Center for Global Energy, International Arbitration and Environmental Law at the University of Texas School Releases Report on How the Endangered Species Act Influences Groundwater Law and Protects Springflow in Texas

December 19, 2014

AUSTIN, Texas – The Center for Global Energy, International Arbitration and Environmental Law (Energy Center) at the University of Texas School of Law released a report today entitled “How the Endangered Species Act Influences Groundwater Law and Protects Springflow in Texas” by Vanessa Puig-Williams, an Austin-based legal consultant with expertise in Texas environmental law. The report was written under the direction of Professor Melinda E. Taylor, the Energy Center’s executive director.

When an endangered species is present in a spring, can the Endangered Species Act (ESA) influence groundwater management and protect springflow? What regulatory tools can a groundwater conservation district utilize to protect springflow to ensure the long-term survival of rare species? What potential legal vulnerabilities do groundwater districts face if they fail to do so? What options are available under the ESA for the districts to obtain authorization for unavoidable harm to the species? In this paper, the author explores the significant and developing relationship between groundwater management and endangered species protection. The author concludes that depending on how one looks at it, the ESA can be either the carrot or the stick – prompting groundwater conservation districts that preside over springs containing listed species to develop desired future conditions that protect springflow and ensuring that springflow protections remain in the future. To read the full report, visit

In April 2014, the Energy Center published a study entitled “The Conflict between Endangered Species and the State Water Plan: Will New Listings under the Endangered Species Act Thwart the State Water Planning Process?” In this study, authors Vanessa Puig-Williams and Melinda E. Taylor explored the potential for new water projects included in the State Water Plan. The authors concluded that, with the exception of projects in the upper Brazos River where the habitat of two endangered species of minnow are located, the additional listings in Texas would be unlikely to result in clashes between the ESA’s requirements and new water projects, because almost all of the Texas aquatic species on the Service’s work plan are dependent on groundwater and located in areas where no new projects have been proposed. To read the full report, visit

The Energy Center’s mission is to educate students about the law, policy, and commercial realities related to the production of energy, protection of natural resources, and the use of international arbitration to resolve commercial disputes related to energy. In addition to offering a robust course curriculum, the Center sponsors interdisciplinary research and policy analyses and provides a forum for lawyers, scientists, economics, policy makers, and stakeholders to explore solutions to the world’s most pressing energy and environmental issues. Beginning in January 1, 2015, the Center will become the Kay Bailey Hutchison Center for Energy, Law, and Business, an innovative interdisciplinary project of the School of Law and the McCombs School of Business at The University of Texas at Austin. For more information, please visit

For more information, contact: Vanessa Puig-Williams at or the Energy Center at

Part-time Clerking Position at TXOGA this Spring 2015

The Texas Oil & Gas Association (TXOGA) is looking for a part-time law clerk for this spring to assist TXOGA in summarizing and analyzing bills, as well as to do case summaries and some legal research.

TXOGA is looking for a 20 or so hour commitment. It is a paid position.

TXOGA would like the person to start ASAP, but the first of the year would be acceptable.

For more information, please contact:

Cory Pomeroy
Vice President and General Counsel
Texas Oil & Gas Association

KBH Energy Center Unveils Updated SSRN eLibrary

Did you know that the KBH Energy Center has an updated SSRN eLibrary? Here you’ll be able to read and download nearly 60 papers on energy, law, and business by the KBH Energy Center’s affiliated faculty.

Social Science Research Network (SSRN) is devoted to the rapid worldwide dissemination of social science research and is composed of a number of specialized research network in each of the social sciences.

Subscribe to receive the KBH Energy Center’s quarterly eJournal, which currently has 15,000 subscribers.

Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation’s Constituent Law School Student Attendance Program Supports Student Participation in RMMLF Institutes and Select Short Courses

The Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation (RMMLF) Constituent Law School (CLS) Student Attendance Program supports the participation of deserving students in RMMLF institutes and select short courses. At present, RMMLF can make available up to $3,000 per calendar year for each of the Foundation’s 30 CLS for this program. Subject to space and funding availability, Foundation support under this program can include waved registration fees, course materials, and reimbursement of pre-approved expenses for transportation and accommodations.

Read more about the RMMLF CLS Student Attendance Program.

Visit the RMMLF website for information about upcoming institutes and select short courses.

Contact Mauricio Pajon, the Energy Center’s program coordinator, at for additional information.

Thomas McGarity, “It’s David vs. Two Goliath’s in Texas Fracking Fight,” (Inside Climate News)

In an article about the recent historic vote to ban fracking in the college town of Denton – and industry’s lightening-fast response (barely 13 hours after the polls closed on Nov. 4, oil and gas lawyers were in court, suing the town), Inside Climate News quoted Professor Tom McGarity on other cities that might be thinking of enacting similar kinds of legislation. Professor McGarity observed that “If you try to do something like this you’re going to get sued, too.”