Standing Committee on Air Quality
The Air Quality Committee's mission is to keep our members current on legal developments related to air quality. Current regulatory efforts related to greenhouse gases are within the scope of the committee's mission, as well as other governmental activities relating to air pollution. We aim to do this by creating high-quality, original programming via seminars and forums that will encourage an exchange of ideas and best practices among talented practitioners in the field. We hope this programming will attract new members to the section as well. We will also work with the Environment, Energy and Natural Resources (EENR) Section Steering Committee to promote the section's other events and activities.
Standing Committee on Animal Law
The Animal Law Committee's mission is to inform our members about current legal developments in the growing field of animal law. This includes recent case law; statutory and regulatory developments impacting animals on the federal, state, and local levels; and new initiatives to advance the protection of animals including wildlife, captive animals, farm animals, and animals in entertainment. We partner with other animal law groups and develop original programming to educate interested D.C. Bar members on the many facets of animal law and the emerging intersection between animal law and other aspects of environmental law.
Standing Committee on Energy
Energy is central to our way of life and our economy. At no other point in time has this topic dominated the headlines more than it does today. Traditional fuels will continue to be the nation's principal energy resources for the foreseeable future, while becoming gradually diversified through new sources and technology. Renewable energy is also rapidly becoming a significant component of the nation's energy portfolio. The interplay between the impacts of both traditional and renewable energy development and the environment has become increasingly visible as concerns about the economy, climate change, and species impacts drive many federal, state, and local energy policies. Energy development also presents many other unsettled legal issues whether on state, tribal, private, or onshore or offshore federally managed lands.
The EENR Section Standing Committee on Energy is committed to providing programs and training on all aspects of energy policy, regulation, development, andlitigation. The committee's programs draw active interest and contributions from leaders and practitioners in all areas of energy and environmental law, including government, industry, citizen groups, and academia. As a core committee of the EENR Section, these programs will often intersect, and provide opportunities for co-sponsorship, with other fields of practice within and outside the section.
Standing Committee on Indian Law
The Indian Law Committee's mission is to keep our memberscurrent on legal developments related to Indian law and related issues. Indian law often raises complex issues of constitutional law, federal statutes and treaties, and federal common law.The committee's areas of interest include issues involving the scope of Tribal authority and jurisdiction; the legal authorities of the Department of the Interior; issues of Tribal resource andenergy development; and a wide range of related issues. We seek to present programs on current issues of interest both to specialists in Indian law and to nonspecialists who may encounter these issues in the course of their practice.
Standing Committee on International Environmental and Resources Law
The need to protect global environmental resources andaddress the global impacts of pollution problems have introduced a variety of international and domestic legal challenges that will be explored by this standing committee. The protection and responsible use of the oceans and ocean resources present domestic and international issues related to law of the sea, shipping, fisheries, and jurisdictional authority to impose environmental obligations. Transboundary pollution, climate change, invasive species, biodiversity and other global impacts have introduced new challenges. Environmental concerns impactmany aspects of import/export and international trade, such as prohibitions on use of certain chemicals and illegal sale of endangered species. There are opportunities for legal discussions and analysis related to innovative international initiatives to address environmental problems with financial incentives, such as emissions trading and carbon sequestration.International environmental efforts also have provided new business development and growth opportunities in emerging industries. The mission of the International Environmental and Resources Law Committee is to provide opportunities for education, discussion and exchange of ideas on U.S. domestic legal requirements and international collaborative efforts thatare addressing these and other environmental and resource protection issues. The committee intends to explore aspects of public international law, government programs, and private international efforts and legal challenges that relate to international efforts to address these and other environmental objectives.
Standing Committee on Public Lands
The public lands onshore and on the Outer Continental Shelf are an increasingly important resource managed primarily by the Department of the Interior and the Agriculture Department's U.S. Forest Service. The multiple uses of the public lands are vital to the economies of the coastal and western states, and to the various users including energy and mineral developers, grazers, timber interests, and those who rely on the public lands for recreation. Species concerns are also implicated in these uses. As the multiple uses intersect or strain public land resources, environmental considerations and other natural resource policies are often vigorously debated.
The EENR Section Standing Committee on Public Lands is committed to providing programs and training on all aspects of public land policy, regulation, development, and litigation. The committee's programs draw active interest and contributions from leaders and practitioners in all areas of energy, land use, and environmental law, including government, industry, citizen groups, and academia. These programs will often intersect, and provide opportunities for co-sponsorship, with other fields of practice within and outside the section.
Standing Committee on Remediation and Environmental Liability
The legacy of past industrial activities has both presentand future implications for a broad range of stakeholders — community members, government officials, scientists and academics, private companies, and non-governmental organizations. The management and final remediation of contaminated sites must take into account a complex set of scientific, engineering, policy, and legal issues, all of which evolve dynamically over time, in a context where affected stakeholders often have a mixture of shared and conflicting interests regarding how best to address such sites. Many D.C. Bar members work directly with these issues every day: advising communities and NGOs advocating action or monitoring ongoing cleanups; advising the government on policy and enforcement issues; or advising private companies on dealing with contaminated sites and managing risk.
The District of Columbia Bar's Environment, Energy, and Natural Resources Section is a forum whose membership encompasses the full range of stakeholders affected by these issues, representing a broad range of perspectives on site remediation and environmental liability and providing a unique setting for education, discussion, and collaboration. The mission of the Committee on Remediation and Environmental Liability is to provide education to D.C. Bar members and facilitate discussion among both members and stakeholders outside the bar regarding the law, policy, and science of environmental cleanup.
Standing Committee on Sustainability
The mission of the EENR Section Standing Committee on Sustainability is to provide programming that explores developments in sustainability in the public and private sphere. We define "sustainability" broadly as efforts to bring the economy into line with the finite productive and regenerative capacity of the Earth and its natural systems, and consider this concept to extend beyond the regime of federal environmental statutes and regulations. Thus, the definition of sustainability includes the two "pillars" of environmental and economic sustainability in addition to social justice. If one pillar is weak then the system as a whole is ultimately unsustainable.
While compliance with environmental statutes and regulationsis a basic requirement, sustainability efforts have implications for many other areas of law and regulation, including zoning and planning, antitrust, financial regulation, consumer protection, labor, insurance, and international law. This committee offers the chance to explore federal, state, and local developments on such subjects as transportation, education, and food and agriculture, as well as private sector efforts like corporate social responsibility, labeling, and product stewardship.
Environmental sustainability is an ever-growing priority not only for committed environmentalists but also for consumers, businesses, and local communities. State and local governments — including Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia — are making important strides in building livable communities, reducing climate-altering pollution, and supporting sustainable agriculture. Importantly state and local governments increasingly recognize the need to incorporate education for sustainability into their classrooms so that today's students can make wise decisions not only for their own well-being but also for the good of the planet and all its inhabitants.
In addition, many regulated entities are recognizing the need to go beyond what the law requires and consider more broadly the effects of their activities on natural resources, human health, and the environment. Businesses are developing sophisticated tools to understand the environmental and human impacts of their activities and supply chains, and are incorporating that data into their decision-making.
As federal legislative inaction becomes the norm — no major pollution control statute has been enacted or substantially amended by Congress since 1990 — voluntary accords, industry standards, and state and local actions will remain important avenues for advancing sustainability in the United States. The committee will explore those efforts and their relationship to our major environmental statutory regimes and to other fields of practice.
Standing Committee on Water Quality and Water Resources
There is an extensive body of federal and state law for managing, protecting, regulating, investigating and investing in the use, development, and protection of the nation's water resources.
Recognizing that obtaining and maintaining reliable watersupplies of adequate quality is a growing concern throughout the country, the EENR Section Standing Committee on Water Quality and Water Resources aims to provide programs and training on all aspects of law affecting water quality and water resources. This includes an exploration of various federal authorities relating to water quality and water management, including the 1899 Rivers and Harbors Act, the Clean Water Act, and the Safe Drinking Water Act. These various authorities have been subject to much administrative and judicial litigation, including use by third parties through citizen suits, and by federal and local regulators and enforcement agencies.
The goals of the committee are to:
(1) provide informationto members of the bar and the public on the background, developments and current issues on implementation of the federal Clean Water Act and the Safe Drinking Water Act, federal Water Resources Development statutes, federal laws addressing eastern and western water resources, and proposed legislative and rulemaking changes, primarily through seminars and programs focusing on key issues and key officials;
(2) present programs on issues related to water management and the provision of water for municipal, industrial, agricultural and other uses;
(3) explore areas where water issues intersect with other areas of law, including energy, land use, and climate, seeking opportunities for co-sponsorship of events with other committees, sections, or organizations in the area; and
(4) develop proposed position statements, as appropriate, on issues for consideration by the bar.