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.
LL.M student Shanisha Smith was the legal advisor to the winning team from UH in the Power Across Texas - Texas Energy Innovation Challenge. She is pictured in the first photo in the TEIC Editorial holding the $10,000 award 1st Place. Her part in the project was to provide a description of any policy, law or regulatory opportunities or barriers that enable or curtail commercialization of the team's proposal, and propose recommendations for any necessary changes. The other team members were from UH Engineering and Business colleges.
Her team's research found that while membrane and distillation technologies provide the highest quality water treatment, both require huge amounts of energy, making treatment more expensive than disposal. Thus, they proposed a closed loop system using a small volume of freshwater which would be recirculated in an abandoned or decommissioned well to power a desalination unit, capable of cleaning and recovering about 70 % of the water. That treated water could become an inexpensive, drought-resistant source of water for agricultural and nonpotable municipal use. GeoThermH20 recognized a public regulatory policy favoring recycling and re-use versus disposal. The team also called for tax credits for water recycling and increasing the cost of disposal as a way to spur the use of the new technology.
Five students attended the AIPN's Annual Institute outside of Austin, Texas for a day and a half of education on current topics and networking with many members of the international petroleum sector. From Left to Right: Dillon Norton, Nayje Soto, Lisa Bohmer, Prof. Jacqueline Weaver, Raymer Mujica and Jose Alejandro Abreu Blesa, enjoying the hill country breeze on the balcony of the reception area.
Students Tour World’s First Bi-Directional LNG Terminal
On March 5, Professor Susan Sakmar’s Shale Gas and LNG class traveled to Cheniere’s Sabine Pass construction site that sits on 1,000 acres on the border of Louisiana and Texas.
The site is an existing LNG import terminal that was built when it was expected that the US would need to import natural gas. With the abundance of shale gas, Cheniere was the first to recogonize the opportunity for US LNG exports and is now adding liquefaction facilities to the terminal. Once completed, the facility will be the world’s first bi-directional (import and export) LNG terminal.
Cheniere representatives treated the students to a traditional Louisiana meal of Gumbo and then led a tour of both the liquefaction and regasification sides of the facility. The tour provided an excellent opportunity for Professor Sakmar’s class to better understand the complex natural gas distribution process and see firsthand a historical development in US energy.
For an update on the most crucial prospects for US LNG exports, see Professor Sakmar's short note on Gastech News
Research & Publication
Tracy Hester spoke on March 14 in New Delhi at the National Green Tribunal’s international conference on global environmental issues. He addressed the application of international coercive measures to control possible climate engineering research and projects. On March 11, he helped organize and participate in the inaugural Energy Infrastructure Conference jointly sponsored by the UH Bauer School of Business as well as the Law Center. He also chaired the quarterly meeting of the Texas Environmental Research Consortium’s Board of Directors on March 5. And on February 16 through 18, he participated in the Institute of Energy Law’s annual board meeting in Houston as the representative for UH Law Center.
Susan Sakmar has been selected to serve on the European Science and Technology Network on Unconventional Hydrocarbon Extraction (Unconventional Hydrocarbon Network (UHN), https://ec.
europa.eu/jrc/uh-network. Authorized by the European Commission, the purpose of the UHN is to bring together experts from around the world to collect, analyze and review results from unconventional gas and oil projects. Professor Sakmar also attended the kick-off meeting of the UHN in Brussels on February 23-24. Work on the UHN will take place over the next three years. Professor Sakmar also participated in the "Shale Gas in a Low Carbon Europe –The Role of Research” Conference held in Brussels at the European Commission on February 23.
Jacqueline Weaver was invited to lead a seminar class at the University of Calgary's School of Law new "Eminent Speakers in Energy Law" Course on February 2, 2015. The course, funded with a grant from a prominent law firm, invites energy law scholars to the UC campus to meet with faculty and students and also enjoy a weekend in Calgary. She led a discussion of safety management systems used in the oil industry, particularly in offshore operations.
UHLC student chosen for prestigious EPA internship
Spencer Taylor, a 2L graduating from the Law Center in spring 2016, will intern with EPA Region 2 field office’s CERCLA/Superfund Division this summer. Taylor previously interned with the Harris County District Attorney’s office in the Environmental Crimes section, and currently serves as Professor Hester’s academic research assistant where he has researched a wide variety of environmental issues.