When it comes to political hot potatoes, there may not be a better example than the Keystone XL oil pipeline. Since Canada-based TransCanada Corp. first proposed the pipeline in 2008, it has served as a litmus test for where President Obama stands on energy, economic and environmental issues. One of those latter issues is climate change, as environmental groups that oppose the pipeline argue that approving it would be bad news for the climate.
The latest University of Texas Energy Poll finds that among Americans who have at least some familiarity with Keystone XL, 45 percent support the pipeline, while 21 percent oppose it. Not surprisingly, Republicans are strongly supportive, 72 percent to 7 percent, while Democrats overall are slightly opposed, 28 percent to 34 percent.
In April 2015, the KBH Energy Center awarded the Ernest and Paula Smith Energy Law Scholarship to three Texas Law students: Adam Abulawi (JD Expected ’16), Lisa Garrett (JD Expected ’17), and Hobie Temple (JD Expected ’16). The Ernest and Paula Smith Energy Law Scholarship is awarded to a Texas Law student in recognition of outstanding achievement and potential in energy law. The scholarship is named in honor of Texas Law Professor Ernest Smith and his wife, Paula. This year, the Scholarship Committee received twenty scholarship applications. The scholarship recipients were announced by Professor Owen Anderson at the Texas Journal of Oil, Gas, and Energy Law (TJOGEL) Spring 2015 Happy Hour on April 16.
In May 2015, 17 students from 11 different countries graduated from Texas Law’s Master of Laws Program with Certificates in Global Energy, International Arbitration, and Environmental Law. The KBH Energy Center’s LL.M. Concentration in Energy Law, International Arbitration, and Environmental Law is a unique degree program that allows students to concentrate in, as well as explore the intersections between, energy law, international arbitration, and environmental law. The students’ countries of origin include Chile, China, Ecuador, India, Iran, Korea, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, the United States, and Venezuela. For more information about the KBH Energy Center’s LL.M. Concentration in Energy Law, International Arbitration, and Environmental Law, read our brochure.
Effective October 1, 2014, the Supreme Court of Texas issued an order amending the Rules Governing Admission to the Bar of Texas. As a result, foreign-educated applicants and foreign attorneys are now eligible to take Texas Bar Examination. According to Haynes & Boone Partner Larry Pascal, “The reforms will make Texas competitive with New York and California and create expanded commercial opportunities for the state’s lawyers.” Pascal chaired the task force that recommended the proposed reforms to the state’s international law practice rules. Read press release.
The Hill quoted Professor David Spence in a June 6, 2015 article on how fracking is creating a new dividing line between the nation’s red and blue states. According to the article, “While liberal-leaning states such as New York and Maryland have opted to ban hydraulic fracturing, despite the potential revenue from natural gas, conservative strongholds such as Texas and Oklahoma have gone the opposite route, moving to ensure that local towns and cities cannot outlaw the practice in their communities.” In response, “Observers say a state’s approach to fracking is increasingly falling along partisan lines, with the affiliation of a state’s legislature and governor often reflected in whether the practice is welcome or shunned.” David Spence, a law professor at The University of Texas, predicted states would eventually find a middle ground on fracking. “You have more opportunities for states to take one or the other extreme position based on their ideology,” he said. “But I really think in the long run that the more polarized public debate is going to get much less polarized.”
Austin – On June 3rd, The University of Texas at Austin welcomed an Argentinian delegation comprised of government officials and industry experts who came to the U.S. on a fact-finding mission. Among those in the delegation were Alex Bottan, CEO of Southern Cone General Electric (GE); Rodolfo Urtubey, National Senator for Salta State and member of the Energy Senate Committee; Alejandro Nicola, energy minister of Neuquen State, Argentina; and the Honorable Daniel Deodato, consul general for Argentina in Houston. Through a series of presentations, each followed by a Q&A, the objective was to learn from the experiences and lessons from a country that has already faced the challenges associated with energy development and that can provide Argentina with valuable information to face and ensure the development of a sustainable industry. The event was hosted by UT Austin Jackson School of Geosciences’ Latin America and Caribbean Energy Program and the Kay Bailey Hutchison Center for Energy, Law and organized in cooperation with AmCham Argentina.
With discussions on fracking, policies and regulations, and sustainability matters, the agenda included guests from the Railroad Commission of Texas, Texas General Land Office, and Texas Commission of Environmental Quality. “This is an opportunity to exchange ideas and information about the development of energy resources in Argentina and the United States,” said Professor Melinda Taylor, the executive director of the Kay Bailey Hutchison Center for Energy, Law, and Business. Attendees had the opportunity to start dialogue in a Q&A and understand how past experiences in the U.S. could be applied to current issues or situations in Argentina. The event contributed in creating and supporting a transparent dialogue among the participants and the key representative from the industry, as well as with key decision makers in the United States public sector.
As a surprise to all guests and organizing staff, President Greg Fenves stopped by to share a few words. He emphasized the importance of a strong relationship between The University of Texas and Latin American countries, and expressed his intentions to continue the effort to keep UT innovative and competitive, and expand international research impact.
The event was wrapped up by Jorge Piñon, director of the Latin America and Caribbean Energy Program and the Center for International Energy and Environmental Policy. He encouraged attendees to voice their concerns, and expressed his interest in having a strong relationship with the country and building agreements with educational institutions. “Technology is constantly evolving and it’s so fast moving that, in order to keep up, we need to form bridges and academic alliances so learnings can be made,” said Piñon.
The delegation left for San Antonio, TX, to continue with the fifth day of their one-week training visit to the U.S.