SER to Host Webinar on Social and Environmental Justice Related to Rare Earth Element and Critical Mineral Industry in Wyoming

social and environmental justice poster

The UW School of Energy Resources will host a webinar panel discussion on social and environmental justice on Tuesday, April 5, 2022 at 10:00 a.m. MDT.

The panel gathers community leaders, academic experts, and federal representatives to discuss the topics of social and environmental justice as they relate to the Department of Energy (DOE) sponsored Carbon Ore, Rare Earth, and Critical Mineral (CORE-CM) projects.

“This discussion is completely relevant to all fossil energy and resource research that we are conducting,” says SER’s Davin Bagdonas, a principal investigator for CORE-CM. “Everything we are doing in energy and fossil fuels will have impacts and we have to understand those from multiple perspectives to not only produce successful projects, but to produce successful projects for these communities in meaningful ways.”

The CORE-CM Initiative funds research focused on expanding and transforming the use of coal and coal-based resources to produce coal-based products, and extract rare earth element and critical minerals. Two projects initiated by SER in the Powder River Basin (PRB) of Wyoming and Montana, and the Greater Green River and Wind River basins (GGRB-WRB) of Wyoming and Colorado, were selected and are among 13 projects nationwide.

The projects in these basins are important with the potential to create new industries and economic growth,” says Bagdonas. “Rightfully so, we see the department of energy emphasizing these exact topics on all projects moving forward, and the sooner we can define them and learn to work with our tools in social and environmental justice, the better.”

The panel will feature Savannah Rice, a science, technology, and policy fellow at the DOE; UW’s Matthew Henry, an assistant professor in the Honors College; Executive Director of the Associated Governments of Northwest Colorado (AGNC) Bonnie Petersen; Daniel Cardenas, Chief Executive Officer of Knowledge River – a National Native American STEM Initiative; and SER’s senior policy analyst Kipp Coddington.

Moderated by SER research scientist Selena Gerace, the panel discussion will seek to define the topics of social and environmental justice as they relate to CORE-CM project basins, provide regional and native community perspectives, outline federal expectations, and explore concerns covering environmental health and safety, and potential legal and policy issues.

“As we adapt to a low carbon energy future, conversations about social and environmental justice will be vital to ensuring the successful implementation of new and alternative low carbon energy sources,” says Gerace. “Along with the benefits of low-carbon technologies comes the responsibility to ensure the health and security of our communities. This webinar is a preliminary step to a broader discussion moving forward.”

The webinar is free and open to the public, though registration is required. A link is provided below or can be found on the UW School of Energy Resources Events webpage along with information on the speakers.

Time will be reserved at the end of the presentation for questions.

Once registered, attendees will be emailed the webinar link no sooner than 24 hours before the start of the presentation. Registrants may also submit questions for the panelists in advance through the registration portal.

Event Registration:


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