News

UT Energy Forum Competition

The UT Energy Forum is soliciting abstracts from undergraduate and graduate students conducting energy-related research for the opportunity to compete in the UT Energy Forum research poster competition on February 19-20, 2014, which will award nearly $10,000 in prizes. Abstracts are due by December 20, 2013. The UT Energy Forum will be held in the Etter-Harbin Alumni Center at the University of Texas at Austin on February 19-20, 2014. For detailed information about the research competition, please see the official Call for Abstracts.

Energy Center Publishes White Paper on Financing Water Infrastructure

The Energy Center has released a white paper exploring bills the Texas legislature passed earlier this year to finance water infrastructure.  The white paper - Paying for Water:  The 83rd Legislative Session and the $2 Billion Water Infrastructure Bank – analyzes policies that it finds could have “profound and long-lasting impact on Texas water law and water resources.”

Thomas McGarity, “Environmentalists & Attorney General Both Happy About EPA Case, But For Different Reasons” (Texas Public Radio)

An October 16 story in Texas Public Radio quotes UT Law professor Thomas McGarity on the Supreme Court’s announcement that it will hear a case on the EPA’s authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from power plants.

“University of Texas law professor Tom McGarity said Abbott is arguing that the new permitting effort violates the Clean Air Act by widening the agency’s reach.

“‘If they decide to uphold it, it’s still probably not the ideal way of going about it,’ McGarity said. ‘It would be better to have a statute that was devoted to greenhouse gases, but it will allow us to move forward.’”

“But McGarity said getting a statute out of the current seated congress addressing greenhouse gases would nearly impossible.”

 

David Spence, “State: Judge is Wrong to Say It Must Protect Atmosphere” (Texas Tribune)

In an article about a move by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to appeal a state court decision finding that the agency has jurisdiction over the atmosphere under the public trust doctrine, the Texas Tribune quotes UT Law professor David Spence:

“David Spence, a professor of business and law at the University of Texas at Austin, said the scope of public trust is more symbolic than practical.

“’In a sense it’s a kind of low-stakes argument,’ Spence said. ‘The public trust doctrine in the U.S. is a fairly weak thing.’ 

“Each state applies the principle differently, and few have used it with much force. The doctrine has generally been successful only at protecting open beaches for public use, Spence said.

“Spence said the appeals court could vacate [the district court statements about the doctrine] because her entire opinion is up for review. But the court may also say, ‘Look, this is dicta. Everybody calm down,’ Spence said.”

Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation Conference

The Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation offers free admission and financial support for travel to students interested in attending one of its conferences.  This fall, there are two opportunities available: a conference on International Energy and Minerals Arbitration http://www.rmmlf.org/confrnce/ARB2news.pdf  and Renewable Electric Energy Law and Developmenthttp://www.rmmlf.org/confrnce/REEnews.pdf.  If you are interested in attending one of these conferences, you must obtain a recommendation from Professor Smith, Professor John Dzienkowski, or Professor Melinda Taylor.