Environment, Energy and Natural Resources

Environment, Energy and Natural Resources Section Annual Report

November 2014
The Environment, Energy and Natural Resources (EENR) Section focuses on significant and novel legislative, regulatory, judicial, and policy developments in the fields of environmental, energy, and natural resources law. The section covers the full range of related issues, including enforcement trends, insurance issues, emerging regulatory issues, legislative initiatives, litigation trends, and public policy proposals.

Since our last report in November 2013, the EENR Section has sponsored a number of successful programs, engaged in community outreach and pro bono activities as detailed below and conducted its first ever membership survey. The EENR Section strives to hold,
on average, at least eight events throughout the year. In addition, the EENR Section again supplemented and prepared revisions to select parts of the D.C. Practice Manual chapter on environmental law.

Details of our activities since our last annual report was submitted can be found below. (Programs that occurred in January–October 2014 were included in the previous annual report.)


Past Educational Programming:

Ensuring Seafood Safety After a Disaster
On November 13, 2013, the EENR Section held a panel on the timely issue of seafood safety in the face of recent natural disasters. Experts discussed the impacts of several recent natural disasters on finfish and shellfish and the response efforts that were undertaken to mitigate the impact on the overall seafood supply chain.

Coal-Fired Power Rules on Trial: Debrief of Cross-State Rule and Mercury Air Toxics Oral Arguments
On December 5, 2013, the ENNR Section held a discussion on the oral argument on the Cross State Air Pollution Rule and Mercury and Air Toxics Standards, heard on the prior day by the Supreme Court and the D.C. Circuit, respectively. The panel of experts discussed major issues and possible outcomes.

Tracing Seafood from Vessel to Plate
On December 12, 2013, the EENR Section held a webinar on sustainable seafood as the second part of a two-part series. A panel of experts described the challenge and provided expertise on how to determine the origin of harvested fish.

Mastering your First (or Next) State Public Utility Commission Hearing
On February 13, 2014, the section held a webinar where three state public utility commissioners presided over a mock administrative hearing, during which they demonstrated for our members the "dos and don'ts" of appearing at your first, or next, administrative hearing.

Debrief of the Supreme Court's Oral Argument on the Environmental Protection Agency's Greenhouse Gas Rulemakings
On February 25, 2014, a distinguished panel discussed the oral argument on a challenge to EPA's regulation of greenhouse gas emissions from stationary sources under the Clean Air Act, which the Supreme Court heard one day earlier.

U.S. Court of Appeals, 8th Circuit Decision in Iowa League of Municipalities v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
On March 6, 2014, the EENR Section held a panel that discussed the 8th Circuit's federal Clean Water Act decision, which held that the Environmental Protection Agency had no authority to ban blending during wet weather in compliance with secondary treatment effluent limits at separate system publicly owned treatment works.

The New Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load Requirements and Stormwater: Is A Hard Rain A-Gonna Fall?
On March 19, 2014, the hosted a panel made up of distinguished speakers, George Hawkins of D.C. Water; Brian Van Wye of the D.C. Department of the Environment; and Margaret Sanner of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, that discussed the Environmental Protection Agency's new Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) requirements for the Chesapeake Bay area.

Preparing for the Worst After West: How Lawyers Can Prepare for and Handle High-Profile Industrial Accidents
On April 29, 2014 the EENR Section held an event that discussed how lawyers can best prepare for, and respond to, industrial accidents and whether recent incidents show that the regulations that govern accident prevention and response need to be fixed.

Debrief of the Supreme Court's Utility Air Regulatory Group v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Opinion on the Environmental Protection Agency's Greenhouse Gas Rulemakings
On June 24, 2014, the section hosted an event discussing the Supreme Court decision, rendered the day before, in UARG v. EPA. The event discussions focused on the potential legal and practical implications of the opinion.

Energy for Export: Are Natural Gas Exports in the Public Interest?
On July 15, 2014,the section hosted a discussion of natural gas exports with Diana Jascalu-Joffe, Senior Counsel for the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, Jay Costans, a partner at Dentons who specializes in LNG issues; and Elisabeth Blaug, FERC regulatory attorney.

Supreme Court Review: Environment and Energy Cases in the 2013/2014 Term
On July 16, 2014, a panel of speakers that included Catherine Stetson of Hogan Lovells, and Ethan Shenkman, Deputy GC EPA discussed the previous year's Supreme Court term from the environment and energy perspective.


Legends of Environmental Law

Legends of Environmental Law: A Conversation with John Cruden
As a continuation of the successful Legends of Environmental Law Program for a second year, on December 5, 2013, John Cruden, President of Environmental Law Institute, formerly Deputy Assistant Attorney General of the U.S. Department of Justice and D.C. Bar President, shared insights and lessons learned during his career with the federal government and in the nonprofit sector.

Legends of Environmental Law: A Conversation with John Leshy
On February 28, 2014, John Leshy, former Solicitor of the U.S. Department of Interior, shared insights and lessons learned during his career. All of the former "legends" from this series attended this event.

Legends of Environmental Law: A Conversation with Professor Richard Lazarus
On May 1, 2014, Harvard Law School's Professor Lazarus shared his insights into the development of environmental and natural resources law in the United States and lessons he learned during his career with the federal government and in academia. This event in the Legends of Environmental Law series was enjoyed by nearly fifty attendees.

Legends of Environmental Law: A Conversation with Joel Gross
On June 25, 2014, the EENR Section continued its Legends of Environmental Law series with a conversation with Joel Gross, environmental bankruptcy law expert and former Chief of the Department of Justice's Environmental Enforcement Section.

Legends of the Environmental Bar: A Conversation with Dinah Bear
On September 16, 2014, the EENR Section presented a conversation with Dinah Bear, former General Counsel of the Council on Environmental Quality, who discussed her career in environmental law and her experiences at CEQ across multiple administrations.

Legends of the Environmental Bar: A Conversation with Steven P. Quarles
On October 16, 2014, Steven Quarles, from Sedgwick LLP shared his insights and lessons learned during his career. Mr. Quarles was former Deputy under Secretary of the Interior and Director of Interior's Office of Coal Leasing, Planning, and Coordination. He also served as special counsel to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources of the U.S. Senate, where he drafted many federal natural resource laws. Mr.Quarles has also worked in the private sector.


The EENR Section also co-sponsored a number of programs of interest to our members that were initiated by other sections. These included:

  • Perspectives on the Development of an Administrative Record (September 6, 2013)
  • Agency General Counsel Series: EPA General Counsel Avi Garbow (February 12, 2014)
  • Ken Feinberg Discusses Life and the Law at the 10th Annual Legends of the D.C. Bar Luncheon (June 12, 2014)

Community Outreach and Pro Bono
The EENR Section's community outreach efforts in 2014 continue to focus on law students and young lawyers with an interest in environment, energy and natural resources law. The EENR Section partnered with the Environmental Law Institute to host monthly free networking events. The monthly event gives not only aspiring attorneys, but also current practitioners an opportunity to meet each other outside of panels and other professional events.

On July 11, 2014, the EENR Section held its traditional annual reception with summer associates and interns. This informal event continues to be the most popular section activity and includes area and visiting summer associates and interns as well as environmental, energy, and natural resource practitioners from academia, government agencies, private firms and non-profits.

Publications and Other Information to Report
The section provided an update to the D.C. Practice Manual during the past year. The section has also instituted a Listserv email list for members, which it expects to use to report additional items of interest to its members. The section does not have public statements to report from the past year.