Conference on Public Lands and Energy Transitions

Reimagining the role of the federal estate as a climate solution
Thu, 12 March, 2020 8:00am

Fifty Years of Environmental and Energy Law

US public lands are integral to our nation’s strategy for mitigating climate change, and they will also adapt to its effects. Join the Environmental and Energy Law Program for a conversation with legal experts on the opportunities and challenges of making our federal estate part of the climate solution.


8:30: Call to Order and Welcome

8:45: Opening Remarks: Managing the Public Lands in the Public Interest

  • John Leshy, Emeritus Harry D. Sunderland Distinguished Professor of Real Property Law, UC Hastings College of the Law; Former Solicitor, US Department of the Interior

9:45: Dialogue One: Managing Public Lands to Mitigate Climate Change


  • Robert L. Glicksman, GW Law


  • Alexandra Klass, University of Minnesota Law School
    • Topic: Opportunities to consider greenhouse gas emissions in land use planning
  • Tracy Hester, University of Houston Law Center
    • Topic: Carbon sequestration on public lands
  • Sam Kalen, University of Wyoming College of Law
    • Topic: Future of the federal coal program

11:15: Break

11:30: Dialogue Two: Renewable Energy Projects on Public Lands


  • Justin Pidot, University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law


  • Bret Birdsong, UNLV William S. Boyd School of Law
    • Topic: Resource management plans and designation of renewable energy zones
  • Felix Mormann, Texas A&M University School of Law
    • Topic: Solar energy development on federal lands
  • K.K. DuVivier, University of Denver Sturm College of Law
    • Topic: Onshore and offshore wind: legal and policy obstacles

1:00 pm: Lunch provided

1:15 pmLunchtime Remarks

  • Hilary Tompkins, Partner, Hogan Lovells; Former Solicitor, US Department of the Interior

2:15 pm: Break

2:30: Dialogue Three: How Public Lands Can Help Us Adapt to Climate Impacts


  • Sandra Zellmer, University of Montana Alexander Blewett III School of Law


  • Robert L. Glicksman, GW Law
    • Topic: Federal authority to adapt to climate change
  • Reed Benson, University of New Mexico School of Law
    • Topic: Adaptation, public lands, and water
  • Sandra Zellmer, University of Montana School of Law
    • Topic: Adaptation, public lands, and wildlife

3:45: Wrap Up and Reflection

  • Brenda Mallory, Executive Director and Senior Counsel for the Conservation Litigation Project

The Conservation Litigation Project (CLP) works in partnership with conservation advocates, pro bono counsel, academics, and law school clinics to promote and defend protections for public lands and resources. CLP identifies emerging public lands issues, educates the legal community about threats from policy shifts, supports ongoing cases, develops forward-thinking legal theories, and connects the academic and advocacy communities to focus limited resources on impactful work. With CLP and its partners, students and professors in law schools across the country have worked to help protect public lands and resources. 

4:00: Conclude 

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