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December 2019

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December 9, 2019

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:

  • Supreme Court's denial of cert in the Michael Mann case
  • The latest with NY v. Exxon
  • DC Circuit decision on challenge to small refinery exemption
  • Colorado federal court enjoining coal mining plan during analysis of methane flaring alternative
  • This year's BSR-GlobeScan State of Sustainable Business Report
  • Recent CERES report on corporate boards and ESG risks
  • The state of play in the House
  • State petition for rehearing of the EPA waiver denial
  • Recent report on 2019 global emission trends
  • Announcements from subnational leaders during the current COP which states/locals are participating
  • Updates on some recent executive orders in a number of states, mostly focusing on resilience to impacts

Vicki Arroyo, Executive Director, Climate Center, Georgetown University
Sally Fisk, Assistant General Counsel-Compliance Division, 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, 2019

An ELI and Beveridge & Diamond co-sponsored seminar

Structured around three panels, the half-day program provided attendees with perspectives from key players involved in the development and implementation of MTCA and insights from the stakeholders on the cutting edge of environmental cleanups under the state law, including:

  • Christine Gregoire, former Washington Governor, former Washington Attorney General, and former head of the Washington Department of Ecology when MTCA passed
  • Jim Pendowski, Toxics Cleanup Program Manager, Washington State Department of Ecology
  • Rod Brown, Partner, Cascadia Law Group
  • Loren Dunn, Principal, Beveridge & Diamond
  • Mike Dunning, Partner, Perkins Coie
  • Jim Neely, Unit Supervisor, King County
  • Stan Alpert, Senior Environmental Counsel, The Boeing Company
  • Darcy Nonemacher, Legislative Affairs Director, Washington Environmental Council
  • Suzy Stumpf, Senior Design Engineer, Farallon Consulting
  • Pete Kmet, 42nd Mayor of Tumwater
  • Loren Dunn, Principal, Beveridge & Diamond

Key Topics:

  • MTCA 101: History, key components,achievements, and future of a citizens' initiative
  • MTCA: Brownfields, affordable housing, and environmental justice--delivering social goods
  • MCTA: Triumphs and tribulations
  • MTCA: 30 years and counting

Washington's MTCA: Transforming Contaminated Sites into Community and Environmental Assets (B&D Alert, Nov. 1, 2019)
Washington's MTCA: 30 Years Later (B&D Alert, Oct. 10, 2019)

December 17, 2019

Co-Sponsored by the hosting firm Dentons US LLP

An ELI 50th Anniversary Conference

Acting as the key federal charter for environmental protection, the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) plays a crucial role in the authorization and approval of more development projects than any other federal law. However, with great power comes great responsibility, as NEPA has faced numerous criticisms over the past five decades. Proponents believe NEPA protects communities and the environment from potentially detrimental infrastructure projects, while critics counter that NEPA creates impossible hurdles to development, and advocate for amendments that would cut through regulatory red tape preventing the timely review and undertaking of important infrastructure projects. Our leading experts reflected on NEPA’s past and successes, explore the current challenges NEPA faces, and looked to the  Act’s future.

8:30 AM

Registration and Light Breakfast

9:00 AM

Opening Remarks and Morning Keynote:

9:30 AM

Panel 1: The History of NEPA explored the creation and evolution of NEPA since the Act’s enactment 50 years ago and reflect on the lessons learned along the way.  Panelists explored the opportunities and obstacles of establishing and implementing this regulatory framework, including the Council on Environmental Quality regulation, NEPA’s overall regulatory process, review, standards, and enforcement.


  • James M. McElfish, Jr., Senior Attorney, Director, Sustainable Use of Land Program, Environmental Law Institute, Moderator
  • Sharon Buccino, Senior Director, Land Division, Nature Program, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)
  • Robin M. Rotman, Assistant Professor, School of Natural Resources, University of Missouri and Counsel, Van Ness Feldman LLP
  • Suzanne R. Schaeffer, Counsel, Dentons

10:45 AM

Networking Break

11:00 AM

Panel 2:  How to Successfully Conduct NEPA Reviews explored best practices for approaching NEPA’s regulatory process and avoiding potential pitfalls. Panelists explored top tools for preparing effective NEPA documentation, methods for engagement with the public and with project proponents during all stages of the process, promoting environmental and climate justice within NEPA, and successful case examples.


  • James M. Auslander, Principal, Beveridge & Diamond PC, Moderator
  • Matthew Adams, Partner, Kaplan Kirsch & Rockwell LLP
  • Edward Boling, Associate Director, National Environmental Policy Act, White House Council on Environmental Quality
  • Dava Kaitala, General Director, Permitting and Sustainability and Senior Supervisory Attorney, BNSF Railway
 12:15 -1:00 PM


 12:40 -1:00 PM

Keynote Senator Tom Carper (D-DE)

 1:00 PM

Panel 3: Roles in NEPA Reviews explored the role of the project proponent in NEPA reviews and the relative roles of the lead federal agency, cooperating agencies, consultants, and more. Panelists confronted the firm and unwritten rules of NEPA reviews, the varied expectations across agencies, and the growing trend of P3 projects.


  • Stephen Schima, Senior Legislative Counsel, Earthjustice and Campaign & Legislative Director, Partnership Project, Moderator
  • Alexander Herrgott, Executive Director, Federal Permitting Improvement Steering Council, General Services Administration
  • Brenda Mallory, Executive Director and Senior Counsel, Conservation Litigation Project
  • Manisha Patel, Vice President, Environmental Policy Practice, WSP
2:15 PM  Networking Break
2:30 PM

Panel 4: The Future of NEPA tackled the modernization and reinvigoration of NEPA as panelists looked towards the Act’s near and distant future. Panelists explored recent developments regarding permitting, the project approval process, collaboration with regulatory agencies, recent legislation (such as “FAST-41”) that may affect NEPA, and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions-related NEPA claims.


  • Seema Kakade, Assistant Professor of Law and Director, Environmental Law Clinic, Francis King Carey School of Law, University of Maryland, Moderator
  • David Bancroft, Executive Director, International Association for Impact Assessment
  • Oliver A. Houck, Professor of Law, Tulane University Law School
  • Viktoria Seale, General Counsel, White House Council on Environmental Quality
 3:45 PM Closing Remarks: 

Nicholas C. Yost, former Partner, Dentons and former General Counsel, White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ)


ELI members will have access to materials/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.

Additional Materials:
NEPA at 50, Nicholas Yost (The Environmental Forum, Nov./Dec 2019)
Proposed Revisions to Improve and Modernize CEQ's NEPA Regulations
, by Lance D. Wood (49 ELR 10529, June 2019)


In-person CLE Attendees:

  • We will have a sign-in and sign-out sheet for you to initial and fill out with time total time of attendance for the event.
  • We will provide you with your CLE information at the end of the event.

Webinar CLE Attendees (you must have selected CLE info when you registered):

  • When watching the webinar you will need to have the webinar at the forefront of your computer screen as GoTo webinar software will be tracking attentiveness and creating an attentiveness report.
  • You will need to be watching the webinar for a majority of the time to receive CLE Credit.
  • We will email you the CLE information and certification within one week of the event.


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