ELI Primary Menu

Skip to main content


May 2021

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
May 4, 2021

An ELI Member Webinar

The potential vulnerability of energy grids was laid bare this February, when millions were left without power for days due to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) power outages. ERCOT is one of three energy grids in the US, whose conception resulted in Texas as an “electrical island,” uniquely separated from energy supplies in other states. This failure to provide energy security during extreme winter weather may have resulted in over 100 lives lost with an estimated $195 billion in damages, highlighting the crucial importance of improved energy grid governance.

Tasked with adapting to the reality of climate change while maintaining energy security, the ERCOT outages highlight how those responsible for governing the grid will face formidable challenges in the years to come. Already, visible impacts of climate change, such as unprecedented winter storms, underscore the need to integrate climate change adaptation as a principal factor in energy security. With appropriate weatherization and increased battery storage, many experts state that renewables can help assure an energy-secure future, more resilient to the impacts of climate change. The question remains, however, how can regulators ensure that this urgent need for weatherization of energy infrastructure and increase of the storage capacity is met? What other policies must be implemented to transform the energy sector and generate a more resilient system?

Join the Environmental Law Institute and expert panelists for an in-depth exploration of how to ensure energy grids are fit for the unique emerging challenges of this century. Leading panelists will illuminate how energy law and policy must navigate these complex and intersecting governance imperatives highlighted by the ERCOT outages.

Kathryn Penry, Associate, Bracewell LLP Moderator
Eric Christensen, Of Counsel, Beveridge & Diamond PC
Shalaya Morissette, Lead Program Manager, National Grid, and President, Greater Boston Chapter, American Association of Blacks in Energy (AABE)
Doug Vine, Director of Energy Analysis, Center for Climate and Energy Solutions

ELI members 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 6, 2021

An LGEAN and ELI Co-Sponsored Public Webinar

While oil discharges often elicit memories of the Deepwater Horizon oilrig explosion and oil tankers like the Exxon Valdez running aground, many oil discharges in fact originate with non-transportation, onshore facilities. These onshore non-transportation related facilities include but are not limited to, oil storage terminals, bulk plants, refineries oil production/exploration operations and facilities that are end users of oil. This includes facilities owned and operated by local and tribal governments. Oil discharges can originate with any facility where oil is stored—such as tribal or local government fueling areas for motor pools, police and fire stations, water treatment plants, sewage treatment plants, road maintenance facilities, sewer pump stations, and emergency generators.

The Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC) Rule, promulgated under the Federal Water Pollution Control Act or Clean Water Act (CWA), aims to prevent oil discharges from reaching navigable waters or adjoining shorelines. The SPCC Rule requires facilities that reach certain threshold storage requirements to develop and implement SPCC plans, among meeting other obligations. By complying with the SPCC Rule, local and tribal governments can help avoid oil discharges that can ultimately harm inland and coastal waters. Local and tribal environmental agencies are also key to monitoring private facilities for SPCC noncompliance in order to prevent the devastating consequences an oil discharge can have for both natural resources and affected communities.

Join the Environmental Law Institute, the Local Government Environmental Assistance Network, and the Environmental Protection Agency for this webinar overview of the SPCC Rule—focusing on local and tribal government responsibilities, as well as the role of both EPA and the states—and how local and tribal agency staff can effectively monitor facilities out in the field.

Registrants are encouraged to submit any questions, including technical queries from their own localities, in advance of the event using the GoToWebinar Registration page.

Cynthia R. Harris, Deputy Director, Center for State, Tribal, and Local Environmental Programs, Environmental Law Institute, Moderator
Kelly Brantner, Attorney, Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance, U.S. EPA
Mark Howard, SPCC National Program Manager and Senior Advisor, U.S. EPA

Materials, links, and a recording will be posted to the LGEAN Webinars page.

May 10, 2021

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:

  • President’s global climate summit
  • New US emission reduction goal for 2030
  • Steps by EPA to restore the California waiver for GHG vehicle standards withdrawn by the Trump Admin
  • Cert petitions challenging D.C. Circuit's decision overturning Affordable Clean Energy Rule
  • Montana decision concerning review of climate change impacts in approval of mining project
  • Minnesota decision overturning approval of motorsports park based on failure to consider climate impacts
  • Settlement of suit against warehouse project in California, with stipulated conditions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions
  • New lawsuit by City of New York against fossil fuel companies and American Petroleum Institute alleging consumer deception and greenwashing
  • Lawsuits challenging social cost of carbon calculations
  • Decision by Federal Constitutional Court of Germany finding the national climate law to be too weak, in violation of German constitution

James Bradbury, Mitigation Program Director, Georgetown Climate Center, Georgetown University Law Center
Michael Gerrard, Founder and Director, Sabin Center for Climate Change Law and Andrew Sabin Professor of Professional Practice, Columbia Law School
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 11, 2021

An ELI Member Webinar

Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) final rules, Streamlining Procedures for Permit Appeals, makes sweeping changes to the EPA’s Environmental Appeals Board (EAB). These changes include imposing swift deadlines for EAB decisions, 12-year term limits for agency judges, and streamlining the EPA administrator’s authority to overturn EAB decisions. Since 1992, the EAB has served as an out-of-court option for resolving disputes over permitting and agency orders under the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Safe Drinking Water Act, and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.

Proponents of the EAB changes argue that the permit appeals proceedings are lengthy, creating uncertainty for when or whether project development may proceed. However, opponents note that EAB proceedings are especially important in regards to issues affecting environmental justice communities, and these changes may limit the ability of community groups to challenge unfavorable permits.

How do these rule changes impact EPA environmental decision-making and permitting? What are the potential impacts of the final rules on environmental justice communities? How might the rule changes affect the EPA permitting process in the long-term? Join the Environmental Law Institute and expert panelists to explore the impact of the “Streamlining Procedures for Permit Appeals” Final Rules on the Environmental Appeals Board, environmental justice, and governance.

Sandra Nichols Thiam, Associate Vice President, Research & Policy, and Director, Judicial Education Program, Environmental Law Institute, Moderator
David Baron, Managing Attorney, Earthjustice
Seema Kakade, Director, Environmental Law Clinic, and Associate Professor of Law, University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law
Brian F. Mannix, Research Professor, Regulatory Studies Center, Columbian College of Arts and Sciences, George Washington University

Any materials will be posted as they are received.
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 13, 2021

Securing appropriate intellectual property protection is crucial for any innovative green tech company. However, it can be hard to keep up with the constantly evolving, and sometimes unclear, body of intellectual property law. This webinar, presented by IP litigators Deepa Acharya and Sam Stake of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, will highlight recent developments in two rapidly-changing areas of intellectual property law that apply to nearly all types of green technology: patent ineligibility and trade secret protection. First, we will discuss recent Supreme Court and Federal Circuit precedent regarding the patent ineligibility of abstract ideas, as well as how these standards have been applied to the green tech industry in particular. Second, we will discuss recent developments in trade secret law, including involving the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016, and we will discuss lessons from recent trade secret disputes involving green tech companies.

Deepa Acharya , Partner, Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan
Sam Stake, Partner, Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan

For the most up-to-date event description and panelist list, as well as a link to register, go to www.greentechconference.org/webinar-series

May 13, 2021


This conference is co-sponsored by Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, Johns Hopkins University, and the Environmental Law Institute.

In January 2020, California’s ban on the sale of cosmetics tested on animals went into effect. The Environmental Protection Agency announced similar efforts in September 2019 to minimize the testing of potentially harmful chemicals on most vertebrate animals by implementing New Approach Methodologies (NAMs) by 2035. While the California ban does not include certain ingredients, such as pharmaceuticals, cleaners, or other chemicals, and those required to be tested on animals by agencies such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), it is seen by some as a significant step in transitioning toward toxicity testing that is more relevant to the human body.

This half day workshop will discuss the opportunities and challenges in minimizing chemical tests on vertebrate animals, including the regulatory flexibility of NAMs, the gaps in information needed for implementation of NAMs, effectively communicating with relevant stakeholders, and the role of NAMs in improving the assessment of chemicals on vulnerable populations.

Tim Malloy, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), Co-Moderator
Kristie Sullivan, Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, Co-Moderator
Paul Locke, Johns Hopkins University
Rusty Thomas, Environmental Protection Agency
Joel Tickner, Association for the Advancement of Alternatives Assessment (A4)
Lauren Ziese, Ph.D., California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment

Registration & More: Please visit the event page for the latest information.

May 14, 2021

An ELI and King & Spalding Co-Sponsored Master Class

Environmental crimes constitute a wide array of illegal activity that harm the environment, including the violation of key statutes, such as the Clean Water Act (CWA) and the Clean Air Act (CAA). The enforcement of environmental criminal law decreased significantly in the final year of the Trump administration, with enforcement at the lowest number of prosecutions in 30 years. With the Biden administration’s shifted focus towards environmental justice and climate action, this Master Class will explore how current federal priorities may impact the federal prosecution of environmental crimes.


12:00 - 1:30 PM

Panel 1: Defining & Re-aligning Enforcement Priorities will examine what President Biden’s stated priorities of environmental justice and climate change mean for defining enforcement priorities and aligning overarching environmental goals across federal agencies. Will the number of enforcement cases for individual criminal liability and corporate wrongdoing increase? Should heightened coordination from federal agencies on environmental enforcement matters be anticipated? Leading experts will explore these questions and more.

Sally Yates
, Partner, King & Spalding and former Deputy Attorney General, Department of Justice, Moderator
Craig Johnston, Professor of Law, Lewis and Clark School of Law
Pam Mazakas, Deputy Director, Office of Criminal Enforcement, Forensics, and Training, Environmental Protection Agency
Paul Murphy, Partner, King & Spalding and former Chief of Staff, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)

1:30 - 1:45 PM


1:45 - 3:15 PM

Panel 2: Enforcement Beyond Borders will explore the potential of an increase in coordination between U.S. and foreign governments on environmental enforcement proceedings and what the implications of this could mean for international companies operating under a multitude of environmental regimes.

Granta Nakayama
, Partner, King & Spalding, Moderator
Davis Jones, Visiting Scholar, Environmental Law Institute, and former Acting Director, International Compliance Assurance Division, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
Linda Malone, Marshall-Wythe Foundation Professor of Law, Founding Director, Human Security Law Center, College of William and Mary School of Law
William J. Sauers, Partner, King & Spalding

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 18, 2021

An ELI Member Webinar

As the climate crisis accelerates, world-leading investors are putting more weight behind the climate ambition of their portfolios. This January, the world’s largest asset manager, Blackrock, publicly stated that their corporation would take concrete action against companies who do not have a long-term strategy to align their businesses with net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Historically, there have been complex legal debates on whether or not the fiduciary duties of asset managers may prevent or oblige them to make investments based on a company’s emissions profile. However, as the planet continues to warm at unprecedented rates, laws regulating the financial industry must adapt to the growing reality that businesses can no longer responsibly ignore their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in long-term strategic planning.

It is clear that the race to zero emissions within the financial sector is no longer a matter of if, but when. Yet, critical questions remain: how fast will this transition away from emissions-intensive industry happen? What is the role of law in regulating the decarbonization of financial actors? How can both businesses and investors best prepare for this transition? Join the Environmental Law Institute and leading experts for an in-depth exploration of regulating the financial sector in the decarbonization era.

Tyler Burgess, Associate, Kirkland & Ellis LLP, Moderator  
Steven Feit, Senior Attorney, Center for International Environmental Law
Stephanie Jones, Climate Risk and Financial Regulations Attorney, Environmental Defense Fund
Seth Kerschner, Partner, White & Case LLP
Gabriel Malek, Investor Influence Coordinator, Environmental Defense Fund
Brendan McCarthy, ESG Research Analyst, Calvert Research and Management

Any materials will be posted as they are received.
Mandating Disclosure of Climate-Related Financial Risk
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 18, 2021


This conference is co-sponsored by the ABA International Law Section, International Animal Law Committee; the ABA ILS Art & Cultural Heritage Law Committee, the International Criminal Law Committee and the International Human Rights Committee; the ABA Section of Environment, Energy and Resources (SEER) Endangered Species Committee and the International Environmental and Resources Law Committee; the ABA Tort, Trial and Insurance Practice Section, Animal Law Committee; and the Environmental Law Institute.

Trafficking is an opportunistic activity that is not limited to one type of property. When there is opportunity, whether created by war, natural disaster, famine or disease, organized criminals will take what will sell. This program will discuss the illegal activities and methods used by traffickers to loot the cultural, human, wildlife and resource wealth of areas and turmoil. We will examine the impacts of trafficking including the proliferation of zoonotic pathogens, and will examine legal and enforcement strategies and reforms needed to quell trafficking.

Andrew Schatz, Conservation International, Moderator
Jane M. Creighton, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office
Dr. Juliana Machado Ferreira, Freeland Brasil
John Scanlon, Global Initiative to End Wildlife Crime
Peter Karl Tompa, Global Heritage Alliance
Dr. Tanya Wyatt, Northumbria University

Please visit the event page to register.

May 19, 2021

An ELI Public Webinar

Wetlands provide ecological services that are vital for the health and welfare of humans and the planet. Wetland habitats act as carbon “sinks,” improve water quality, and protect against floods and shoreline erosion. As the impacts of climate change worsen, wetlands will play an increasingly important role in mitigation and adaptation efforts. These conservation efforts must include the needs of socially vulnerable populations.

Additionally, the legacy of environmental racism has caused many low-income neighborhoods and communities of color to experience disproportionate impacts during and in the aftermath of natural disasters. By empowering environmental justice communities to engage in and shape wetland protection efforts, these health and environmental harms are redressed while fully realizing the autonomy and knowledge of these communities to further improve public health and environmental outcomes.

Join the Environmental Law Institute, partners, and leading experts to honor winners of the 2021 National Wetlands Awards while exploring the momentous work of individuals across the country who have found unique and effective ways to educate communities about the importance of wetlands and spur community engagement in wetland protection efforts.

Rebecca Kihslinger, PhD, Director, Wetlands Program, and Senior Science and Policy Analyst, Environmental Law Institute, Moderator
Xavier Cortada, Professor of Practice, Department of Art and Art History, University of Miami
Katherine Egland, Co-Founder of Education and Program Director, Economics, Environmental, Climate and Health Organization (EEECHO)

Any materials will be posted as they are received.
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 25, 2021

An ELI Member Webinar

The principle of intergenerational equity – that past, present, and future generations share the Earth’s resources in a fair and equitable manner – is facing many challenges. Ecosystem and biodiversity loss, fueled by climate change and environmental degradation, are impeding upon natural resources, ecosystem services, and the general environmental health and wellbeing of future generations.

However, scientists and policymakers are striving to change this trajectory. To achieve this, some are advocating for improvements to the enforcement of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in order to preserve biodiversity and ecosystem services for future generations.

While the ESA has scored substantial achievements in aiding the recovery of endangered and threatened species, in practice it has typically been more of a retroactive remedy than a preventative measure. Moreover, the ESA’s approach of single species protection, as opposed to a general ecosystem approach, stretches limited government resources as more species are listed. Furthermore, there may be mechanisms traditionally outside of the ESA that can be key to protecting critical habitats, such as incorporating valuation for ecosystem services, and incentivizing reduced-impact logging techniques, and more.

Join the Environmental Law Institute and leading experts to explore the potential role of the Endangered Species Act in preserving natural resources, biodiversity, and ecological services for future generations.


Stephanie Clarke, Associate Attorney, Law Offices of Stephen C. Volker, Moderator 

Tundi Agardy, Executive Director, Sound Seas

Ya-Wei (Jake) Li, Director for Biodiversity, Environmental Policy Innovation Center

Jason Rylander, Senior Endangered Species Counsel, Defenders of Wildlife

Lorena Wada, ES Biologist, Fish and Wildlife Services (FWS)

Any materials will be posted as they are received.
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 26, 2021

An ELI Public Webinar

From 2016–2020, the United States experienced an approximate average of 16 weather or climate-related disaster events with losses exceeding $1 billion. Due to climate change, costly natural disasters are occurring more frequently, and 2020 set a new record with 22 billion-dollar disasters. Recently, increased emphasis has been placed on nature-based hazard mitigation solutions, including the restoration of wetlands and floodplains, as cost-effective strategies for addressing the impacts of future disasters. Nature-based mitigation strategies can help reduce the likelihood of and minimize negative impacts when they do occur. These strategies also provide environmental and social co-benefits, such as increasing habitat and biodiversity, and creating recreational spaces for communities.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) requires every state and local government to have a hazard mitigation plan in order to be eligible for certain types of FEMA funding. The hazard mitigation plan must identify, evaluate, and prioritize cost-effective and feasible mitigation actions and activities that can address the risks posed by natural hazards. The specific actions included in the mitigation strategy provide the basis for proposing and applying for funding for specific mitigation projects.

Leading panelists will explore how states and local governments are integrating nature-based goals and actions in hazard mitigation plans and will provide key examples of ongoing projects and capacity-building efforts that are furthering the state of nature-based hazard mitigation practices. Join the Environmental Law Institute and expert panelists to dive into the best practices and complex considerations for states and local governments in developing, implementing, and evaluating nature-based hazard mitigation plans and projects.

Rebecca Kihslinger, PhD, Director, Wetlands Program, and Senior Science and Policy Analyst, Environmental Law Institute, Moderator
Marybeth Groff, Hazard Mitigation Planner, Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency
Kyle Magyera, Local Government Outreach Specialist, Wisconsin Wetlands Association
Rowan Schmidt, Program Director, Earth Economics
JaLeesa Tate, State Hazard Mitigation Officer, Maryland Emergency Management Agency

Any materials will be posted as they are received.
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.

Add to calendar