Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources

Committee Descriptions

SEER has nearly 30 committees that members can join to receive announcements about articles and updates in their practice and interest areas.

Environmental Committees

Agricultural Management
The Agricultural Management Committee was founded in 1996 to address cutting-edge issues in managing the environmental impacts of agriculture. The Committee focuses on developments in federal and state legislation, regulation, litigation and policy related to the agricultural environment, from agricultural biotechnology, livestock, pollution, sustainability, and food safety, to zoology/biodiversity.

Air Quality
The Air Quality Committee provides a valuable forum and practical resources for lawyers interested in air-related issues to: (1) keep current on new developments, through communications such as newsletters, teleconferences, social media, and seminars; (2) exchange ideas and best practices with other practitioners around the country; and (3) stay involved with the legal community by contributing to various Section publications and participating in Section events.

Endangered Species
This Committee focuses on Endangered Species Act (ESA) law, policy and practice, providing alerts, expert analyses and forum discussions for a broad range of members from industry, government, and nonprofits. Frequent topics: ESA Sections 7 and 9 requirements, Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) development/use, integrating ESA compliance with other environmental requirements, and effects of major listing decisions on species, habitat, and development. Join us!

Environmental Disclosure
The Environmental Disclosures Committee provides a forum for the discussion of corporate environmental disclosure in light of the requirements recently imposed by Sarbanes-Oxley and the increasing number of environmental “transparency” initiatives. The Committee focuses on legally mandated SEC and financial statement disclosure of environmental matters and the relationship between such disclosures and voluntary corporate sustainability and social responsibility disclosures of environmental matters to stakeholders. It also treats issues arising from product-related environmental disclosures in the commercial marketplace.

Environmental Enforcement and Crimes
The Environmental Enforcement and Crimes Committee monitors and communicates developments and trends of interest to its members and their clients, focusing on practical issues arising in civil and criminal environmental enforcement. Current topics include the government’s worker endangerment initiative, RIN fraud (renewable energy credits), Lacey Act violations (unlawful trade in animals and plants), vessel pollution prosecutions, Clean Air and Water Act enforcement, and emerging issues in sentencing and penalty assessment, including a jury instruction library.

Environmental Litigation and Toxic Torts
The Environmental Litigation and Toxic Torts Committee covers all aspects of environmental litigation, but focuses on tort actions involving potential exposure to toxic substances. The Committee's goal is to provide a forum for practitioners to learn and communicate about the latest developments and trends in this rapidly changing field.

Environmental Transactions and Brownfields
The ETAB Committee works on environmental issues that arise in business, energy or real estate transactions, including M&A deals, asset-based transactions, fossil and renewable energy projects, and remediation and redevelopment of brownfields. Substantive areas include: liability protection, transfer and apportionment; parent/successor liability; lender liability; insurance; incentive programs (e.g., VCPs, BCPs, S-RECs, TIFs); deal structure and finance.

Pesticides, Chemical Regulation, and Right-to-Know
The Pesticides, Chemical Regulation, and Right-to-Know Committee addresses a diversity of federal, state, and international regulatory matters with a distinct product focus. Products of interest include chemical and biological pesticides, industrial and consumer chemicals, and plant and microbial products of biotechnology.

Superfund and Natural Resource Damages Litigation
The Superfund and Natural Resource Damages (NRD) Litigation Committee focuses on federal and state law, cases and policy related to Superfund sites and NRD. Issues include assignment of liability, cost allocation, enforcement, and interactions between agencies, trustees and potentially responsible parties. The Committee provides updates on settlement options, litigation techniques, and technical issues of interest to environmental practitioners.

Waste and Resource Recovery
The Waste and Resource Recovery Committee (formerly Waste Management Committee) is broadening its focus from the traditional “cradle to grave” management of solid and hazardous waste to encompass a more sustainable view of waste as a resource through recycling, beneficial use, reduction, and conservation. The W&RR Committee will track and communicate statutory, regulatory, and judicial developments in emerging areas such as new definitions of solid and hazardous waste, recycling, permitting, flow control, waste bans, waste conversion technologies, and environmental justice. We will encourage member-to-member dialogue through the use of traditional and innovative means to exchange ideas, share success stories, and identify opportunities for meaningful contributions to the field. Our members include a rich mixture of lawyers in private practice, in-house counsel, trade association counsel, non-profit lawyers, and government attorneys.

Water Quality and Wetlands
The Water Quality and Wetlands Committee's goal is to keep water quality and wetlands issues in focus for our members as they move into the next century. This will be accomplished by identifying emerging issues such as recent cases on federal jurisdiction, Water Quality and TMCL Regulations and Citizen Suit litigation among others.


Energy and Resources Committees

Energy and Natural Resources Litigation
The Energy and Natural Resources Litigation Committee delivers practitioners with up-to-date information on areas such as electricity litigation with an emphasis on energy law of electric and natural gas conveyance, natural resource litigation with a focus on emerging natural resources damage issues, oil and natural gas litigation and overarching litigation issues.

Energy Infrastructure, Siting, and Reliability
We foster the development of practical resources to address the challenges of modernizing and expanding the nation's energy infrastructure for both traditional and renewable energy sources, and of balancing competing interests in the siting process. The issues include (1) siting and construction of new energy infrastructure including natural gas pipelines, electric transmission lines, and renewable energy resources; (2) providing adequate, reliable, and affordable supplies of energy while protecting environmental quality; (3) ensuring meaningful public participation; (4) resolution of differences among national, regional, state, and local energy policies and planning; and (5) streamlining of siting processes through consolidation of licensing and better agency coordination.

Energy Markets and Finance 
Historically, lawyers with expertise in environmental markets, utility regulation, project development and finance, energy transactions, compliance, and energy trading have worked separately, each within their own fields of expertise. With the emergence of new regulatory markets, financial reforms, energy trading rules, and climate change and clean energy regulations these diverse fields continue to converge.

This Committee brings together a diverse group of practitioners that focus on (1) federal and state regulation of energy resource developers and energy generators and utilities, (2) financing of energy projects, including alternative funding sources, (3) regulation and oversight of energy commodities and wholesale energy markets, (4) environmental regulation of energy projects.

Forest Resources
The Forest Resources committee addresses virtually every issue that touches both private and public forest lands. We focus on all legal, policy and practical issues relevant to owners, lenders, trade associations, managers, users, non-profits and others who are interested in forest lands. Through newsletters and programs, we strive to provide information to our committee members that are not available from any other organization.

Marine Resources
The Marine Resources Committee focuses issues that impact the oceans, the largest ecosystem on Earth. Recent topics addressed by the committee include climate change, exploration and production of marine natural resources, off-shore wind power, aquaculture, marine transportation, and legal issues arising from the use of coastal and ocean areas.

Mining and Mineral Extraction 
The Mining and Mineral Extraction Committee provides a forum for research, study and discussion of the multitude of natural resources, energy and environmental issues facing the hardrock and coal mining industry, including sustainable development and climate change. Through articles and programs, the Committee brings together those with interest in national and international laws and policies guiding and regulating the mining industry.

Native American Resources
The Native American Resources Committee is a forum and educational resource for lawyers representing tribes, tribal entities, indigenous peoples, and businesses engaged in development or other commercial activities around Indian country, Alaska Native villages, and other lands of indigenous peoples. The Committee focuses on broad ranging current and emerging environmental, energy, land use, resource and environmental justice issues. The Committee encourages participation in the Committee and Section by Native American attorneys and attorneys interested in the field of Indian and tribal law.

Nuclear Law 
The Nuclear Law Committee focuses on the legal issues related to nuclear power and nuclear materials. Nuclear power is more than just the licensing and operation of power plants—the nuclear fuel cycle also involves fuel production, storage and disposal. Nuclear materials are used to diagnose and treat many types of illness and injury; in industrial and construction applications; and in academia and scientific research.

Oil and Gas
The Oil and Gas Committee provides a venue for energy law practitioners who wish to monitor, discuss and explore legal trends and developments that impact the practice of law within the oil and gas industry. This Committee focuses upon many topics of interest to energy law practitioners including: (1) legal issues and new trends and developments pertinent to the business of exploring for and producing oil and natural gas, (2) regulatory, statutory and case law developments pertinent to the exploration and production business, (3) the future of the domestic & international oil and gas exploration and production industry.

Public Land and Resources
The Public Land and Resources Committee focuses on a broad array of federal land issues, as well as private, local, state and international public land and resource issues. In the federal context, the Committee will consider federal land matters pertaining to the Bureau of Land Management, Forest Service, National Park Service, Wildlife Refuge Management system, military installations and other federal land holdings. The Committee also will focus on land use issues on land use opportunities created by private, local, state and international land holdings. For instance, recreation (developed and underdeveloped), wilderness, wildlife, open space, grazing, species conservation and regulatory takings law will be considered a mission critical issue areas for the Committee. The Committee will consider these issues for both land and water based resources.

Renewable, Alternative, and Distributed Energy Resources
The Renewable, Alternative, and Distributed Energy Resources (RADER) Committee will examine and disseminate information on those legal policy and practical implementation issues which affect expansion of markets for renewable and distributed energy resources. The Committee will have five primary areas of focus: (1) innovative approaches to stimulating renewable and distributed energy resource development; (2) measures for commoditization and value maximization of fuel, environment and tax-related legal attributes of renewable energy and distributed generation production; (3) constraints on fitting renewable resources and distributed generation (whether or not powered by renewable fuels) into the framework of national and states' energy policy; (4) relating renewable energy resource and distributed generation development to environmental legal requirements; and (5) issues related to structuring finance for renewable energy and distributed generation.

Water Resources
The Water Resources Committee focuses on substantive and practice developments that impact water allocation and availability for all water users. These developments fall into a broad spectrum of subject areas, including state water law; federal and tribal water law; issues arising under the Endangered Species Act and the Clean Water Act; interstate allocation of water; the Public Trust and Prior Appropriation Doctrines; reserved water rights; state, local and municipal water supply; water rights transfers; and federal reclamation law. In light of increasing issues of water scarcity, the committee's interests encompass the interdependence of water uses by all economic sectors - agriculture, mining, fisheries, tourism, energy, and water and wastewater utilities among them - and the inescapable connection between water quantity and water quality.

Cross Practice Committees

Climate Change, Sustainable Development, and Ecosystems
The Climate Change, Sustainable Development, and Ecosystems Committee focuses on three interrelated topics. The Committee is long established as the leading forum for those engaged in the regulatory and legal aspects of climate change. The Committee leads the Section-wide effort to raise awareness of sustainability concepts and their relevance to law and corporate governance and to integrate sustainability thinking across all environmental practice areas. The third component involves ecosystem-based approaches to environmental protection and regulation.

Constitutional Law
The Constitutional Law Committee covers federal and state constitutional issues related to the practice of environmental law. Examples of these issues include standing, preemp-tion, takings, the separation of powers, and all constitutional issues related to the prosecution of environmental crimes.

In-House Counsel
The In-House Counsel Committee was established to facilitate communication and networking among in-house counsel who practice in the environmental, energy and/or natural resources field in a variety of settings -- corporations, associations, and non-profits. The committee serves as a conduit for the rapid distribution of news and information of particular interest to in-house lawyers. The Committee focuses on emerging trends in the substantive areas of energy, environmental, and resource practice and on the lawyer’s role in environmental management and corporate/ organizational decision making.

International Environmental and Resources Law 
The primary objectives of the International Environmental and Resources Law Committee are 1) to provide members with the tools and resources to enhance their practice or research; 2) to provide a forum for the exchange of ideas and experiences relevant to the practice and study of international environmental and resources law; and 3) to collaborate with attorneys and academics in other countries on programming, newsletters, and other ABA SEER publications.

Science and Technology
The Science and Technology Committee evaluates scientific and technological issues and trends in litigation, federal and state regulatory regimes and legislative developments in practice areas across the spectrum of environmental, energy and resources law.

Energy and Environmental Markets and Finance
Historically, the worlds of lawyers working in environmental markets, compliance, litigation, energy transactions, energy trading, project development and finance have existed separately--each within its own field of operation and exper-tise. With the emergence of new regulatory markets, finan-cial reforms, energy trading rules, climate change and clean energy regulations, these fields continue to converge. En-ergy and environmental markets, transactions, trading, regulations and finance are changing at a rapid pace.