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September 2020

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September 10, 2020

Sponsored by: Indian Law Committee of the D.C. Bar Environment, Energy and Natural Resources Community
Related Community of Interest: D.C. Bar Law Student Community
Co-Sponsoring Organization:  Environmental Law Institute (ELI)

The coronavirus pandemic has focused public attention on water insecurity in Native American communities. On the Navajo Nation, for example, recent studies show that at least 15% of the population lacks access to running water. This event featured elected officials, lawyers, and members of civil society who are working to protect and realize the right to safe, clean drinking water across Indian Country through litigation, advocacy, and infrastructure development.

Bryan Newland, Chairman, Bay Mills Indian Community
Katie Brossy, Senior Counsel, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP
Emma Robbins, Navajo Water Project Director, DigDeep
Rose Petoskey, President, Native American Bar Association of DC (Moderator)

September 14, 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 to be addressed in this month's call:

  • Final EPA rules on oil and gas methane emissions

  • Final WH guidance on NEPA

  • Senate Democratic report on climate change

  • (8/19/2020) Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards signs two EOs directed at addressing climate change: one establishes the state’s first ever Climate Initiatives Task Force to work on GHG reductions, while the other establishes the state’s first Chief Resilience Officer, who will focus on coastal resiliency in coordination with the state's Coastal Master Plan.

  • (7/10/2020) Virginia has officially joined the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), becoming the first Southern state to participate in the carbon cap-and-trade pact among Northeastern states.

  • (7/14/2020) Fifteen states and the District of Columbia signed an agreement to transition to 100% zero-emission trucks and buses by 2050.

  • (7/17/2020) New York regulators approved a more than $700 million incentive program for building electric vehicle chargers statewide.

  • (7/23/2020) Florida is moving ahead with plans to dramatically expand its network of electric vehicle charging stations along major interstates and highways.

  • (8/5/2020) Massachusetts is expected to pass clean energy and climate legislation in the coming months that would require the state to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, dividing conservative groups and environmentalists in atypical ways. (NOTE: this has not been passed yet, but both chambers have passed bills backing the net-zero goal, and Republican Gov. Charlie Baker has declared that his administration is planning to meet it.)

  • (8/17/2020) California finalized deals with five automakers to slash emissions from passenger cars, regardless of President Trump's rollback of clean car standards.

  • (8/24/2020) Democratic Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker laid out an ambitious energy proposal aimed at tackling climate change while also improving utility affordability and accountability. One of the goals is 100% renewables by 2050.

  • (8/27/2020) California's latest cap-and-trade auction rebounded from its spring crash but failed to sell out, raising $474 million in its last auction.

  • Second Circuit decision reinstating penalty increases for fuel economy violations
  • Multiple developments in the common law litigation against oil companies
  • New lawsuits against oil companies by State of Delaware; Charleston, SC; and Hoboken, NJ
  • Montana Supreme Court decision that state Public Service Commission improperly excluded avoided carbon costs from contract rates for small solar facilities

Vicki Arroyo, Professor from Practice and Executive Director, Climate Center, Georgetown University
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.

September 15, 2020

An ELI Master Class

According to the United Nations, approximately 100,000 deaths worldwide have been attributed to human–induced climate change. As a result, numerous cases have been brought to court where judges, prosecutors, and attorneys must confront greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and the ethics surrounding disclosure. Consequently, attorneys representing industries that release emissions could find themselves unexpectedly accused of breaching ethical responsibilities if they fail to report these activities under certain circumstances.

How do such claims arise?  Under what types of circumstances would attorneys need to report? What should attorneys be focusing on to ensure compliance under ethics rules? Panelists explored these questions and more as they dove into the multi-faceted aspects of avoiding legal malpractice claims and ethics violations when handling GHG emissions in court. Leading experts confronted how to understand the various states’ professional ethical rules, how to respond to ethical issues that arise in response to such claims, and how to avoid dishonest or deceitful conduct. Our session was an in-depth exploration of GHG emissions in court and disclosure under ethics rules.

Tracy Hester
, Co-Director, Center for Carbon Management in Energy and Lecturer, University of Houston Law Center, Moderator
Pamela R. Esterman, Partner, Sive Paget & Riesel, PC
Victor B. Flatt, Co-Director, Environment, Energy, and Natural Resources (EENR) Center and Dwight Olds Chair in Law, University of Houston Law Center
Aileen Hooks, Partner, Baker Botts LLP

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.


September 17, 2020

The Ad-Hoc Industry Natural Resource Management Group was pleased to convene this important national and international forum. We were especially pleased to partner with The George Washington  University Law School, Environmental Law Institute, The George Washington University Environmental & Energy Management Institute and others.

This year’s Symposium is being conducted in two parts due to COVID-19: Part 1 is being conducted as a virtual event on September 17, 2020; and Part 2 will be conducted as an in person event at The George Washington University Law School in Fall 2021.

Natural Resources at a Crossroads: How 2020 Has Affected Natural Resources Law and Policy and Highlighted the Importance of Public/Private Collaborations to Advance Shared Objectives

For a complete agenda and list of speakers, go HERE.

Topics Include:

  • Keynote Address: Post-COVID Strategies – A New Era for Natural Resource Issues in the US and Worldwide

  • 2020 is the Year of Change – Why We Need a New Way of Doing Things

  • Advancing Common Objectives and Projects -- Continuing the Multi-Stakeholder Discussion

  • Continuing the Discussion in Part 2 of the Symposium Program -- Next Steps and 2021 Plans

See the complete agenda HERE.

September 18, 2020

An ELI Member Webinar

Biofuel, a renewable energy source produced from organic waste and materials, is a widely used and increasingly controversial energy source in transportation. While once heralded by environmentalists as an innovative carbon neutral energy source, biofuels have since come under scrutiny in the past decade. Concerns stemming from food security, deforestation and land use, the carbon footprint over the life cycle, vehicle modification, and more rendered this once-prized fuel as less desirable in the eyes of some environmentalists.

Yet ongoing research initiatives are attempting to change these perceptions. Some companies are working to bring cellulosic bio-ethanol, an advanced biofuel, to commercial scale. Published findings note that when compared with fossil fuels, corn ethanol may reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 13%, yet cellulosic bio-ethanol could reduce GHGs by nearly 90%. Moreover, these advanced biofuels are manufactured from non-food biomass that may be grown on land unsuitable for food production.

What are the practical and policy challenges and opportunities facing advanced biofuels? How has the coronavirus pandemic affected biofuel production and research? What are the lessons learned from traditional biofuels that are being applied to advanced biofuels?

Lauren Helen Leyden
, Partner, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, Moderator
Thomas Brugato, Special Counsel, Covington & Burling LLP
Shailesh Sahay, Senior Regulatory Counsel, POET, Inc.
Stephanie Wettstein, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Montana State University

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.

September 22, 2020

An ELI & Sidley Austin LLP Co-Sponsored Webinar

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has long governed federal pesticide law under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). FIFRA has a broad reach, overseeing conventional insecticides, but also plant growth regulators, antimicrobial surface disinfectants, pesticide “devices” like germicidal ultraviolet light systems or ozone generators, and more. Currently, EPA has continued to stress FIFRA as a leading priority area in national enforcement guidance.

Under FIFRA, EPA has specific authority to regulate products meant to provide surface disinfection from bacteria, microbes, and viruses. Indeed, products making claims to mitigate SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus causing COVID-19, have fallen under intense scrutiny from EPA recently. Meanwhile, the focus on FIFRA compliance issues is increasingly intersecting with EPA’s growing scrutiny of imports to the U.S. Import reviews target traditional pesticide products, and now also center on nontraditional items such as UV lights and air purifiers.

Given these trends, questions are arising over EPA’s enforcement priorities in U.S. pesticide law. What are EPA’s strategies for enforcing federal pesticide law? What new or unexpected directions is the agency focusing on, especially in regards to compliance of nontraditional products, including those created in response to COVID-19? Expert panelists address these questions, provide practical guidance on compliance with FIFRA, and explore FIFRA enforcement priorities.

Andrew R. Stewart
, Counsel, Sidley Austin LLP, Moderator
Michael Bellot, Associate Division Director, Waste and Chemical Enforcement Division, Environmental Protection Agency
Carrie L. Daniels, Senior Managing Scientist, Exponent
Royan Teter, Supervisory Life Scientist, Environmental Protection Agency
Joseph T. Zaleski, Associate, Sidley Austin LLP

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.

September 24, 2020

This event is a proud part of Climate Week NYC 2020!

An ELI and White & Case LLP Co-Sponsored Environmental Law & Finance Series Webinar

Analyzing environmental, social, and governance (ESG) criteria is an increasingly valuable method for investors to evaluate high performing companies. While climate change may pose an extraordinary threat such as damaging property and disrupting supply chains, it may also present opportunities to capitalize on new markets.

In light of these risks and opportunities, financial institutions are seeking additional climate-related financial information to better assess companies’ resilience to this changing landscape. Many companies are implementing the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) framework to disclose risks and opportunities across governance, risk management, strategy, and metrics and targets.  Others are becoming certified as B-Corporations, indicating that they have met basic social and environmental performance measures, and many are publicly adopting more ambitious climate mitigation pledges as they prepare to position themselves to the new realities presented by climate change.

What is driving businesses to commit to climate mitigation plans and more robust climate disclosure, and what related opportunities and obstacles remain? What is the current landscape of climate reporting frameworks in the United States and what may be expected or required of companies in the future?  How is climate change affecting business operations and supply chain management now and what is expected in the future? What are the best practices that businesses can follow in providing climate-related financial disclosures?

This seminar is the third seminar of the Environmental Law and Finance Series, exploring opportunities at the intersection of environmental law and finance. Join ELI, White & Case LLP, and leading panelists to explore the role of climate change in the ESG arena.

Seth Kerschner
, Partner, White & Case LLP, Moderator
Laura Mulry, Associate, White & Case LLP
Jacqueline Smith, Vice President, Sustainability, JP Morgan Chase & Co
Tensie Whelan, Director, Center for Sustainable Business, Stern School of Business, New York University

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.

September 25, 2020

Co-sponsored by the International Network for Environmental Compliance and Enforcement (INECE)

In recent years, there has been rapid growth both in individual and organizational interest in community/citizen science and in the development of new advanced monitoring devices that facilitate community and citizen involvement. In the United States, legislation from 2016 encourages Federal agencies to support and utilize community/citizen science in their work. Community/citizen science encompasses a broad range of activities ranging from the use of new, low-cost hand-held air monitors by individuals to sophisticated, university-based monitoring networks to satellite monitoring plans by large environmental NGOs. Some of these efforts are simply designed to raise awareness of environmental issues, while others are focused on informing agency actions including compliance and enforcement programs, while still others are designed to support citizen litigation to stop polluting activities.

This session is the first in an INECE webinar series that will explore current and potential uses of citizen/community science initiatives to improve environmental monitoring, compliance and enforcement around the world. Over the course of six sessions, the series will showcase cutting edge models and technologies for community/citizen science and discuss the issues, barriers and opportunities related to agency use of community-generated data. Beginning with an overview of the current landscape of citizen/community science, the series will highlight community/citizen science case studies in a few sectors, then move into discussions of agency use of citizen/community science and high-level dialogue on new developments and areas of opportunity in the field.

This session, which opens the series, will provide a brief introduction to community science and the key factors driving stakeholders’ renewed interest in community science, such as an increasing social emphasis on environmental justice. It will seek to define community science, introduce its applications in various contexts, and discuss its potential as a compliance and enforcement tool.

LeRoy Paddock
, Visiting Scholar, ELI; Managing Director, INECE Secretariat, Moderator
George Wyeth
, Visiting Scholar, ELI, Moderator
Martin Brocklehurst, Founding Member of the European Citizen Science Association (ECSA) and the Citizen Science Global Partnership (CSGP)
Alison Parker, Senior Program Associate with the Science and Technology Innovation Program (STIP) at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
Lea Shanley, Ph.D., Senior Fellow, Nelson Institute, University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Vice-Chair, Citizen Science Association Law & Policy Working Group

September 29, 2020

To mark the occasion of the 50th Anniversary of the Clean Air Act and the 30th Anniversary of the Clean Air Act Amendments, American University’s Center for Environmental Policy, Center for Environmental Filmmaking and the American Lung Association are hosting a half day virtual symposium.

Cosponsored by the Environmental Law Institute

The goals of the symposium are to recognize the accomplishments of the Clean Air Act, document its benefits and to reaffirm its role as an essential element in protecting the health of Americans. The nation has enjoyed major gains in air quality as a result of the Act, but a great deal of work remains to be done to protect more than 141 million Americans who still live in areas where the air quality puts their health at risk, and to address the new air quality challenges posed by climate change.

Watch the short film “Unbreathable: The Fight for Healthy Air" created to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Clean Air Act.


AGENDA (There will be short breaks between each session)
12:00 noon


12:15 PM

The Promise of the Clean Air Act

Learn from leaders in the fields of law, public health and environmental justice about the connections between one’s zip code and the likelihood of suffering disproportionate health and economic impacts from air pollution. The legal underpinnings of the law along with legal approaches for addressing disparities will be discussed.

  • Paul Billings, National Senior Vice President of Public Policy, American Lung Association (Moderator)
  • Wayne Nastri, Executive Officer, South Coast Air Quality Management District
  • Vickie Patton, General Counsel, Environmental Defense Fund
  • Dr. Mary Rice, Physician, Beth Israel Deconess Medical Center; Assistant Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Vice-Chair, American Thoracic Society
  • Peggy Shepard, Co-Founder and Executive Director, WE ACT for Environmental Justice
1:30 PM

Innovation for Cleaner Air

While clean air is protected by the Clean Air Act, improvements cannot be achieved through regulations alone. In this discussion, learn from practitioners who are advancing clean air through both policy and technology innovations, from both the public and the private sectors.

  • Sarah Vogel, Vice President, Health, EDF (Moderator)
  • Tim Johnson, Director, Emerging Regulations and Technologies, Corning Environmental Technologies
  • David Hawkins, Former Assistant Administrator, Air, Noise and Radiation, EPA
  • Margo Oge, Former Director, Office of Transportation and Air Quality, EPA
  • Tommy Wells, Director, Department of Energy & Environment, Distict of Columbia
2:45 PM

Clean Air and Cliumate Change in the 21st Century

  • Dr. Georges C. Benjamin, Executive Director, American Public Health Association (Moderator)
  • Dr. Susan Anenberg, Associate Professor, Environmental and Occupational Health and Global Health, George Washington University School of Public Health
  • Deborah P. Brown, Chief Mission Officer, American Lung Association
  • John Haynes, Program Manager, Health and Air Quality Applications, Applied Sciences Program, NASA Earth Science Division
4:00 PM

Lessons from the Past 50 Years

In this interactive dialogue, learn from and engage with those who were responsible for the original 1970 Clean Air Act and the 1990 Amendments at the helm of the Environmental Protection Agency and in Congress.

  • Dan Fiorino, Director, Center for Environmental Policy, American University School of Public Affairs (Moderator)
  • Carol Browner, Former Administrator, EPA
  • Tom Jorling, Former Congressional Aide; Former Assistant Administrator, Office of Water and Hazardous Materials, EPA
  • Gina McCarthy, President and CEO, Natural Resources Defense Council; Former Administrator, EPA
  • Bill Reilly, Former Administrator, EPA
5:00 PM

Conclusions and Next Steps

5:05 PM


September 30, 2020

An ELI Member Webinar

New oil and gas pipeline construction is especially controversial as environmental and indigenous groups warn of hazardous leaks and spills, increased reliance on fossil fuels, and infringing upon indigenous land and sovereignty. Recent simultaneous setbacks to three multibillion-dollar pipeline projects including the Dakota Access Pipeline, Keystone XL Pipeline, and Atlantic Coast Pipeline may reflect shifting legal, economic, and policy pressures facing new pipeline construction projects. Some of the emerging challenges facing new construction projects include the increasing cost of litigation, states aligning their permitting authorities and climate mitigation goals, as well as concerns of environmental justice.

Despite these budding challenges, from 2010-2019 oil production in the United States more than doubled, while gas production increased nearly 60%. Presently, more than 9,000 miles of oil and gas pipelines are under construction with an additional 12,500 miles pending approval for construction.

Will the oil and gas industry continue to pursue new pipeline constructions or are these setbacks signaling a sea change? Will smaller pipeline projects face challenges similar to those of larger, multibillion-dollar projects? How will these setbacks to new projects affect existing oil and gas pipelines? Join the Environmental Law Institute and leading experts to explore these questions and dive into the future of oil and gas pipelines.

Kamilah L. Jones
, Associate, Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP, Moderator
Jan Hasselman, Staff Attorney, Earthjustice
Thomas C. Jensen, Partner, Perkins Coie LLP
Alexandra Klass, Distinguished McKnight University Professor, University of Minnesota 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.

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