Watch: Keynote Address and Opening Plenary from the 25th Fall Conference

    July 10, 2017 4:17 PM by John Sturk

    View the live recording of the 25th Fall Conference keynote speech, “Our Climate Crisis, our Children, our Constitution: Juliana v. U.S. and Today’s Meaning of Liberty” by Julia Olson, Executive Director and Chief Counsel, Our Children’s Trust.

    Following that, watch the plenary panel, “News from Inside the Beltway: Administration and Congressional Priorities for Environmental, Energy, and Resources Law and Policy”. Moderated by Alexandra Dapolito Dunn, Executive Director, Environmental Council of the States, panelists include Susan Bodine, Senior Advisor to the Administrator, United States Environmental Protection Agency, Kevin S. Minoli, Acting General Counsel, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Tina Richards, Counsel, Energy & Commerce Committee at United States House of Representatives.

    Replay the keynote and panel from 46th Spring Conference

    April 6, 2017 3:06 PM by John Sturk

    Weren't able to attend the 46th Spring Conference? Check out the video below of the keynote address from California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and our panel discussion on environment and energy priorities of the new administration and 115th Congress.


    World Justice Forum report

    July 10, 2017 4:17 PM by John Sturk

    Notes on World Justice Forum V
    Seth A. Davis, Section Chair

    I was proud to represent SEER, along with Past Chairs Lee DeHihns and Claudia Rast, at the fifth World Justice Forum in The Hague, Holland, July 10-13.

    This Forum was the fifth such event organized by the World Justice Project, an independent, multidisciplinary organization that works to advance the rule of law worldwide. SEER has been an active supporter of the Project, and has participated in all of the forums to date. In addition to Lee and Claudia, those active in past forums have included Past Chairs Sheila Hollis and Alex Dunn, and section members Howard Kenison and Roger Martella.

    A major achievement of the World Justice Project has been the development and publication of an international Rule of Law Index, in which each country is rated by independent practitioners and juridical experts on its actual achievement of the goals of the rule of law. This index should serve as an eye-opener and call to action for all American lawyers, since the U.S. ranks merely 18th in the world in the latest index.

    Several years ago, SEER representatives urged the development of an Environmental Rule of Law Index, that would measure achievement of rule of law goals in the environmental area. Over the past several years, a SEER team led most recently by Alex Dunn has been working along with World Justice Project staff in developing a very detailed questionnaire, and in conducting an initial evaluation of five different countries. The questionnaire and the pilot results were presented publicly for the first time in The Hague by our panel, which also included a detailed explanation of the Environmental Index by World Justice Project staff members Sarah Long and Christine Pratt, and Steve Wolfson of the United States Environmental Protection Agency. The audience reaction was very positive, with several suggestions for improving the index. We received particular praise from a number of past ABA presidents and senior lawyers from many different countries.

    As a whole, the entire Forum was a marvelous experience, at which we heard presentations on a variety of themes related to international rule of law, and during which we got to meet an amazing array of legal talent and concerned individuals from every part of the world. By my count there were supreme court justices present from 7 different countries!

    We began with a tour of the new Dutch Supreme Court building, at which we met with two members of that high court, including the Chief Justice. The building, only a couple of years old, very successfully combines modern, light-admitting architecture with a traditional respect for justice. One does not, in fact, have to have dark oak paneling in a courtroom in order to summon respect.

    The opening plenary session featured an appearance by our own Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who was interviewed by her former clerk, Stanford Law School Dean Elizabeth Magill. Justice Ginsburg typically steered clear of matters of controversy within the United States, but she did wistfully point out that both she and Justice Scalia had been confirmed with very few opposing votes, and hoped that such a spirit might return again.

    Other program highlights included a panel on data-driven criminal justice reform featuring Barry Scheck and Vikrant Reddy—polar political opposites allied on issues of criminal justice, and a panel on “The Importance of Credible, Independent Reporting in a Polarized Political Climate.” This latter panel was chaired by Ethan Bronner, who graduated from the same very small college program in western literature, history and philosophy as did I. Ethan has had a distinguished career with the New York Times, covering, among other areas, Israel, education, and legal issues, and winning a Pulitzer Prize. He is now a senior editor at Bloomberg News.

    SEER also had a presence in the “Working Sessions” in which various substantive areas were identified and attendees were encouraged to develop focused “projects” for presentation before the plenary session on the last day. Claudia Rast was asked to facilitate the Environmental Justice for which the winning program idea came from Monica Tanuhandaru from Indonesia. Her idea revolved around the education of local women's organizations to educate villagers regarding their basic environment, health, and safety rights. Her NGO has collected baseline data and would use the seed money for the educational implementation.

    Between sessions and during networking breaks, we staffed our SEER “table,” answering questions, displaying and handing out copies of NR&E, and distributing our SEER business cards.

    A real highlight was the screening of the Mexican documentary “Presumed Guilty,” which chronicles how an incredible, but not atypical, miscarriage of justice was righted by diligent investigatory and legal efforts. The film is not available commercially, but you can see it on YouTube, and I urge everyone to do so.

    The conference closed with the presentation of 10 different proposals from the Working Sessions to further justice in different parts of the world. Each one was presented by a young attendee, and each was tremendously impressive. The audience voted for a winner, who received a grant of $10,000 from the World Justice Project. The project? Working towards prevention of the traditional practice of kidnapping brides in Kyrgyzstan. (And you think YOU’ve got problems…)

    It was an honor to participate in the Forum. I am proud that SEER has been a promoter of the World Justice Project from its inception, and proud that our efforts have been successful and are now being recognized.

    Coming Soon: World Justice Forum report

    July 10, 2017 4:17 PM by John Sturk

    Section leaders are currently attending the World Justice Forum in The Hague, Netherlands. Section Chair Seth Davis will be moderating a panel on "The New Environmental Rule of Law Index: Conceptual Framework, Methodology, and Preliminary Results", featuring ABA Board of Governors member and former Section Chair Lee Dehihns.

    We'll have a full follow-up report on the conference next week - so watch this space!

    Earth Day Message From Section Chair Seth A. Davis

    April 21, 2017 11:34 AM by John Sturk

    Dear fellow Section members:

    April 22, 2017 marks the 47th anniversary of the first Earth Day. I hope you will join me and your fellow members of the Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources in honoring the occasion, and take the opportunity to celebrate Earth Day in a meaningful way.

    Originally established in 1970 as a network for volunteers to take part in the growing environmental movement, Earth Day went global in 1990, bringing together non-profit groups, policy makers, and individuals. According to the Earth Day Network, more than 1 billion people participate in Earth Day activities each year.

    Earth Day is also widely acknowledged to have provided the momentum behind passage of the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Endangered Species Act and many other pieces of legislation – providing the basis for many of our careers in environmental, energy, and natural resources law. It is incredible to think about how our field of practice was virtually non-existent prior to the 1970s. How far we have come!

    Your fellow members of the Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources and I hope you will join us in marking Earth Day 2017 and carrying its spirit throughout the year.


    Seth A. Davis
    Section Chair
    ABA Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources

    Join a Section Committee!

    January 6, 2017 11:08 AM by John Sturk

    The Section offers 34 substantive committees related to environment, energy, and natural resources law. Joining will enable you to receive announcements of electronic newsletters and communications geared towards your specific areas of interest. Committees also help you:

    -Stay current through newsletters and committee program calls that keep you current on cases and developments in the committee’s subject area

    -Network with committee leaders and members
    -Communicate with fellow committee members via list serves and social media outlets

    -Gain opportunities for leadership in the committee and in our Section

    -Learn about opportunities to publish articles and propose program ideas

    -Choose your level of involvement—be as active in the committee as you wish, while always receiving the committee’s latest news!


    There are NO additional costs for Section members to join a committee, so join today!

    Special Video Presentation: The Trump effect on energy and environment law, manufacturing

    November 17, 2016 9:42 AM by John Sturk

    In partnership with E&E News, our Section presents this discussion of what a Trump administration might mean for the energy and environment legal landscape.

    Bracewell LLP's Jeff Holmstead and the National Association of Manufacturers' Ross Eisenberg sit down for an in-depth discussion on the impact President-elect Trump could have on U.S. EPA, climate regulations, the Obama administration's new methane rule and the future of the electric power grid.

    Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper Previews the 24th Fall Conference

    September 12, 2016 2:48 PM by John Sturk

    The 24th Fall Conference will be hosted by the ABA Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources October 5-8, 2016 in Denver, CO. Governor John Hickenlooper will be a keynote speaker. In this video, he addresses a few of the issues facing his state and the country, and what he hopes conference attendees will be discussing throughout the conference.”

    New Podcast Episode: "The Clean Air Act Handbook"

    July 26, 2016 4:12 PM by John Sturk


    Mat Todaro, chair of the Special Committee on Young Lawyers, talks with Julie Domike and Alex Zacaroli, co-editors of The Clean Air Act Handbook, Fourth Edition. They talk about the challenges in building a clean air practice, and offer career advice to lawyers working in the environmental law field.

    Subscribe on iTunes

    Section Recordings Page

    Download the MP3

    New Podcast Episode: Insights on the Evolution and Future of CERCLA

    July 11, 2016 3:28 PM by John Sturk

    Subscribe on iTunes to be informed of the latest episodes!


    Insights on the Evolution and Future of CERCLA

    Gary Steinbauer speaks with Peter L. Gray, co-chair of Dentons' U.S. Environment and Natural Resources Practice and author of the Superfund Manual: A Practitioner's Guide to CERCLA Litigation, about the changing legal issues dominating the CERCLA landscape.  Since its enactment more than 35 years ago, CERCLA has led to numerous high-profile lawsuits and continues to be an active area of environmental law.  Contaminated sites addressed under CERCLA are now more complex and significantly more expensive.  Sponsored by the ABA Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources.  

    Subscribe on iTunes

    Section Recordings Page

    Download the MP3

    Back-to-Back Chicago Conferences Brought Region 5 lawyers, Superfund lawyers together

    June 30, 2016 4:10 PM by Peter Wright

    After 7 years, the Section returned to Chicago for the largest ever Section EPA Region 5 conference on June 14.  Over 125 attendees heard from national and regional attorneys and others about hot topics in environmental law, as well as resource and energy law.  One of the themes of the conference was the relationship of energy law and policy and natural resources law with environmental law.  This interconnected theme was illustrated in the sessions on the relationship between project development and endangered species, and Region 5 states’ power supply and reliability planning and the Clean Power Plan.  Of course, it would not have been a Region 5 conference without a session focused on EPA enforcement.

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    Section Chair Represents Section at Magna Carta 2015: Global Empowerment through Rule of Law Forum with Prince Charles

    April 10, 2015 6:42 AM by Romeo Talento

    4/9/15 8:25 AM CT | Author: Emily Remmel

    On March 18, 2015, HRH Prince Charles of England visited the United States to engage with youthful and energetic leaders from across the globe on a variety of pressing legal topics.

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