April 2024

April 2024

Natural Resources Law Insights

The Inflation Reduction Act as a Mine Finance Alternative
Meaghan Connors | Mayer Brown LLP
The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) introduced by the Biden administration has spurred critical mineral producers and investors to seek IRA tax credits or loan programs for mining projects. Despite uncertainties surrounding qualifying criteria, such as recent guidance from the IRS and Treasury, interest in these incentives remains high. Section 45X offers tax credits for energy component producers, while Section 48C provides credits for advanced energy projects, including critical mineral processing. Additionally, the Title 17 Clean Energy Financing Program guarantees loans for innovative projects. These initiatives aim to bolster the U.S. supply chain for critical minerals and advance environmental goals, though their impact on traditional mining capital sources remains uncertain.
Read more here.

Regulators May Be Planning Significant Changes to How They Oversee Decommissioning in the Gulf of Mexico
Andrew Stakelum and Erich Almonte King & Spalding LLP
Regulators are considering significant changes in overseeing decommissioning in the Gulf of Mexico. Recent bankruptcies have highlighted the aging oil and gas infrastructure, leading to calls for reform. The U.S. General Accountability Office (GAO) criticized oversight agencies for ineffective enforcement. Recommendations include assessing enforcement tools and proposing new rules for timely decommissioning. These changes may impact which companies operate offshore and when predecessors are ordered to fulfill obligations. While regulatory reform is expected, its extent and timing remain uncertain, raising questions about its alignment with industry goals and the energy transition agenda.
Read more here.

Mandatory Climate Disclosure Has Arrived in North America—A Comparison of New U.S. and Canadian Standards
Sarah Powell, Zachary Silver, and Robyn Barabash | Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP

New climate disclosure standards have emerged in North America, with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Canadian Sustainability Standards Board (CSSB) releasing rules. While the SEC’s rules are facing legal challenges and offer a materiality threshold, the CSSB’s draft standards align with global frameworks, mandating detailed disclosures including scenario analysis. Differences in approach, such as greenhouse gas emissions disclosure requirements, present challenges for companies operating across jurisdictions. As regulators refine their proposals, companies are urged to adapt their reporting practices accordingly. The timeline for implementation varies, providing companies with time to align their disclosures with evolving standards.
Read more here.

Just Don’t Call It a Rule—How the Colorado Supreme Court’s Crestone Peak Decision Reached the Right Outcome with Flawed Reasoning
David Holman | Crisham & Holman LLC

In the Crestone Peak case, the Colorado Supreme Court’s rejection of the commercial discovery rule led to a convoluted decision. Despite aiming for clarity, the court's analysis mirrored the Court of Appeals’ reasoning, centering on the harmonization of lease clauses. While affirming the outcome, the court's failure to distinguish temporary from permanent cessations and reliance on cessation clauses over shut-in royalties introduced confusion. Practical implications for practitioners include the need for clearer lease definitions and ongoing activity during cessations. Ultimately, the decision underscores the complexities of oil and gas lease interpretation in Colorado.
Read more here.

Insights from the 2024 Member Survey!

The Foundation sincerely appreciates all the members who participated in the recent 2024 Member Loyalty Survey. The survey results reaffirmed the top five reasons that members belong to the Foundation: 1) the ability to network with other professionals; 2) the ability to earn continuing education credits in their areas of interest; 3) access to our educational resources; 4) to keep up with the latest news relevant to their profession; and 5) access to our professional development opportunities. 

Survey respondents also told us that what distinguishes the Foundation from other organizations are our nationwide and international perspectives on natural resources and energy law issues and our efforts to improve our members’ effectiveness, knowledge, and expertise through our programs. 

The Board of Directors and staff have already reviewed the survey results and will review the survey with the Trustees Council in July. We will take the suggestions and feedback into consideration as we continually work to improve our programs, publications, and networking opportunities for our members.

Congratulations to our survey winners!

A complimentary trip (including travel expenses) to our 2024 Annual Institute or one of our 2024 Special Institutes – Winner Ben Busboom, Polsinelli

Free registration to our 2024 Annual Institute or one of our 2024 Special Institutes – Winner David Filippi, Stoel Rives

Five $100 Amazon Gift Cards – Winners
Hugo Martelli, Martelli Abogados
Kyle Howe, Welborn Sullivan Meck & Tooley 
Michael Donald, Jones Walker
Valkyrie Buffa, Liskow & Lewis 
Andy West, EnerVest, Ltd. 

Member Benefits – Did You Know?

Your membership in the Foundation provides access to an extensive range of resources, opportunities for professional growth, and exclusive discounts on a variety of programs and publications. 

Here are some of the important benefits you enjoy as a member:

  1. Discounted Registration for the 70th Annual Institute: Join us in Santa Fe, New Mexico, for our 70th Annual Institute and take advantage of substantial discounts on registration fees exclusive to our members. Early registration is only $545 for members, a $600 savings off the nonmember rate! 
  2. Discounts on Various Programs and Publications: From Special Institutes to Short Courses, seminars, and more, members receive discounted rates on registration fees for all our programs. In fact, most of our webinars on important and timely topics of interest for natural resources and energy law professionals are a free benefit for members! Members also enjoy discounts on our extensive on-demand Online Natural Resources Education CLE videos and all our treatises, books, institute materials, forms, and other publications.
  3. Access to Members-Only Area: Members have access to our exclusive Members-Only area on our website, where you will find additional resources, updates, and opportunities.
  4. Opportunities for Involvement: Members can take advantage of opportunities to get involved in committees and other leadership roles within the Foundation, allowing you to contribute to on a committee, present a paper at a Foundation program, or mentor a young professional. 
  5. Complimentary Publications for Annual Members: As a member, you receive these publications at no additional cost:
    • The Foundation Journal for Natural Resources and Energy Law
    • Mineral and Energy Law Newsletter
    • Water Law Newsletter
    • Latin America Mineral and Energy Law Newsletter
  6. Natural Resources Law Network E-newsletter: Stay informed with our periodic newsletter, featuring updates on legal issues of interest, highlights of past programs, member spotlights, and more.
  7. Membership Directory: Gain access to our Membership Directory, providing alphabetical, geographical, and email listings, along with a searchable directory in the Members-Only area of our website.

Whether you are seeking professional development opportunities, staying updated on industry trends, expanding your network, or looking to make new friends, the Foundation is here to support you.

70th Annual Institute

Join us in July 2024 as we return to Santa Fe, New Mexico, for the 70th anniversary of the premier natural resources and energy law conference! 

The 70th Annual Institute will feature a record 70 speakers from private practice, government, academia, industry, and other organizations. After opening with a general session on Thursday morning, the institute will offer attendees choices among separate sessions focusing on oil and gas and landman’s issues, mining law, public lands and Indian law, water law, environmental law, international resources issues, and renewable energy and electricity.

For in-house counsel, the institute includes a separate session on corporate counsel legal issues and a complimentary networking reception just for in-house counsel, other company employees, and their families!

Bring the entire family to the sponsored reception on Thursday night. Other events include a reception for young professionals, students, professors, and their families, Portia's Lunch for women, and more!

More than four hundred hotel rooms have already been reserved in our room blocks. We have discounted rooms at 11 hotels. Book your room and register now!