December 29, 2011

Policy

Policy

The Standing Committee is tasked with examining and addressing emerging issues in environmental law and policy. Over the years, the Committee has developed a number of ABA policy positions expressing views and promoting actions intended to preserve the natural environment.

Policies are listed in alphabetical order. Click on any heading to read the full policy.

Brownfields

Sponsors
Standing Committee on Environmental Law
Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources
Section of Real Property, Trust Law & Estate Law
Section of Dispute Resolution
Section of State and Local Government Law
Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section
Section of Administrative Law & Regulatory Practice
Young Lawyers Division

Urges Congress to promote the economic use of properties affected by environmental contamination and reduce unnecessary litigation.

Adopted by the ABA House of Delegates, August 10, 1999, Atlanta, GA.

Climate Change

Lead sponsor:

Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources
Cosponsor:
Standing Committee on Environmental Law

Urges the government to take a leadership role in addressing the issue of climate change through legal, policy, financial, and educational mechanisms, and to engage in active international discussions to address and reduce climate change. 

Adopted by the ABA House of Delegates, February 11, 2008, Los Angeles, CA.

Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA)

Sponsors
Standing Committee on Environmental Law
Section of Business Law
Section of Tort and Insurance Practice
Section of Real Property, Probate and Trust Law
Section of Science and Technology
Senior Lawyers Division
Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association

Recommends that Congress amend the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act ("CERCLA" or "Superfund") and provides specific principles for reform. 

Adopted by the ABA House of Delegates, February 1994, Kansas City, MO.

Ecosystems Services

Sponsors
Standing Committee on Environmental Law
Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources
Section of Business Law
Section of State and Local Government Law
Section of Science and Technology Law

Urges federal, state, territorial and tribal governments, when considering and approving legislation, regulations and policies, to preserve and enhance the benefits that people derive from ecosystems, with due regard for economic, human and social impacts; urges the United States government to engage in active international to address cross-border ecosystem services issues.

Adopted by the ABA House of Delegates, February 11, 2008, Los Angeles, CA.

Environmental Justice

Sponsors
Standing Committee on Environmental Law
Commission on Homelessness and Poverty
Section of Individual Rights and Responsibilities
National Bar Association
Hispanic National Bar Association

Supports policies that ensure that a disproportionate share of the burden of environmental harm does not fall on minority and/or low-income individuals, communities or populations; encourages transparency by federal, state, territorial and local administrative agencies regarding environmental risks and impacts.

Adopted by the ABA House of Delegates, August 11, 1993, New York, NY.

Environmental Management Systems

Sponsors
Standing Committee on Environmental Law
Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources
Section of Administrative Law & Regulatory Practice
Section of Business Law
Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section

Recommends that federal, state, local and territorial legislative bodies and agencies responsible for environmental protection encourage businesses, government agencies, and other entities to implement voluntary environmental management systems (“EMS”).

Adopted by the ABA House of Delegates, August 6, 2001, Chicago, IL.

Law Office Climate Challenge
Lead sponsor:

Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources
Cosponsor:
Standing Committee on Environmental Law
Section of Science and Technology Law
Young Lawyers Division

Urges that the American Bar Association urges law firms and other law organizations to adopt the ABA-EPA Law Office Climate Challenge.

Adopted by the ABA House of Delegates, February 16, 2009, Boston, MA.

Oceans – Federal Regulatory Structure

Sponsors
Standing Committee on Environmental Law
Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources
Section of Real Property, Trust Law & Estate Law
Section of Dispute Resolution
Section of State and Local Government Law
Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section
Section of Administrative Law & Regulatory Practice
Young Lawyers Division

Encourages Congress and the President to take specific legislative, regulatory, and other actions necessary to improve the structure of our country’s domestic management and regulation of its marine resources. Recommended measures include coordination of national oceans policy and federal regulatory authority over U.S. ocean waters and resources within one centralized federal oceans agency that will articulate a national oceans policy, hold sufficient discretion and authority, and carry reporting requirements, and enactment of legislation requiring a federal entity – whether NOAA or the Committee on Ocean Policy in the Executive Office of the President – to coordinate all federal department and agency planning and ocean-related activities to ensure proper implementation of the national oceans policy.

Adopted by the ABA House of Delegates, August 8, 2005, Chicago, IL.

Oceans – International

Sponsors
Standing Committee on Environmental Law
Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources
Section of Real Property, Trust Law & Estate Law
Section of Dispute Resolution
Section of State and Local Government Law
Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section
Section of Administrative Law & Regulatory Practice
Young Lawyers Division

Urges the United States Government to promote effective international efforts to protect the world's marine ecosystems and ensure the ecologically sustainable use and development of the world's marine resources. Also urges the to continue to play a leadership role and to take specific actions commensurate with this role to facilitate meaningful, timely international action.

Adopted by the ABA House of Delegates, August 8, 2005, Chicago, IL.

Oceans – Marine Resources

Sponsors
American Bar Association
Standing Committee on Environmental Law
Section of Business Law
Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources
Section of Science and Technology Law
Young Lawyers Division

Urges Congress to take specific legislative, regulatory, and other actions necessary to improve the nation’s domestic management and regulation of its marine resources for the benefit of present and future generations.

Adopted by the ABA House of Delegates, August 8, 2005, Chicago, IL.

Persistent Organic Chemicals

Sponsor:
Section of International Law
Cosponsor:
Standing Committee on Environmental Law

Supports prompt ratification and implementation by the United States of the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants.

Adopted February 2002, Washington, DC.

Prior Informed Consent

Sponsor:
Section of International Law
Cosponsor: Standing Committee on Environmental Law

Supports prompt ratification and implementation by the United States of the Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade.

Adopted February 2002, Washington, DC.

Public Participation in Environmental Decision Making

Sponsors
Standing Committee on Environmental Law
Section of Administrative Law & Regulatory Practice
Section of Litigation
Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources

Resolves that the general public should play a critical role in the development of local, state, territorial and federal environmental laws and international environmental agreements; urges Congress to reauthorize the Administrative Dispute Resolution Act and the Negotiated Rulemaking Act on a permanent basis, and use these acts more fully in making environmental decisions.

Adopted by the ABA House of Delegates, February 7, 1995, Miami, FL.

Scientific Knowledge When Regulating Environmental Matters

Sponsors
Standing Committee on Environmental Law
Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources
Section of Litigation

Recommends that federal, state, tribal and local governments take account of all appropriate scientific knowledge (including the presence or absence of scientific consensus) when regulating environmental matters; urges the Executive Branch and Congress to provide for a suitable scientific body to undertake the ongoing assessment of the state of scientific knowledge.

Adopted by the ABA House of Delegates, August 7, 1995, Chicago, IL.

Sustainable Development

Sponsors
Standing Committee on Environmental Law
Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources
Section of State and Local Government Law
Section of Administrative Law & Regulatory Practice
Section of Business Law
Section of International Law and Practice
Young Lawyers Division

Encourages governments, including U.S. federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial bodies, as well as businesses, nongovernmental organizations, and other entities, to promote sustainable development, including by adopting and implementing appropriate measures with respect to their own facilities and activities; re-affirms the American Bar Association’s 1991 commitment to sustainable development, and adopts the internationally-accepted concept of sustainable development, as recognized at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in 1992 and subsequent international conferences.

Adopted by the ABA House of Delegates, August 11-12, 2003, San Francisco, CA.

Toxic Substances Control Act

Sponsor: Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources

Urges Congress to enact legislation to reform the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) and outlines specific principles for reform.

Adopted by the House of Delegates , February 14, 2011, Atlanta, GA.

Tribal Rights and Climate Change

Sponsor:
Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources

Builds on existing policies, addressing environmental justice, sustainability, public participation, and climate change, to recommend that the government take a leadership role in ensuring that federally-recognized tribes (Tribes), which are being disproportionately impacted by climate change, are heard on the crucial issue of climate change domestically and in international fora.

Adopted by the ABA House of Delegates, August 8, 2011, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

For the complete report accompanying any policy resolution, please contact staff at scel@americanbar.org.