A diverse group of experts in various fields of energy science, policy and law came together for panel presentations at the Energy Issues Roundtable held at the UNM School of Law recently. The roundtable was co-hosted by the UNM School of Law and Young Professionals in Energy New Mexico (YPE NM).

The event was coordinated by Assistant Professor and Karelitz Chair in Oil and Gas Law Alex Ritchie. “Constituents and community members want opportunities to hear about divergent viewpoints and common ground from leaders and experts in energy. I believe this event was extremely successful in part because the School of Law offers a non-contentious environment to consider important energy issues," he said.

Also coordinating the event was Miguel Suazo, partner, Landrith, Lehrbass & Suazo, LLP and executive director of YPE NM. “When we began YPE NM earlier this year, we sought to elevate the discussion of energy issues in New Mexico in a constructive manner by hosting events such as the roundtable,” Suazo said. “I think that we were successful in that effort and I am proud of the work that the YPE-NM board and the law school put into the event.”

Approximately 110 members of the energy industry, lawyers, law students and community members attended the event, which was sponsored by a diverse group of organizations and companies, including oil and gas companies, renewable energy companies, environmental organizations and universities.

The roundtable kicked off with a presentation on Opportunities in Energy for New Mexicans, with talks by Steve Bukowsi, director of the Southwest Technology Development Institute, New Mexico State University; William Consuegra, economic development representative, New Mexico State Land Office; and Randy Pacheco, dean, San Juan School of Energy.

In discussions on the Energy/Water Nexus in New Mexico, panel speakers were Mike Hightower, distinguished member, technical staff, Military and Energy Systems Analysis Department, Sandia National Laboratories; Bruce Thomson, research professor and regents professor emeritus, University of New Mexico; and Suazo.

In Discussions on Perspectives on the Future of Renewable Energy in New Mexico, speakers were Sarah Cottrell Propst, Executive Director, Interwest Energy Alliance; Denise Fort, Professor Emeritus and Research Professor, UNM School of Law; Jeremy Turner, Executive Director, New Mexico Renewable Energy Transmission Authority; and Richard Turner, Assistant Vice President - Corporate Development, El Paso Electric Company.

In Local Control of Oil and Gas in New Mexico, speakers were Jesus L. Lopez, Attorney at Law and San Miguel County Attorney; Stephen C. Ross, Attorney, Law and Resource Planning Associates, P.C.; and Alex Ritchie, Assistant Professor, Karelitz Chair in Oil and Gas Law, UNM School of Law.

The event was free due to the generosity of sponsors and attendees were invited to attend one or more panels or spend the whole afternoon if their schedule permitted.