May 11, 2017

An ELI Public Seminar

As global political will to mitigate climate change grows, thought leaders are examining big questions about how societies can drastically reduce dependence on energy generation and other processes that emit greenhouse gases. This type of “deep decarbonization” is seen by some as the only path to achieving the Paris Agreement’s call to limit warming to “well below 2° Celsius.” To achieve this goal in the United States, the law and the economy will need to adapt.

This seminar presented the results of two recent studies of pathways to long-term deep decarbonization for the United States, and the legal framework they operate within. The United States Mid-Century Strategy for Deep Decarbonization report was released in November 2016 by the Obama Administration, and From Risk to Return: Investing in a Clean Energy Economy, was released in December 2016 by the Risky Business Project. The Mid-Century Strategy report was submitted to UNFCCC as part of the follow-up to the Paris climate agreement. From Risk to Return is the latest report by the project co-chaired by Michael Bloomberg, Hank Paulson, and Tom Steyer. Both studies explore pathways to 80% reductions in GHG emissions by 2050.

Michael Burger, Executive Director, Sabin Center for Climate Change Law
Karl Hausker, Senior Fellow, World Resources Institute
Noah Kaufman, Climate Economist, World Resource Institute

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May 11, 2017

This program is sponsored by the Water Quality and Water Resources Committee of the D.C. Bar Environment, Energy and Natural Resources Section. Cosponsored by the DC Bar Administrative Law and Agency Practice Section, ABA SEER, and the Environmental Law Institute.

A discussion on what the future has in store for the revised “waters of the United States” (WOTUS Rule), along with a Rapanos “refresher” in light of the plan to consider adopting Justice Scalia’s proposed test for determining jurisdictional waters in the Rapanos case.

On February 28, 2017, in response to an executive order from President Trump, EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers signed a notice of intent to review and rescind or revise the rule defining “waters of the United States” (“WOTUS Rule”). Consistent with the executive order, the notice states that EPA and the Corps will consider whether to interpret the term "navigable waters" according to Justice Scalia’s opinion in Rapanos v. United States, 547 U.S. 715 (2006). In anticipation of the new rulemaking action, the panel discussed what the future has in store for the WOTUS rule and revisited Rapanos to glean insight into the development of a replacement rule.

Stephen Samuels, Former Assistant Section Chief, Environment & Natural Resources Division, U.S. Department of Justice (Retired) (moderator)
Professor William W. Buzbee, Georgetown
Jon Devine, Senior Attorney, Water Program, NRDC
Kerry McGrath, Partner, Hunton & Williams