July 01, 2017

25th Section Fall Conference: Invitation to Learn, Dialogue, and Network

Jonathan O. Nwagbaraocha

This October join your friends and colleagues to celebrate the silver jubilee of the Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources’ Fall Conference. To honor this milestone, the planning committee has created a program that—from the kickoff session to the final panel—will educate and challenge attendees on the most relevant and influential laws, policies, and precedents affecting your area of practice and the corresponding skills to advance your practice. We hope to see you in Baltimore on October 18–21, 2017, the city of crab cakes, Berger cookies, and Hon culture!

There have been six administrations since the first Fall Conference in 1992, each with its own priorities. Take a moment to think about the international and domestic laws, regulations, and court cases of the past 25 years that have affected environment, energy, and resource law and policy—and your practice. They might include Executive Order 12898 on Environmental Justice (1994); the Safe Drinking Water Act Amendments of 1996; the Energy Policy Act of 2005; the Small Business Liability Relief and Brownfields Revitalization Act (amended CERCLA) (2002); and the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act (amending TSCA) (2016), among many others.

Under the Trump administration, environment, energy, and resource law and policy will continue to evolve, and early indications are that there will be shifts in such federal policy over the next four years. Early action by Trump includes an order to review of the Clean Water Rule (2015) and a decision to initiate the process of withdrawing from the Paris Agreement (2015).

Throughout the administration changes in the past 25 years, the Section has remained the premier forum for dialogue and deliberation of relevant current and emerging environment, energy, and natural resource issues. The 25th Fall Conference will continue the tradition.

Beginning Wednesday with an afternoon of public service and an evening welcome reception, the conference will then offer two full days of cutting-edge CLE programming.

Thursday’s plenary session, News from Inside the Beltway: Administration and Congressional Priorities for Environmental, Energy, and Resources Law and Policy, will provide attendees with insider perspectives on how the federal government might address issues including public lands, climate change, and conservation. Alexandra Dunn, executive director and general counsel at the Environmental Council of the States, will moderate the panel that includes Kevin S. Minoli, acting general counsel at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and Christopher Tulou, chief minority counsel for the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. This session will certainly be one that you won’t want to miss.

Friday’s plenary session, Titans Teach Skills and Strategies for the Colossal Environmental Case, will feature the indomitable Titans in a return engagement. “The Titans” is just what it sounds like: an all-star team of litigators sharing their skills and strategies for complex environmental cases. The panel will include John C. Cruden, former U.S. Assistant Attorney General; James Bruen, partner at Farella, Braun, and Martell, LLLP; and Peter Hsiao, partner at Morrison & Foerster LLP.

Plenary sessions are just the beginning to full days of discussion of diverse and pivotal developments. Ninety-minute “breakout” sessions will focus on a variety of current and emerging topics, including:

  • The status of the Chevron and Auer doctrines and their potential replacements;
  • Recent decisions and upcoming cases—how actions by the U.S. Supreme Court might impact your practice;
  • The legal landscape of public land management;
  • Lessons learned from the Chesapeake Bay Initiative;
  • How cities are effectively implementing initiatives to improve resiliency and sustainability;
  • Practical insights on food law that impact environmental law; and
  • Legal implications of emerging pollution sensors and monitoring technologies.

Section conferences, of course, encourage networking. On Thursday evening, attendees will enjoy historic Baltimore with a dinner cruise along the Inner Harbor of the Patapsco River. Friday morning, early risers will have an opportunity to run together in the third consecutive #SEERRunClub! And Friday evening, meet new friends and make new contacts at the popular Dutch-treat committee dinners.

The conference will close on Saturday with a morning of committee programming followed by an afternoon Council meeting. All are invited to attend and learn more about the Section and how to get involved.

Plan to join your colleagues in Baltimore this October—whether this will be your 25th Fall Conference or your first! Visit shopaba.org/environfall for more information. See you in Charm City!

Jonathan O. Nwagbaraocha

Jonathan O. Nwagbaraocha is Environmental Affairs Manager for Xerox Corporation and is the chair of the 25th Fall Conference.