Professor Reed Benson

Contact Information

Ph.: 505-277-1119
Fax: 505-277-1597
Office: 3237

Reed Benson

Keleher & McLeod Professor
B.S. Iowa State University
J.D. University of Michigan
Member of Colorado Bar
(inactive status)

SSRN

Profile

Reed Benson joined the UNM law faculty in July 2008, contributing a broad background in environmental work, including five years as executive director of WaterWatch of Oregon. In addition to teaching natural resources classes, he serves as Faculty Editor-in-Chief of the Natural Resources Journal.

Prior to coming to UNM, he spent six years on the faculty of the University of Wyoming College of Law, where he taught courses in environmental law, legislation, water law and administrative law, and served as faculty adviser to the Wyoming Law Review. He previously worked as a staff attorney for the Land and Water Fund of the Rockies, an attorney for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and an associate for the Colorado law firm of Hutchinson, Black & Cook.

Benson's writing focuses on water law and environmental issues facing the West. His most recent publications examine such topics as the application of the Endangered Species Act to federal water projects, the efforts of western cities to ensure adequate water supplies for recreation, and the scope of federal deference to state laws governing water allocation and management. He is co-author on the 7th edition of the Water Resource Management casebook published by Foundation Press.

Courses

Administrative Law

Administrative Law

The Administrative Law course reviews administrative law practice and procedure, primarily at the federal level. The course begins with materials on the nature and function of administrative agencies. The course then reviews agency rulemaking power, emphasizing federal and state Administrative Procedure Act (APA) requirements. The course then considers the adjudicative powers of administrative agencies, including an agency's obligation to afford persons due process of law. Finally, the course examines judicial review of administrative agency decisions.

Federal Law of Water Resources

Federal Law of Water Resources

Federal Law of Water Resources deals with various federal laws and programs regarding water allocation and management, addressing these topics in more detail than is possible in the basic Water Law course. Areas of emphasis include federal water projects, reserved water rights for federal and tribal lands, interstate water allocation, and the effect of federal environmental laws on water management and use. Federalism in the development and control of water resources is a recurring theme of the course.

Introduction to Natural Resources and Environmental Law

Introduction to Natural Resources and Environmental Law

Introduction to Natural Resources and Environmental Law is a 2-credit course designed to introduce students to natural resources law (e.g. water rights, public lands) and environmental law (e.g. pollution control, toxics). The course examines the nature of environmental and natural resource issues, identifies policy options for addressing them, and offers a “sampler” of relevant laws. Class sessions involve considerable discussion of legal and policy questions relating to natural resources and the environment. The course is open to all but is primarily geared towards first-year students, who may benefit from exposure to a field that is heavily statutory and administrative.

Natural Resources

Natural Resources

This course surveys the legal and institutional framework governing the use and management of natural resources, primarily in the West. We will focus largely on uses of federal public lands, such as grazing, logging, mining, energy development, and recreation. We will also address other resources, such as wildlife and state lands. The course is appropriate for students interested in concentrating in this field, as well as those who only seek an overview of natural resources law. Most readings will come from Klein, Cheever & Birdsong's Natural Resources Law, 2nd edition (Aspen).

Natural Resources Journal

Natural Resources Journal

Course Descriptions

Required Book:TBA
The research, writing, and editing seminar is limited to second year students who have successfully written onto the Natural Resources Journal. The goals of the seminar are to consider editing and writing articles dealing with a wide spectrum of natural resource and environmental problems. The seminar emphasizes interdisciplinary writing for a broad audience of natural resource policy makers. Students will work towards selecting, researching, and writing about a natural resources topic of their own choosing. At the same time the seminar will help to train the members to critically view their own work and the work of other contributors to the Natural Resources Journal. Finally, the seminar will instruct new NRJ members in the process of producing the four issues of the Journal published each year and as NRJ staff members they will be assigned cite checking duties for articles currently being prepared for publication.

Natural Resources Journal II - Spring

The most important goals of the seminar are to teach editing of scholarly writing and, at the same time, deal with a wide spectrum of natural resources/environmental problems. It will emphasize interdisciplinary writing for an audience of natural resources policy makers. The course will help train the members to critically view their own work, learn to work in teams, appreciate the importance of deadlines and organizational techniques, learn to communicate with authors about their work, learn about publication processes and be sensitive to the concerns of journal subscribers.

Natural Resources Journal III (Editors) - Fall

Research, writing, and publication, as well as editing and processing materials for publication.

Natural Resources Journal IV - Spring

Research, writing, and publication, as well as editing and processing materials for publication.

Water Law

Water Law

Water Law deals with the laws and institutions governing water allocation and use, with an emphasis on water rights.  The primary focus is on the Western United States, particularly the prior appropriation doctrine and state laws dealing with groundwater use.  The course also deals with interstate water disputes and the water rights of federal and tribal lands.

Publications

Books

Water Resource Management, (with Dan Tarlock, Jim Corbridge, David Getches and Sarah Bates), (7th ed. Foundation Press 2014).

Articles

Environmental Issues in the Allocation and Management of Western Interstate Rivers Indiana International & Comparative Law Review, Forthcoming.
Available at: SSRN

Avoiding Jeopardy, Without the Questions: Recovery Implementation Plans for Endangered Species in Western River Basins, 2 Michigan Journal of Environmental and Administrative Law 473 (2013).
Available at SSRN

Federal Water Law and the 'Double Whammy': How the Bureau of Reclamation can Help the West Adapt to Drought and Climate Change, 39 Ecology Law Quarterly 1049 (2012).
Available at: SSRN

Public Funding Programs for Environmental Water Acquisitions: Origins, Purposes, and Revenue Sources, 42 Envtl. L. Rev. 265 (2012).
Available at: SSRN

Alive but Irrelevant: The Prior Appropriation Doctrine in Today’s Western Water Law, 83 U. Colo. L. Rev. 675 (2012).
Available at: SSRN

Environmental Review of Western Water Project Operations: Where NEPA has not Applied, Will it now Protect Farmers from Fish?, 29 UCLA  J. of Envtl. L. & Pol'y 269 (2011).
 Available at: SSRN

Public on Paper: The Failure of Law to Protect Public Water Uses in the Western United States (January 12, 2012). Journal of Rural Law and Policy, Vol. 1, No. 1, 2011.
Available at SSRN

New Adventures of the Old Bureau: Modern-Day Reclamation Statutes and Congress’ Unfinished Environmental Business, 48 HARV. J. ON LEGIS. 137 (2011).
Available at: SSRN

Dams, Duties, and Discretion: Bureau of Reclamation Water Project Operations and the Endangered Species Act, forthcoming in 33 Columbia Journal of Environmental Law 1 (2008).

Rivers to Live By: Can Western Water Law Help Communities Embrace Their Streams? 27 J. Land Resources & Envtl. L. 1 (2007).
Available at: SSRN

Deflating the Deference Myth: National Interests vs. State Authority under Federal Laws Affecting Water Use, 2006 Utah L. Rev. 241 (2006).
Available at: SSRN

'The Supreme Court of Science' Speaks on Water Rights: The National Academy of Sciences Columbia River Report and its Water Policy Implications, 35 Envtl L. 85 (2005).
Available at: SSRN

Pollution Without Solution: Flow Impairment Problems Under Clean Water Act Section 303, 24 Stan. Envtl. L.J. 199 (2005).
Available at: SSRN

So Much Conflict, Yet So Much in Common: Considering the similarities between western water law and the Endangered Species Act, 44 Natural Resources Journal 29 (2004).

Giving Suckers (and Salmon) an Even Break: Klamath Basin water and the Endangered Species Act, 15 Tulane Environmental Law Journal 197 (2002).

Can’t Get No Satisfaction: Securing water for federal and tribal lands in the West, 30 Environmental Law Reporter 11056 (2000).

Maintaining the Status Quo: Protecting established water uses in the Pacific Northwest, despite the rules of prior appropriation, 28 Environmental Law 881 (1998), reprinted in 37 Public Land and Resources Law Digest 69 (2000).

Whose Water Is It? Private rights and public authority over reclamation project water, 16 Virginia Environmental Law Journal 363 (1997).

A Watershed Issue: The role of streamflow protection in Northwest river basin management, 26 Environmental Law 175 (1996).