Our American College of Environmental Lawyers recently has increased its external educational efforts, co-sponsoring programs with the Environmental Law Institute and the American Law Institute. The College has also actively collaborated with other organizations to identify pro bono opportunities for its members in the international environmental arena. The College is now proud to be a co-sponsor of the Environmental Summit of the Americas being held in Los Angeles on March 29.
The lead organizers of this one-day Summit are the American Bar Association’s Section of Environment, Energy and Resources (SEER) and the International Bar Association’s Section on Energy, Environment, Natural Resources and Infrastructure Law (SEERIL). Our College is joining the Canadian Bar Association’s National Environment, Energy and Resources Law Section (NEERLS) as a co-sponsor.
The topics to be covered in the program are: Climate Change and Energy/Environmental Policy; Extended Producer Responsibility; Officer, Director, Lender and Parent Company Liability; Permitting and Social License; and Trade and the Environment. There will also be a special presentation by representatives of the Inter-American Development Bank on its project assessing the quality of environmental regulation in the Americas. The format for the Summit is intended to be conducive to group discussion for each topic. Each topic will have several discussion facilitators who will be providing a brief overview of the topic and then facilitating discussion among attendees. Facilitators include well recognized lawyers from the United States, Canada, Costa Rica, Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, Chile, and Peru. While registrations are still being received, well over 50 percent of registrants are from Latin America and Canada.
Many of us have had a long-held objective of encouraging and developing this type of cross-border dialogue among our colleagues in this hemisphere. The dialogue already exists in the context of the extractive industries, with groups such as the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation providing a platform for such discussions. There also has been a long-term, collaborative relationship with ABA SEER and CBA NEERLS that has evolved over the last 15 years and has proven very instructive and beneficial to lawyers on both sides of the border. More recently a relationship has been evolving between SEER and the United Kingdom Environmental Law Association, and between SEER and SEERIL.
It has been more difficult to coordinate such a dialogue with jurisdictions having more loosely organized bar associations, particularly with a focus on environmental law. While there have been some efforts by various international referral networks to develop such a discussion, to my knowledge the Summit will be the first effort by respected bar associations and our College to foster such a broad-based understanding of environmental legal developments.
College members are encouraged to attend. The Summit will be an excellent opportunity for all attendees to learn from each other in a format which encourages discussion. Chatham House Rules control. The Summit is being held the day before the SEER Spring Conference which, hopefully, many of our College members already plan to attend.
I hope to see you there!