Thomas C. Sorensen Seminar: Environmental Policy


Environmental and natural resources policy issues are so diverse that they transcend ordinary academic boundaries. An awareness of the multitude of policy analyses is central to a larger understanding of how policy decisions are or could be made in the environmental policy field. Thus, the study of environmental policy must integrate the insights and information from many different disciplines, including environmental studies, anthropology, economics, biology, geography, philosophy, political science, sociology, and engineering, in order to provide complete information to those crafting policies.

Seminar leaders:
Robert Kuzelka, AICP, is an associate professor in the School of Natural Resource Sciences at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and holds a courtesy appointment in the Department of Community and Regional Planning. He received a Bachelor of Architecture Degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and an M.S. in community and regional planning from the University of Texas-Austin. Professor Kuzelka has served as assistant to the directors of the NU Water Center and Conservation and Survey Division. Previously he worked in the Nebraska State Office of Planning and Programming (now Policy Research Office) and the City of Tulsa Model Cities Agency. He was a post-graduate Fulbright scholar in the Department of Town and Country Planning at the University of Sydney, in Sydney, Australia.

Mike Jess is associate director and senior lecturer for the Conservation and Survey Division in the School of Natural Resources Sciences at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He received a B.S. and M.S. in civil engineering from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. From 1981 to 1999, Professor Jess was director of the Department of Water Resources for the State of Nebraska. He served as Nebraska commissioner for a U.S. Supreme Court decree and four interstate compacts charged with apportioning river flows among Nebraska and adjoining states. Professor Jess is the past chairman of the Nebraska Boundary Commission, successfully negotiating compacts with both South Dakota (1989) and Missouri (1996). He has also arbitrated more than 150 water rights disputes as an administrative law judge.

Steve Gall is head of the Division of Planning and Assistance of the recently created Nebraska Department of Natural Resources. He received a B.A. in geography from Kansas State University and an M.S. in geography from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Prior to his current position, Gaul worked with the Nebraska Natural Resources Commission since 1979 and as head of the Commission’s Comprehensive Planning Section since 1997. He has coordinated a series of water policy issue studies for Nebraska, including groundwater management plans and environmental education efforts. Chapters he has authored in non-agency publications have addressed the history of Nebraska water politics and policy, groundwater development in Nebraska’s Sandhills, and sustainability of groundwater use in Lancaster County, Nebraska.