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In October 2022, the SEER Pro Bono Initiative sponsored a webinar to highlight the Thriving Earth Exchange and the Legal Pathways to Deep Decarbonization (LPDD) project partners and discuss how SEER members can participate. The webinar recording is available here.

Update From Legal Pathways to Deep Decarbonization

The LPDD Project is a unique pro bono opportunity that has enlisted dozens of law firms and scores of individual lawyers around the country to use their legal skills to draft model laws to address climate change. Once the model laws are final, they are posted on the LPDD website. The project provides free access to high quality legal work to legislators, nongovernmental organizations, and others who lack the resources to draft legislation. The website also includes links to thousands of other climate change resources curated by the LPDD team. The project is nonpartisan -- there are model laws for policymakers of every political stripe. Given the number and types of model laws available for drafting, individual lawyers and law firms have been able to select model laws for drafting that avoid client conflicts. To date, nearly 70 model laws have been drafted, peer reviewed, and made available to policymakers. However, drafters are still needed.

The project recently published eight new pieces of model legislation touching on the federal permitting process for renewable energy, a timely subject that the last Congress took a deep interest in, and the present Congress may soon revive. Specifically, (i) a Model Law to Amend the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) to Require Evaluation of the Positive Effects of a Project; (ii) a Model Law Amending the Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA) to Facilitate Offshore Renewables Permitting; (iii) two Model Laws Addressing Liability for Renewable Energy Projects Under the Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA); (iv) Two Model Laws to Expedite Reviews Under NEPA and the Endangered Species Act (ESA); and (v) Two Model Laws that would Codify Incidental Take Permitting for Renewable Projects under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) and the Bald & Golden Eagle Protection Act (BGEPA). 

In addition to the eight model laws designed to streamline permitting of renewables, the project recently published a Model Law to Amend the Internal Revenue Code to Remove Favorable Tax Treatment of Coal Mining and Production. Other noteworthy LPDD Project developments are described in the Project's monthly newsletters for December 2022, January 2023 and February 2023, which can be found here.

If you are interested in participating on a pro bono basis in drafting, peer reviewing, or working with the LPDD Project’s outreach team in connecting policymakers with the model laws, please submit this form.  To receive monthly updates from the LPDD project, click here.

Update From Thriving Earth Exchange

Thriving Earth Exchange is a project of the American Geophysical Union (AGU). AGU is an international nonprofit association supporting an inclusive community of Earth and space scientists and partners dedicated to discovery and solutions to societal challenges. If you are interested in assisting with a project for Thriving Earth Exchange, please contact Blake McGhghy at [email protected].

Other Opportunities to Get Involved in Pro Bono Work

Environmental Law Institute’s Pro Bono Clearinghouse

Below is information on the Environmental Law Institute’s (ELI) Pro Bono Clearinghouse. ELI launched the clearinghouse earlier this year and it offers a variety of pro bono opportunities.

The Environmental Law Institute's Pro Bono Clearinghouse connects communities facing environmental legal issues with pro bono attorneys ready to serve them. The Clearinghouse receives matters from environmental law clinics and other environmental organizations throughout the country. Communities that have connected with a clinic or organization in the past that are still seeking pro bono representation may also post their matters at the Clearinghouse. Attorneys may avail themselves of the posted matters by reaching out directly to the community contacts to determine if representation is right for them. If you have questions about getting involved, please email the ELI team at [email protected]