Wednesday, July 6, 2011

In Memorium: David Getches

The environmental law community is mourning the passing of former Colorado Law dean David Getches. While I never had the pleasure of meeting Dean Getches, it is evident he was deeply loved and respected, as well as very accomplished.  From his faculty bio:

David Getches is the Raphael J. Moses Professor of Natural Resources Law at the University of Colorado School of Law.  He teaches and writes on water law, public land law, environmental law, and Indian law.  Professor Getches has published several books including:  Water Law in a Nutshell (1997); Searching Out the Headwaters: Change and Rediscovery in Western Water Law and Policy, with Bates, MacDonnell and Wilkinson (1993); Controlling Water Use:  The Unfinished Business of Water Quality Control, with MacDonnell and Rice (1991); Water Resource Management, with Tarlock and Corbridge (1993); and Federal Indian Law, with Wilkinson and Williams (1998).  He has written many articles and book chapters that appear in diverse scholarly and popular sources, including recent articles calling for reform of Colorado River governance and criticizing the Supreme Court’s departure from traditional principles in Indian law.

 From 1983-1987, David Getches was Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Natural Resources under Governor Richard D. Lamm.  The department includes ten divisions of state government that deal with parks, wildlife, land, water, and minerals.  While in that post he strongly advocated water conservation, pressed for groundwater law reform, advanced ideas for better cooperative management and control of the Colorado River, urged expansion of the state’s designated wilderness areas, and spoke out on the importance of recreation and wildlife to the state’s economy.

 Mr. Getches was the founding Executive Director of the Native American Rights Fund (NARF).  He developed the staff, funding, and program of this national, nonprofit Indian-interest law firm.  Major cases he litigated include a Northwest Indian fishing rights case (United States v. Washington, also known as “the Boldt decision”) and a case on behalf of Eskimos to establish the North Slope Borough, the largest municipality in the world, which includes the Prudhoe Bay oil fields.  His other cases dealt with water rights, land claims, federal trust responsibilities, environmental issues, education, and civil rights on behalf of Native American clients throughout the West.

His obit also appears in the Huffington Post.

He obviously will be deeply missed.

Jamie Baker Roskie


July 6, 2011 in Environmental Law, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Ziegler on Sustainable Urban Development

Edward Ziegler (Denver) has posted Sustainable Urban Development and the Next American Landscape: Some Thoughts on Transportation, Regionalism, and Urban Planning Law Reform in the 21st Century, 43 Urb. Lawyer ___ (forthcoming 2011).   Here's the abstract:

This article discusses sustainable development problems in the United States related to regional automobile-dependent sprawl and focuses on the need for devising and implementing growth strategies that provide people in the United States with affordable and sustainable housing and transportation options. The article provides a critical global perspective on the potential for creating sustainable neighborhoods of transit-oriented urban core areas within a metropolitan region and calls for the reform of the legal primacy in the United States of local zoning and urban planning controls which largely operate to require low density automobile-dependent living arrangements. The article crystallizes four major sustainable development points that highlight the need for developing integrated regional urban planning policies that support regional transit planning in the United States in the twenty-first century.
Metropolitan areas cannot resolve their challenges alone. Counties, cities, and suburbs operate within a national policy framework, and face challenges [bigger] than their own capacities. What’s needed is a new partnership between federal, state, local, and private-sector players to help metropolitan areas build on their economic strengths, foster a strong and diverse middle class, and grow in environmentally sustainable ways.

Jim K.

July 5, 2011 in Environmentalism, Planning, Sprawl, Sustainability, Urbanism | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

CFP: Connecticut Conference on Legal Solutions to Climate Change Adaptation

From Prof. Sara Bronin, here's an announcement about an opportunity to participate in an upcoming conference.  There is more information at the conference website.

Call for Papers:
“Legal Solutions to Coastal Climate Change Adaptation in Connecticut”

Conference Date: February 10, 2012

Conference Location: University of Connecticut School of Law,  
Hartford, CT

Deadline for paper abstract submissions:  September 30, 2011

Key Issues covered by the conference: The conference presentations and  
discussions aim to enhance understanding and promote discussion of  
cutting-edge policy and legal approaches to climate change adaptation  
in coastal areas, with potential application to Connecticut.

Topics of Interest: We invite practitioners, academics, and students  
in the field of law as well as others with expertise and interest to  
submit a 2 to 3 page paper proposal that focuses on existing or  
proposed innovative legal, policy and related incentive-based options  
for climate change adaptation in coastal environments. We invite  
papers that lay out the existing legal and regulatory structure in  
Connecticut as well as in other states, identify gaps and obstacles in  
these approaches, present innovative and environmentally sound  
approaches to climate change adaptation and stimulate legal thinking  
on legal and policy remedies to this issue of international  
importance. All submitted papers must contain a legal, policy or  
regulatory approach, solution or tool designed to facilitate climate  
change adaptation in Connecticut.

Specific Topics: Topics of interest include, but are not limited to:
·         Opportunities for and roadblocks to adaptation in existing  
laws and policies; lessons from other areas:
·         Interplay between the protection of public resources and  
private property rights
·         Using the CZMA and Coastal Management Act for climate change  
·         Rolling easements, ambulatory vs. fixed property lines
·         Ecosystem-based adaptation incentives via policy and legal  
·         Land use planning, growth strategies and regulatory  
approaches to climate change at the municipal and state levels
·         Climate Justice and Adaptation Planning: Who bears the  
burden? Who reaps the benefits?
·         Legal approaches to emergency planning and changing hazards
·         Adaptation Economics: the costs of adapting or not adapting,  
who pays and when?
·         Reactive versus proactive legal approaches to climate change  
·         Legal strategies or barriers to financing climate change  
resilience planning/implementation

Publication of Papers: Submitted papers that are accepted for  
presentation will be published in a special issue of the Sea Grant Law  
and Policy Journal. How to Submit: 2 to 3 page paper proposals should be submitted via e-
mail to  by September 30th.  Be sure to  
include your affiliation and contact information.

Matt Festa

July 5, 2011 in Beaches, Climate, Coastal Regulation, Conferences, Environmental Law, Property Rights, Scholarship, State Government, Sustainability | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, July 4, 2011

Independence Day, Property, and the American Dream

Img_0724 Happy Fourth of July!  And Happy 235th, America. 

For some land-use related Independence Day commentary, I ran across this column by center-right political analyst Michael Barone, Replacing Property as a Source of Wealth Creation.

One of the interesting things about our country, the independence of which the Founders declared 235 years ago Monday, is that we have been a property holders' democracy.

Barone's interpretation is that while the Founders established a repubic where suffrage was originally based on property qualifications, the very widespread nature of property ownership in America helped move democratic rights first to all white males and then to universal suffrage.  It's a broad claim but an interesting one.

Barone also references a couple of fascinating essays by Walter Russell Mead that I've been meaning to post about.  From his ViaMedia blog at The American Interest, part I and part II of The Death of the American Dream.  After bad news from the housing market:

It means something bigger.  For eighty years we have defined the American dream as an owner occupied family home, preferably with a nice swathe of crabgrass-free lawn around it.  The home mortgage was the centerpiece of a society of consumers based on debt-financed living.  It was life on the installment plan.  The latest downturn in the housing market is one more grim signal that in its current form, the American Dream is going the way of the dodo.

Mead goes into the history of the American Dream as, first, the family farm, and then, the single-family home, ranging from Jefferson to Levittown to the current recession and quoting from Little Shop of Horrors ("In a tract house that we share/Somewhere that’s green').  It's really quite fascinating and a great read.  He sees this crisis as a transformative moment in American social history.

His conclusion isn't quite as depressing as the excerpt above might indicate, but does focus on the terrific challenge ahead of re-tooling the American Dream.  In fact, he has a Fourth-of-July column in the Wall Street Journal called The Future Still Belongs to America.

Here in Houston the weekend belonged to the visiting Boston Red Sox (to my delight and my daughter's ire).  But there will still the post-game fireworks pictured above (despite the drought-mandated ban on personal fireworks--another land use issue!).  Hope you all had a safe and happy Fourth.

Matt Festa

July 4, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)