Haiti on the Frontiers of Environmental Law

Posted on July 7, 2016 by Tracy Hester

Jeff Thaler’s and Jim May’s blog posts about our recent ACOEL delegation visit to Haiti captured the vibrant spirit of Haiti’s legal community and its enthusiasm to build new programs in environmental law. Haiti offered a different insight as well:  dire environmental conditions have spurred strikingly innovative and creative legal thinking.  In one sense, Haiti’s challenges are a frontier that can test and forge new environmental laws and concepts.

*****

After our delegation visit finished, my wife and I visited an abandoned United Nations outpost on a dirt road over an hour north from Port-Au-Prince.  Hidden behind encroaching trees and weeds, a blue-trimmed UN guard tower watched over empty concrete foundations and open gates behind a decaying chain-link fence and tangled razor wire.

This fading post is a flashpoint in history.  In 2013, sewage from the UN outpost’s battalion of Nepalese peacekeepers contaminated a nearby tributary and led to an outbreak of cholera that has killed over 9,000 people and sickened over 800,000 so far.  The United Nations has rejected petitions that it should fund and establish a comprehensive sanitation, medical treatment and potable water program to halt the epidemic.  In response, a group of Haitians and Haitian-Americans filed a class action lawsuit in the federal Southern District of New York court for damages and injunctive relief.

The United Nations stoutly rejected any argument that the U.S. court has jurisdiction over its operations.  The United States vigorously urged the trial court to dismiss the lawsuit, and the court agreed on January 9, 2015 by denying jurisdiction.  The district court found that the UN had not expressly waived its immunity under the Convention on Privileges and Immunities of the United Nations of 1946 (despite the UN’s failure to satisfy other important obligations under the Convention).

The case took a dramatic turn when the Second Circuit decided to hold oral argument on the Haitians’ appeal of the trial court’s dismissal.  In a packed courthouse in Manhattan on March 1, 2016, the three-judge panel seemed sympathetic to the claims of Haitians who will likely have no possible relief or compensation if the court upholds the United States’ assertions of strong immunity on behalf of the UN.  The court will probably issue its decision in the next few months.

If the court finds that the UN lacks absolute immunity for environmental or health damages caused by its actions, the decision could have a sweeping impact on the UN’s liability for other humanitarian actions that cause environmental harm.  The UN plays a central role in multinational efforts to fight climate change, protect oceanic resources, and preserve endangered species and ecosystems, and the spectre of liability could hamper its activities.  Depending on the scope of the court’s ruling, this case might also affect the liability of other multinational organizations whose actions to protect the environment unexpectedly injure human health or natural resources.

 

Haiti’s enormous environmental and public health challenges sparked this important case, and the legal creativity guiding the lawsuit arose there as well.  Our delegation had the opportunity to meet Me. Mario Joseph, who directs the L'Association Haïtienne de Droit de l'Environnement which filed the lawsuit (along with several other groups).  As lead counsel he guides the team of attorneys handling the case, and he strongly believes that legal creativity and ingenuity can overcome the procedural and jurisdictional barriers to reach a just environmental outcome.

If it desires, ACOEL can help monitor and, where appropriate, contribute to the development of these types of innovative environmental legal approaches in Haiti.  The Second Circuit’s ultimate decision may offer an opportunity to discuss these issues with the Haitian environmental bar and with other lawyers who want to help build Haiti’s environmental laws and enforcement options. 

In the meantime, change still comes slowly.  When we visited the abandoned outpost, families had moved into the vacant buildings and children were bathing in a nearby stream – directly by the unused outfall pipe where the UN peacekeepers had previously discharged their sewage wastes.  Whatever decisions come from U.S. courts, Haiti will have a pressing need for innovative and effective environmental laws for many years ahead.

ACOEL Delegation Visits Haiti

Posted on June 14, 2016 by James May

A delegation of ACOEL Fellows visited Haiti, May 30-June 2, to share ideas about ways to advance environmental law and justice with leading members of the bar, academia, civil society, and the business community.

This visit takes place at a transformative time for the environment in Haiti. Deforestation hovers at around 95% as people are forced to burn charcoal for fuel or income, rivers and streams are choked by trash and runoff, motor vehicles are largely unregulated, and the public health system is overwhelmed. And of course, Haiti still suffers from the introduction of cholera in October 2010, resulting in more than 9,000 deaths thus far.

The visit was at the invitation of host institution Universite de la Fondation Aristide (UNIFA)(http://unifa-edu.info/contenu/). The delegation -- Alexander Dunn, Lee DeHihns, Tracy Hester, Dennis Krumholz, Jeff Thaler, and Jimmy May – had a transformative experience. Professor Erin Daly (Vice President for Institutional Development) served as the local liaison, with ACOEL Fellow and Professor James R. May serving as coordinator on behalf of the College's Committee on International and Pro Bono Programs, which he co-chairs with Professor Robert Percival.

The delegation met with many of Haiti’s leading policymakers, thinkers and advocates, former President Jean Bertrand and Mme. Mildred Aristide, Me. Fabrice Fievre (Co-Dean of UNIFA Law School), Me. Mario Joseph (director of the nation’s leading human right law firm, Bureau des Avocats Internationaux, http://www.ijdh.org), Me. Jean Andre Victor (director of Haiti’s leading environmental rights firm, L'Association Haïtienne de Droit de l'Environnement), Me. Stanley Gaston, (President of the Port-au-Prince Bar Association), Me. Leslie Voltaire (Haitian architect and urban planner), and Me. Cedric Chauvet (a leading business-person). The delegation also enjoyed various cultural opportunities, including in Port Au Prince, Petionville, and Cite Soleil.

The delegation also visited SAKALA (a leading community center serving among Haiti’s poorest children, http://www.sakala-haiti.org), and the 'uncommon' artists’ community of Noailles, Haiti (http://www.uncommoncaribbean.com/2015/03/10/visiting-the-uncommon-artists-enclave-of-noailles-haiti/).

UNIFA is a leading private university in Haiti, and focuses on promoting dignity and social justice, including by advancing environmental sustainability. Earlier this year it hosted conferences dedicated to environmental human rights issues and their relationship to health, engineering, and law in Haiti (“Environmental Concerns: Today and Tomorrow”) (brochure available at: http://unifa-edu.info/contenu/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/programmation-semaine-scientifique-2016.pdf), as well as to the environmental and social consequences of mining in Haiti (https://www.facebook.com/Aristide-Foundation-for-Democracy-306681307454/?fref=nf)."

ACOEL looks forward to continuing conversations about ways to coordinate and collaborate going forward. 

Meet the IUCN Academy of Environmental Law

Posted on July 11, 2013 by Robert Percival

The year 2013 marks the tenth anniversary of the establishment of a global network of legal educators dedicated to improving the teaching of environmental law and promoting its conceptual development throughout the world.  The IUCN Academy of Environmental Law (“the Academy”) was created in 2003 by a small group environmental law professors from several countries, with the endorsement of the International Union for Conservation of Nature.  Today the Academy has 168 institutional members from 53 countries in all corners of the globe.  Pace Professor Nicholas Robinson, a fellow member of the American College of Environmental Lawyers, was the moving force behind the founding of the Academy.  I am most grateful to him for recruiting me to be one of its founding members, and I have been delighted to participate in the Academy’s rapid growth.

Each year the IUCN Academy holds a Colloquium in a different part of the world at which the top academic experts in environmental law from all over the world gather to examine developments in the field.  From June 24-28, 2013, the 11th Colloquium of the Academy was held at the University of Waikato in Hamilton, New Zealand.  Despite the remote location, more than 200 environmental experts from 30 countries participated in this event in person. A particular highlight of the colloquium was a plenary session on access to justice that featured presentations from some of the world’s top judges. 

The annual distinguished scholar lecture at this year’s colloquium was presented by Mas Achmad Santosa, Deputy Minister and Deputy Head of the President’s Delivery Unit for Development Monitoring & Oversight of the Republic of Indonesia.  He discussed how Indonesian environmental officials are using satellite monitoring technology to locate the sources of massive fires in Sumatran palm oil plantations that have blanketed Singapore and Malaysia with record air pollution.  Santosa was remarkably candid in discussing the challenges corruption poses to environmental enforcement in the developing world. 

In addition to the distinguished scholar lecture, many other environmental experts make presentations at the colloquia.  This year more than 160 presentations were made at the University of Waikato gathering.  Abstracts and PowerPoint slides of the presentations can be viewed here. In recent years graduate students have been participating in the colloquia in greater numbers.  Five of my top Maryland environmental law students presented papers at the University of Waikato gathering last month on topics as diverse as adaptation to climate change, the challenge of phasing out fossil fuel subsidies in different countries, legal strategies for holding multinational corporations accountable for environmental harm, and trans-national differences in risk analysis.

The colloquia also feature day-long workshops on environmental law research and the teaching of environmental law.  The Academy has devoted considerable resources to improving the capacity of universities to teach environmental law.  Week-long “Training the Teachers” courses have been developed by Academy faculty and are presented regularly in developing countries. The Basic Course, which addresses the needs of professors who are new to teaching environmental law, covers the scope and substance of environmental law and it explores teaching methodologies and approaches to student assessment. The Advanced Course seeks to prepare senior environmental law professors to deliver the Basic Course to junior colleagues.  During summer 2013 these courses will be given to a group of Chinese professors in Chongqing, China. 

To keep the global community updated on the latest developments in environmental law, the Academy publishes an online journal that is updated twice a year.  This e-journal includes articles, book reviews, and reports on developments in environmental law in many different countries.  The latest issue of this e-journal includes 30 different country reports, each authored by a local expert.

The IUCN Academy of Environmental Law has helped create a truly global network of academic experts specializing in environmental law.  They will gather again next summer for the Academy’s 12th Colloquium at the Universitat of Rovira y Virgili in Tarragona, Spain from June 30-July 5, 2014.

Agenda 21: A Guide for the Perplexed

Posted on March 27, 2013 by John Dernbach

At a local government meeting on a land use plan, officials hear opposition based on the claim that it is tainted by Agenda 21.  A state public utility commission considering smart meters hears similar claims.  They are confused: what is Agenda 21 and why does it matter?

A well organized campaign against Agenda 21, spread by the Tea Party, Glenn Beck, and the John Birch Society, exists well outside the realm of ordinary environmental law work.  But it is beginning to affect that work.  The real target of this campaign, moreover, is not Agenda 21 but sustainable development—a common sense approach to reconciling environment and development that provides the basis for our environmental and land use laws.  Environmental lawyers thus need a basic understanding of what Agenda 21 is and what it is not.     

Agenda 21 is a comprehensive public strategy for achieving sustainable development. It was endorsed by the U.S. (under the presidency of George H.W. Bush) and other countries at the U.N. Conference on Environment and Development in 1992.  Agenda 21 stands for two broad propositions: 1) environmental goals and considerations need to be integrated into all development decisions, and 2) governments and their many stakeholders should work out the best way to integrate environment and development decisions in an open and democratic way. 

Agenda 21 contains an almost encyclopedic description of the best ideas for achieving sustainable development that existed in 1992.  On land use, it specifically counsels respect for private property.    It contains a detailed description of the role that many nongovernmental entities, including business and industry, farmers, unions, and others, should play in achieving sustainability. 

Agenda 21 endorses, and to a great degree is based upon, ideas that were already expressed in U.S. environmental and natural resources laws.  Its core premise is espoused in the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969.  Long before Agenda 21, NEPA set out “the continuing policy of the Federal government” to “create and maintain conditions under which man and nature can exist in productive harmony, and fulfill the social, economic, and other requirements of present and future generations of Americans” (42 U.S.C. § 4331). 

Ironically, Agenda 21 was never taken seriously as such in the United States; there has never been much enthusiasm here for following international agreements.  It is not a legally binding treaty; it contains no provisions for ratification, for example.  Agenda 21 also says nothing about new ideas like green building, smart growth, and smart meters.  But sustainable development as an idea—achieving economic development, job creation, human wellbeing, and environmental protection and restoration at the same time—is gaining traction. 

In response, opponents are attacking sustainability by making false statements about Agenda 21.  They say that Agenda 21 is opposed to democracy, freedom, private property, and development, and would foster environmental extremism.  For many opponents, the absence of a textual basis in Agenda 21 for such claims (in fact, the text explicitly contradicts all of these claims) is not a problem.  First, they are attacking a document that is not well known, and so they count on not being contradicted.  Second, the false version of Agenda 21 fits a well known narrative that is based on fear of global governance and a perceived threat of totalitarianism, and on distrust of the United Nations.  Indeed, the absence of information to support such fears only deepens their perception of a conspiracy.  According to this view, moreover, people who talk about sustainable development without mentioning Agenda 21 are simply masking their true intentions.  

Far-fetched, you say?  Well, consider this: in 2012, Alabama adopted legislation that prohibits the state or political subdivisions from adopting or implementing policies “that infringe or restrict private property rights without due process, as may be required by policy recommendations originating in, or traceable to ‘Agenda 21’” (Ala. Code § 35-1-6).  This, of course, could chill a variety of otherwise ordinary state and local decisions.  Similar bills are pending in state legislatures across the country. 

In a variety of other places, elected officials and professional staff who have worked with stakeholders for years to produce specific land use and energy proposals find their work mischaracterized as the product of Agenda 21, even though they have never heard of it.   Agenda 21’s lack of direct relevance to the specific proposals should, but does not always, provide an answer to such claims. 

The campaign against Agenda 21 has no serious empirical or textual foundation.  But it can work against sustainability and good decisions—and cost time and money—when clients and their lawyers don’t recognize it for what it is.

Balancing Act and Paradigm Shift: Joint Symposium to be held April 18, 2013

Posted on December 6, 2012 by Irma S. Russell

There is a vital need for attorneys and other professionals to understand and discuss the past, current, and future role of our public lands system  in the energy policy of the nation.  In April of 2013, ABA SEER is hosting a symposium in partnership with The Public Land and Resources Law Review (PLRLR) at The University of Montana titled Balancing Act and Paradigm Shift:  The Role of Public Lands in America’s Energy Future.  The PRLR’s 35th Public Land Law Conference and ABA SEER’s 41st National Spring Conference on the Environment will combine to create an academic symposium to discuss the role of America’s three major sources of public lands and resources: river systems, terrestrial lands, and oceans. 

If your work involves public lands, public resources or energy, this conference will be of interest to you.  If you work with law students (in J.D. or LL.M. programs) with an interest in public lands and resources, I hope you will alert them to this opportunity and encourage them to submit an article. Entries should demonstrate original thought on a question of legal and/or policy significance relating to the symposium topic of the role of public lands and resources in America’s energy future.  The topic is not confined to any particular type of public land or issue in energy or environmental law or policy.  Any relevant article, case comment, note, or essay may be submitted, including writing submitted for academic credit. Jointly authored pieces are eligible only if all authors are students and consent to submit.

The winning submissions will receive a $1,000, $500, and $250 cash prize for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place submissions, respectively. First and second place entries will be invited to attend the symposium on April 18, 2013 in Missoula, MT, with travel support from ABA-SEER.  The first place entry will be published in the symposium edition of the Public Land & Resources Law Review in the summer of 2013.

The deadline for the student writing competition is January 14, 2013.  For full details on entry requirements, click here.    

The American College of Environmental Lawyers Announces Newly Elected Fellows for 2012

Posted on August 24, 2012 by Blogmaster

The American College of Environmental Lawyers is proud to announce its newly elected Fellows for the year 2012. Each individual was selected for his/her distinguished experience and high standards in the practice of environmental law and will be officially inducted into the College at its Annual Meeting in October.

ACOEL President, Brad Marten of Marten Law PLLC, stated, “With the election of these 26 lawyers, the College includes a select group of the top lawyers in government service, academia, the NGO community and private practice, drawn from 48 states. These individuals, chosen by their peers, have earned this recognition based on achievements over a minimum 15 year period, in which they have led the field in all areas of environmental law and policy. The College is honored to have this distinguished class join its ranks.”

The newly elected Fellows include:

- Linda Benfield, Foley & Lardner LLP (WI)
- LeAnne Burnett, Crowe & Dunlevy (OK)
- Dean Calland, Babst Calland (PA)
- John Dernbach, Widener  University (PA)
- Parthenia Evans, Stinson Morrison Hecker LLP (MO)
- Eric Fjelstad, Perkins Coie (AK)
- Scott Fulton, US EPA (DC)
- Kevin Gaynor, Vinson & Elkins LLP (DC)
- Lisa Heinzerling, Georgetown University Law Center (DC)
- Sheila Slocum Hollis, Duane Morris LLP (DC)
- James Holtkamp, Holland & Hart LLP (UT)
- Michael Last, Rackemann, Sawyer & Brewster (MA)
- Kenneth Mack, Fox Rothschild LLP (NJ)
- John Manard, Jr., Phelps Dunbar (LA)
- Steven McKinney, Balch & Bingham LLP (AL)
- Lisa Woods Munger, Goodsill Anderson Quinn & Stifel (HI)
- James Palmer, Jr., Butler, Snow, O’Mara, Stevens & Cannada, PLLC (MS)
- Robert Percival, University of Maryland School of Law (MD)
- Gail Port, Proskauer Rose LLP (NY)
- Jim Price, Spencer Fane Britt & Browne LLP (MO)
- Nicholas Robinson, Pace University School of Law (NY)
- Thomas Sansonetti, Holland & Hart LLP (WY)
- J. Gustave Speth, Vermont Law School (VT)
- Donald Stever, K&L Gates LLP (NY)
- David Uhlmann, University of Michigan School of Law (MI)
- Bruce White, Barnes & Thornburg LLP (IL)

                                                                                             #  #  #  #

The American College of Environmental Lawyers is a professional association of distinguished lawyers who practice in the field of environmental law.  Membership is by invitation & members are recognized by their peers as preeminent in their field.  ACOEL members are dedicated to: maintaining & improving the ethical practice of environmental law; the administration of justice; and the development of environmental law at both the state & federal level.

Quick Takes on Rio + 20

Posted on July 25, 2012 by Leslie Carothers

If the Rio Summit concluded last month met expectations, it’s because they were so low.  The 49 page document summarizing the agreement by the government representatives, The Future We Want, was largely stripped of strong language and substantive commitments.  From my perspective, two failures and one success in the agreement stand out.  First, the diplomats could not muster a firm commitment to the UN Secretary General’s goal of ensuring universal access to energy services and doubling the rate of improvement in energy efficiency and use of renewable energy sources by 2030.   Paragraph 127 on energy sources seems to give equal status to high and low carbon fuels, and earlier language endorsing reduction of environmentally and economically harmful subsidies was dropped. This was not an encouraging result for a summit focused on advancing a “green economy.”

Second, the final document also watered down statements of support for the rights of women to family planning services as well as ownership of various forms of property. Although 105 national science organizations joined many women’s groups in urging a strong stance on moderating population growth by providing reproductive health services wanted by women, objections by the Holy See (aka the Vatican) and backward members of the G-77 developing countries’ coalition caused numerous small changes in wording (e.g. promote vs. ensure) that ended up barely preserving existing UN commitments to rights to reproductive health services.  (See the analysis by Rebecca Lifton at the Center for American Progress) The brightest spot in the final agreement is a comparatively aggressive set of commitments to protect and restore oceans and marine resources.  Professor Ann Powers, oceans expert at Pace Law School, attended the summit and notes that 20 of the 238 paragraphs of the agreement dealt with oceans issues like plastic debris and fisheries management and included most of what ocean advocates sought.

The non-governmental attendees were far more successful in making commitments and connections.   Many members of the business community, for example, continued the tradition, begun in 1992, of active participation in the Rio meeting as an environmental trade fair in ideas, products, and contacts.   In one notable project, a consortium of 24 companies, collaborating with the Corporate EcoForum and the Nature Conservancy, has been working toward the goal of valuing natural resources used and saved by companies.  According to Neil Hawkins, Vice President for Environment, Health, and Sustainability at Dow Chemical, the goal of pricing ecosystem services to mobilize markets in advancing sustainable development was a major focus of events at the Rio summit. The meeting was a catalyst for making specific company commitments to develop and test valuation methodologies as well as an opportunity to educate a broader audience on progress being made.    

Finally, the legal profession sponsored a varied menu of law and governance programs. The World Congress on Justice, Governance and Law for Environmental Sustainability convened judges, prosecutors, practitioners, and auditors to debate how to make environmental law more effective and how to increase public access to legal remedies.  (See the Rio + 20 Declaration of the Congress). At a time when multilateral diplomacy cannot produce a binding agenda, lawyers are challenged to find new ways to secure commitments from parties willing to act to advance environmental progress.

Presentation - Climate Change Update, and the Resurgence of Common Law Nuisance in Climate Change Cases

Posted on November 3, 2010 by David Farer

Climate Change Update, and the Resurgence of Common Law Nuisance in Climate Change Cases

Panelists:

Michael B. Gerrard, Center for Climate Change Law, Columbia University Law School

Pamela M. Giblin, Baker Botts

R. Kinnan Goleman, KG Strategies
 

Moderator: Karen Crawford, Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough 

Annual Meeting Update - Saturday Optional Evening Outing

Posted on August 23, 2010 by Rachael Bunday
Optional Evening Outing
 
The College has booked a ride on the Sam Houston Boat Tour  from 6-8pm for all members and their guests. Heavy hors d'oeuvres, beer and wine will be served. Please RSVP to Carol Dinkins (cdinkins@velaw.com) if you plan on attending. There will be modest fee for food and drink - more details to follow.
 
See below for more information about the boat tour.
 
 

Get ready for an unforgettably spectacular waterborne tour of one of the busiest ports in the world aboard the Port of Houston Authority's free public tour boat!

Named for the legendary military commander who led the fight for Texas independence from Mexico and later statehood, the M/V Sam Houston offers free leisurely 90-minute round-trip cruises along the Houston Ship Channel.

Embarking from the port's Sam Houston Pavilion, visiting sightseers can enjoy passing views of international cargo vessels, and operations at the port's Turning Basin Terminal. Measuring 95 feet in length and 24 feet in width, the boat carries a maximum capacity of 90 passengers with air-conditioned lounge seating and additional standing room on the boat's rear deck.

The M/V Sam Houston has been operating as the Port Authority's public tour vessel since its inaugural voyage on July. 30, 1958. By 1979, a total of 1 million passengers had taken the tour.

2010 American College of Environmental Lawyers Annual Meeting

Posted on June 21, 2010 by Rachael Bunday

Houston, TX

October 21 to 23, 2010

 

 

 The American College of Environmental Lawyers is having its Annual Meeting in Houston, Texas, October 21-23, 2010 at the law offices of Vinson & Elkins. You may register and pay conference fees below.  Please note that dress attire is business casual.

 

Hotel

We have reserved a block of  85 rooms at the Hilton Americas - Houston (713) 739-8000.  Please make sure to mention you are with the American College of Environmental Lawyers to get our discounted rate of $129 for a single or double room.

 

Agenda

 

 

 


THURSDAY, OCTOBER 21

 

6:00 p.m. -  Welcome Reception with plentiful hors d'oeuvres hosted by Vinson & Elkins at The Grove at Discovery Green, across from The Hilton Americas. Open to College members and their spouses/significant others.

 

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 22

7:30 a.m. - Breakfast in the Vinson & Elkins Courtroom on the 24th Floor

9:00 - President's welcome and announcements

9:15 - Keynote speaker: John Hofmeister -- Founder and Chief Executive, Citizens for Affordable Energy, Washington, D.C. and author of "Why We Hate the Oil Companies: Straight Talk from an Energy Insider;" former President, Shell Oil Company, Houston, TX (retired 2008).

 

10:00 - Break

10:15 - Business meeting, including election of officers and induction of new Fellows and installation of new President

10:45 - Third annual "around the room" introductions of ACOEL Fellows

12:30 - Lunch and Committee Meetings, 26th Floor Conference Center. Fellows who are not currently assigned to a committee, please self-select and join one.

Policy Committee - 26C

Membership Committee - 26D

Programs Committee - 26G

Website Committee - 26H

Afternoon Plenary Sessions in the Courtroom

2:00 p.m. - Pending Actions Concerning the Gulf Oil Spill

Panelists: Bradley Marten, Marten Law Group

John Cruden, U.S. Dept. of Justice

James Bruen, Farella Braun + Martel

  

3:00 p.m. - Break

3:15 - 5:00 pm -  Imagining the Future of the College: An Open, Free-Wheeling Discussion on Mission, Direction and Expectations

                       *chaired by Jeff Thaler and Carol Dinkins, with participation by all

Evening

Dinner:   Choose from several venues previously announced for no-host groups.

 

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 23

Morning Concurrent Sessions (26th Floor Conference Center)

10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

  • Session A (26C): Climate Change Update, and the Resurgence of Common Law Nuisance in Climate Change Cases.

Format: Panel discussion with participation of attendees.

Panelists:

Michael B. Gerrard,  Center for Climate Change Law,Columbia University Law School

                        Pamela M. Giblin, Baker Botts

                        R. Kinnan Goleman, KG Strategies

Moderator: Karen Crawford, Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough 

           

  • Session B (26D): In the Wake of Burlington Northern: Private Party and Government Responses, and Case Law Developments

Format: Panel discussion with participation of attendees.

Panelists:

Carol E. Dinkins, Vinson & Elkins

Theodore L. Garrett, Covington & Burling

William H. Hyatt, Jr., K&L Gates

Moderator: David B. Farer, Farer Fersko

 11:30 - Adjornment of 2010 Annual Meeting

Afternoon and Evening

 

Excursion Options:

 

1:30 pm - Travel on your own by taxi to meet at The Menil Collection, 1515 Sul Ross Street, Houston, TX 77006, for an overview by Emily Todd, Deputy Director, followed by guided tour of campus.

or

Travel on the Main Street light rail to the Museum District and Hermann Park, where you will find close by:

Houston Museum of Natural Science with butterfly house, planetarium and energy hall, and gem and mineral collection.
Houston Museum of Fine Arts
Contemporary Arts Museum
Holocaust Museum
Japanese Tea Garden
Houston Rose Garden at Hermann Park
Houston Zoo

6:00 – 8:00 pm:

Dinner and private cruise of the Houston Ship Channel on the Houston Port Authority’s Sam Houston. Mexican flood catered by Ninfa’s with beer, wine and margaritas. Travel by taxi to 7300 Clinton Drive, Houston, TX 77020; look for Gate 8. Please arrive no later than 5:30 pm at the Visitors Pavilion for boarding. 
 

Optional Evening Outing
 
The College has booked a ride on the Sam Houston Boat Tour  from 6-8pm for all members and their guests. Heavy hors d'oeuvres, beer and wine will be served. Please RSVP to Carol Dinkins (cdinkins@velaw.com) if you plan on attending. There will be modest fee for food and drink - more details to follow.
 
See below for more information about the boat tour.
 
____________________________ 

Get ready for an unforgettably spectacular waterborne tour of one of the busiest ports in the world aboard the Port of Houston Authority's free public tour boat!

Named for the legendary military commander who led the fight for Texas independence from Mexico and later statehood, the M/V Sam Houston offers free leisurely 90-minute round-trip cruises along the Houston Ship Channel.

Embarking from the port's Sam Houston Pavilion, visiting sightseers can enjoy passing views of international cargo vessels, and operations at the port's Turning Basin Terminal. Measuring 95 feet in length and 24 feet in width, the boat carries a maximum capacity of 90 passengers with air-conditioned lounge seating and additional standing room on the boat's rear deck.

The M/V Sam Houston has been operating as the Port Authority's public tour vessel since its inaugural voyage on July. 30, 1958. By 1979, a total of 1 million passengers had taken the tour.

 

 ____________________________________________________________________

 

 

 

 

Conference Registration Fees and Payment

 

The meeting fee this year is $275 per person. You may use the PayPal button below to pay your conference fees or, if you prefer, you may mail a check to:  

 

Bob Whetzel

Richards Layton & Finger

One Rodney Square

P.O. Box 551

Wilmington, DE 19899

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


THURSDAY, OCTOBER 21

Interview: Obama Administration Environmental Initiatives & Priorities

Posted on May 10, 2010 by Rachael Bunday

On March 4th and March 9th, 2010, Angus Macbeth conducted interviews of Robert Sussman and Igancia Moreno regarding the Obama Administration Environmental Initiatives and Priorities.

Robert Sussman is Senior Policy Counsel for the United States EPA and Ignacia Moreno is Assistant to the Attorney General, Environment and Natural Resources Division, Department of Justice.

Audio of the two interviews is accessible by clicking the links below: 

Robert Sussman - March 4, 2010

Ignacia Moreno - March 9, 2010

2009 Annual Meeting - SAVE THE DATE!

Posted on December 15, 2009 by Rachael Bunday

The American College of Environmental Lawyers is planning its 2009 Annual Meeting for October 1-3 in Portland, Maine. A majority of the conference will be held at the Portland Regency Hotel (www.theregency.com). More information and an agenda to follow at a later date.

Power Point Presentations from the 2009 Annual Meeting in Maine

Posted on October 6, 2009 by Rachael Bunday

Climate Change Update

Panelists: Michael Gerrard, Jeffrey Thaler, Linda Bullen, John Cruden

Moderator: Karen Crawford

 

Climate Change Legislation and Regulation

Panelists: Carol Dinkins, Bradley Marten, Stephen Ramsey

Moderator: David Farer

Power Point Presentations from the 2009 Annual Meeting in Maine

Posted on October 6, 2009 by Rachael Bunday

Climate Change Update

Panelists: Michael Gerrard, Jeffrey Thaler, Linda Bullen, John Cruden

Moderator: Karen Crawford

 

Climate Change Legislation and Regulation

Panelists: Carol Dinkins, Bradley Marten, Stephen Ramsey

Moderator: David Farer

2009 AMERICAN COLLEGE OF ENVIRONMENTAL LAWYERS ANNUAL MEETING

Posted on August 11, 2009 by Rachael Bunday

Portland, Maine - October 1-3, 2009

****THIS MEETING OPEN TO MEMBERS ONLY****

It's finally that time of year! The American College of Environmental Lawyers is having its Annual Meeting in Portland, Maine, October 1-3, 2009 at The Portland Regency http://www.theregency.com. Conference fees may be paid online below.  Please note that dress attire is business casual. The agenda is as follows:

THURSDAY

6 PM: Welcome Reception hosted by Bernstein Shur at the Portland Museum of
Art. Open to College members and their spouses/significant others.

 
FRIDAY

7:30-9:00 AM: Breakfast at the hotel (For members and spouses/significant others, in a large room)

9:00 - 9:15: Presidential Welcome and other announcements

9:15 - 10:30: Round the room member introductions: a quick 20 seconds of  info and humor to introduce yourself and describe what you do in the area of environmental law.
 
10:30 - 10:45: Break

10:45 - 11:50: Business Meeting: 1) Election and Induction of New Fellows (5 minutes); 2) Discussion and Vote on by-law changes (5-10 minutes); 3) Election of Officers and Board of Regents (5 minutes); 4) Plans for 2009-10 from incoming President (15 minutes); 5) Announcement of Committee Chairs and Duties of Committees—Nominating and Membership, Program and Education, Website, and Policy Committees; (5 minutes); 4) Committees each break into separate rooms have a preliminary meeting; those who have not previously selected a Committee can sit in on any meeting (45-50 minutes)

12:00 PM: College lunch at the hotel, guest speaker former Maine Governor Angus King

1:30-4:30: College member presentations/program

 

Session 1:

Climate Change Legislation and Regulation

Panelists:

Carol Dinkins – Vinson & Elkins, LLP

Bradley Marten – Marten Law Group PLLC

Stephen Ramsey – Yale Law School and Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies

Moderator:

David Farer – Farer Fersko

Session 2:

Climate Change Litigation

Panelists:

Linda Bullen – Lionel Sawyer & Collins

John Cruden – U.S. Department of Justice

Michael Gerrard – Columbia University Center for Climate Change Law

Jeffrey Thaler – Bernstein Shur

Moderator:

Karen Crawford –Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP

 

Friday Excursion to Freeport

For those not attending the conference, enjoy a half-day trip to Freeport, Maine. Freeport is home to L.L. Bean’s famous flagship store, several dozen designer factory stores (Burberry, Coach, and Cole Haan to name a few), cafes, and a quaint historic district. Also nearby is Wolfe’s Neck State Park for anyone wanting to hike mild trails and enjoy the foliage, or possibly a stop in at the Delorme Map Store and visit “Eartha” the world’s largest to-scale and revolving globe

Cost $40 per person, minimum of 8 people needed

http://www.freeportusa.com/index.html

Saturday Lobster Bake

Take a short scenic ferry trip across Casco Bay to Peak’s Island. Once there, you will take a short walk to the historic Fifth Maine Regiment for a classic New England Lobster Bake, including fresh Maine lobsters, steamers, corn on the cob, blueberry cake, and more. The Fifth Maine Regiment sits atop Peak’s rocky coast, overlooking Cushing Island,  with quaint garden featuring breathtaking views, and  a wraparound porch (weather permitting) or dining hall. After the lobster bake, you can explore the island and return to Portland at your convenience (or come early and explore!); ferries run hourly through the evening. The bake will start at 12:30, so you’ll want to make the 11:15 (or earlier) ferry from the Casco Bay Ferry Terminal.

Cost $75 per person, minimum of 25 people needed

 
HOTEL

We have reserved a block of rooms at The Portland Regency, http://www.theregency.com, (207) 774-4200. There are a limited number of rooms still available. Please make sure to mention you are with the American College of Environmental Lawyers to get our discounted rate.

 

REGISTER HERE - http://acoel.eroievent.com/

 

PAY HERE - 
To add multiple items you will need to select one item at a time, add to your cart, then select "Continue Shopping".

 

ACOEL Meeting Fee and Optional Additions

 Friday and Saturday Night Dinner Options

Portland is Bon Appetit’s  2010 Foodiest Small Town (article here), and Food & Wine’s Kate Krader has written that Portland’s culinary scene is “all-around terrific.” While there is no shortage of great restaurants in Portland, most of the dining venues are small and intimate. For Friday night's No Host Dinner, we have secured reservations at the most talked (and written) about restaurants in Portland that are within walking distance of The Portland Regency (the conference hotel). Please e-mail acoel@bernsteinshur.com with your first and second choices for Friday (and Saturday, if applicable) night’s dinner. Please have your selection in no later than September 23.

 

555

Five Fifty-Five classifies its cuisine as modern American and New England fare. Chef Steve Corry changes the menu frequently, but keeps some signature dishes on the menu year-round, such as truffled lobster mac n’ cheese, pepper crusted diver scallops with butter and vanilla emulsion, and Bangs Island mussels.

http://fivefifty-five.com/

Reservations: Availability for 30 at 8:00

 

Hugos

Hugo’s chef/owner Rob Evans is this year’s recipient of the prestigious James Beard Foundation’s Best Chef Northeast. Hugo’s passion lies in its love for creative food, good wine and wholesome Maine ingredients. The culinary team at Hugo’s, under Rob’s direction, delivers regional cuisine that is both unexpected yet ultimately familiar. The menu will be a blind tasting menu (prix fixe, $85 per person).

http://hugos.net/

Reservations: 2 tables of 4 at 6:15

1 table of 4, 1 table of 6 at 6:30

 

Fore Street Grill

Fore Street’s menu changes daily is founded upon the very best raw materials from a community of Maine farmers, fishermen, foragers, and cheesemakers, who are also our friends and neighbors. Most of these Maine foods are organically grown or harvested wild, each brought to us at the peak of its season. Fore Street was one of five national finalists for the James Beard Outstanding Restaurant category.

http://www.forestreet.biz/en/Home

Reservations: 2 tables of 10 at 6:00; 1 table of 10 at 9:00

 

Street & Company

Street & Company specializes in fresh, local seafood dishes and is considered by many to be Portland’s best seafood restaurant. In fact, they serve only seafood based dishes. It is a local’s favorite that is in its 20th year of operation. Like most of the menus on this list, it changes daily, but there are a few specialty items that are always available.

http://www.streetandcompany.net/home

Reservations: 2 tables of 6 at 8:00

 

Cinque Terre

Cinque Terre serves “old school” Northern Italian cuisine, using produce grown on its owners’ farm. They were named in the “Top Ten Farm-to-Table Restaurants in the U.S.” by epicurious.com.

http://www.cinqueterremaine.com/main.html

Reservations: 2 tables of 10 at 6:30

 

Vignola

Vignola is the sister restaurant to Cinque Terre, and also serves Italian cuisine, in a more relaxed and casual atmosphere. It has an extensive beer and wine menu. Like Cinque Terre, the produce is grown by the owners for farm-to-table freshness.

http://www.vignolamaine.com/

Reservations: 2 tables of 10 at 6:30

 

Emilitsa

Emilitsa boasts a contemporary and casual atmosphere and brings a wide array of Mezethes (small plates), Megala Piata (large plates), and pristinely fresh seafood to the seacoast area. They take pride in honoring the breadth of traditional cuisine from all regions of Greece and prepare their dishes with as many local, fresh, organic, and natural ingredients as are available.

http://www.emilitsa.com/index.htm

Reservations: 16 seats at 7:00

 

Grace

Portland’s newest fine dining establishment is housed in a breathtaking restored church. The eclectic menu draws inspiration from all parts of the globe, using seasonal local ingredients.

http://www.restaurantgrace.com/

Reservations: 1 table for 10 at 7:00

 

For those of you staying for the weekend, also have the following reservations for Saturday night. Please note Saturday and your first and second choices in your response.

 

Fore Street Table for 10 at 6:00

Hugo’s Table for 6 at 8:30

Grace Table for 10 at 6:30

555 Table for 10 at 6:00

National Advanced Conference on Natural Resource Damages Litigation

Posted on June 11, 2009 by Rachael Bunday

Dear Friends:


On behalf of Richard Curley (Golden, CO) and myself, I am writing to extend a personal invitation to attend the July 9 & 10 Santa Fe, New Mexico “National Advanced Conference on Natural Resource Damages Litigation.”  The course will be held at the La Fonda Hotel in Santa Fe.

The course features national leaders in environmental litigation including:

  •  

      ·       Deputy Assistant Attorney General John Cruden (Washington, DC)
      ·       US Department of Interior attorney John Carlucci (Washington, DC)
      ·       Colorado Senior Assistant Attorney General Vicky Peters (Denver, CO)
      ·       Massachusetts NRD Director Dale Young (Boston, MA)
      ·       Exxon Mobil Chief Attorney Robert Johnson (Houston, TX)
      ·       BP Senior Attorney Jean Martin (Houston, TX)
      ·       Nationally renowned plaintiffs’ environmental attorneys Allan Kanner
      (New Orleans, LA) and John Dema (St. Croix, VI)
      ·       Environmental toxicologist Ken Jenkins (Petaluma, CA)
      ·       Environmental economists William Desvousges (Raleigh, NC) and
      Robert Unsworth (Cambridge, MA)

As well as widely respected environmental attorneys:

  •  

      ·       Brian Cleary (Hayden, ID)
      ·       Donald Fowler (Washington, DC)
      ·       Ira Gottlieb (Newark, NJ)
      ·       Brian Israel (Washington, DC)
      ·       Angus Macbeth (Washington, DC)
      ·       Bradley Marten (Seattle, WA)
      ·       Deborah Tellier (San Francisco, CA)
      ·       Michael Thorp (Seattle, WA)

The course agenda is packed with vital information of high value to any attorney who is, or may someday be, involved in the expanding world of NRD litigation.  Attendees will also get a chance to meet and interact with this extraordinary faculty in a selective and intimate environment, including a catered, cost-free reception on the evening of July 9.

Please take a moment to review the brochure from program sponsor Law Seminars International (see http://www.lawseminars.com/detail.php?SeminarCode=09NRDNM).  If, as I hope, you are able to join us, please take advantage of the $150 discount offered to friends and clients of Farella Braun + Martel LLP.  To do so, please mention the “FBM Discount” in the comments box of the registration page or when registering by phone at (800) 854-8009.

This is an exciting opportunity to see this august assemblage of environmental experts at one national program.  The atmosphere of Santa Fe is an added bonus.  We hope to see you there.

With best regards,
James A. Bruen

2009 Annual Meeting - SAVE THE DATE!

Posted on December 15, 2008 by Rachael Bunday

The American College of Environmental Lawyers is planning its 2009 Annual Meeting for October 1-3 in Portland, Maine. A majority of the conference will be held at the Portland Regency Hotel (www.theregency.com). More information and an agenda to follow at a later date.

Conferences and Events

Posted on December 6, 2007 by Rachael Bunday

The ACOEL group will be meeting on January 31st during the Lex Mundi North American Regional Conference in Miami. The meeting will take place at the Miami office of the law firm Akerman Senterfitt, from 12:15 - 2:45.