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May 2020

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May 1, 2020

Meeting of The Environmental Law Institute’s Corporate In-House Counsel and EHS Officers Council

The Environmental Law Institute’s Corporate In-House Counsel and EHS Officers Council (EHS Council) is a new ELI program exclusively with and for corporate EHS and sustainability colleagues from across corporate sectors. Through intimate closed-door meetings, corporate professionals explore issues unique to corporate governance in an age of increased environmental accountability, liability and risk.  EHS Council programs present a unique opportunity for in-house EHS officials to have candid conversations about best practices and practical considerations for mitigating risks and ensuring EHS compliance in a rapidly emerging and unpredictable environment.

ELI held an invite-only webinar on the future of corporate environmental disclosures. Ceres’ Senior Program Director for Capital Market Systems, Veena Ramani, provided an insightful presentation followed by an open question and answer session.

Following the conversation with Ms. Ramani, this convening segued into a closed-door discussion focused on the challenges associated with environmental disclosures.  Participants had ample opportunity to share strategies and learn other effective methods for navigating this complex and growing area of environmental governance.



10:30 a.m.

Opening Remarks:

  • Scott Fulton, President, Environmental Law Institute
  • Linda Breggin, Senior Attorney, Environmental Law Institute
  • Roger Martella, Director and General Counsel, Global Environment, Health and Safety, General Electric

10:45 a.m.

Presentation with Q&A: Veena Ramani, Senior Program Director for Capital Market Systems, Ceres

12:00 p.m.


12:30 p.m.

Group Discussion: Environmental Disclosure in the 2020s and Corporate COVID-19 Return-to-Work Best Practices

 1:45 p.m.

Closing Remarks & Next Steps:

  • Scott Fulton, President, Environmental Law Institute
  • Linda Breggin, Senior Attorney, Environmental Law Institute
  • Roger Martella, Director and General Counsel, Global Environment, Health and Safety, General Electric

 2:00 p.m.



Please be aware that all EHS Council programs hosted by the Environmental Law Institute are subject to Chatham House Rules. When a meeting, or part thereof, is held under the Chatham House Rules, participants are free to use without attribution the information received, but neither the identity nor the affiliation of the speaker(s), nor that of any other participant, may be revealed.

This event was not recorded.

May 5, 2020

An ELI Master Class co-sponsored by AECOM

PFAS, the commonly used umbrella term for the chemical compounds per- and polyfluoroalkyls (including PFOA, PFOS, and replacements such as GenX) has taken a central role in the focus of environmental health and safety in recent times. Yet, most people in the United States have been exposed to the chemical compounds through their widespread commercial use since the 1940s. PFAS are found in numerous common products, including cleaning products, nonstick products, stain and water repellent fabrics, and fire-fighting foams, among others.

As the public has gained a better understanding of the threat of PFAS, especially how PFAS can bioaccumulate and is unable to naturally break down in the environment, it has captured national attention. Consequently, an influx of court cases focused on PFAS and the ramifications of its use have sprung up throughout the United States, raising a number of issues and challenges.

This event was an in-depth exploration of the multi-faceted opportunities and obstacles for stakeholders litigating and regulating PFAS in two of the most prominent points of transmission: water and packaging.

12:00 - 1:30 PM

Panel 1: PFAS 101 & Updates will provide a background on PFAS as well as explore recent developments in a variety of states’ efforts to address these chemicals. Leading experts will compare and contrast regulatory and litigation efforts at the state level, the implications for manufacturers, and provide a range of examples.

  • Rosa Gwinn, PhD PG, DCSA Americas PFAS Initiative Lead, AECOM, Moderator
  • Janet Coit, Director, Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management
  • Beth Hummer, Counsel, Hanson Bridgett LLP
  • Avinash Kar, Director of State Health Policy, Healthy People & Thriving Communities Program and Senior Attorney, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)
  • Lydia Dorrance, PhD, Senior Scientist, Geosyntec Consultants

1:30 - 1:45 PM


1:45 - 3:15 PM

Panel 2: PFAS in Water will dive into the environmental and human health impacts of PFAS contaminated waters. Leading experts will tackle the best approaches to regulate, establish, and enforce cleanups and safe drinking water standards.  Additionally, experts will explore the federal and regional regulatory initiatives to address PFAS present in water, the risk management of PFAS-impacted sites, and top medical monitoring approaches for communities and individuals exposed to PFAS.

3:15 - 3:30 PM


3:30 - 5:00 PM

Panel 3: PFAS in Packaging will explore the prevalence of PFAS in packaging products, related health impacts, current and pending regulations, and more. Leading experts will tackle how companies can best ensure safe use, compliance, and reduce environmental liability for their products with respect to PFAS.


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.


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.


May 6, 2020

An ELI ELI Professional Development Webinar

In the second Environmental Law Institute Emerging Leaders Initiative (ELI ELI) Professional Development Webinar, ELI Leadership Council President Kathy Robb will share lessons learned from over 35 years of experience in environmental law and policy through private practice, non-profit environmental law work, and now as the CEO of Blue Access LLC.

Blue Access LLC collaborates with community members to understand their water challenges and invests in locally-driven solutions to ensure water security for all. Prior to becoming the CEO of Blue Access in February, 2020, Kathy was a partner based in New York City at Hunton & Williams, where she co-headed the firm's environmental practice for several years, and subsequently at Sive, Paget & Riesel. In private practice she focused on water and energy law, applying them to both litigation and transactional work across the United States. During this ELI ELI webinar, Kathy explored the professional path that has taken her to water and sustainability issues, and how Blue Access is working to meet the global challenge of clean, adequate water for all in the 21st century.

Kathy is a former ELI Board member and frequently teaches the Clean Water Act segment of ELI's Eastern Boot Camp. Last June, she moderated an ELI program addressing “The Leadership of Women in Developing U.S. Law and Policy: What They Did, What it Meant, and Where it is Going” and her article on “Becoming Tomorrow's Heroes: Women in Environmental Law”' was published in the Nov./Dec. 2019 50th anniversary issue of “The Environmental Forum.”

ELI ELI Professional Development Webinars are for the exclusive benefit of Emerging Leaders.

Kathy Robb
, CEO, Blue Access LLC

May 11, 2020

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:

  • How IBM is conducting its work on environmental sustainability/climate and energy in the midst of the pandemic
  • NRDC v. Wheeler -- vacated EPA ruling that restricted regulation of HFCs

  •  Wildearth Guardians v. Bureau of Land Management -- Vacating oil and gas leases for inadequate look at cumulative climate change impacts

  •  Resolute Forest Products v. Greenpeace -- Ordering forest products company to pay $800,000 in attorneys fees to Greenpeace

  •  Northern Plains Resource Council v. Corps of Engineers -- Vacate nationwide permit due to Corps of Engineers failure to initiate consultation under Endangered Species Act

  •  Millennium Bulk Terminals-Longview v. State -- Upholding denial of permits for coal export terminal

  • California Air Resources Board released a final draft Advanced Clean Truck Rule  (and CA eyes a deal with Volvo given federal rollbacks)
  • Colorado unveils plan to get more electric vehicles on roads  
  • Minnesota advances energy bill despite coronavirus, which would update and modernize state’s energy efficiency law
  • VA passes bill that makes VA the latest state to require a transition to 100% carbon free or renewable energy.
  • Without fanfare, Houston unveils Climate Action Plan, shooting for carbon neutrality by 2050 despite COVID.
  • Funds from Regional Clean-Energy Initiative to Electrify NJ’s Transportation Sector
  • EPA’s upcoming rule for aircraft emissions under the CAA
  • Status of the Senate energy bill
  • Upcoming CV-19 legislation and how climate and clean energy fit in

Vicki Arroyo, Executive Director, Climate Center, Georgetown University
Edan Dionne, Vice President, Environmental, Energy & Chemical Management Programs, IBM
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.

May 12, 2020

ELI Public Workshop

In the Second Edition of What Can Animal Law Learn From Environmental Law?, Professor Randall Abate assembled an experienced team of 36 academics, advocates, and legal professionals from the environmental and animal law fields to examine the experiences of these two fields. Drawing on lessons from history, politics, and law, the 29-chapter book examines how environmental law’s successes and shortcomings can inform animal law, and how the two fields can work together to secure mutual gains in the future.

How can animal law learn from environmental law in using creative administrative law theories to align enforcement with express protections? What role does wildlife protection play in mitigating climate change? How can state false advertising statutes be used to combat food industry practices that are simultaneously harmful to animals, human health, and the environment? Author panelists, and editor Randall Abate explored these issues and more in this interactive workshop.

Prof. Randall S. Abate, Rechnitz Family and Urban Coast Institute Endowed Chair in Marine and Environmental Law and Policy and Director, Institute for Global Understanding, Monmouth University, Moderator
Mackenzie Landa, Environmental Policy Congressional Staffer, U.S. House of Representatives
Kim E. Richman, Founding Partner, Richman Law Group
Daniel Waltz, Staff Attorney, Animal Legal Defense Fund

Additional Resources:
Reserve your copy of What Can Animal Law Learn From Environmental Law? (2d ed., to be published by ELI Press in July 2020)

ELI members will have subsequent access to any 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.

May 19, 2020

An ELI Public Seminar & Celebration of the 2020 National Wetland Awardees

This program commenceed with congratulatory remarks by ELI's President, Scott Fulton, honoring the recipients of the 2020 National Wetlands Awardees. To see who won, click here.

Throughout May, we are honoring these awardees and their accomplishments via a virtual celebratory campaign. Stay current on our virtual programming by using #WetlandsAwards2020 on your favorite social media platform.

Educational Event

In the face of the global climate crisis, wetlands protection is arguably more important now than ever before. The implications of climate change include rising seas and more frequent droughts, which in turn pose serious threats to both coastal and inland wetlands. These wetlands provide valuable ecosystem services including as habitat for countless species, as highly effective carbon sequestering systems (carbon sinks), and as a buffer to reduce the intensity of waves and storm surges as part of disaster preparedness plans. Wetlands conservation, therefore, is an important component of the fight to decelerate climate change.

Wetlands are being increasingly incorporated into local and state climate resiliency plans as a result. Additionally, a variety of stakeholders are taking notice of wetlands’ capacity to mitigate climate change-related disasters. This February (2020), the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) announced a partnership with Wells Fargo to establish the Resilient Communities program, allocating $3 million per year to promote disaster preparedness in the United States by taking advantage of natural and nature-based features, including wetlands. A range of stakeholders are now making major investments to bolster the capacity of these natural buffers, and in turn, make the human communities they border more resilient.

How can wetland conservation and restoration mitigate some of the most deleterious impacts of climate change? What actions can local and state governments, NGOs, and corporations take to fortify wetlands as natural bastions for more resilient communities? Our panelists explored the relationship between healthy wetland ecosystems and disaster resilience.

Erik Meyers
, Vice President, Climate and Water Sustainability, The Conservation Fund, Moderator
Nicole Carlozo, Natural Resource Resiliency Planner, Maryland Department of Natural Resources​
John W. Day, Jr., PhD,
Emeritus Professor, Department of Oceanography & Coastal Sciences, Louisiana State University and 2020 National Wetlands Award Winner, Scientific Research
Stephanie Robinson
, Coastal Management Specialist, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)


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.

May 19, 2020

Presented by the Women's Council on Energy and the Environment. Co-sponsored by ELI; and DC Bar Environment, Energy and Natural Resources Community; and the Women's Bar Association of the District of Columbia.

Sheryl Corrigan, Director of Environmental, Health and Safety (EHS) at Koch Industries spoke about her professional journey and her role in leading innovative sustainability measures at Koch. Ms. Corrigan discuseds her path from scientist to regulator, and to her current role as an EHS leader. She also described the new technologies enabling Koch to improve efficiencies in producing essential goods and how the company is addressing the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sheryl Corrigan is Director of Environmental, Health and Safety (EHS) for Koch Industries, Inc., one of the largest private companies in the United States. She provides oversight of Koch companies’ compliance with regulations and internal policy and tracking and ensuring follow-up on emerging issues.

Ms. Corrigan has devoted her entire career (30+ years) to environmental work and is a leader for continuous improvement in EHS efforts at Koch. Prior to assuming this role, Ms. Corrigan was Senior Vice President of EHS for Flint Hills Resources, LLC; a subsidiary of Koch Industries, which produces a diverse range of fuels and ingredient products for many household goods.

Before joining Koch, Ms. Corrigan was Commissioner of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, advising the governor and helping set the strategic direction for the state on environmental matters. She has also worked for 3M in a number of positions focusing on environmental, health and safety operational excellence.

Ms. Corrigan is a member of the GreenBiz Executive Network. She received a bachelor’s degree in Geology from the University of Minnesota Institute of Technology.

May 21, 2020

ELI Public Seminar

In 2018, six wildfires in California caused approximately $12 billion in property damage and tragically claimed over a hundred lives. As climate change continues to drive hotter, drier, and more combustible conditions, the fire season in the western portion of the United States is becoming longer, more intense, and costlier.

For millennia, indigenous peoples have used prescribed fires – intentionally setting precisely timed, low-intensity fires to clear biomass – as a means to manage forest ecosystems as well as being an important cultural practice. Historically, as non-indigenous people expanded westward, state and federal authorities effectively banned tribes from this practice. Even today, tribes must obtain approval before employing prescribed burns and at times continue to face resistance to such activities by state and federal government officials. This resistance can hinder the abilities of tribes to use and pass down traditional ecological knowledge.

Yet given the extent of these devastating wildfires, attitudes have begun to shift. State and federal authorities are reconsidering indigenous prescribed fire policies, especially as cultural tolerance increases, and funding, availability, and experience of fire management resources and personnel is limited.

What are the opportunities for empowering tribes to collaborate with state, local, and federal stakeholders to return prescribed burning practices to indigenous communities? What legal and pragmatic obstacles remain? How can stakeholders address the challenges of collaborating across jurisdictions as well as limited funding and other resources? How can this serve as an opportunity to address historical injustices committed against indigenous peoples, and support tribes in regaining lost traditional ecological knowledge? Our panelists explored these questions and more.


Cynthia R. Harris
, Director, Tribal Programs; Deputy Director, Center for State, Tribal, and Local Environmental Programming, Staff Attorney, Environmental Law Institute, Moderator
Michael Connor, Partner, Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP 
Frank Lake, Research Ecologist, US Forest Service
Matthew S. Reischman, Assistant Deputy Director, Resource Protection, California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection
Bill Tripp, Deputy Director of Eco-Cultural Revitalization, Karuk Tribe Department of Natural Resources

ELI members will have subsequent access to any 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.

May 21, 2020

Presented by Women In Government Relations and co-sponsored by ELI and the D.C. Bar Environment, Energy and Natural Resources Community

In this all digital world, email and social media communications are more important than ever. But with so many different messages coming from different sources, it’s easy to get drowned out. This session explored ways to keep stakeholders engaged in what you have to say, while not overly cluttering inboxes or flooding social media feeds. Through this event participants learned the best ways to engage including which platforms are best for various messages, how often and what times of day to email or call members, and how to craft messages that people will want to read.

Rachel Jones, Vice President, Energy & Resources Policy, National Association of Manufacturers
Meredith ShueAssociate Director, Accenture

May 27, 2020

An ELI Member Webinar

On March 12, 2020 the Environment and Natural Resources Division (ENRD) of the Department of Justice (DOJ) issued a memorandum prohibiting the use of supplemental environmental projects (SEPs) in settling civil disputes effective immediately. Historically, companies have leveraged SEPs in settlement negotiations with ENRD by agreeing to undertake a project with environmental or health benefits, often tailored to the specific alleged violation(s), in exchange for reduced financial penalties. Many view SEPs as streamlining the settlement process. However, DOJ reasons that SEPs are inconsistent with the Miscellaneous Receipts Act by circumventing revenue that otherwise would be deposited to the Department of Treasury.

How will ENRD’s prohibition on SEPs affect ongoing settlement negotiations? How might companies adjust their settlement negotiation strategies in light of this change? What are the limitations of this memorandum, and how could such be applied? Our panelists explored these questions and more by diving into this memorandum and its potential impacts on settlement negotiations.

Corinne Snow
, Counsel, Vinson & Elkins LLP, Moderator
David Batson, Expert Consultant, Environmental ADR & Allocation, AlterEcho, former Senior ADR Specialist & ADR Counsel, Environmental Protection Agency
Jonathan Brightbill, Deputy Assistant Attorney General, Environment and Natural Resources Division, Department of Justice
Lawrence Susskind, Ford Professor of Urban and Environmental Planning, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Director of the Teaching Negotiation Resource Center, Program on Negotiation, Harvard Law School

Closing Remarks: Adam Babich, Professor of Law, Tulane Law School

ELI members will have subsequent access to any 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.

Supplemental Materials:
Kakade, Seema M., Remedial Payments in Agency Enforcement (March 28, 2019). 44 Harvard Environmental Law Review 117 (2020); U of Maryland Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2019-05


May 28, 2020

ELI Member Breaking News Event

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to grind global activity to a halt, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions have plummeted. Experts estimate global GHG emissions will decline 5%-8% in 2020, which would be the largest annual decrease since 1945. But even this drop may not allow us to meet our Paris Agreement commitments. In any case, once shuttered commercial travel and business operations resume, emissions are predicted to rebound by 2021.

The damage to the U.S. economy, however, may not be so easy to restore. As governments and the private sector struggle to identify how to recover economic stability, some experts are concerned that it may become a zero-sum game against reducing emissions, resulting in an increase in GHG emissions over the medium-term. Conversely, other experts believe economic stimulus may present an opportunity to transform our economy, infrastructure, and ways of doing business that would be necessary to reduce and remove CO2 from the atmosphere.

How is the coronavirus pandemic affecting private and public initiatives to reduce GHG emissions? How might the coronavirus and the economic fallout alter sustainability in the global economy? How can companies respond? Can economic stimulus be used to accelerate decarbonization? Our panelists explored these questions and dove into the impact of the coronavirus on climate change.

Sandra Nichols Thiam
, Associate Vice Present, Research & Policy; Director, Judicial Education Program, Environmental Law Institute, Moderator
Timothy C. Brightbill, Partner, Wiley Rein LLP
Alan B. Horowitz, Principal and Managing Director, Trusted Companies LLC
Casey Talon, Associate Director, Energy, Sustainability, and Infrastructure, Guidehouse
Michael Vandenbergh, David Daniels Allen Distinguished Chair of Law; Director, Climate Change Research Network; Co-Director, Energy, Environment and Land Use Program, Vanderbilt Law School

There are no speaker materials for Breaking News events.

Additional reference materials:
Legal Pathways to Deep Decarbonization in the United States
(ELI Press, March 2019, 1120 pgs)

 ELI members will have subsequent access to any 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.

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