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GCSC Seminar: Jason Robison – Navajo Nation water rights & the Supreme Court

September 12, 2023 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm MDT

FASB 295 and online.

To attend via Zoom, register at

Abstract: The Colorado River is not stationary. Climate change’s hydrological impacts are one testament (read: aridification/megadrought). So, too, is the U.S. Supreme Court’s June 2023 decision in Arizona v. Navajo Nation. Focused on Diné (Navajo) needs for and rights to water within the river system’s Lower Basin, the Court held against the tribe in a 5-4 split decision, raising a host of issues concerning water management in an overappropriated basin from which 40-million people draw the essence of life. One foundational issue involves trust: What type of relationship currently exists, and prospectively should exist, along the Colorado River between the United States and the 30 tribal sovereigns within the basin? Arizona v. Navajo Nation poses this question—a critical one given the 2026 expiration of the river system’s existing management rules and the pressing need to negotiate replacements over the next few years.

Jason is the Carl M. Williams Professor of Law & Social Responsibility at the University of Wyoming College of Law, as well as an adjunct professor at the Haub School of Environment and Natural Resources. He teaches courses in Water Law, International Environmental Law, and Federal Indian Law, and his research focuses mainly on transboundary water law and policy in the American West, including sovereign relations over the Colorado River. Jason is the editor of the Colorado River Compact centennial volume, Cornerstone at the Confluence: Navigating the Colorado River Compact’s Next Century (2022), and the lead editor of the 1869 Powell Expedition sesquicentennial volume, Vision & Place: John Wesley Powell & Reimagining the Colorado River Basin (2020). He is also the author of the treatise Law of Water Rights and Resources. Jason serves as a member of the Colorado River Research Group and the leadership team of the Water & Tribes Initiative. He lives in Laradise (Laramie, Wyoming) and, most importantly, proudly earned his B.S. in environmental studies at the UU.


September 12, 2023
4:00 pm - 5:00 pm MDT
Event Category:


295 FASB (Sutton Geology Bldg.)
115 S 1460 E
Salt Lake City, UT 84112 United States
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