The Stegner Center’s Research Fellows Program aims to facilitate informed dialogue by providing objective legal and policy analysis of environmental and natural resource issues facing Utah and the western United States.
During the 2015-16 academic year, Professors Keiter and Ruple continued their review of state demands for title to federal public lands, publishing two Stegner Center white papers: Alternatives to the Transfer of Public Lands Act and When Winning Means Losing: Why a State Takeover of Public Lands May Leave States Without the Minerals They Covet. Professor Ruple, together with Allison Jones, Emanuel Vásquez, and College of Law alumni Mark Capone, also co-authored Shooting the Albatross: Why a State Takeover of Federal Public Lands Would Make Endangered Species Act Compliance More Expensive and Difficult, 39 Environs Envtl. L. and Policy J. 115 (2016).
Professor Ruple and Mark Capone published two additional articles evaluating whether environmental impact statements lead to reduced environmental impacts. NEPA—Substantive Effectiveness Under a Procedural Mandate: Assessment of Oil and Gas EISs in the Mountain West, 7 Geo. Wash. J. of Energy and Envtl. L. 39 (2016), found that impacts can be reduced without a commensurate reduction in job growth or tax revenue. NEPA, FLPMA, and Impact Reduction: An Empirical Assessment of BLM Resource Management Planning in the Mountain West, 46 Envtl. L. ___ (forthcoming 2016), found that management plan revisions can simultaneously increase energy production and reduce anticipated environmental impacts.
Professor Ruple authored chapters on legal and policy considerations involving both water and land use in Utah Oil Shale: Science, Technology, and Policy Perspectives (CRC Press 2016). Together with University of Utah Professor Kerry Kelly and Graduate Research Assistant Jonathan Wilkey, he also co-authored the chapter on air quality and carbon emission management in the same text.
So far this year Professors Keiter and Ruple, with assistance from University of Virginia School of Law second-year student Andrew Ognibene, released another Stegner Center white paper: National Monuments and National Conservation Areas: A Comparison in Light of the Bears Ears Proposal. Ruple and Capone’s third paper on environmental impact assessment, NEPA and the Energy Policy Act of 2005 Statutory Categorical Exclusions: What are that Environmental Costs of Expedited Oil and Gas Development, was accepted for publication by the Vermont Journal of Environmental Law. Finally, look for a comprehensive law article on land transfer efforts during the 2016-17 academic year.
The Stegner Center’s Research Program is made possible by the generous support of our principal sponsors: AHE/CI Trust, ESRR Endowment Fund, and the Turner Foundation. Program supporters include the 444S Foundation, the Comstock Foundation, the Dorsey & Whitney Foundation, the Kendeda Fund, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Partnership Project, and the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation.