The American Bar Association recognized Idaho Deputy Attorney General Clive Strong with its 2014 Environment, Energy, and Resources Government Attorney of the Year Award Aug. 10 at the its annual meeting in Boston.
The award recognizes exceptional achievements by federal, state, tribal or local government attorneys who have worked or are working in the field of environment, energy or natural resources "and are viewed as having consistently achieved distinction in an exemplary way," according to a press release.
Strong began his career in Idaho helping negotiate the landmark Swan Falls Water Rights agreement with Idaho Power in 1984. Since then, he has had his hand in every major natural resource decision made.
Today the Natural Resources Division chief for Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden, Strong is recognized as a leading experts in water rights, state endowment lands, the Endangered Species Act and nuclear waste storage issues in the nation. The award comes as the Idaho Supreme Court prepares to complete the largest water right adjudication cases in the nation, which came out of the Swan Falls Agreement.
He has been the major state negotiator and often moderator for seemingly intractable environmental and natural resources disputes affecting Idaho, other states and the federal government. Strong, the son of a Wendell farm implement mechanic, has been the institutional memory and the best talented voice for preserving Idaho’s authority over its water.
“There are very few people who turn out to be irreplaceable and Clive Strong is one of them,” former House Speaker Bruce Newcomb told me when I wrote about Strong in 2009.
Strong also has been recognized with numerous awards including the National Association of Attorneys General Marvin Award, the Western Conference of Attorneys General Jim Jones Public Service award and the National Association of Attorneys General Best Brief Award for a brief he and Deputy Attorney General Steve Strack wrote and he argued before the U.S. Supreme Court.
Others include the Idaho State Bar's Professionalism Award, the Idaho Water Users Distinguished Service Award and the Idaho Statesman’s Distinguished Citizen recognition.
“It’s not my role to make policy but it is my role to inform the policymakers of the consequences of the policies they’re advocating and the rules of the law,” Strong told me.
“I can’t think of anybody who has done a better job of safeguarding the natural resources of the state of Idaho than Clive,” said Idaho Supreme Court Justice Jim Jones, who first hired him in 1983.
Strong and his wife, Martha, have three boys.