John Bezdek is a member of Dentons’ Public Policy and Regulation practice and Native American Law and Policy practice. He brings to clients more than 20 years’ experience establishing programs and policies that affect water rights quantification and water resources management in the western United States. Working at the forefront of water and tribal resources issues, John has worked closely with Interior Secretary Sally Jewell and has advised numerous Cabinet and sub-Cabinet-level officials, members of Congress, tribal governments and state and local officials on legal and policy considerations regarding water resources and hydropower development. John has also worked in a similar capacity advising former Interior secretaries Ken Salazar, Dirk Kempthorne, Gale Norton and Bruce Babbitt on water issues.
John’s most recent experience was as counselor to the deputy secretary at the Interior Department, where he served as a key member of the water policy team in developing strategies to address the effects of drought and climate change, while also leading several multi-party negotiations involving complex water issues. In this capacity, he worked directly with Congress and with stakeholders on developing potential drought legislation.
John has appeared before congressional committees in both the Senate and House, tribal governments and state and local regulatory agencies. Prior to his time as counselor, he was assistant solicitor for Water and Power Resources, where he oversaw all legal matters related to the administration and operation of Bureau of Reclamation projects and programs.
In addition to his unique understanding of how reclamation law intersects with other environmental regulations governing water projects, such as the Endangered Species Act (ESA), John has been at the forefront of developing innovative strategies for the financing of major water resources projects. He also served as the deputy director of the Interior secretary’s Indian Water Rights Office under Secretary Kempthorne, in which capacity John directed the efforts of 21 negotiating teams and worked directly with tribal governments, stakeholders and members of Congress on settling and advancing Indian water settlements.