Energy, Environment, and Natural Resources Certificate
The Energy, Environment, and Natural Resources (EENR) Certificate will enable students to gain a solid foundation to practice in the areas of energy production, economic use of natural resources, and preservation.
North Dakota’s economic and scenic landscape lends itself to a variety of careers that require expertise in environmental law, energy law, and natural resources law across North Dakota. Completion of the program will signify that a new attorney has a fundamental understanding of the relevant law and emerging issues that impact residents of North Dakota and the companies in this industry who do business in the state.
The EENR Certificate Program is open to all School of Law students who have completed the first-year curriculum and are in good academic standing. Law students currently enrolled and in good standing in other ABA-accredited law schools may complete the program as a full-time visiting second- or third-year student at the School of Law.
The program requires students to successfully complete a total of seventeen (17) credits of law courses, which includes the required courses, elective (primary) courses, and a two-credit approved special project. Successful completion of the J.D. program is also required for UND Law students.
The certificate will be awarded to School of Law students simultaneously with the J.D. degree and will be reflected on the student’s law school transcript. For full-time visiting students at the School of Law, the certificate program requires successful completion of the required seventeen (17) credits, either at the School of Law during the visiting year or at the student’s home school prior to the visiting year. For any courses completed at the student’s home school, each course must be approved by the School of Law as fulfilling the requirements of the certificate program before the course may be counted toward the required credits and coursework for the certificate program. The certificate will be awarded at the end of the visiting year and will be reflected on the School of Law transcript for the visiting year.
The program will be administered by a Director appointed by the Dean. The Director will serve as an academic advisor for students enrolled in the certificate program and will have responsibility for approving students’ special projects and for approving any prior coursework by full-time visiting students at the School of Law.
All course descriptions provided in this proposal have been taken from the law school website and are subject to change.
Students enrolled in the EENR Certificate Program are required to successfully complete: Administrative Law; Environmental Law; and one of the energy-related courses listed in the Primary Courses below.
Administrative Law - #210 - 2 credits
This course reviews the legal doctrines that empower and constrain the "fourth branch" of government-administrative agencies. Primary emphasis is placed on case law developed at the federal level; state law is covered where it differs substantially from its federal counterpart. Major topics include the creation of administrative agencies, agency use of power and limits on that power, public and individual participation in agency processes, and judicial review of agency action. Grades will be based on a final in-class exam.
Environmental Law - #263 - 3 credits
This course surveys the major federal statutory programs restricting private and governmental activities that may adversely affect human health and the environment. The course examines the common law origins of environmental law, current "regulatory" schemes designed to prevent activities from causing excessive environmental harm, and current "remedial" schemes designed to clean up or remedy environmental harms that do occur. Major topics include the structure of federal, state, and Indian tribal governmental power over the environment, air and water quality, and hazardous waste disposal and cleanup. Course grades are calculated on the basis of class participation and a reflective paper, not eligible for the School’s graduation writing requirement, on a topic assigned on the first day of class.
Energy course – 3 credits
Either Energy and Mining Law or Oil and Gas Law (as listed under “Primary Courses” below) or another substantial, energy-related course approved by the Director of the Certificate Program.
The primary courses are courses that explore more specific topics in energy, environmental and natural resources law. The courses in these categories take advantage of the interests and expertise of the faculty at the School of Law, while also providing many opportunities for certificate program students to delve more deeply into several of the specific subject areas that affect tribes and tribal peoples.
Certificate program students must take at least seven (7) credits of primary courses in addition to the required courses to fulfill the requirements of the certificate program.
Energy and Mining Law - #362 – 3 credits
The global energy industry is a dynamic one. While society currently relies heavily on fossil fuel sources, sustainable and renewable energy solutions are a quickly growing sector of the market. This overview course will survey both traditional energy sources such as coal mining that are stalwarts of our nation’s and North Dakota’s economy along with emerging technologies like wind and solar. We will look at the many different regulatory environments that help shape how these businesses operate as well as typical legal principles.
Indian Country Environmental Law - #340 - 3 credits
This course examines how the confluence of federal environmental, administrative and Indian law creates, but may also solve, environmental injustice in Indian country. For Indigenous Peoples who seek to maintain connections with their ancient spiritual and religious cultural traditions, effective protection of the natural environment is critical to their cultural identity. The course examines the various Indian country approaches taken by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), including treating Indian tribes “as states,” and the federal cases brought by states and non-Indians challenging EPA's and tribes' authority to make binding value judgments about Indian country environmental protection. This seminar fulfills the intensive writing requirement.
International Petroleum Transactions - #321
This subject considers the legal issues and structure of transactions relating to the exploration, production and marketing of petroleum that, owing to its economic and strategic importance, is the most important commodity traded worldwide. This subject will give students a detailed understanding of how crude oil and gas are exploited and marketed worldwide. It will cover how countries establish sovereignty over petroleum resources and how host governments or their national (state-owned) oil companies contract with private companies to explore and develop oil and gas resources. This subject also reviews and analyses key contracts among petroleum companies, and contracts between petroleum companies and petroleum-services contractors, that facilitate exploration, development and marketing of petroleum. As petroleum is one of the most politically charged commodities, this subject will also consider extra-territorial anti-corruption law and political risk. In a broader sense, this subject will help students develop better analytical skills—especially the ability to critically evaluate contracts.
Natural Resources Law - #315 - 3 credits
This course surveys the major federal statutory programs and state law regimes governing property rights in natural resources on both public and private lands. Topics covered include Wildlife and Biodiversity, Rangelands, Protected Lands, Wetlands, Hard Rock Minerals and Forests. In particular, the course compares various approaches to federal resource management, including the cross-boundary regulation of endangered species and wetlands, the multiple-use mandates of Bureau of Land Management lands, and the notion that nature can be preserved by setting it aside in wilderness areas and national parks. The course also addresses state responsibilities for natural resources management (focusing on the public trust doctrine) and issues raised by regulation of natural resources on private lands (focusing on constitutional takings doctrine). A persistent theme is the question of development vs. preservation. Grading is based on class participation, and a paper on a topic assigned to all students. There is no exam.
Oil & Gas Law - #217 - 3 credits
This course takes a comprehensive approach to oil and gas law across the United States with a focus on North Dakota. We will study both landmark cases as well as the North Dakota statutes and case law. We will cover legal issues that cover the full span of development – from leasing, to drilling operations, to unit production, and of course abandonment and reclamation. Oil and Gas law draws deeply on Property and Contracts courses that you have already covered during your legal education. This course will help prepare you to confidently spot issues for oil and gas questions presented on various state bar exams and provide you with an understanding of how oil and gas leases and associated contracts are drafted.
Secondary courses are courses that explore aspects of law that impact energy, environmental, and natural resources. These courses include both legal topics and practice ready skills courses.
Certificate program students are not required to take any secondary courses to fulfill the requirements for the certificate program. Recommended secondary courses include:
Alternative Dispute Resolution - #281 - 2 credits
This course provides an overview of the regional dispute resolution methods of mediation, negotiation, arbitration, custody investigation, early neutral evaluation, parenting time coordination, and collective bargaining. Students will learn how to use and effectively participate in dispute resolution processes as a neutral third party. This course includes practical, skill-building exercises and presentations in an experiential learning environment.
Conflict of Laws (Law 257)
A Minnesota resident and California resident are involved in a vehicle collision at a national park in North Dakota. Which State’s laws apply in addressing potential claims? Change the vehicle collision to the formation of a contract—what laws apply? Regrettably, many attorneys have only a faint familiarity with the complex relationship between the laws of different states, nations, and sovereign powers. The practical reality of an increasingly global and connected world frequently raises questions regarding: (1) which jurisdiction's laws apply; and (2) the enforceability of foreign judgments. Understanding the outcomes of these complicated questions can have a profound impact in analyzing whether a legal claim exists, the scope of rights and remedies, and other strategic considerations. This course explores the different legal frameworks for determining the applicable law in multi-jurisdictional disputes, the dichotomy between substantive and procedural rights, the constitutional limits in the context of conflict of laws, and the recognition of judgments from a foreign state or nation. Because it draws on core principles from torts, contracts, property, civil procedure, and constitutional law, it offers a useful review of those subjects, particularly for graduating students. It also provides a fun and practical opportunity to develop critical thinking and legal analysis utilizing interesting and murky legal issues.
Modern Real Estate Transactions - #285 - 3 credits
Study of the contracting process in real estate transactions; deeds and deed covenants; recording issues; title insurance and abstracts of title; and mortgage loans, foreclosure, and other real estate financing issues.
Transactional Drafting - #229 - 2 credits
This course focuses on the process and principles of drafting transactional (i.e., non-litigation) documents. Upper-level law students will learn about drafting and reviewing contracts that could be used in a variety of contexts. We will examine basic concepts of contract drafting and then expand on those concepts to draft, review, revise, and negotiate contracts. Students will learn the general components of drafting contracts and develop skills necessary for writing and organizing contracts.
Transactional Negotiations - #247 – 2 credits
A legal career – either transactional, corporate, or courtroom based -- often requires you to negotiate on behalf of your client. Excellent negotiators learn to forge long-term collaborations between both parties with an ability to create value for both sides. It is also important that you learn to identify potential risk within deal proposals to ensure that the deal structure doesn’t create additional future issues. This course will help you hone negotiation skills through hands-on simulations. Even if you are already a skilled negotiator, we will be able to add to your current skill set.
Trusts and Estates - #230 - 4 credits
The general public assumes that all lawyers can do two things: try a case and write a will. Most lawyers can do neither. This course is designed to remedy that situation in part by introducing students to the basics of estate planning and administration. The course will cover: the law of intestate succession; statutory family protection schemes; restrictions on testation; the role, preparation, and construction of wills; the uses, creation, construction, and termination of trusts; rudimentary tax considerations in the estate planning process; the use of future interests; the mechanics of estate administration (including an examination of alternatives to probate); the role and responsibilities of fiduciaries; the role of the estate attorney.
EENR Certificate Program students will be required to complete a two-credit special project. The special project is intended to provide the student with the opportunity and incentive to explore more fully a topic in energy, environment, and natural resources of the student’s choice, independent of the student’s prior or current coursework. Through this special project, the student is expected to explore a pressing EENR legal issue while applying the legal and professional principles learned through the program coursework. The special project can also be completed by competing in national energy or environmental related moot court or negotiations competitions.
The special project is designed to provide broad opportunities for exploring EENR legal issues and could take a variety of forms. The student is responsible for seeking and securing a faculty member willing to supervise the project and assist the student in designing an appropriate project. Once a student has designed the project, the student will submit a proposal, which must be signed and approved by both the supervising faculty member and the certificate program Director. The special project is deemed completed upon the approval and signature of the supervising faculty member. The special project cannot fulfill in whole or in part the requirements for any other credit-earning course
To earn the EENR Certificate, a student must earn a total of seventeen (17) credits through law school coursework and an approved special project. The requirements are as follows:
- Required courses: 8 credits
- Primary courses: At least 7 credits
- Special Project: 2 credits
- Total: 17 credits
Students wishing to pursue the EENR Certificate program must have completed the first-year curriculum and be in good academic standing.
Additionally, law students currently enrolled and in good standing in other ABA-accredited law schools may complete the program as a full-time visiting second or third-year student at UND School of Law. The program requires students to successfully complete seventeen hours of focused coursework from the core curriculum (including primary courses that are relevant to practicing in the energy, environment, and natural resource disciplines) and a two-credit approved special project.
This certificate program will provide an excellent pathway for our students to prepare themselves to serve North Dakota, surrounding regions, and the nation as effective, innovative, and ethical leaders in these areas of law. I am confident it will benefit our students and our state for years to come.Michael McGinniss, UND School of Law DeanUND Fieldhouse
September 25, 1963