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December 2018

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December 5, 2018

ELI Public Webinar

Siting and permitting are key barriers to the continued development of the marine shellfish aquaculture industry. When designing projects, growers must select sites that avoid and minimize environmental impacts and conflicts with a wide array of other uses and where they can obtain all required permits.

Successful siting therefore requires growers — and the agency staff reviewing applications — to understand and apply complex scientific, practical, and regulatory information. Some of the required information is contained in state and federal databases and data viewers, but these resources require sophisticated knowledge to use effectively, and they lack important data — notably, on which regulatory requirements apply in particular locations — and guidance on how to use the data to plan for shellfish production. The Massachusetts Shellfish Aquaculture Siting Tool (MA-ShellfAST) was developed to assist prospective growers with the siting and permitting process, with a focus on legal compliance and ease of use. This GIS-based, online tool, now available to the public along with extensive documentation, provides key environmental and legal data for consideration by prospective growers, local officials, and state regulators. By using MA-ShellfAST, growers can identify legal and permitting issues at the outset, easily identify site boundaries, and work seamlessly with regulators during site selection and permitting. This webinar discussed how the tool was developed, demonstrated how it is used in practice, and identified lessons learned during the tool development process.

Rebecca L. Kihslinger, Senior Science and Policy Analyst, Environmental Law Institute, Moderator
Brooke Hodge, Associate Scientist / GIS Specialist, Anderson Cabot Center for Ocean Life, New England Aquarium (PowerPoint)
Diane Murphy, Fisheries & Aquaculture Specialist, Cape Cod Cooperative Extension & Woods Hole Sea Grant (PowerPoint)
Read Porter, Senior Staff Attorney, Marine Affairs Institute, Roger Williams University School of Law and the Rhode Island Sea Grant Legal Program (PowerPoint)

Visit the MA-ShellfAST Tool at www.shellfast-ma.com 

December 6, 2018

ELI Member Breaking News Event

The Trump administration has proposed to revoke California’s long-standing authority to set its own vehicle emission standards in its new fuel economy standards plan. Join ELI, Farella Braun + Martel, and expert panelists for ELI’s Breaking News: The Uncertain Future of California’s Vehicle Emission Standards. As leading panelists look forward, they will also briefly look backwards to the establishment of standards regulating pollution from tailpipes in California, the first of its kind in the U.S. Section 209 of the Clean Air Act amendments that named California as the only state allowed an exception to set its own standards, an exception that if altered will have significant implications for the future of climate and environmental law nationwide and especially in California.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA) released a plan on August 2 to freeze in 2020 the fuel standards set in 2012. While the old rule set gradually increasing standards from 2017 to 2025, ultimately to reach an average fuel economy of 54.5 miles per gallon (currently 38.3), this new plan would freeze the 2020 levels for six years, requiring an average fuel economy of 37 miles per gallon until 2026. The Energy Policy and Conservation Act (EPCA) mandates the Department of Transportation (DOT) to set fuel economy standards for passenger automobiles (cars) and non-passenger automobiles (light trucks), an authority the DOT has delegated to the NHTSA, preempting any state laws regulating the same. The new plan would also revoke the Section 209 waiver of the Clean Air Act that allows California to set its own emission standards as well as Section 177, which allows other states to adopt California’s standards. The success of California in mitigating air pollution and reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions under Section 209—and that of the 15 states that have invoked Section 177—is now in jeopardy. The Trump administration has argued that the Section 209 waiver was not intended to “solve climate change” and that the new standards would save consumers $500 billion. Critics, however, have decried this as a major lost opportunity to make significant progress on reducing GHG emissions, of which the transportation sector is one of the leading contributors, especially as some manufacturers use California’s standards nationwide. They have also pointed out that this is in contradiction to the administration’s stated preference to allow states flexibility to accomplish environmental goals in their own ways. If the administration goes through with implementing the rule following the 60-day comment period, California and the other states, backed by environmental advocates, will likely head to court.

Buzz Hines, Partner, Farella Braun + Martel LLP, Moderator
Ann Carlson, Shirley Shapiro Professor of Environmental Law and Faculty Co-Director, Emmett Institute on Climate, University of California, Los Angeles
Ben Grumbles, Secretary of the Maryland Department of the Environment

There were no written materials for this session.

ELI members will have access to materials and 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.

December 10, 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.


Topics addressed in this month's call:

  • Discussion of the new Executive Branch report on climate impacts
  • Status of Juliana case
  • Decision halting Keystone XL Pipeline
  • Pacific Coast Federal of Fishermen's Associations suit against oil companies
  • Decision allowing litigation to proceed concerning motor vehicle standards
  • Roundup of state and city announcements on carbon mitigation, including DC's new policy
  • What's happening at the COP
  • Adaptation updates, including some positive steps and some rollbacks of climate leadership in Alaska
  • Corporate response to Poland meeting (open letter from 50 multinationals)
  • IPCC, Lancet and US Report
  • ELI's new environmental paradigm

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 logged on to the Members site 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.

December 10, 2018

ELI Member Workshop

In the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic, The King & I, Yule Brenner, as the King Mongkut of Siam, famously proclaims:  “Let it be written.  Let it be done” whenever he elects to advance his edicts. While policy makers with bold and aggressive ideas may lament that life does not imitate art, the reality is that in a democratic society there are multiple layers of rules of engagement including legislative, regulatory, state, local and community based activities that shepherd the process and govern outcome of a successful policy development initiatives. Specifically, Administrative Procedure Act (APA) provisions, environmental justice considerations and cooperative federalism principles with state partners create an obstacle course of both required and recommended actions that savvy policy makers must deftly navigate in order to achieve sustainable change. Add in the desire to provide certainty to guide long-term business decisions while providing flexibility for ever advancing technology to improve data collection and analysis and policy development becomes a multi-level game of chess. In short, successful policy development is much more than an academic or dictatorial exercise of achieving an ideal. It involves challenges of accounting for and meshing the differing opinions of stakeholder groups and identifying pragmatic ways to implement change that affects real people and businesses.

Gwendolyn Keyes Fleming, Partner, Van Ness Feldman LLP, Moderator
Jackie Carney, Director, Federal Government Affairs, Exelon
Lisa Feldt, Vice President, Environmental Protection & Restoration, Chesapeake Bay Foundation. Former Director, Department of Environmental Protection, Montgomery County, Maryland and Acting Deputy Administrator, Environmental Protection Agency
Shari L. Meghreblian, Ph.D., Commissioner, Tennessee Department of Environment & Conservation
Shailesh Sahay, Senior Regulatory Counsel, POET

ELI members will have subsequent access to materials and any recording of this session. 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.

December 14, 2018

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: The Watershed Approach

The 2008 Rule requires that the Corps “use a watershed approach to establish compensatory mitigation requirements in DA permits to the extent appropriate and practicable.” (33 C.F.R. § 332.3(c)(1)). Stream compensatory mitigation guidance documents generally do not address in detail what a watershed approach entails or provide specific instructions on how watershed concerns should influence site selection or mitigation design, especially when watershed plans are absent. This webinar will examine the watershed approach in practice. First, Nick Miller (Science Director, The Nature Conservancy in Wisconsin) provided an overview of a watershed approach framework and TNC's experience with the development of an online decision support tool for a watershed approach. Then, Tim Baumgartner (NC DMS) discussed watershed planning in North Carolina and how it is applied to ILF decision-making. Finally, Dana Hicks (Oregon Department of State Lands) focused on how Oregon has integrated the watershed approach into mitigation policy with a focus on the state’s stream assessment tool. 


  • Nick Miller: Director of Science and Strategy, The Nature Conservancy in Wisconsin 
  • Tim Baumgartner: Director, Division of Mitigation Services, North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality
  • Dana Hicks: Planning and Policy Manager, Oregon Department of State Lands


Tim Baumgartner Presentation
Dana Hicks Presentation
Nick Miller Presentation
Watershed Approach Handbook: Improving Outcomes and Increasing Benefits Associated with Wetland and Stream Restoration and Protection Projects

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

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