2023 North Dakota Law Review Energy Law Symposium
Thursday, March 23, 2023
8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
National Energy Center of Excellence,
Bismarck State College
Please join the North Dakota Law Review in Bismarck to hear from a variety of experts in energy law, innovation, and more! The Law Review board is appreciative for the generous support and sponsorship of the symposium by Crowley Fleck PLLP.
North Dakota CLE, Minnesota CLE, and Landman credits pending.
2023 North Dakota Law Review Energy Law Symposium Schedule
8:00-9:10 a.m | Breakfast (provided) & Opening Remarks
Brian Pappas, Dean, UND School of Law
9:10 a.m | Legal and Regulatory Frameworks for Geologic Storage of Carbon Dioxide
Kevin Connors, Geologist, Energy and Environmental Research Center
10:00 a.m. | Emerging Legal and Regulatory Developments in the Commercialization and
Use of Underground Pore Spaces for Energy Decarbonization Operations
Tade Oyewunmi, LL. D, Assistant Professor of Law, UND School of Law
10:50 a.m. | Developing Carbon Dioxide Infrastructure
James Curry, Attorney, Babst Colland Attorneys at Law
12:00 p.m. | Lunch (provided)
1:00 p.m. | Finding Common Ground in Energy Policy in Divided Times
Juan Palma, Senior Policy Advisor to the U.S. Bureau of Land Management
1:50 p.m. | Litigation Update: The Status of the Missouri River and Lake Sakakawea
Craig Smith, Attorney, Crowley Fleck PLLP
2:45 p.m. | Break
3:10 p.m. | My Space, Your Space, We All Scream for Pore Space
Joshua Swanson, Attorney, Vogel Law Firm
4:00 p.m. | Litigation Update: Cases Including Royalty and Pooling Issues
Paul Forster, Attorney, Crowley Fleck PLLP
4:55 p.m. | Closing Remarks
Elizabeth Rotherham, Editor in Chief, North Dakota Law Review
5:00 p.m. | Reception (refreshments provided)
NDLR Energy Law Symposium and UND School of Law Legislative Intern Program
Kevin Connors is the Assistant Director for Regulatory Compliance and Energy Policy at the EERC, where he works with a multidisciplinary team of scientists, engineers, and business professionals to integrate legal and regulatory policy, economics, and tax perspectives with applied research related to incremental oil recovery, unconventional oil recovery, and CO2 capture and geologic storage. He currently serves as the Program Manager for the PCOR Partnership, focused on addressing regional capture, transport, use, and storage challenges facing commercial CCUS deployment. Prior to his position at the EERC, he held several positions with the North Dakota Industrial Commission’s Oil and Gas Division, including Carbon Capture and Storage Supervisor, Pipeline Program Supervisor, Underground Injection Control Supervisor, and Petroleum Engineer. He began his career as a Wellsite Geologist in the oil fields of western North Dakota.
Dr. Tade Oyewunmi, LL.D is an Assistant Professor of Law at the University of North Dakota (UND) and currently serves as Director of the Law School’s Energy, Environment, and Natural Resources Law Certificate program. Professor Oyewunmi teaches Oil and Gas Law, Property, Energy & Mining Law, and International Business Transactions. His research interests involve examining the role of law and institutions in the development of energy and natural resources, as well as the economic regulation of natural gas and electricity markets. Before joining UND in 2022, he was a Visiting Assistant Professor at the University of Oregon School of Law and an Assistant Professor and Senior Energy Research Fellow at Vermont Law School.
Professor Oyewunmi serves as an Associate Editor of the Oil, Gas & Energy Law Intelligence (OGEL) Journal, and an Associate Member of the Institute for Energy Law at the Center for American and International Law where he currently serves as the Vice Chair of the Academic Outreach Committee. His previous experience includes practicing in the areas of energy and project finance and international petroleum transactions. He obtained his Doctor of Laws (LL.D) in International Energy Law and Policy at the University of Eastern Finland (UEF) School of Law, Finland; his LL.M in Oil and Gas Law at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, UK; and his Bachelor of Laws (LL.B) from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria.
James Curry is an Attorney and Managing Partner at Babst Calland Attorneys at Law (Washington, D.C. office). He is an energy lawyer who helps clients navigate regulatory and strategic challenges throughout the energy sector. His clients include pipelines, energy producers, LNG terminals, utilities, renewables developers and technology companies. Jim also leads a multidisciplinary team that serves companies developing hydrogen and carbon capture and sequestration projects. Jim takes a pragmatic approach, informed by an understanding of energy markets, the political landscape and federal regulatory programs. Applying his experience from day-to-day regulatory counseling, government investigations and enforcement, Jim and his colleagues identify and execute strategies to help clients achieve their objectives.
From 2006 to 2010 he served as an attorney at the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA).
Juan Palma is currently a Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Senior Policy Advisor on climate change, environmental justice, and equity and inclusion. Formerly Juan was the State Director for the Nevada chapter of The Nature Conservancy, and the Utah State Director for the BLM where he provided leadership to 850 employees and 23 million acres of BLM land in Utah. Juan’s vision for collaborative solutions to controversial land use issues gave rise to several agreements that safeguard our fragile environments and iconic Utah landscapes. Prior to his appointment to Utah he was the State Director for the BLM’s Eastern States. Under his guidance and leadership, the BLM’s mission and vision were carried out in 31 states east of and bordering the Mississippi River. Since joining the BLM, Juan has served as Colorado’s Western Slope Center Manger, District Manager in Vale, Oregon, and Field Office Manager in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Palma began his federal career with the U.S. Forest Service in 1984, where he worked in a variety of positions including Budget Officer, Administrative Officer, District Ranger, and Deputy Forest Supervisor and Forest Supervisor of the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit. He served as the Executive Director of the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, a bi-state compact agency overseeing regional land-use issues within the Lake Tahoe basin.
Among his many accomplishments, Juan highlights the 1997 Lake Tahoe Presidential Summit, hosting the President and Vice President of the United States, as one of the most exciting times in his career. He is also very proud of work that was completed in conjunction with Tribes including the Washoe. Included in the many awards and citations he has received over the years, Juan received the 2003 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Award for outstanding contributions to the Nation’s fish and wildlife resources.
Raised in Toppenish, Washington, Juan’s educational endeavors took him to Brigham Young University and Oregon State University, where he ultimately graduated with a degree in Business Management. Juan also studied at the University of Nevada at Reno, earning his Master’s degree in Environmental Sciences. Juan looks forward to expanding his community-oriented approach to solving some of the thorny issues surrounding public lands by establishing and enhancing partnerships.
Craig Smith is an Attorney and Partner in the Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Department at Crowley Fleck PLLP (Bismarck office) . He joined the firm in 2009 after practicing with Fleck, Mather & Strutz, Ltd. in Bismarck, North Dakota, since 1988. He has extensive experience in all areas of oil and gas law, including the preparation of drilling title opinions, division order title opinions, and acquisition title opinions in North Dakota, Montana, and Wyoming as well as representing clients in multiple oil and gas administrative, regulatory and government affairs matters.
Smith is very active in the industry’s regulatory and government affairs relating to federal, state, and legislative issues, as well as county and local matters. He served as Vice-Chairman and Chairman of the North Dakota Petroleum Council from 2008 through 2012 and currently serves on the Council’s Board and Executive Committee. In 2017 he was inducted into the North Dakota Petroleum Council Hall of Fame.
Smith has represented the oil and gas industry and the North Dakota Petroleum Council on several legal matters including the preparation of comments to BLM’s Waste Prevention Rule, successful appeal of BLM State Director’s Gas Flaring and Royalty Determination ruling, and co-authored the Council’s amicus curiae briefs filed in the North Dakota Supreme Court case Wilkinson v. State of North Dakota and Board of University and School Lands and Sorum v. State of North Dakota concerning oil and gas mineral ownership under the Missouri River and Lake Sakakawea. During the 2017 North Dakota Legislative session, Mr. Smith represented industry in support of the adoption of Senate Bill 2134, leading a comprehensive legislative effort to resolve oil and gas mineral ownership issues underlying the Missouri River and Lake Sakakawea. He has also authored and presented at national seminars regarding the recent Missouri River ordinary high water mark oil and gas title litigation and other water issues involving the Bakken play.
Joshua Swanson is an Attorney at Vogel Law Firm (Fargo office)
Swanson's practice is centered on litigation where he focuses on energy and natural resource law, construction litigation, business law, and agriculture and property law.
Since joining the firm in 2011, Joshua has handled cases at the state district court level in North Dakota and Minnesota, the North Dakota Supreme Court, the United States District Court for the District of North Dakota, and the United States Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals. Joshua successfully litigated the Wilkinson v. Board of Univ. and School Lands case to the North Dakota Supreme Court, where the North Dakota Supreme Court recognized the rights of private landowners with minerals under Lake Sakakawea. Joshua was made a shareholder in December 2015, and he currently chairs the firm’s recruiting committee and co-chairs the mentoring committee. In addition to energy law, Joshua specializes in construction litigation, representing both homeowners and builders/contractors in home construction disputes. Before joining the firm, Joshua served as a law clerk to the seven judges of the old Northwest Judicial District based in Minot and Williston, North Dakota.
A proud native of Maddock, North Dakota, Joshua resides in Fargo with his wife, a medical physicist with Sanford Health’s Roger Maris Cancer Center, their son, and two bulldogs. They are members of Hope Lutheran Church in Fargo. He graduated magna cum laude from the Creighton University School of Law. Joshua received undergraduate degrees in political science and history, with honors, from North Dakota State University. Joshua is a passionate North Dakota State University Bison fan who loves tailgating and can be found every fall in his football seats and winter in his basketball seats. He also writes a column for Bison Illustrated magazine and hosts a weekly Bison radio show on 740AM The Fan.
Paul Forster is an Attorney at Crowley Fleck PLLP (Bismarck office). His practice focuses on energy law, with an emphasis on natural resources litigation and commercial litigation. He regularly advocates for the firm’s energy clients before federal, state, and tribal courts, and also advises clients regarding their business practices and risk mitigation strategies. Paul has handled numerous civil jury trials and bench trials in federal, state, and tribal court, as well as numerous appeals before the North Dakota Supreme Court and U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. Areas of significant experience include royalty litigation and defense of class actions; mineral and leasehold title disputes; issues arising under operating agreements, development agreements, and purchase and sale agreements; condemnations and surface damage disputes; energy facility construction disputes; and other complex civil litigation involving the energy industry. Paul also serves as the chair of North Dakota’s Judicial Nominating Committee and represents the state bar association on the Trustees Council of the Foundation for Natural Resources and Energy Law (formerly the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation).
A native of Bismarck, North Dakota, Forster is a Partner in Crowley Fleck’s Bismarck office. Before joining the firm, Paul completed a clerkship for the Honorable Morton Denlow, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, and also worked in the litigation department of a leading corporate law firm. Forster graduated top in his class from Chicago-Kent College of Law in 2010. He attended college at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington, where he earned degrees in mathematics and history.