Conference explores legal issues related to America's water supply

Current and former state and federal government officials will headline the 35th Annual Water Law Conference hosted by the American Bar Association Section of Environment, Energy and Resources March 28-29 at Loews Hollywood Hotel in Los Angeles.

Stephen Samuels, former assistant section chief at the U.S. Department of Justice, will discuss current water litigation at the federal level in “Navigating Current Water Litigation: A Review of Key Water-related Cases Pending in the Supreme Court and Lower Courts” at 8:15 a.m. March 28.

Jeffrey Kightlinger, general manager of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, will deliver the keynote address at 1:30 p.m. March 28.

Program highlights include:

• “The Future of Indian Water Rights Settlements in an Age of Uncertainty” —Settlement has long been the preferred means of resolving Indian water rights claims. Traditionally, these settlements have required federal funding and congressional approval to build water infrastructure projects that convert “paper” rights into “wet” water for tribes, while preserving established non-Indian uses. Panelists will examine the outlook for settlements in the 115th Congress and the new administration.

• “The Public Trust Doctrine: A Modern Debate Over a Classic Doctrine” — This interactive panel will discuss the public trust doctrine, which embodies the concept that states and their agencies should protect public environmental resources. Panelists will analyze how pending and anticipated litigation, as well as potential legislation, will test the limits and implementation of the doctrine in the future.