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August 2018

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August 27, 2018
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ELI is hosting a series of webinars on the policy, practice, and science of stream compensatory mitigation. Webinar topics are based on the findings and recommendations of the 2017 report Stream Mitigation: Science, Policy, and Practice and selected in coordination with an Advisory Committee of stream mitigation experts. The series will cover a range of issues from assessing stream functions and conditions to restoration approaches and long-term success of compensation projects. This ten-part series is funded by an EPA Wetland Program Development Grant.


Stream Compensatory Mitigation Webinar Series: Assessing Stream Functions and Conditions – Challenges and Solutions

Federal regulations emphasize the agencies’ desire to increasingly tie compensatory mitigation decision-making to functional improvement. Currently, states and Districts still rarely employ functional assessment methods for credit determination or for developing performance standards, primarily because few function-based tools are available. However, tying functional assessment methodologies to credit determination, performance standards, and monitoring can help improve ecological success and achieve the goal of replacing lost aquatic resource functions. This webinar examined the challenges in developing and implementing assessment methodologies and how states and federal agencies are working to overcome these challenges.

Speakers:
Brian Bledsoe, Professor, University of Georgia
John Dorney, Senior Environmental Scientist, Moffatt & Nichol​​
Tracie Nadeau, Environmental Scientist, U.S. EPA Region 10

Materials:
Brian Bledsoe Presentation
Tracie Nadeau Presentation
John Dorney Presentation

Additional Information/Resources:
Visit ELI's resource page, The State of Stream Compensatory Mitigation: Science, Policy, and Practice

August 27, 2018
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An ELI Member and Press Event

In our current era of fast-paced media, environmental journalists face the daunting challenge of rapidly reporting accurate information while also disseminating complex regulatory, legal, and scientific issues to a broad audience. This challenge is further compounded by the increasingly politicized nature placed onto many environmental issues.

ELI and King & Spalding presented an “off the record” panel featuring leading environmental journalists discussing issues that affect their daily work and environmental journalism more broadly, including which stories receive coverage, how they approach reporting and disseminating environmental issues to a diverse readership, and common practices when interviewing environmental attorneys.

Panelists:
Granta Nakayama, Partner, King & Spalding LLP, Moderator
Coral Davenport, Energy and Environment Reporter, The New York Times
Juliet Eilperin, Staff Writer, The Washington Post
Ellen Gilmer, Reporter, E&E News
Anthony Lacey, Managing Editor, Inside EPA
Amanda Reilly, Reporter, E&E News
Abby Smith, Reporter, Bloomberg Environment

Materials:
There will be no speaker materials/recording of this session.

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August 28, 2018
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ELI Member Breaking News Webinar

The Clean Water Act (CWA) is one of the most crucial regulatory frameworks in the United States, but EPA’s jurisdiction in this landmark statute has been subject to a great deal of uncertainty. Attempts to clarify the scope of the CWA, most notably in Rapanos v. United States, have further muddled such definitions. In 2015, EPA published the Clean Water Rule to provide more regulatory certainty. The rule, known more commonly as the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule, generated numerous legal challenges from various agriculture and industry sectors and thirteen states. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit stayed the rule’s enforcement in 2016. In March 2017, the Trump administration announced that it would review and rescind or revise the rule. After a Supreme Court decision in January overturned the Sixth Circuit’s stay for lack of jurisdiction, EPA suspended the WOTUS rule in favor of a prior definition from 1982, and announced it would produce a new one later in 2018.

On August 16, 2018, Judge David Norton of the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina enjoined the suspension rule, thus re-instating WOTUS as the applicable legal standard in 26 states not already subject to two prior district court injunctions staying WOTUS. Judge Norton ruled that EPA failed to adequately solicit public comments as mandated by the Administrative Procedure Act, concluding that “when an agency refuses to consider comments on a rule’s substance and merits in issuing a suspension rule that reinstates an earlier regulation, the content restriction is ‘so severe in scope’ that…the opportunity for comment cannot be said to have been ‘a meaningful opportunity.’” Environmental groups have lauded the decision for the effect it will have on the health of Americans and watersheds, while many in agriculture and industry sectors remain concerned that the WOTUS rule makes the scope of the CWA overly burdensome. Both sides have also raised questions about the application of conflicting injunctions in different areas of the country, and how this will play out pending a final resolution.

This Breaking News webinar focused on WOTUS and the ramifications and implications of Judge Norton’s decision on the future of the Clean Water Act.

Panelists:
Jay Austin
, Senior Attorney; Editor-in-Chief, Environmental Law Reporter®, Environmental Law Institute, Moderator
John Cruden, Principal, Beveridge & Diamond PC and formerly Assistant Attorney General, Environment and Natural Resources Division, U.S. Department of Justice
Jon Devine, Director, Federal Water Policy, Water Division, Nature Program, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)
Amy Emmert, Senior Policy Advisor, Upstream and Industry Operations, American Petroleum Institute
Blan Holman, Managing Attorney, Southern Environmental Law Center
Peter Tolsdorf, Vice President, Litigation, and Deputy General Counsel, National Association of Manufacturers
Thomas Ward, Vice President, Legal Advocacy, National Association of Home Builders

Materials:
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.

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