Martinez pointed out American companies will be able to directly invest and operate in all sectors except for nuclear energy, which will remain operated by the Mexican government.

 

–Editing by Jeremy Barker. 

Call for papers “European Environmental Sciences and Ecology Journal” (EES) 2014

The European Environmental Sciences and Ecology Journal (EES) is a peer reviewed journal that accepts high-quality research articles. It is biannual journal published each 5th June (the world environment day) and December.

EES is available to all researchers who are interested in publishing their scientific achievements. Having in mind that Environmental Science is a multidisciplinary academic field that integrates physical and biological sciences including atmospheric science, physics, geography, chemistry, biology, soil science, geology and so on in correlation with the research of environmental issues, we welcome submissions focusing on theories, methods, and applications in both articles and book reviews.

All articles must be in English.

Regular publications of the EES are uploaded on our website.

Moreover, the European Scientific Institute, the publisher of the EES, mails printed copies of the journal to the authors of the papers.

For any other information please send us an e-mail at: contact@eesej.eu

Tom McGarity, “$2.9 Million Fracking Verdict Against Texas Oil Company Survives Another Challenge” (InsideClimate News)

Professor Tom McGarity was quoted recently in an Inside Climate News article about the $2.9 million fracking verdict against Aruba Petroleum, which has survived another challenge. According to the story, “Judge Mark Greenberg has denied a motion by Aruba Petroleum for a new trial, letting stand the $2.9 million jury award to Lisa and Bob Parr who sued the company after gas and oil wells surrounded their once rural ranch south of Dallas.” Aruba says it will appeal. Professor McGarity isn’t surprised Aruba lost it’s motion for a new trial, observing that “‘The defendants presented a collection of things that they claimed were prejudicial and the judge said ‘No. I think there has been a fair trial here.’” McGarity also believes “the case will ultimately end up in the Texas Supreme Court … because [it] could be used to help determine future claims involving air emissions from the oil and gas industry.” “I think this case is viewed as a test case for lots of companies engaged in hydraulic fracturing,” McGarity added.

Tom McGarity, “Clock Ticking for Texas Families to Take Legal Action on Fracking Pollution” (InsideClimate News)

In an article about Texas’ two-year statue of limitations that says people have just two years from the time they notice a problem until the file a lawsuit, InsideClimate News quoted Professor Tom McGarity on how “If a plaintiff waits too long they will be barred by the statutes from brining a cause of action,” adding that “So to that degree it works in the defendants’ favor.”

Post-Graduate Fellowship in Environmental and Energy Law

The Center for Global Energy, International Arbitration, and Environmental Law at the University of Texas School of Law seeks a talented, versatile and energetic recent graduate of law to serve as an Environmental and Energy Law Fellow for two years, beginning in November 2014. Founded in 2009, the Center is a focal point for interdisciplinary analysis, debate, and discussion of the legal and policy issues relevant to energy and the environment. In connects students, practitioners, and academics with the mission of advancing policy and legal ideas that promote effective and efficient environmental protection, sound energy development, and effective dispute resolution. In early 2015, the Center will merge with the Energy Management and Innovation Center of the McCombs School of Business at UT and be renamed the Kay Bailey Hutchison Center for Energy, Law and Business, in honor of the former Senator. In addition to domestic environmental and energy issues, one of the KBH Center’s areas of focus will be energy and the environment in Latin America.

The Fellow will work under the supervision of the Center’s director and collaborate with the director, other faculty, and students in the day-to-day operations and academic programs of the Center; help design and facilitate academic, curricular and research projects with the Center’s affiliated faculty and students; and possibly co-teach a course with a tenured professor at the Law School. The ideal candidate will be a recent graduate with a J.D. or LLM degree who possesses solid written and verbal communication skills, some experience in environmental and/or energy law research, teaching, or practice, and a desire to work closely with the Center’s faculty and students. This two-year fellowship has a monthly salary range of $4,100 – $5,000. In addition, the fellow will have access to University of Texas facilities and employee benefits. Ideally, the fellowship will begin on November 1, 2014.

Applicant Instructions:

Mail or email a letter of interest and resume to: Mauricio Pajón, University of Texas School of Law, 727 E. Dean Keeton St., Austin, TX 78705. Email address: mpajon@law.utexas.edu. We will begin considering applications beginning September 1, 2014 and on a rolling basis thereafter. If you have any questions about the Environmental and Energy Law Fellowship, please contact the Energy Center program coordinator, Mauricio Pajón.

David Spence, “Colorado Drillers Show Sensitive Side to Woo Fracking Foes” (Bloomberg News)

An August 27th Bloomberg News article quotes Professor David Spence on how the oil industry in Colorado is giving fracking a makeover and cutting back on rumbling trucks and tamping down on pollution. According to the article, “Oil companies in Colorado are responding to a rising tide of resentment as local communities and environmental activists vie to impose measures to ban fracking and restrict drilling. A series of ballot initiatives and other grass roots opposition around the country is seen as threatening the booming shale industry, even is oil-friendly Texas, where the U.S. energy renaissance began.” “If those initiatives ‘continue to proliferate then companies lose access to those resources,’” said Spence.