Oil and Gas, Natural Resources, and Energy Law Journal Symposium 2021: McGirt and Emerging Indian Country & The Path to Net Zero

April 9, 2021

The University of Oklahoma College of Law hosted the Oil and Gas, Natural Resources, and Energy Law Journal Symposium 2021 on April 2 via Zoom Webinar. This year’s symposium covered two main topics - “McGirt and Emerging Indian Country” and the “Path to Net Zero.” 

The “McGirt and Emerging Indian Country” panel included:  

  • Monte Mills, Professor, University of Montana
  • Ezra Rosser, Professor, American University
  • Joseph Williams, Chief Justice, Supreme Court of the Sac & Fox Nation

Professor Monte Mills shared historical context to frame the “McGirt and Emerging Indian Country” topic within tribal rights and Federal Indian Law, with a presentation called, “Powerful and Practical – the Emerging Meanings of McGirt.”

Professor Ezra Rosser’s talk on Indian Nations and the post-extractive energy economy discussed energy development within the Navajo nation.

Chief Justice Joseph Williams provided context on McGirt from the practitioner's point of view. He expanded on what the decision could mean for tribes, tribal citizens and non-Indians and land. 

The “Path to Net Zero” panel included:  

  • Elias Hinckley, Partner, K&L Gates LLP and Professor, Georgetown University
  • Heather Payne, Professor, Seton Hall University
  • Kim Smaczniak, Managing Attorney, Earthjustice

Elias Hinckley opened the second symposium topic by discussing how climate risk and transition risk affect the path to net zero.

Professor Heather Payne expanded on an avenue to reach net zero through the electrification of utilities and home appliances and a transition away from natural gas as an energy source infrastructure.

Kim Smaczniak concluded the symposium with a discussion on the goal to be near net zero by 2035. She explained that the path to net zero runs through the power sector and emphasized the impact that regulatory reform can have.

A portion of the symposium was dedicated to presenting the Owen L. Anderson Distinguished ONE Award to Jason Maloy, co-founder and partner at Tall Cotton Energy, LLC & Rising Star Energy Partners, LLC.  The award was presented to Maloy by Professor Emeritus Owen L. Anderson, for whom the award is named.

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