Tracy Hughes Discusses Impact of Environmental Cases in NM

Tracy Hughes, former general counsel of the New Mexico Environment Department, presented a lecture that delves into the impact of recent environmental cases that have been filed in the state. The lecture took place at 5:15 p.m. on Nov. 2 at the UNM School of Law. Her presentation, titled, “The Ramifications of Recent State Environmental Cases,” is part of the school’s 2011 Natural Resources Speaker Series.

Hughes began with a brief overview of the historical development of environmental law and then point out some prominent New Mexico judicial decisions that are still cited today, and some recent decisions by the New Mexico Supreme Court that analyze when an administrative rulemaking can be stopped or interrupted by a judicial proceeding. She also discussed the finality of rules and the recent Supreme Court decision New Energy Economy, Inc. v. Martinez, 2011 – NMSC – 006. Finally, Hughes shifted to the respective roles of public clients and attorneys, and several permitting cases will be cited that illustrate this complex relationship. 

Hughes, who currently works for the New Mexico Legislative Finance Committee, previously served as general counsel for the New Mexico Environment Department and the Public Employees Retirement Association. In 2005, she led the Environment Department's legal division in litigation to address air pollution violations by natural gas processing plants around the state. The case resulted in $60 million worth of new pollution control projects at three gas plants, and $4 million in penalties, sending a strong warning message to the industry.

The State Bar of New Mexico recently named Hughes the 2011 Public Lawyer of the Year.

The lecture is free and open to the public. It has been approved by the NM MCLE Board for 1.0 hours of General CLE credit. Free parking is available in the law school parking lot.

The public lecture is sponsored by the UNM School of Law's Natural Resources Program, Utton Transboundary Resources Center, Environmental Law Society and the Natural Resources Journal. The UNM School of Law gratefully acknowledges the support provided for this program by the Natural Resources, Energy and Environmental Law Section of the State Bar of New Mexico.

View a video recording of the lecture here.

October 25, 2011