The eJournal is sponsored by the Environmental Law Center at the Vermont Law School, home to one of the nation's leading environmental law programs. Since establishing the Environmental Law Center in 1978, Vermont Law School has been training people to be environmental leaders in government, nonprofits, corporations, and private practice - locally, nationally, and internationally. With the largest and deepest graduate environmental law program in the country, the Environmental Law Center offers the most comprehensive environmental law and policy curriculum in the nation for law students, and also confers the Master of Environmental Law and Policy (MELP) and Master of Laws in Environmental Law (LLM) degrees, as well as a joint JD/MELP degree. The Vermont Law School's Environmental Law Center is also home to the Institute for Energy and the Environment, Environmental Tax Policy Institute, Climate Legacy Initiative, Land Use Institute, Partnership for Environmental Law in China, and Environmental and Natural Resources Law Clinic.

Table of Contents

Protecting River Flows for Fun and Profit: Colorado's Unique Water Rights for Whitewater Parks

Reed D. Benson, University of New Mexico - School of Law

Bias in Environmental Agency Decision Making

Robert R. Kuehn, Washington University in Saint Louis - School of Law

Energy Installations in the Marine Environment

Maria Gavouneli, National & Kapodistrian University of Athens

The Validity of Restraints on Alienation in an Oil and Gas Lease

Luke Meier, Baylor University - Law School
Rory M. Ryan, Baylor University - Law School

Legal Issues in Oil and Gas

Nathan Tsormetsri, Independent

Sponsored by the Environmental Law Center at Vermont Law School

"Protecting River Flows for Fun and Profit: Colorado's Unique Water Rights for Whitewater Parks" Free Download
Ecology Law Quarterly, Forthcoming
UNM School of Law Research Paper No. 2015-13

REED D. BENSON, University of New Mexico - School of Law

Since 2001, Colorado has recognized a special type of water right for whitewater parks, which are designed and constructed within a river channel to provide play features for kayakers and other boaters. These water rights, called recreational in-channel diversions or RICDs, are unique to Colorado, even though whitewater parks exist in several western states. This article addresses some of the underlying reasons why RICDs got established in Colorado, and traces the controversy surrounding their recognition by that state’s courts and legislature. Over the last decade, however, the controversy has largely died away, and whitewater park rights have now become an accepted part of Colorado water law. This article reviews these developments, examines the policy choices made by the legislature in enacting two different statutes on RICDs, and offers concluding observations regarding Colorado’s experience with whitewater park water rights.

"Bias in Environmental Agency Decision Making" Free Download
Environmental Law, December 2015, Forthcoming

ROBERT R. KUEHN, Washington University in Saint Louis - School of Law

Allegations of bias in administrative environmental decisions are common and seemingly increasing because of the significant economic and political interests in many disputes. From high profile national oil spills to local land use matters, parties to environmental proceedings allege conflicts of interest, favoritism, prejudgment of outcomes, commingling of prosecutorial and adjudicatory functions, ex parte communications, and improper political influence.

Where bias occurs, it can significantly impact the implementation and enforcement of environmental laws. Biased proceedings can undermine the goals of environmental laws by causing prejudiced decisions not grounded in law or fact, ultimately harming public health and the environment. The mere perception of unfair proceedings can undermine the credibility of environmental agencies and erode support for and compliance with environmental programs.

Despite the prevalence of allegations of bias and their impacts, there has been no systematic effort to address the types of improprieties that arise in environmental proceedings and the application of legal rules governing bias in those proceedings. This Article addresses that gap through both a doctrinal and empirical examination. It examines the basic principles governing fairness in administrative proceedings and illustrates how environmental cases have dealt with allegations of biased decision makers. It then provides the results of the first comprehensive empirical study of cases dealing with bias in environmental proceedings, finding that while courts do not often find agency decisions unlawful on grounds of bias, claims have increased over the last four decades and, in some types of cases, have reasonable rates of success. The Article concludes with observations on addressing bias and suggests reforms that would provide greater fairness in the handling of potential bias issues.

"Energy Installations in the Marine Environment" Free Download

MARIA GAVOUNELI, National & Kapodistrian University of Athens

The Law of the Sea Convention includes provisions for at least three categories of energy installations: offshore platforms used for oil and gas exploration and exploitation; offshore platforms used for the generation of energy from renewable sources; pipelines. The regulatory framework for each one of those covers each stage of their deployment: coastal State jurisdiction; placement; operation and responsibility and liability for nay damage caused by their presence in the marine environment. Yet, one finds a wide variety of rules applicable, some of them of long provenance, others newly-minted; some of them specific to the task, others offering simply the general parameters of a regulation. As energy operations at sea expand, the multitude of applicable rules adds to the challenges we face for the future.

"The Validity of Restraints on Alienation in an Oil and Gas Lease" Free Download
Buffalo Law Review, Forthcoming

LUKE MEIER, Baylor University - Law School
RORY M. RYAN, Baylor University - Law School

This paper explains why a restraint on alienation within an oil and gas lease should be enforceable. The reasons that privately-imposed restraints on alienation are sometimes invalidated simply do not apply to a restraint within an oil and gas lease. Rather, the relationship created by an oil and gas lease justifies enforcement of restraint clauses that have been bargained for by the landowner.

"Legal Issues in Oil and Gas" Free Download


A critical discussion of the major elements and trends in production sharing agreements over the period since 1955, and with the emphasis on modern and contemporary issues in Nigeria.


About this eJournal

Sponsored by: Institute for Energy and the Environment at the Vermont Law School. This eJournal distributes working and accepted paper abstracts dealing with the regulation, management, and distribution of natural resources. The eJournal will discuss a diverse array of natural resource topics such as public and private land use, wildlife and biodiversity, forest protection, mineral rights, parks and wilderness, the public trust doctrine, water and wetlands, and tribal lands and resources.


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Advisory Board

Natural Resources Law & Policy eJournal

Professor of Law, Northeastern University School of Law

Professor of Law, University of California, Berkeley - School of Law

Professor, University of California, Santa Cruz

Professor of Law, Emory University School of Law

Associate Professor of Law, University of Maine - School of Law

Robert F. Stanton Professor of Law and Director of the Environmental Law Program, University of Maryland - Francis King Carey School of Law

Assistant Professor of Law, Lewis & Clark Law School

David Daniels Allen Distinguished Chair in Law, Vanderbilt University - Law School

Professor of Law and Director of the Natural Resources Law Center, University of Colorado Law School

Associate Professor of Law, University of Wisconsin Law School

Professor of Law, Boston University School of Law