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April 2018

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April 5, 2018

Hosted by WilmerHale

Featured speaker: Doug Benevento, Regional Administrator for U.S. EPA Region 8

Doug Benevento serves as the Regional Administrator for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 8. His responsibilities include overseeing the states of Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming, and 27 Tribal Nations.

Mr. Benevento will discuss policy and programmatic objectives for the region, followed by a brief Q&A session.

April 6, 2018

The Environmental Law and Policy Annual Review (ELPAR) is a special issue of the Environmental Law Reporter (ELR), published in collaboration with the Vanderbilt University Law School (VULS) and the Environmental Law Institute (ELI) in Washington, DC. Each year, Vanderbilt Law students work with an expert advisory committee and senior staff from ELI to identify the year’s best academic articles that present legal and policy solutions to pressing environmental problems. The result is a one issue, student-edited volume that includes condensed versions of the selected articles, along with commentaries from leading experts from the academy, law firms, business, government and non-governmental organizations.

In conjunction with the publication, ELI and Vanderbilt co-sponsor an annual conference at which the authors of the articles and comments present their ideas and views to an audience that includes business, government (federal, state, and local), think tank, and non-profit representatives.

The topics discussed at this year's DC conference will be:

  • Using financial assurance mandates to reduce industrial disaster risks associated with climate change
  • Incorporating visual content, such as charts and infographics, into administrative rulemaking in order to promote transparency, accountability, and public participation
  • Developing new legal tools for "impact transactions" that facilitate collective impact agreements, in which multisectoral stakeholders collaborate to solve environmental and other social challenges


More information about this year's event is available at: https://www.eli.org/environmental-law-policy-annual-review/2017-2018-ELPAR-conference

April 9, 2018

Staying on top of the legal and policy developments in the climate change arena is no small task. As a special service to our members, the Environmental Law Institute provides a series of monthly conference calls with national experts on climate law and policy to keep you up to date and to answer your questions.



SPECIAL NOTE: In April we are pleased to welcome Sally Fisk of Pfizer to our panel to address private-sector initiatives in the climate change area. She and Nikki Roy, who provides our legislative segment, will alternate on the monthly panels. Sally is lead counsel and a strategic advisor for Pfizer’s Environmental Sustainability program, including matters related to climate change. She also leads the Environmental Law Group’s business transactions program and legal support for environmental sustainability disclosures.

Topics to be addressed in this month's call:

  • Please check back on the Friday preceding the session for a complete list of topics to be discussed . . .

Vicki Arroyo, Executive Director, Climate Center, Georgetown University
Sally Fisk, Assistant General Counsel, Pfizer
Michael B. Gerrard, Professor, Columbia Law School; Director, Sabin Center for Climate Change Law
Robert Sussman, Principal, Sussman & Associates

ELI members will have access to a recording of this session (usually posted w/in 48 hours). If you are not an ELI member but would like to have access to archived sessions like this one, go HERE to see the many benefits of membership and how to join.

ELI Monthly Climate Briefings are made possible by the
generous support of our institutional members.

NOTE: This call/recording is for ELI members only. No comments may be quoted
or used without the express written permission of ELI and the panelist.

April 9, 2018

An ELI Public Webinar

“Distributed generation” describes electricity that is produced at or near the location where it is used, and can include renewable energy technologies such as solar photovoltaic panels, which currently account for over 90% of U.S. distributed generation capacity. How to compensate “grid-tied” distributed generation systems—which sell electricity to the grid when more energy is produced than consumed at the use site—is currently the subject of vigorous debate.

Advocates of the prevalent net metering approach, in which distributed generators are compensated for electricity they sell to the grid at the same rate they would pay to receive energy from the grid, argue that it is a crucial incentive for investments in renewable energy, helping to avert health- and climate-related costs of fossil fuel consumption. Critics of this approach argue that it requires utility companies to provide grid maintenance and other services without revenue from distributed generators, and to pass those costs on to utility customers who lack the ability to invest in distributed generation.

In a 2017 article appearing in the Harvard Environmental Law Review, Dr. Burcin Unel and Professor Richard L. Revesz (New York University School of Law) argue that an “Avoided Cost Plus Social Benefit” policy should be adopted for valuing distributed energy generation, whereby distributed clean energy is rewarded for its environmental and health benefits and utilities are compensated for the services they provide–until a more comprehensive retail rate reform can be achieved that ensures the efficient integration of all types of distributed energy resources into the grid.

Join ELI, co-author Burcin Unel, and commenters from the private sector, government, and advocacy groups for a webinar discussion of this proposal. This webinar will include interactive opportunities to have your questions answered by the panelists and to glean deeper insights into electricity generation and pricing.

Linda K. Breggin, Senior Attorney, Environmental Law Institute

Burcin Unel, Ph.D, Energy Policy Director, The Institute for Policy Integrity at New York University School of Law, Co-Author
Ellen Anderson, former Chair of the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission
Bradley Campbell, President, Conservation Law Foundation
Adam Benshoff, Deputy General Counsel for Regulatory Affairs, Edison Electric Institute


April 10, 2018

Hosted by Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP

Sylvia Quast is the EPA's Regional Counsel in San Francisco, where she leads a 72-member office responsible for the enforcement of the federal environmental laws in California, Arizona, Nevada, and the Pacific Islands.  Before that, she was the Executive Assistant United States Attorney in the Eastern District of California U.S. Attorney’s Office.  From 2005-2008, Ms. Quast was an attorney in private practice in Sacramento, where she served as finance coordinator for a $5.4 billion conservation bond campaign and helped develop the long-term restoration plan for the San Francisco Bay Salt Pond project. Prior to 2005, Ms. Quast was with the Department of Justice’s Environment and Natural Resources Division in Washington, D.C., where she litigated cases in the Supreme Court, the federal courts of appeal, and the district courts. She also prepared Department officials for Congressional hearings, press conferences, and other public presentations and appearances.

Ms. Quast will discuss recent office accomplishments, updates on agency priorities and her office’s goals for the upcoming months.

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