UNLV law professor Bret Birdsong has been appointed by the Obama administration to serve as deputy solicitor for land resources at the U.S. Department of Interior in Washington D.C.
Birdsong will lead a team of lawyers providing counsel to the Bureau of Land Management regarding its management of nearly 250 million acres of public land, which includes about 70 percent of Nevada’s land. He will be one of six deputy solicitors reporting to Solicitor Hilary Tompkins, the Interior Department’s top lawyer.
“It will be a thrill and honor to serve the nation as an appointee in the Obama administration and to help the Secretary of the Interior develop and implement the administration’s priorities for public lands,” said Birdsong, whose appointment begins July 15. “I expect to return to the faculty in a few years enriched in my legal experience and with new perspectives to bring to my scholarship and teaching.”
On his docket will be legal issues concerning renewable energy facilities on public land, wilderness, recreation, livestock grazing, forestry and timber sales, national monuments and other uses of BLM lands.
Birdsong has served on the Boyd Law faculty for since 2000, teaching public lands and natural resources law, water law, environmental quality law, administrative law and property. He is an expert on federal land law and is a co-author of a leading casebook on natural resources law.
From 1994 to 2000 he was a trial attorney for the United States Department of Justice, Environmental and Natural Resources Division focusing on public land and natural resources litigation. As an Ian Axford Fellow in Public Policy in 1998, he studied New Zealand’s specialized Environment.
UNLV is a doctoral-degree-granting institution of more than 27,000 students and 2,900 faculty and staff. Founded in 1957, the university offers more than 220 undergraduate, master's and doctoral degree programs. UNLV is located on a 332-acre campus in dynamic Southern Nevada and is classified in the category of Research Universities (high research activity) by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.