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Conference Speakers

Conference Speakers


2021 Landscape Discussion on Energy Law & Policy in the Rockies Conference Speakers


Keynote Speakers


katy huff

Kathryn Huff

Acting Assistant Secretary and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Office of Nuclear Energy

Dr. Kathryn D. Huff serves as the Acting Assistant Secretary and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Office of Nuclear Energy. Prior to her current role, she was an Assistant Professor in the Department of Nuclear, Plasma, and Radiological Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where she led the Advanced Reactors and Fuel Cycles Research Group. She was also a Blue Waters Assistant Professor with the National Center for Supercomputing Applications. She was previously a Postdoctoral Fellow in both the Nuclear Science and Security Consortium and the Berkeley Institute for Data Science at the University of California - Berkeley. She received her PhD in Nuclear Engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2013 and her undergraduate degree in Physics from the University of Chicago. Her research focused on modeling and simulation of advanced nuclear reactors and fuel cycles.

nada wolff culver

Nada Wolff Culver

Deputy Director of Programs and Policy, Bureau of Land Management, Department of the Interior

Ms. Culver most recently served as the Vice President, Public Lands and Senior Policy Counsel at the National Audubon Society. Prior to joining Audubon, Nada was the Senior Counsel and Senior Director for Policy and Planning at The Wilderness Society. She began her career in the private sector, working on a variety of environmental issues including energy development and environmental remediation, and was a partner with the law firm of Patton Boggs. She is a graduate of Northwestern University and the University of Pennsylvania School of Law.

Panelists and Moderators

Steve Aumeier

Steve Aumeier, Idaho National Laboratory

Dr. Aumeier serves as Senior Advisor for nuclear energy programs and strategy at Idaho National Laboratory. In this role, he is responsible for developing strategies, programs, initiatives, and partnerships to advance U.S. energy security and clean energy objectives. Over three decades of service in the national laboratory system, Dr. Aumeier has provided innovative leadership in a variety of business, management, and research roles spanning national and homeland security, clean energy and systems research, nuclear energy technology, and university research partnerships. He is a recognized expert and thought leader in technology, business, and clean energy strategies.

Sharon Buccino

Sharon Buccino, Natural Resource Defense Council

Originally from Central Florida where she grew up surrounded by orange trees, Sharon Buccino serves has the Director of the Lands Division at the Natural Resources Defense Council.  Her current work focuses on public land management, energy policy and government transparency.  Ms. Buccino advocates in court, before federal agencies and Congress.  She is a regular speaker at numerous events including the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation’s 2020 Annual Institute.  She recently delivered the keynote address at the Texas Land Trust Council Conference.  Prior to joining NRDC in 1993, Ms. Buccino practiced environmental and administrative law with a private law firm in Washington, DC, and worked for the Alaska Supreme Court.  She is a graduate of Yale University and Stanford Law School.

Kevin Carman

Kevin Carman, Executive Vice President and Provost, University of Wyoming

Kevin Carman serves as Provost and Executive Vice President of the University of Wyoming. In this capacity, he is the chief academic officer and has oversight of all undergraduate and graduate academic programs. He is a Professor in the Department of Zoology and Physiology. Prior to his UW appointment, Carman was the Executive Vice President and Provost at the University of Nevada, Reno and Professor of Biology from 2013-2020. Prior to his UNR appointment Carman was at Louisiana State University for 24 years where he was a professor of Biological Sciences and Dean of the College of Science for nine years. Carman’s research expertise is in marine and freshwater benthic food webs and the ecotoxicology of contaminants.

Nels Johnson

Nels Johnson, The Nature Conservancy

Nels Johnson is the North America Energy Program Director for the Nature Conservancy in Bozeman, Montana. He works with The Nature Conservancy’s teams across North America to integrate “smart-siting” into energy development, the continent’s leading cause of land-use change. During his 25-year career, Nels has worked on forest management, carbon sequestration, protected areas design, energy planning, mitigation, climate adaptation, and incentives to sustain ecosystem services in Asia, Latin America and North America. He has published over two dozen articles, reports and books on these topics.

Sam Kalen

Sam Kalen, Associate Dean and Professor, UW College of Law

Professor Sam Kalen joined the University of Wyoming College of Law faculty in 2009.  Professor Kalen is an expert in energy, public lands and natural resources, as well as environmental and administrative law.  He founded and is now the co-Director of the Center for Law and Energy Resources in the Rockies.  Prior to Joining the College of Law, he held various adjunct or visiting teaching positions at the University of Baltimore, Florida State University, Washington & Lee University, and Penn State University.

Holly Krutka

Holly Krutka, Executive Director, UW School of Energy Resources

Holly Krutka is the Executive Director of the School of Energy Resources at the University of Wyoming. She came to the university after serving as the Vice President for coal generation and emissions technologies at Peabody, the world’s largest private-sector coal producer. Dr. Krutka has spent much of her career focusing on technology and policy pathways to advance carbon capture as well as identifying nontraditional coal-consumption opportunities. Before joining Peabody, she worked as a senior research and development analyst for Tri-State Generation and Transmission, an electric generation and transmission cooperative based in Westminster, Colo.; as executive editor of Cornerstone, The Official Journal of the World Coal Industry, employed by the Chinese state-owned energy company Shenhua Group; and as a research scientist and senior research engineer with ADA Environmental Solutions in Highlands Ranch, Colo., where she was tasked with launching a carbon capture research program.

Phil Lowe

Phil Lowe, Department of the Interior’s Rocky Mountain Regional Solicitor’s Office

Phil Lowe is an attorney advisor with the Department of the Interior’s Rocky Mountain Regional Solicitor’s Office, in Lakewood, CO. Formerly a hydrogeologist and environmental scientist in the environmental management and licensing section of a major electrical utility, as an attorney he was part of the environmental practice groups of two large law firms in San Francisco and Denver. At the Regional Solicitor’s Office, he advises Interior agency clients on legal and policy matters related to conventional and renewable energy development on public lands and has extensive litigation experience before the Interior Board of Land Appeals and federal courts. Phil also advises Bureau of Land Management clients on NEPA and FLPMA issues associated with environmental impact statements and environmental assessments for a variety of land planning actions and project level records of decision. He has a 1981 B.S. with honors from Rutgers University (where he won several athletic and academic awards) and a 1989 J.D. from the University of Texas at Austin. 

Rob Mathes

Rob Mathes, Managing Counsel – Rockies for Occidental Petroleum Corporation

Rob Mathes is a Managing Counsel – Rockies for Occidental Petroleum Corporation.  At Oxy Rob advises his clients on a wide variety of domestic oil and gas issues, corporate matters, and works on complex transactions including purchase and sale agreements and asset divestitures.  Prior to joining Oxy, Rob was a partner at Davis Graham & Stubbs in Denver, Colorado.  Prior to his time at Davis Graham &  Stubbs Rob was a Shareholder with the Firm of Bjork Lindley Little PC in Denver Colorado. At both Davis Graham & Stubbs and Bjork Lindley Little, Rob’s on public land law, including environmental compliance and federal land use and planning. 

Glen Murrell

Glen Murrell,  Executive Director, Wyoming Energy Authority

Originally from New Zealand, Dr. Murrell graduated with his Bachelor of Science in Earth Science and his Master of Science in Geology from the University of Waikato. He received his Doctorate in Geology from Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam. Dr. Murrell has over two decades of experience in the oil and gas industry. He has previously worked for the University of Wyoming Enhanced Oil Recovery Institute, launching their reservoir data program and leading programs analyzing the CO2-EOR industry in the State.

Tara Neider

Tara Neider, Senior Vice President and Project Director, Natrium™ Demonstration Reactor at TerraPower

Tara Neider is Senior Vice President and Project Director, Natrium™ Demonstration Reactor at TerraPower.  In this role, she leads TerraPower’s efforts to demonstrate the Natrium reactor as part of the Department of Energy’s Advanced Reactor Demonstration Program. Her team is responsible for plant design, testing, licensing, design integration, procurement and project leadership and administration. Neider has more than 30 years of experience in nuclear engineering, project management and licensing. Previously, she worked as senior vice president of Back End Business Development and Sales at AREVA, Inc. For four years prior, Neider served as president and CEO of AREVA Federal Services where she established its overall strategy. She spent much of her early career with Transnuclear, Inc. She began as a project manager and design engineer and rose to serve as president and CEO of the company.

Pete Obermueller

Pete Obermueller, President, Petroleum Association of Wyoming

Pete Obermueller is President of the Petroleum Association of Wyoming, a post he has held since January of 2019.  As President, Pete represents Wyoming’s oil and gas industry at the local, state and federal level.  A graduate of Natrona County High School in Casper, Wyoming, Obermueller holds a Master Degree in Public Policy from the University of Minnesota.  Following several years of serving Wyoming in Washington D.C. as an aide to former United States Representatives Barbara Cubin and Cynthia Lummis, Pete moved back to Wyoming in 2013 to head up the Wyoming County Commissioners Association before taking the helm at the Petroleum Association.

Alex Obrecht

Alex Obrecht, Attorney, Baker Hostetler

Alex Obrecht concentrates his practice on energy regulation and litigation, focusing on oil and gas development on federal lands, hazardous materials transportation and compliance, and oil and gas royalties. Having grown up and attended law school in Wyoming, one of the leading energy-producing states in the country, Alex adds a practical understanding to the complex legal environment in which his clients operate. He received his J.D. from the University of Wyoming in 2013 and a B.A. in Economics from Harvard University. Prior to law school, Alex worked with Credit Suisse, a Switzerland-based investment bank. During his tenure, he was involved in securities trading that occurred after the Macondo well blowout. 

James Owen

James Owen, Vice President of Environmental, Fuels and Mining, PacifiCorp

James Owen is Vice President of Environmental, Fuels and Mining at Rocky Mountain Power / PacifiCorp. His responsibilities encompass strategic planning, stakeholder engagement, and oversight of fueling strategy, mining operations, environmental compliance, and major generation resource additions. Mr. Owen also leads efforts for evaluation and implementation of carbon capture, utilization and sequestration technologies at PacifiCorp’s thermal generation fleet. Mr. Owen has extensive state government and private sector experience in operations, regulation, and compliance. He holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Mining Engineering, a Masters of Business Administration, and a Juris Doctorate, all from the University of Utah.

Todd Parfitt

Todd Parfitt, Director, Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality

Todd Parfitt was appointed Director of the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality (WYDEQ) by Governor Matt Mead in October 2012 and subsequently reappointed in January 2019 by Governor Mark Gordon.  He has 27 years of experience with the department, including seven years in the dual role of Deputy Director and Administrator of the Industrial Siting Division.  After earning his Master’s degree in Public Administration, Environmental Policy from The Ohio State University, he worked for the Ohio Fire Marshal as an Environmental Supervisor.  Parfitt also spent time in the private sector as Director of Operations for the environmental consulting firm BHE Environmental.  Parfitt served as President of the Environmental Council of States in 2017-2018.

Katie Schroder

Katie Schroder, Attorney, Davis Graham & Stubbs

Katie Schroder is a partner at Davis Graham & Stubbs LLP. Ms. Schroder’s practice focuses on all aspects of energy development on federal lands. She possesses a diverse skill set that enables her to assist developers through a project’s entire life cycle – from project permitting through any administrative or judicial litigation.  Prior to joining DGS, Ms. Schroder was a partner at a boutique oil and gas firm. She also served as an attorney-advisor in the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Office of the Solicitor as part of the Solicitor’s Honors Program, where she advised the multiple bureaus within Interior. After law school, she clerked for Justice Alex J. Martinez of the Colorado Supreme Court.

Casey Terrell

Casey Terrell, Attorney, Crowley Fleck

Casey is an associate in the Sheridan, WY office and practices with the Oil and Gas and Commercial Litigation practice groups. Although Casey maintains a broad civil practice, his primary areas of interest include energy litigation, commercial litigation, and real property transactions. He has enjoyed representing clients across the state of Wyoming. Casey graduated from the University of Wyoming after completing a dual-degree program to receive both his MA in Environment and Natural Resources, as well as his JD. While at Wyoming, Casey excelled as an Article Editor for the Wyoming Law Review, a Legal Research Fellow for the University’s Carbon Management Institute, and as a Clarence A. Brimmer and Salt Creek Energy Excellence Scholar.

Mary Throne

Mary Throne, Wyoming Public Service Commission

Mary Throne, a Commissioner on the Wyoming Public Service Commission since 2019, has focused her career on Wyoming energy issues in both public service and private law practice.   For ten years, Mary served in the Wyoming House, four years as Minority Leader. While there she helped author Wyoming’s original carbon capture and sequestration laws as a member of a select committee.  In 2018, she lost to Governor Mark Gordon, who appointed her to the PSC—only in Wyoming.  Mary is Wyoming’s representative to the Western Interconnection Regional Advisory Board and a Vice- Chair of the Committee on Energy Resources and the Environment for the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC). She received her BA from Princeton University and her JD from Columbia Law School.    Mary and her husband, Kevin Boyce, have three sons, Michael, Tarver, and Patrick.

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