Carver Colloquium Logo

The Carver Colloquium is an annual event hosted by the Rocky Mountain Land Use Institute and Jan Laitos, the John A. Carver, Jr. Chair at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law and presented in partnership with the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy. Held each fall term, the Colloquium features two leading legal or planning scholars from the land use, environmental and natural resources law fields. The Colloquium presents divergent or alternative viewpoints on cutting-edge issues in these fields in a point-counterpoint format.

6th Annual Carver Colloquium

Water for Sale: Prior Appropriation or Free Market Trade?
Thursday, September 29, 2016
Click Here to View a Video Presentation of This Event

This year features a conversation about whether Colorado’s prior appropriation doctrine can, or should, accommodate a free market system for water in order to make water allocations more equitable and more sensitive to environmental concerns.

Our speakers will address three questions related to the topic:

  • Can water be treated as a commodity and freely traded in a water market?
  • Does the prior appropriation system result in inequitable allocation among rural and urban users?
  • Can Colorado’s prior appropriation doctrine adequately protect environmental and recreational values?

Through these questions, we will examine the legal and policy arguments affecting Colorado’s water future.

Colloquium Materials:
Article by Justice Hobbs
Article by Professor Libecap

Gregory Hobbs Gregory Hobbs
Former Colorado Supreme Court Justice
University of Denver Sturm College of Law Professor
Justice Gregory Hobbs is currently the Co-Director of the Environment & Natural Resources Program at the University of Denver’s Sturm College of Law after serving for twenty years on the Colorado Supreme Court. For more than two decades before his appointment to the bench, Justice Hobbs practiced water law, environmental law, land use, and transportation law. From 1992 to 1996, he was a partner with Hobbs, Trout & Raley P.C.; prior to that, he spent thirteen years as a partner with Davis, Graham & Stubbs. He served as assistant attorney general for the State of Colorado Natural Resources Section from 1975 to 1979, and also worked for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in the early 1970s. Justice Hobbs authored 283 majority opinions during his tenure with the Colorado Supreme Court (1996–2015). He has written extensively on numerous environmental topics including water law, the Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District, air quality, water and legal education, and paleohydrology at Mesa Verde. The author of five books—most recently Into the Grand (2012)—Justice Hobbs is well known for his insightful analysis of environmental issues and his humor.

Gary Libecap Gary Libecap
University of California, Santa Barbara Bren School of Environmental & Management
Gary D. Libecap is Professor of Corporate Environmental Management in the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management and Professor of Economics at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He also is Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research in Cambridge, MA., Research Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, and Senior Fellow at the Property and Environment Research Center, PERC, Bozeman, Montana. He was Pitt Professor of American History and Institutions, Cambridge University, Economics Faculty and Saint Catharine’s College, 2010-11. He received his PhD from the University of Pennsylvania and a BA from the University of Montana. His research focuses on the role of property rights institutions in addressing the open access losses for natural resources such as fisheries and freshwater, as well as the role of water markets in encouraging efficient use and allocation.

Moderator: Jan Laitos Jan Laitos
John A. Carver, Jr. Professor
University of Denver Sturm College of Law
Jan Laitos holds the John A. Carver Jr. Chair at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law. He is a Reporter for the Planning and Environmental Law Review; a regional board member of the Rocky Mountain Land Use Institute; and Trustee of the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law foundation. He was Vice Chair of the Colorado Water Quality Control Commission. In 1996, he was given the University of Denver’s distinguished Teaching Award, and in 2005, he was selected a “DU Law Star.” He has worked as a consultant on several cases decided by the 9th Circuit Court of Federal appeals, the Montana Supreme Court, the Nevada Supreme Court, the Idaho Supreme court, and the Colorado Supreme Court, and on several petitions before the United States Supreme Court.

5th Annual Carver Colloquium
State Control of Federal Lands: Legal or Not?
Tuesday, October 6, 2015
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Federal ownership of public lands has been a hotly debated topic in the West, long before the Sagebrush Rebellion of the 1970s and 80s first brought it national attention. Now the issue is back in the news—and in legislatures and courts—across the West. At the heart of the issue, however, is whether states have any legal claim to these lands. Despite several attempts to pass legislation in the past, the federal government has retained control. The 5th annual Carver Colloquium focused on whether current efforts to transfer control to the states can succeed.

4th Annual Carver Colloquium
Fracking Bans & Setbacks: An Unconstitutional Takings?
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A Takings is the seizure of private property or a substantial deprivation of the right to its free use that is caused by government action. This year’s event will debate the issue of whether or not proposed fracking bans and setbacks constitute a takings.

3rd Annual Carver Colloquium—The Colorado Compact: Effective or Obsolete?
Click Here to View a Video Presentation of This Event

Negotiated almost a century ago, the Colorado River Compact allocates water supply among many of the western states, but it may be outdated. The Compact overestimated the amount of water available from the Colorado River, seeming to benefit Arizona, Nevada, and California at the expense of Upper Basin states like Colorado, and failed to anticipate current and future demands on the River that have been exacerbated by climate change. Is the Compact still relevant or should we throw it out and start over?

January 2013: Local Regulation of Oil & Gas Production
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The 2013 Carver Colloquium featured a debate between UCLA Professor Robert Freilich and Dan Domenico, the Colorado Solicitor General. The Colloquium focused on the challenges facing local governments regarding oil and gas drilling and production in their communities, in light of the traditionally dominant regulatory role played by state authorities, such as the Colorado Oil and Gas Commission.

October 2011: The Governance of Renewable Energy Transmission
The 2011 Carver Colloquium featured former Colorado Governor Bill Ritter, Jr. and Robin Kundis Craig, Associate Dean of the Florida State University College of Law, who presented two models of governance to overcome this challenges of energy transmission.

The Carver Colloquium is presented by:
University of Denver Sturm College of Law Logo RMLUI Logo
Lincoln Institute of Land Policy