July 2021

July 2021

Natural Resources Law Insights

Something Extra: Cybersecurity in the Age of Hackers

On Wednesday, April 7, 2021, the Foundation offered a unique virtual one-day special institute co-chaired by Scot Anderson, Hogan Lovells, and Don Smith, University of Denver, on The Legal Framework for Digitization, Technological Innovation, and the Future of Resource and Energy Development (the Digitization Institute). This program could not have been more timely. On the heels of the SolarWinds and Microsoft Exchange attacks, the energy industry was turned upside down by the ransomware attack on Colonial Pipeline. Ransomware attacks have multiplied exponentially during the pandemic, and pipelines are not the only companies that should be on high alert. As something extra, we are providing you with two papers from the Digitization Institute on preparing and responding to a cyberattack. To purchase the talks given by the authors on these topics, or other talks from the Digitization Institute, visit our Online Natural Resources Education website here and log in with your RMMLF username (email) and your password.

Organization, Documentation, and Coordination: Responding Successfully to a Cyberattack
Heather Hughes, Krystal Pfluger Scott, and Ewaen Woghiren

Preparing for (and Defending Against) a Cyberattack on the Energy Industry
Professor Victoria Sutton

Highlights of Recent Programs


The Foundation held a webinar on Greater Sage Grouse – Take 3: Where Do We Stand? on April 13, featuring Laura Granier, a Partner with Holland & Hart, Erik Molvar, Executive Director of Western Watersheds Project, J.J. Goicoechea, Chair of the Board of Eureka County Commissioners in Nevada, and Bret Sumner, a Partner with Beatty & Wozniak. The presentation focused on the pending claims in the lawsuit challenging the 2019 BLM and USFS land use planning process for Greater Sage Grouse habitat, providing an update on the status of that lawsuit considering recent BLM action, and the potential outcomes that could lie ahead. This webinar is available on our Online Natural Resources Education platform here.

On April 14, the Foundation held a webinar on Recent Trends in Oil & Gas Mergers and Acquisitions. This webinar featured an outstanding group of presenters including Jolisa Dobbs, Partner at Thompson & Knight, Paul Perea, Managing Director and Co-Head of M&A Investment Banking with Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co., Danielle Mangrum Patterson, Partner at Vinson & Elkins, and Anthony Speier, Partner at Kirkland & Ellis. This webinar examined recent oil and gas M&A activity, focusing on market considerations for deal professionals in the evolving era of COVID-19, market instability, and financing realignment. If you would like to view this presentation, it is now available on our Online Natural Resources Education platform here.

On April 22, the Young Professionals Committee hosted a Young Natural Resources Professionals Virtual Wine Tasting and Networking that brought together young professionals from across the country for an evening of wine and networking. The Young Professionals Committee will hold another Virtual Wine Tasting Reception during the Virtual 67th Annual Institute to give young professionals the opportunity to network with one another and find out how to get more involved with the Foundation.

The second webinar in our new Renewable Energy Webinar Series, Electricity 101: Regulatory Foundations and Contemporary Challenges for the Energy Transition, was held on April 27. Sponsored by the Renewable Energy Task Force, the webinar featured Alexandra Klass, a Distinguished McKnight University Professor at the University of Minnesota Law School, Sharon Jacobs, Associate Professor and the John H. Schultz Energy and Natural Resources Law Fellow at the University of Colorado Law School, Uma Outka, the William R. Scott Law Professor at the University of Kansas School of Law, and Shelley Welton, Associate Professor at the University of South Carolina School of Law. This webinar introduced the structure and regulation of the U.S. electricity system and discussed anticipated policy and regulatory changes under the Biden Administration. This webinar is available on our Online Natural Resources Education platform here.

A webinar on Unitization Essentials was held on April 28, the third webinar in the series in partnership with AIPN and IEL developed by the faculty of the Short Courses on International Oil & Gas Law, Contracts, and Negotiations. Andy Derman, the International Energy Practice Leader for Thompson & Knight, and Peter Sloan, Of Counsel with Thompson & Knight, presented this final webinar in the series. To purchase the presentation, please visit AIPN’s website here. To register for one of the comprehensive short courses on international oil and gas law, visit our website here.

The Virtual Natural Resources Law Teachers Institute, held on June 3-4, was co-chaired by Janice Weis, Lewis & Clark Law School, and Robin Craig, University of Southern California Gould School of Law. This Special Institute was co-sponsored by the Institute for Energy Law, the Energy & Mineral Law Foundation, and the ABA Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources and featured a panel discussion on the Biden Administration and natural resource management followed by works-in-progress by 25 law school professors. Attendance was outstanding and the law teachers are looking forward to meeting in person May 31-June 3, 2022, in Monterey, California.


A webinar on The Colonial Pipeline Hack and Cybersecurity: Responding to a Cyber Attack was held on June 15. This webinar was a reprise and reframing of a presentation presented at the Virtual Special Institute on The Legal Framework for Digitization, Technological Innovation, and the Future of Resource and Energy Development and featured Jessica Black Livingston, Counsel with Hogan Lovells, Krystal Scott, Partner at Jones Walker, Heather Hughes, Vice President at Stroz Friedberg, and Ewaen Woghiren, Associate at Jones Walker. This webinar gave an overview of the Colonial Pipeline ransomware attack and the changes to the cyber landscape already in the works, and included a step-by-step look at how companies should respond to a cyber attack, including guidance on assessing cyber-readiness and preparation. If you would like to view this presentation, it is available on our Online Natural Resources Education platform here.

We continue to hold the Young Natural Resources Professionals Coffee Break Series Conversations with Industry and Foundation Leaders each month. These discussions bring together young professionals to engage in conversation with an industry or Foundation leader about their career and professional development.  On May 20, we held our eleventh event, a conversation with Ana Luci Grizzi, a Partner with Veirano Advogados in Sᾶo Paulo, Brazil who focuses on environmental law and is a national Practice Group Leader for the Environmental Practice at her firm. We will be holding our next conversation in August.


People On The Move


Tara Righetti, a professor in the University of Wyoming’s School of Energy Resources (SER) and College of Law, and an active Rocky Mountain Mineral Law member, has received a Fulbright Scholarship to conduct research related to energy transitions. She will conduct research at the Centre de Recherche Droits et Perspectives du Droit — Center for Legal Research and Perspectives in Law — at the University of Lille College of Law in France.

During her 11-month sabbatical from UW, she will collaborate with researchers in Lille to formulate a comparative study of energy, industrial and workforce transition policies in Wyoming and France, with a focus on climate policies, sustainability, and the circular economy.

“I am deeply honored to travel to Lille as a Fulbright Scholar,” Righetti says. “The award provides an incredible opportunity to develop new collaborations and research regarding energy transitions.”

Righetti’s areas of expertise include legal issues related to split estates, subsurface trespass, energy transition, and carbon capture and sequestration. Her proposed project will build upon her current competencies, while developing new partnerships and expanding her research into international and comparative law.

“Professor Righetti is a leader in understanding complex energy policies and determining how Wyoming could be impacted, and identifying potential approaches to overcome negative outcomes,” SER Executive Director Holly Krutka says. “Professor Righetti’s choice to study parallel and diverging energy policies in Wyoming and the Hauts-de-France region is timely and important. I was thrilled to learn of her much-deserved recognition as a Fulbright Scholar.”

Righetti is among 800 U.S. citizens who will conduct research and/or teach abroad for the 2021-22 academic year through the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program. Fulbright Scholars engage in cutting-edge research and expand their professional networks, often continuing research collaborations started abroad and laying the groundwork for forging future partnerships between institutions.

Read more about Professor Righetti’s award.

Special: International Natural Resources and Energy Law Insights

Renewable Energy Investments - International Protections to Mitigate Risks
Samantha J. Rowe, Merryl Lawry-White, Alma M. Mozetič
Debevoise & Plimpton LLP

Charging Ahead: Canada Moving Ahead on Small Modular Reactors
Julie Loney, Jacob Stucken
McMillan LLP

Mexican Hydrocarbons Law Reform: Minimum Storage, Revocation, and Suspension of Permits
Cecilia Flores Rueda, FCIArb, Jorge A. Velázquez
FloresRueda Abogados

Canadian Provinces Advance Critical Minerals Plans
Andrew H. MacSkimming
A.H. MacSkimming Law Office

Brazil: New Regulatory Framework for Public Offer of Areas for Mineral Exploration and Mining Is Proving Successful
Carlos Vilhena, Filipe Cunha
Pinheiro Neto Advogados 

Foundation News

2021-2022 Scholar Development Program

The Foundation established two new scholarship funds this year. The Mary A. Viviano Scholarship Fund was established in Mary’s name by her family and the Foundation. Generous donations from her family, friends, and members of the Foundation endowed the scholarship fund with over $154,000. Thank you to everyone who contributed and helped the Foundation honor Mary’s legacy of dedication to the Foundation, young lawyers, and natural resources law.

The Foundation was able to award a generous scholarship to Elizabeth Stephani, from the University of Wyoming, who is currently studying energy law with an eye toward a career focused on benefiting communities like the Wind River tribes. Congratulations, Elizabeth!

The Foundation also established the new Equity and Inclusion Scholarship, based upon a recommendation from the Diversity and Inclusion Task Force with support from the Board of Directors. The scholarship is not exclusive to Constituent Law Schools and is for JD students who meet the Foundation’s general scholarship criteria and who identify as either Black or Indigenous (including Native American and First Nation). The Foundation awarded two Equity and Inclusion Scholarships this year, to Trevion Freeman, a 3L at the University of Tulsa, and Damian Padilla, a 3L at the University of New Mexico.

Thirty-six scholars from 14 Constituent Law Schools were awarded scholarships this year:

Joe Rudd Scholarship Awards
Jayce Eadie, University of Calgary
Victoria LaFleur, Texas A&M University
Veronica Shaner, University of Denver

FHDO Scholarship Awards
Holly Hayes, University of Tulsa
Alexandra Rayment, University of Calgary 

Catherine J. Boggs Scholarship Award
Binura Assankyzy, University of Texas

Richard H. Bate Scholarship Award
Natalie Boldt, University of Denver

James M. King Scholarship Award
Kurt Shanahan, University of Montana

Mary A. Viviano Scholarship Award
Elizabeth Stephani, University of Wyoming

Equity & Inclusion Scholarship Awards
Trevion Freeman, University of Tulsa
Damian Padilla, University of New Mexico


RMMLF Scholarship Awards

Samantha Agnich, Southern Methodist University

Chinonso Anozie, Southern Methodist University

Binura Assankyzy, University of Texas

Molly Bannister, University of Calgary

Logan Bell, University of Houston

Natalie Boldt, University of Denver

Valkyrie Buffa, Louisiana State University

Jayce Eadie, University of Calgary

Nicholas Ettinger, University of Calgary

Rachel Grabenstein, University of New Mexico

Pillip Hanna, University of Calgary

Amelia Harman, University of Calgary

Holly Hayes, University of Tulsa

Monsuratu Kadiri, University of Calgary

Kseniia Kolontai, University of Texas

Avinash Kowshik, University of Calgary

Victoria LaFleur, Texas A&M University
Erin McKlusky, University of Calgary
Hannah Mink, University of Wyoming
Ofosuhene (Godwin) Nkrumah, University of Houston
Lucas O’Brien, University of Colorado
Olaitan Oyekunle, University of Calgary
Alexandra Rayment, University of Calgary
Randy Rea, University of Wyoming
Andrew Revelle, University of Utah
Jon Rubottom, University of Tulsa
Oliver Salomon Sotomayor, University of Texas
*Neil Segel, University of Houston
Veronica Shaner, University of Denver
Elizabeth Stephani, University of Wyoming
Akindele Tawoju, University of Calgary
Li (Grace) Tian, University of Calgary
Erik Wallevand, University of North Dakota

*David P. Phillips Scholarship


New Association Management System

The Foundation transitioned to a new Association Management System (AMS) at the end of April to better serve our members. The new database, built on the Salesforce platform, provides members with the ability to Edit Their Profile (including uploading their photo) so that they can engage with the Foundation and receive communications that are applicable to their areas of practice.  During August, the Foundation will be launching an Online Community to facilitate communications among members of Foundation committees. The new Online Community will also facilitate discussion groups based upon areas of interest and/or practice.

If you have not already done so, please go to rmmlf.org, click Sign In, and take the time to Reset Your Password. Then you can go to Edit My Profile and upload your photo and complete your profile. Updating your profile will also update the online, searchable Membership Directory and help us send communications that are relevant to you!

In August, the Foundation will launch a new Job Board that will be integrated with our new AMS, providing student members the ability to post their resume and members the opportunity to post internship and job openings. In the interim, please look for job opportunities on our website at rmmlf.org/jobs.