September 25, 2018 - September 26, 2018

This two-day meeting was convened by the Ad-Hoc Industry Natural Resource Management Group (Group) in cooperation with The George Washington University Law School. It was the 11th such symposium convened by the Group over its 30-year history. Other co-sponsors of Symposium 2018 included the Environmental Law Institute and The George Washington University Environmental and Energy Management Institute.

The 2018 Symposium

The first day of our program examined the progression and the diversity of natural resource liability cases in the US - via some specific case/site reviews and corresponding lessons learned. Also discussed was emergent case law with the goal of extracting those elements of successful legal, scientific and economic practice that can be further expanded into the present and future.

The second day of the Symposium heard from leaders and decision-makers and discipline experts from the Congress, Judiciary, Academia, National and State Government, Private Industry, conservation organizations and more, with special emphasis on those actions needed to result in an effective national practice, with associated implications for an effective global practice.

The Symposium brought together an outstanding set of speakers -- ranging from government policy makers -- to managers responsible for implementing corporate and government policies -- to attorneys, consultants, academics and other experts working in-the-trenches on natural resource matters. The Symposium provided a unique forum for presentation, discussion and exchange, aimed at identifying what is needed now and moving forward, to ensure a reasonable, balanced, predictable and transparent practice arena for all stakeholders while also facilitating flexibility and innovation.


The Symposium resulted in a targeted set of actions - inside and outside statutory and regulatory paradigms - and the establishment of one or more multi-stakeholder working groups to continue the work of the Symposium, namely to further develop ideas and work to effect implementation and establish and monitor metrics to measure success. It is hoped that the proceedings of the conference will be published in a suitable peer-reviewed journal as well.

Who Will Benefit from Participation

The Symposium was open to all parties and we invited participation by the wide spectrum of stakeholder groups engaged in natural resource liability, management and allied matters, such as emergency response, remediation, restoration, biodiversity, corporate environmental stewardship, sustainability and more. Symposium participants represented a variety of disciplines interfacing with the natural resource liability and restoration practice field, including law, science, economics, statistics, decision analysis, engineering and more.

This program was meant to be of interest to those with responsibilities for legal, technical, policy, public and regulatory affairs, risk management and financial issues in industrial companies; key government staff at the political appointee, managerial and on the ground levels; key congressional and executive branch members and staff; representatives of think tanks, conservation and research organizations; University professors and students; attorneys, scientists, economists and other specialists working with industry and government on natural resource liability, restoration, optimization and related issues.

Topics Included:

  • In Science We Trust (or Not): Implication for Managing Natural Resource Issues
  • Case Law Since New Bedford Harbor
  • Hazardous Waste Case/Site Review: Extracting Lessons Learned and Elements of Successful Scientific and Legal Practices
  • Oil Spills and Other Incidents Case/Site Review: Extracting Lessons Learned and Elements of Successful Scientific and Legal Practices
  • Managing Natural Resource Issues Within the Broader Corporate Structure
  • Advancing Natural Resource Policy for Better Outcomes - Regulatory Reform and Other Opportunities

See the complete agenda HERE.