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Natural Resources, Energy & Environmental Law

To a significant degree, the terms "international" and "energy" describe the future for Calgary and for Alberta. They also highlight a major focus for the University of Calgary and the Faculty of Law. The Natural Resources, Energy and Environmental Law Research group (NREELR) promotes education, research and publication in the area of natural resources, energy and environmental law, and facilitates collaboration and interaction with related disciplines, institutions, the legal profession and the community.

Professor Nigel Bankes took over the role as Chair of Natural Resources Law in 2008. His role is to teach and conduct research in the areas of natural resources, energy and environmental law within the Faculty of Law, and to interact closely with members of the legal profession engaged in practice in the field.

On the legal side, specific project collaboration can be developed with the Canadian Institute of Resources Law (CIRL), an independent affiliated research, education and international assistance institution. CIRL is located in Murray Fraser Hall and is being fully integrated in to the Faculty of Law. This will build on existing cooperations between CIRL and the Alberta Civil Liberties Research Centre's (ACLRC) project on human rights in natural resource development and CIRL's Russian oil and gas law and policy work.

Collaboration with related disciplines includes additional work with members of the faculties of Environmental Design, Social Science and the  Haskayne School of Business

NREEL Members

NREEL Published Books

In addition to publications by individual members involved with Natural Resources, Energy and Environmental Law Research, four recently published books have benefited from the contributions of a number of faculty members and graduate students working in these areas.

The Proposed Nordic Saami Convention: National and International Dimensions of Indigenous Property Rights

In 2005 an expert group representing the governments of Norway, Sweden and Finland, and the Saami parliaments of these countries agreed upon a draft text of a Nordic Saami Convention. This collection of essays explores the national and international dimensions of indigenous property rights and the draft Convention which recognises the Saami as one people divided by international boundaries. Professor Nigel Bankes is one of the editors of this collection of essays published by Hart Publishing in 2013. Three other U of C law professors and one U of C PhD candidate also contributed chapters to the book. In addition to an Introduction and a Conclusion by the editors and essays by legal scholars from Norway, Sweden and Finland and elsewhere in Canada, the collection includes:

  • Nigel Bankes, “Recognising the Property Interests of Indigenous Peoples within Settler Societies: Some Different Conceptual Approaches” 21-44
  • Jonnette Watson Hamilton, “Acknowledging and Accommodating Legal Pluralism: An Application to the Draft Nordic Saami Convention” 45-78
  • Verónica Potes, “The Achuar People in Ecuador: Towards Territorial and Political Autonomy” 295-322
  • Sharon Mascher, “The Australian Approach to Recognising the Land Rights of Indigenous Peoples: The Native Title Act 1993 (Cth) 223-250
  • Nigel Bankes, “The Forms of Recognition of Indigenous Property Rights in Settler States: Modern Land Claim Agreements in Canada” 351-378
  • Jennifer Koshan, “The Nordic Saami Convention and the Rights of Saami Women: Lessons from Canada” 379-399

Energy Networks and the Law: Innovative Solutions in Changing Markets

Two professors, one adjunct professor and one graduate student contributed to Energy Networks and the Law: Innovative Solutions in Changing Markets, Martha M. Roggenkamp, Lila Barrera-Hernández, Donald N. Zillman, and Iñigo del Guayo, eds., Oxford University Press, 2012.

Included are a chapter by Professor Alastair Lucas, the current chair of the IBA Section on Energy, Environment, Resources and Infrastructure Law's Academic Advisory Group, on "Canadian Energy Infrastructure and the Federalist Dilemma";  a chapter by Professor Nigel Bankes and LLM candidate Rick Nilson on "Economic Regulation and the Design of a Carbon Infrastructure for Alberta"; and a chapter by Adjunct Professor, Lila Barrera-Hernández, on "South America Energy Network Integration: Mission Impossible?"

This is the first book on this scale to provide an analysis and broad coverage of international and national laws and regulations governing energy networks and demonstrates that the increased use of renewables has an impact on networks, needing a different legal approach and a re-organization of energy grids. It also argues for the need for cross-border and international cooperation in order to develop energy networks and supply security.

Property and the Law in Energy and Natural Resources

Four professors contributed chapters to Property and the Law in Energy and Natural Resources, Aileen McHarg, Barry Barton, Adrian Bradbrook and Lee Godden, eds., Oxford University Press, 2010.

Professor and Chair of Natural Resources Law, Nigel Bankes, and Professor Jonnette Watson Hamilton, co-authored "Different Views of the Cathedral: The Literature on Property Law Theory"; Adjunct Professor Lila Barrera-Hernandez wrote "Got Title, Will Sell: Indigenous Rights to Land in Chile and Argentina"; and Professor Alastair Lucas, authored "The Significance of Property Rights in Biotic Sequestration of Carbon."

The edited collection explores the multiple dimensions of the contemporary relationship between property, energy, and natural resources law. Its genesis was the growing resurgence of global interest in questions of property in energy and resources and how this manifests itself across legal regimes around the world.

Beyond the Carbon Economy

Five professors and graduate students contributed to Beyond the Carbon Economy: Energy Law in Transition, Donald N. Zillman, Catherine Redgewell, Yurka Omorogbe and Lila Barrera - Hernandez, eds., Oxford University Press, 2008.

Included are chapters by Professor and Chair of Natural Resources Law, Nigel Bankes (with Professor Martha Roggenkamp, University of Groningen) on "Legal Aspects of Carbon Capture and Storage"; by Adjunct Professor Lila Barrera-Hernandez, who in addition to her editorial work, wrote "Are We There Yet? The Long Road to South America's Energy Future"; and Professor Alastair Lucas, who, with Ph.D. candidate Chidinma Thompson, and 2008 LL.M. graduate Olurotimi Williams Daudu, authored "Heavy Duty Transition Fuels: Oil Sands and Heavy Oil".

The book explores the role of law in the emerging transition to a significantly different world energy picture. It was the product of a two year project by the Academic Advisory Group (AAG) of the International Bar Association's Section on Energy, Environment, Resources and Infrastructure Law (SEERIL) and included an integrative workshop in June, 2007 at the Banff Centre, organized by Alastair Lucas, U of C Administrator Susan Marks and U of C Staff Assistant Sue Lapierre. The Book was also part of the material for SEERIL's Biennial conference held April 27 - 30 in Copenhagen, Denmark. It was the basis for an interactive panel that included contributions from Professors Bankes, Barrera-Hernandez, and Lucas.