Infrastructure Review and Permitting: Is Change in the Wind?

May 10, 2018 9:00 am — 5:30 pm
Washington, DC (and webcast)



Co-sponsored by Arnold & Porter and the Environmental Law Institute

In his first State of the Union address, President Trump announced a $1.5 trillion plan aimed at updating aging transportation and energy infrastructure. The Administration also sought to streamline and expedite the environmental review and permitting process for infrastructure projects under multiple environmental laws, ranging from the National Environmental Policy Act, Endangered Species Act, and Migratory Bird Treaty Act to the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts. On February 12, 2018, President Trump submitted to Congress an ambitious legislative “roadmap,” which proposes a number of far-reaching changes to the environmental review framework with a goal of shortening the process for approving projects to two years or less. Interest in improving the review process is hardly new, as the initiatives build on past efforts, such as the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act of 2015 (“FAST Act”). But new policies from the Council on Environmental Quality and other federal agencies are likely to draw legal challenges from environmental NGOs.

To examine these developments in a constructive, practically-oriented, and forward-looking setting, Arnold & Porter and the Environmental Law Institute were pleased to co-host a conference “Infrastructure Review and Permitting: Is Change in the Wind?” Conference attendees heard a variety of critical perspectives across the spectrum. High level government officials, experienced practitioners representing industry and environmental NGOs, and congressional representatives addressed the wide range of environmental permitting and review challenges across sectors including transportation, energy, transmission, renewables, environmental restoration, and more. Panelists delved into the role of policy and litigation in shaping these developments over the next three years and beyond. Conference participants representing diverse backgrounds explored areas of common ground at the intersection of good government, economic growth, and environmental protection.


8:30 am


9:00 am

Welcoming Remarks from Conference Co-Chairs: Assessing the Legal Landscape

9:30 am

Legislative Keynote: Senator Rom Carper (D-DE), Ranking Member, Senate Environment and Public Works

10:00 am

Permitting Reform: Promise, Prospect & Perils

Nathan Frey, Partner, Regulatory Strategies and Solutions Group, Moderator


  • Ted Boling, Associate Director for National Environmental Policy Act, White House Council on Environmental Quality

  • Brian W. Boose, Associate Vice President, Regional Practice Leader, Impact Assessment and Permitting, AECOM

Permitting and Review Under ESA, MBTA and Other Wildlife Statutes

  • Stuart Levenbach, Chief of Staff, National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)


  • Tim Male, Executive Director, Environmental Policy Innovation Center

  • Tomer Hasson, Senior Policy Advisor, Western States, The Nature Conservancy

11:30 am

Case Studies: The Difference Between Success & Failure in Obtaining Approvals and Building a Defensible Record

Angela Colamaria, Acting Executive Director, Federal Permitting Improvement Steering Council, Moderator

Case Study 1: Environmental and Public Process Management -- Brian P. Kennedy, AICP, Senior Project Manager, AECOM

Case Study 2: Tappan Zee Bridge -- Paul Gallay, President and Hudson Riverkeeper, Riverkeeper

12:30 pm

Lunch [provided]

1:30 pm

Keynote from the Trump Administration: Report on Year One & Prospects for Year Two

Alex Herrgott, Associate Director for Infrastructure, White House Council on Environmental Quality

2:00 pm

Environmental Review of Energy Projects

Sandra Rizzo, Partner, Arnold & Porter, Moderator

Environmental Review of Energy Transmission and Transportation

Offshore Energy Projects

  • R. Scott Nuzum, Of Counsel, Van Ness Feldman LLP

  • Michelle Morin, Chief, Environment Branch for Renewable Energy, Bureau of Ocean Energy Managment, U.S. Department of the Interior
3:00 pm

Transportation Infrastructure & Cooperative Federalism: View from the States

  • Albert M. Ferlo, Partner, Perkins Coie, Moderator

  • Devon Dodson, Senior Advisor, Maryland Department of the Environment
  • Sam Sankar, Executive Director and General Counsel, The Environmental Council of States (ECOS)

 4:00 pm  Break
 4:15 pm

The Decarbonization Imperative: Lowering the Barriers to Meet Solar & Wind Infrastructure Requirements

  • Michael Gerrard, Senior Counsel, Arnold & Porter, and Director, Sabin Center for Climate Change Law, Columbia Law School, Moderator

  • Mark Kalpin, Partner, Holland & Knight

  • Kit Kennedy, Director, Energy & Transportation Program, Natural Resources Defense Council

  • Noah Shaw, General Counsel & Secretary, New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA)

5:30-6:30 pm Reception


Additional Reference/Background Materials submitted by the speakers:

General Reference Materials:

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