July 01, 2016

The Fall Conference in the Mile High City

Alf Brandt

Join us in Denver October 5–8, 2016 for the Section’s 24th Fall Conference! This year’s conference offers participants the perfect opportunity to connect with colleagues and leading voices from across the country and to engage in the national dialogue about the latest issues in environmental, energy, and resources law. And Denver is an ideal location for us to meet.

Denver: Gateway to the West

Denver has long played a central role in the development and protection of the nation’s natural resources. From its founding in the 1850s, mining has formed the foundation for the Denver economy. When the railroads arrived, Denver became the hub for exploiting and exporting Rocky Mountain riches. Following World War II, oil and gas companies arrived and later fueled a skyscraper boom in the 1970s. The environmental movement then emerged and Denver became a center for protecting the treasured Rockies environment.

The transformation that Denver has seen in the last 25 years offers lessons about how a city can rebuild and revitalize its urban environment. Denver has transitioned from a city with its share of brownfield areas to an urban haven that attracts thousands of new residents every month. Former rail yards have become home to thousands of Denver residents living in upscale condos. The confluence of Cherry Creek and the South Platte River is now enjoyed by Denverites as Confluence Park. The Rocky Mountain Arsenal, where chemical weapon development led to contamination, has become a federal wildlife refuge. And the Rockies continue to make Denver an attractive tourist destination and jumping-off spot for adventure. Throughout this revitalization, the energy industry has remained a driver of Denver’s economy.

A time of transition

This year’s Fall Conference arrives at a time of transition. The world has begun implementing the climate accord struck in Paris last year. On the national level, we will elect a new president in November. The Clean Power Plan has set a widely debated new course for energy. Renewable energy is a growing segment of the energy industry, especially in the West. Climate change and western drought have led to increased water conflicts, and new ideas for federal, state, and local water management. The crisis in Flint, Michigan, put a spotlight, for the first time, on the need to focus on aging water infrastructure and its effect on water quality.

This Fall Conference will take advantage of its location, timing, and emerging issues to offer participants the ideal combination of panels, presentations, and practical training. It will look forward—and back—to identify the critical emerging issues. Denver is where every lawyer can hear the latest in the national debates in environment, energy, and resources law. The West has lessons to teach on these issues but it can also learn from the experiences of the East, Midwest, and South. The Planning Committee has strived to craft the entire conference to engage you, whatever stage in your career or practice setting and wherever you are located.

Building the Section’s community

This year’s conference will provide our Section’s lawyers with opportunities to build their relationships with colleagues from across the United States. In addition to the local public service project, conference planners (including our local host lawyers) are organizing an early-morning 5K fun run/walk along nearby Cherry Creek. On Saturday afternoon, optional Denver activities will be available, such as a downtown redevelopment walking tour (ending with a late lunch at a hip Union Station restaurant), a visit to the wildlife refuge at the former arsenal, and walking/hiking in the spectacularly beautiful Denver region. Make Denver a weekend to remember!

Culmination . . . and beginning

The 24th Fall Conference will follow what has become a flourishing year for Section programming and committee activities. Section and committee leaders have organized successful conferences, webinars, and committee discussions. They have worked with members to get on top, and even ahead, of the critical emerging issues in the environment, energy, and resources fields. This year’s Fall Conference will bring together many of the lawyers you might have heard on webinars. It will offer in-person contact with leaders in your field, which keeps the Section the premier forum for environmental, energy, and resources lawyers. The Fall Conference also helps the Section set its agenda for the year ahead, with leadership meetings and identification of key issues that need further attention by our committees.

This year’s Fall Conference is not to be missed! Come for the CLE and stay for the opportunity to engage with your colleagues on the hottest environmental, energy, and natural resource debates. Discussion! Networking! Denver! Colorado! The Rockies! What more could you want?

Alf Brandt


Alf Brandt is the chair of the Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources’ 24th Fall Conference and serves as senior counsel to California Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon.