January 01, 2015

44th Spring Conference: The ABA Super Conference on Environmental Law

Howard Kenison

You are invited to join your colleagues in the City by the Bay on March 26–28, 2015, for the Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources’ 44th Spring Conference: The ABA Super Conference on Environmental Law. For the first time, environmental committees from across the ABA joined with our Section to develop the 2015 Spring Conference. This Super Conference promises increased CLE opportunities, covering an expanded range of topics from transactions to litigation.

For over four decades the leading private, government, in-house, and academic lawyers have been gathering each spring to present vital information for environmental, energy, and resource lawyers. The Spring Conference is an unparalleled forum designed to keep you up-to-date on the most recent developments in these areas.

The Spring Conference will be on the West Coast for the first time, in beautiful San Francisco at the historic Palace Hotel. The new two-day format will allow for easier travel planning as well an excellent pre- or post-conference opportunity to explore northern California after the CLEs and after networking with the nation’s top environmental, energy, and resource lawyers.

U.S. EPA Region 9 Administrator Jared Blumenfeld will open the conference on Thursday morning, followed by the annual update of environmental cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. Hot topic panels will provide you with the most recent developments in water and enforcement issues and, perhaps most importantly, update you on relevant activities of the new Repbulican-controlled Congress.

One of the plenary sessions, “The Future of Energy in a Carbon-constrained World,” will get you pondering the future of your practice and the evolution of environment, energy, and resource law as corporate and government leaders explore the new energy world. The panel “35 Years in Superfund Practice: New Challenges/Emerging Solutions” will refresh your knowledge of this continuingly important practice area. Air quality lawyers will benefit from two panels considering the impacts of the latest greenhouse gas regulations and the ongoing regulation of conventional pollutants.

Business and transactional lawyers will learn about the latest methods for allocating risk in brownfield transactions and also the effects of material bans, conflict materials, and product labeling requirements on the manufacture and sale of products by American companies. Moving a project through complex regulatory hurdles will be the topic of a panel on “Infrastructure Project Development.”

Trial lawyers will have an opportunity to learn from a distinguished jurist and leading litigators who will cover the lastest techniques for presenting complex scientific evidence to courts and administrative agencies. The administration and EPA’s enforcement priorities will be covered by key government officials, while a top-flight panel discussing the defense of agency enforcement actions will give litigators helpful insights on key methods for representing their client caught in the agency’s enforcement web.

In light of recent high-profile accidents, a panel will discuss the challenges posed by such events, and the ethics panel will discuss, among other topics, a lawyer’s ethical obligations in responding to press inquiries during a tight news cycle when a disaster has occurred.

The CLE portion of the conference will conclude on Friday afternoon with a panel of Region 9 officials and practitioners to bring Region 9 practitioners and others up to speed on the region’s key priorities.

On Friday evening you are invited to join your colleagues for a Dutch-treat dinner. The Section has made dinner reservations at several restaurants near the Palace Hotel. Each dinner will be hosted and organized by a Section leader and will have a theme. Don’t miss this event where you can pick a theme or pick a restaurant. Additional information will be coming soon!

And on Saturday morning, conference attendees will have an opportunity to participate in a public service project by joining with the San Francisco Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation to clean up Baker Beach, an iconic San Francisco landmark located at the foot of the Golden Gate Bridge. Participants will also learn about the foundation’s work to protect public beach access and healthy ocean waters. To volunteer for this public service project, sign up when registering.

We are looking forward to seeing you in San Francisco!

Howard Kenison


Howard Kenison is a partner with Linquist + Vennum in the firm’s Denver office. He is program chair for the 44th Spring Conference in San Francisco, March 2015.