The EENR Center would like to recognize and thank our current sponsors:
Blank Rome LLP
Bracewell & Giuliani LLP
Vinson & Elkins LLP
with the Center for U.S. and Mexican Law
ENTRA Energy Transactions LLC
The Houston law firm of Connelly Baker & Wotring LLP provided initial funding to create the EENR Center, and we gratefully recognize them as a Founding Partner.
The Environment, Energy & Natural Resources Center at the University of Houston Law Center links energy issues with impacts on environment and natural resources. Building on the academic excellence of the faculty in these areas and the complex and multi-faceted energy and environmental issues in Houston, the Center provides a forum for education and discussion of the most important issues of the day, such as climate change, air pollution, clean coal and renewable energy.
In the Field
During the fall 2014 semester, Professor Tracy Hester’s Environmental Law students had the opportunity to leave the classroom and observe pressing environmental issues first hand.
On September 26, students visited the CES Environmental Superfund site and were given a rare opportunity to tour the site and speak with the EPA On-Scene Coordinator about pending emergency removal action at the site.
CES Environmental Site
After the tour, Adrian Shelley, the Executive Director of Air Alliance Houston, was on hand to answer questions about the role of non-profit environmental advocacy groups at Superfund sites.
Adrian Shelley, Director of Air Alliance Houston, speaks with students at the CES Environmental Superfund Site
On October 24, students went on a kayak trip through the wetlands at Armand Bayou to observe wetlands and explore water quality issues. The advocacy director for the Galveston Bay Foundation joined the trip and reviewed the implications of pending rules that would redefine the scope of jurisdictional wetlands under federal law.
Students kayaking the Armand Bayou in Houston, Texas
On November 21, students visited the Valero Refinery in Manchester, TX. The refinery’s Safety and Environmental Affairs department gave a presentation on refinery operations and environmental issues, and in-house counsel was on-hand to explore environmental legal and regulatory matters that could affect operations. The Valero team then led the students on a tour of the refinery where students viewed the refinery’s environmental accomplishments, challenges and daily management responsibilities.
Students pose in safety gear after their tour of the Valero Refinery in Manchester, Texas
Nov. 13, 2014 -- Legal scholars and practitioners from across the United States and around the world explored the subject of international dispute resolution in the oil and gas sector recently in a conference co-hosted by the Environment, Energy & Natural Resources Center at the University of Houston Law Center. For more, visit http://www.law.uh.edu/news/fall2014/
Research & Publication
Barrett Schitka, UHLC 2015, is the winner of the 2014 Association of International Petroleum Negotiator's (AIPN) annual writing competition. His article, titled "Applying Game Theory to Oil and Gas Unitization Agreements: How to Resolve Mutually Beneficial, Yet Competitive Situations," is now published in the Journal of World Energy Law and Business and can be accessed here. Barrett will be attending the annual international AIPN conference in Budapest, Hungary in October as a guest of the AIPN. UHLC students have a pattern of winning papers in this competition and have enjoyed the all-expense paid trips to the annual conferences in many cities around the world. Barrett is one of the first students to enroll in the University of Calgary-UHLC's International Energy Lawyers Program, launched three years ago to allow students in the two energy capitals to graduate with a JD degree from both schools in four years. In May 2015, he will have graduated from both schools.
Visiting Professor Julian Cardenas participated as a guest speaker at the forum, “Preparing for Energy Reform: International Experiences and Considerations”, sponsored by the Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM) in Mexico City, on October 3, 2013.
On April 24, Andrews Kurth Energy Scholar Julian Cardenas hosted a lunch panel discussion on New Legal Trends for Transnational Petroleum Transactions. The presentation included an international guest speaker, Dr. Alfredo De Jesus, Lecturer at the University of Versailles and the University of Paris XI, who addressed the legal theory of international petroleum transactions.
Prof. Cardenas also discussed his research on Best Industry Practices and Environmental Regulation for Offshore Petroleum Operations - A Contribution to the Study of the Lex Petrolea, and he presented a method for the applicability and enforcement of industry standards in the oil industry.
Prof. Susan Sakmar, an Andrews Kurth Energy Scholar and Visiting Assistant Professor at UH Law Center, recently submitted comments on the U.S. Department of Energy's proposed policy for exports of liquified natural gas. more...
UHLC student wins World Bank writing award
University of Houston Law Center student Jessica Ireton is the winner of an international writing competition sponsored by a division of the World Bank for her article exploring the use of WikiLeaks cables as evidence in arbitration hearings.
Ireton, who will graduate in December, has focused her studies at the Law Center on international arbitration, international legal issues, and the energy sector.
The 2014 Student Writing Competition hosted by the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) at the World Bank includes a $1,000 award. Her essay will be published in an upcoming issue of the ICSID Review—Foreign Investment Law Journal, one of the foremost periodicals on foreign investment law and international investment dispute settlement.
Ireton’s article, “The Admissibility of Evidence in ICSID Arbitration: Considering the Validity of WikiLeaks Cables as Evidence,” proposes that international arbitral tribunals operate in a new transnational legal environment rather than the traditional international law environment. It then considers how such tribunals might treat the admissibility of WikiLeaked diplomatic cables and similarly sensitive evidence.
She was encouraged to consider the treatment of WikiLeaked evidence within the developing body of transnational legal theory by Visiting Professor Julian Cardenas while taking his course on International Investment Law.
The ICSID-appointed panel of judges included three experts in the field of international investment arbitration, Dr. Ahmed El-Kosheri, Professor Andrea Bjorklund, and Ms. Mahnaz Malik.
Ireton will join the firm of Chamberlain Hrdlicka as an associate in the Energy section after graduation.