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2024 Board

Officers:

Chair: Bidtah Becker

Past Chair: Melinda Branin

Directors:

Melinda Branin

Kristen Burby

Steven Landeros Hernandez

Maslyn Locke

Zachary Ogaz

Adrian Oglesby

Kari Olson

Thomas Paterson

Yarithza Peña

John Verheul

Additional Representatives:

UNM NREEL Student Liaision: Vanessa Springer (non-voting)

YLD Liaison: Benjamin C. Rossi

Email the NREEL Section Board

 

 

Bidtah Becker

Chair

Where You Work: Chief Legal Counsel to Navajo Nation President Buu Nygren and Vice-President Richelle Montoya. 

Area of Practice: Serving the Navajo Nation and its natural resources.

Melinda Branin

Past Chair

Where You Work: Hinkle Shanor LLP

Area of Practice: Oil and Gas, Mineral Title Examination

Why you enjoy practicing NREEL in New Mexico? I enjoy practicing in oil and gas law and mineral title examination because of the variety of skills required daily. Examining records from patent to the present day showcases the rich history of law over the centuries in New Mexico, even before statehood.

Kristen Burby

Director (2023-2025)

Where You Work: Sandia National Laboratories

Area of Practice: Intellectual Property (Environmental Technologies), Environmental Law

Why you enjoy practicing NREEL in New Mexico? New Mexico has a diverse set of environmental and natural resources challenges and I enjoy being able to work with cutting edge technologies to solve these problems.

 

 

Steven Landeros Hernadez

Director (2023-2025)

Where You Work: Solo Practitioner in Mesilla, NM

Why you enjoy practicing NREEL in New Mexico? The Water Law Bar is relatively small and close knit. I think that leads to more collaboration in trying to find solutions to the many water issues that face the state.

Maslyn Locke

Director (2024-2025)

Where You Work: The New Mexico Environmental Law Center

Area of Practice: Air Quality, Water Quality and Quantity, Land Use, Civil Rights

Why you enjoy practicing NREEL in New Mexico? I enjoy working alongside communities most-impacted by the disproportionate effects of natural resource extraction and development and serving frontline communities in the fight for environmental justice.

Zachary Ogaz

Director (2023-2025)

Where You Work: New Mexico Environment Department

Area of Practice: Water and Environmental Law

Why you enjoy practicing NREEL in New Mexico? New Mexico’s big skies, untouched high desert, picturesque bosque and river valleys, and our long heritage of farming are all part of the New Mexico culture and identity that I love and appreciate. I am grateful to have the opportunity to be a good steward of New Mexico’s natural resources.

 

 

Adrian Oglesby

Director (2023-2025)

Where You Work: UNM Utton Transboundary Resources Center

Area of Practice: Water Law

Why you enjoy practicing NREEL in New Mexico? To understand New Mexico water management, one has to dive deep into our history, cultures, and remarkably diverse and beautiful landscapes. At the Utton Center, I am incredibly fortunate to be able to work with and learn from communities across the State and water managers at all levels of governance.

Kari Olson

Director (2022-2024)

Where You Work: Montgomery & Andrews, Santa Fe

Thomas Paterson

Director (2023-2024)

Where You Work: Partner, Susman Godfrey LLP (retired)

Area of Practice: Trial lawyer, oil and gas

Why you enjoy practicing NREEL in New Mexico? Fascinating issues and wonderful lawyers and judges.

 

 

Yarithza Peña

Director (2024-2026)

Where You Work: Modrall Sperling

Area of Practice: Natural Resources

Why you enjoy practicing NREEL in New Mexico? I enjoy practicing NREEL in New Mexico because of the collaboration opportunities in a small tight-knit legal community that is able to address a wide range of issues that impact our entire state.

John Verheul

Director (2024-2025)

Where You Work: Public Service Company of New Mexico

Area of Practice: Energy Law

Why you enjoy practicing NREEL in New Mexico? The diversity of issues and practitioners.