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NREEL Lawyer of the Year

Please come back next year for criteria and call for nominations! 

Past Recipients

 


  2019 Recipient Eric Jantz
Eric Jantz is a Staff Attorney for the New Mexico Environmental Law Center, a nonprofit, environmental justice law firm based in Santa Fe. Eric began addressing uranium mining’s impacts on Diné (Navajo) citizens when he worked in a legal aid office in the Eastern Agency of the Navajo Nation. Since he took the helm of the Law Center’s indigenous mining program in 2001, he has become one of the country’s leading public-interest attorneys to work on uranium mining issues at the local, tribal, state, federal and international levels. Under his leadership, the Law Center’s has successfully fought uranium mining proposed for a drinking water aquifer that underlies several Diné communities in western New Mexico and for Mount Taylor, one of the most culturally significant sites in the Southwest. In addition, Eric is at the forefront of a growing national effort to use federal civil rights laws to address environmental racism; his current focus is in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where he is working to prevent decision-makers from a long-standing practice of concentrating air polluting facilities in low-income neighborhoods of color.
 
2018 Recipient Stuart Butzier

Stuart Butzier has assisted mining, energy, high-tech, industrial and ranching clients throughout his thirty year legal career with Modrall Sperling. His counsel has included helping clients strategically navigate the maze of environmental and mining regulatory and permitting regimes, the morass of litigation, and the unique challenges of complex deals and real property transactions involving private, Federal, State, Indian and split-estate lands.
   
2017 Recipient Amy I. Haas

Amy I. Haas is the Deputy Executive Director and General Counsel for the Upper Colorado River Commission where she represents the states of New Mexico, Colorado, Utah and Wyoming on Colorado River matters.  A 2000 graduate of the University of New Mexico School of Law, Ms. Haas has focused her practice on water law, beginning her legal career in private law firms and joining the state of New Mexico’s Interstate Stream Commission in 2005 as the Rio Grande Bureau staff attorney.  In 2009, Ms. Haas became General Counsel of the Interstate Stream Commission, representing the state’s interests in 8 interstate stream compacts, as well as advising the 9-member Commission, its Director and bureau chiefs on all legal matters.  She served in that capacity until May of 2017.  While at the Interstate Stream Commission, Ms. Haas became Acting Director while also fulfilling the role of General Counsel for a six-month period spanning 2014 and 2015.  From 2015 to 2017, Ms. Haas served as New Mexico’s Upper Colorado River Commissioner and its Colorado River Basin States Principal.
 


2016 Recipient Gregory C. Ridgley

Ridgley was selected for for his display of professionalism and integrity, superior legal service and because he is a life-long public servant. Ridgley is held in high regard by water law practitioners throughout the West and is a master of the nuanced area of Western water law. He is able to maintain a high degree of integrity and professionalism in a position that can be extremely difficult and unfathomably demanding.


     
2015 Recipient Greg J. Nibert

Nibert was selected for the award because of his service to oil and gas law, his devotion to NREEL and the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation, and his outstanding professionalism in the practice of law. His highly successful career has focused on oil and gas transactions, in addition to oil and gas regulation. The New Mexico Board of Legal Specialization recognizes him as a specialist in oil and gas law.
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 2014 NREEL Chair Kim Bannerman and Walter Stern   2014 Recipient Walter Stern
Stern, past Chair of the NREEL Section, was selected based on his career including practice in public lands law; environmental law, including work with the National Environmental Policy Act; historic and cultural resources issues; Indian law; water law; oil and gas; and mining. He is a recognized expert on historic and cultural resources and co-authored the American Bar Association's book, as well as numerous papers on the subject.
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