CLE Credits at PIELC 2015
Changing Currents: the 33rd annual Public Interest Environmental Law Conference (PIELC)
University of Oregon School of Law (sponsored by Land Air Water)
March 5-8, 2015
NOTE: ALL LISTED PANELS have been CLE approved in Oregon and Washington.
**Out-of-state attorneys are required to self-report, for more information please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Panel 1: Thursday, 3/5/15, 4:00 – 5:15 PM
- Climate Change and Land Use
- Oregon’s land use program has provisions for both mitigation of and adaptation to climate change. Work is being done to plan growth in a way that reduces greenhouse gas emissions and reduces exposure to hazards that result from climate change. The panel will discuss both the current provisions of Oregon’s land use laws and proposed legal hooks related to climate change.
- Panelists: Mary Kyle McCurdy, 1000 Friends of Oregon, Policy Director and Staff Attorney; Steven D. McCoy, 1000 Friends of Oregon, Farm and Forest Staff Attorney; Rebecca Lewis, UO PPPM, Professor
Panel 2: Friday, 3/6/15, 8:45 – 10:00 AM
- Forest Service Winter Travel Management Coming Your Way
- Forest Service winter travel management (Subpart c) is required by a new Federal rule, as ordered by a Federal District Court. The proposed rule was published on June 18, 2014, and the final rule is expected in January 2015. In response to this and a second lawsuit specific to national forests in California, the Forest Service has already commenced travel management under the new rule in five forests in the central Sierra Nevada and far southern Cascades. The panel will discuss background events leading up to the rule, the substance of the new rule, how the winter travel planning process will unfold, lessons learned from wheeled vehicle travel management (Subpart b) and how some national forests previously engaged in successful and unsuccessful efforts at winter travel management. Over-snow-vehicle impacts to sustainable recreation, species and ecosystems will be discussed.
- Panelists: Laurie Rule, Senior Staff Attorney, Advocates for the West; Cailin O-Brien-Feeney, Policy Director, Winter Wildlands Alliance; Sarah Peters, Wild Places Program Attorney, WildEarth Guardians
- Rethinking Force Majeure in an Era of Climate Change
- The doctrine of force majeure, “act of God,” rests on the notion that man is separated from nature and that only nature causes extreme weather events. Modern science has proved this false. The panel will question whether it makes sense to continue to allow parties to escape torts and contractual legal liability when science has proved that, people – not any universal power – are causing many of the problems for which parties to litigation may later seek to avoid responsibility.
- Panelists: Professor Denis Binder, Chapman University School of Law; Attorney Michael Cooper, The Ploughshare Group; Professor Myanna Dellinger, Western State College of Law; Greg Munro, University of Montana, Interim Dean
- Atmospheric Trust Litigation Update: Lessons Learned and Moving Forward in 2015
- Since 2011, Our Children’s Trust has been working to elevate the voice of youth and secure the legal right to a healthy atmosphere and stable climate system. Youth filed unprecedented legal actions based on the Public Trust Doctrine against governments across the U.S. and abroad. Attorneys involved in the TRUST Campaign will give an update of the atmospheric trust legal actions, including their U.S. Supreme Court effort, decisions from high courts of states, and cases moving forward on the merits.
- Panelists: Julia Olson, Our Children’s Trust, Executive Director and Counsel in Federal Atmospheric Trust Case; Philip Gregory, Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy, LLP, Attorney in Federal Atmospheric Trust Case; Andrea Rodgers-Harris, Attorney & Of Counsel, Western Environmental Law Center; Nate Bellinger, Our Children’s Trust, Climate Law Fellow
- Predator Control on Federal Land
- This panel will focus on legal issues related to preventing predator control on federal land by presenting four cases studies: one from Alaska and three from Idaho, both states where state agencies are highly aggressive with their efforts to reduce carnivores. These case studies illustrate different avenues for challenging these efforts and protecting predators on federal lands including National Park, Forest Service, and BLM lands.
- Panelists: Katie Strong, Trustees for Alaska, Staff Attorney; Andrea Santarsiere, Center for Biological Diversity, Staff Attorney; Katherine O’Brien, Earthjustice, Associate Attorney; Kristin Ruether, Western Watersheds Project, Senior Staff Attorney
- Injunctive Relief under the ESA Post-Winter and Monsanto
- Considerable uncertainty and inconsistency plague ESA injunction jurisprudence both at the Ninth Circuit and in district courts throughout the circuit. Further muddying this situation are two recent decisions from the U.S. Supreme Court, Monsanto v. Geerston Seed Farms (2010), and Winter v. NRDC (2008). This panel seeks to clarify the ESA injunction jurisprudence in the Ninth Circuit, discuss how Monsanto and Winter affect this jurisprudence, and discuss how Monsanto and Winter affect final relief following success on the merits.
- Panelists: Shiloh Hernandez, WELC, Attorney; Dave Becker, Attorney, Law Office of David H. Becker, LLC; Matt Kenna, attorney, Public Interest Envtl Law and WELC
- California Environmental Quality Act Year in Review
- This panel will review and discuss major developments in CEQA law in the past year and what can be expected in 2015. With an unusual number of CEQA cases being reviewed by the California Supreme Court (and an opinion in one expected to be released just before PIELC), the discussion promises to be very relevant and interesting. Topics will likely include the escalating battle over cost shifting and administrative records, latest developments greenhouse gasses and CEQA, and federal preemption issues.
- Panelists: Adam Keats, Center for Biological Diversity, Senior Counsel; David Pettit, National Resources Defense Council, Senior Attorney; Babak Naficy, Attorney at Law; Stuart Flashman, Attorney at Law
- Closing the U.S. Sheep Experiment Station
- For the last 100 years the United States has been operating a sheep research station high in the mountains of southwest Montana and eastern Idaho. The U.S. Sheep Experiment Station is located in the heart of one of the most important travel corridors for grizzly bears and other carnivores in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Come learn about illegal grizzly bear killing by the federal government, our legal challenges to shut down the station down, and efforts by Congress to keep the station open.
- Panelists: John Meyer, Cottonwood Environmental Law Center Executive Director; Ken Cole, Idaho Director of the Western Watersheds Project, NEPA Coordinator; Sarah McMillan, Senior Attorney, WildEarth Guardians
Panel 3: Friday, 3/6/15, 10:15 – 11:30 AM
- Oregon Land Use: Year in Review
- As our climate changes and populations grow, thoughtful planning for land use is becoming ever more important. Oregon’s land use laws were designed to help contain urban sprawl, protect rural farm and forest lands, and engage the public in land use planning decisions. Join Oregon public interest land use lawyers for a brief overview of the state of Oregon’s land use laws, followed by a discussion of some highlights of land use cases and planning efforts from 2014.
- Panelists: Courtney Johnson, Crag Law Center, Staff Attorney; Maura Fahey, Crag Law Center, Associate Attorney; Sean Malone, Sean T. Malone Attorney At Law; Jennifer Bragar, Associate, Garvey Schubert Barer
- Facing Off with the Oil Industry: Crude-by-rail in the Pacific Northwest
- The oil boom in the Bakken threatens to lock the US into continued reliance on some of the dirtiest and dangerous oil in the world. The Northwest is heavily targeted for oil-by-rail transportation. With little to no public participation, oil trains began rolling along our rivers and through our communities. Now, nearly a dozen ports across the Northwest are either proposed or planning expansions to accept oil-by-rail from the Bakken. This panel highlights the legal cases being made against oil terminals both proposed and operational and the broad organizing efforts behind oil-by-rail campaigns.
- Panelists: Miles Johnson, Clean Water Attorney, Columbia Riverkeeper; Marla Nelson, Northwest Environmental Defence Center, Staff Attorney; Matt Krogh, Forest Ethics, campaign director of Extreme Oil campaign
- Legal Update on Post-Fire Litigation
- The panelists will discuss the legal and ecological considerations and implications of logging after wildfire. As wildfires continue to frequent western landscapes, the political and institutional pressure to conduct aggressive “salvage logging” operations on sensitive public lands will continue to grow. Hear from litigators who are challenging these post-fire logging proposals in court regarding successful legal strategies, and from scientists who are researching the ecological effects of this misguided management activity.
- Panelists: Susan Jane Brown, Staff Attorney, Western Environmental Law Center; Justin Augustine, Staff Attorney, Center for Biological Diversity; Rachel Fazio, Staff Attorney; potentially 2 others
- 101 Ways USFWS is Denying Protection for Imperiled Species
- In an attempt to recover from what it has claimed is historical “over-protection” or “over-listing” of species under the ESA, the US Fish and Wildlife Service is creating new and exciting loopholes to deny protection for species that deserve the protections afforded by the ESA. These include: interpreting ESA’s Section 4 language “significant portion of its range” to read the language out of the statute; ignoring lost historical range in evaluating whether species are endangered or threatened; refusing to draft recovery plans; refusing to designate as critical habitat, habitat that is occupied by protected species; pursuant to the McKittrick policy, refusing to prosecute unless they can prove intent to kill protected species; drafting rules under ESA’s Section 4(d) that allow many of the very activities that imperil the protected species; bowing to political pressure with non-opposition to legislative riders, etc.
- Panelists: Sarah McMillan, WildEarth Guardians, Senior Attorney; Matt Bishop, Western Environmental Law Center, Director Northern Rockies Office; Bethany Cotton, WildEarth Guardians, Wildlife Program Director
- Troubled Waters: Offshore Energy Development
- Our oceans and the life they support are suffering from a variety of threats. Offshore energy development, some longstanding, some only just beginning, is a significant contributor. This panel will discuss the Obama Administration’s plan to open up nearly the entire Atlantic Coast to oil and gas development, drilling in the Arctic, offshore fracking in the Pacific and Gulf of Mexico, and wind energy projects in the Atlantic. It will provide background on the each of these threats and various legal tools to combat them, and a number of specific cases.
- Panelists: Sierra Weaver, Senior Attorney, Southern Environmental Law Center; Rebecca Noblin, Alaska Director, Center for Biological Diversity; Kristen Monsell, Staff Attorney, Center for Biological Diversity; Bill Eubanks, Partner, Meyer Glitzenstein & Crystal
- WA CAFOs: Finally, Progress to Report!
- Washington has long been an epicenter of the fight against the rampant water pollution that comes from Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (“CAFOs”). A series of successful Clean Water Act lawsuits in the late 1990s – early 2000s targeted many of the surface water discharges. Since that time, the scientific data has been gathered to show conclusively that CAFOs are significantly polluting the ground water and drinking water resources of the state of Washington. This panel will address the next legal frontier in the battle against CAFO pollution: ground water pollution. The panelists will analyze a major victory in the Resource Conservation & Recovery Act (“RCRA”) litigation against five dairies in the Lower Yakima Valley who have caused imminent and substantial harm to human health and the environment. The panelists will also discuss other work that is being done in the state to protect ground and drinking water resources, including the Department of Ecology’s development of a new CAFO General National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (“NPDES”) permit.
- Panelists: Andrea Rodgers, Attorney, Western Environmental Law Center; Charlie Tebbutt, Attorney, Law Offices of Charles M. Tebbutt; Dan Snyder, Attorney, Law Offices of Charles M. Tebbutt
- Winning a Grassroots Campaign on a Shoestring Budget: a Roundtable Discussion from Jackson and Josephine Counties
- Come learn about the social, legislative, and legal issues associated with taking on Big Ag to create a GMO Free Zone and refugia in the Rogue Valley of Southern Oregon. This will be followed by a question and answer session.
- Panelists: Brent Foster, Attorney at Law; George Kimbrell, Senior Attorney Center for Food Safety; Elise Higley, Our Family Farms Coalition Director; Chris Hardy, Our Family Farms Coalition, Board of Directors
Panel 4: Friday, 3/6/15, 2:00 – 3:15 PM
- NEPA and Climate Change: Tons and Consequences
- This panel will discuss agencies NEPA obligations to consider the consequences, rather than merely the amount, of GHG emissions from federal projects. We will discuss strategies we have litigated on this issue, including indirect impacts on overall energy production and consumption, use of the social cost of carbon, and consistency with domestic and international GHG emission reduction targets.
- Panelists: Nathan Matthews, Sierra Club, Staff Attorney; Nat Shoaff, Sierra Club, Staff Attorney; Ted Zuckoski, Earthjustice, Attorney
- Opportunity from the Ashes: Oil and Gas Development in the San Juan Basin
- New Mexico’s San Juan Basin has long been a favorite target of the fossil fuel industry. Playing host to two mine-to-mouth coal-fired power plants, as well as 23,000 existing gas wells, the Basin is now facing what industry is calling the next big oil boom. Despite it all, there is still much at stake and great opportunity to ensure our public lands and treasured landscapes are not forsaken in the interest of corporate profit. This Panel will focus on critical opportunities to engage in the decision-making process at various stages — including resource management planning, leasing, drilling, and pipeline construction — with an aim toward permanently protecting special places such as Chaco Canyon and other sacred sites, as well as protecting our atmosphere and climate from massive emissions of greenhouse gases.
- Panelists: Kyle Tisdel, Western Environmental Law Center, Attorney, Climate & Energy Program Director; Samantha Ruscavage-Barz, WildEarth Guardians, Staff Attorney; Colleen Cooley, Four Corners Energy Outreach Organizer, Diné Citizens Against Ruining Our Environment (Diné C.A.R.E.)
- ESA Section 10(j) “Experimental Populations”: Improving Legitimacy and Recovery for Reintroduced Species
- The Endangered Species Act recognizes that fish, wildlife and plant species have aesthetic,ecological, educational, historical, recreational and scientific value and provides a means to conserve the ecosystems upon which endangered or threatened species depend. Section 10 of the Act, entitled “Exceptions,” offers an avenue to authorize activities that would otherwise be prohibited. Under section 10(j), the Secretary of the Department of the Interior can designate reintroduced populations established outside the species’ current range, but within its historical range, as “experimental.” Yet, after many years have passed and the “experimental” population continues to persist, when does it no longer become considered “experimental” And why is it that no agency has ever designated a 10(j) population as “essential” experimental? This panel will look at several “controversial” 10j species (such as Mexican and Red Wolves), discuss the biological and legal backgrounds for the species, and lessons learned for how we can better facilitate the reintroduction of species that have gone extinct, but belong back in the wild.
- Panelists: Tara Zuardo, Wildlife Attorney, Animal Welfare Institute; Michael Robinson, Conservation Advocate, Center for Biological Diversity; D.J. Schubert, Wildlife Biologist, Animal Welfare Institute; Sierra Weaver, Senior Attorney, Southern Environmental Law Center
- Return of the Missing Lynx: Efforts to Ensure the Survival and Recovery of Canada Lynx in the West
- This panel will discuss the latest, “best available science” on lynx, lynx habitat, and threats to the species as well as legal and advocacy efforts to ensure the wildcat’s long-term survival and recovery in the Southern Rockies, Northern Rockies, and Pacific Northwest. This includes efforts to reintroduce lynx to Colorado and litigation under Section 4 of the Endangered Species Act over listing, revised critical habitat designations, and recovery planning.
- Panelists: Matthew Bishop, Western Environmental Law Center, Attorney; Paige Singer, Rocky Mountain Wild, Conservation Biologist; Dave Werntz, Conservation Northwest, Conservation Director
- Incidental Take Under the MBTA and BGEPA: Recent Cases and Developments
- The enforcement of the MBTA and BGEPA for incidental take has collided with the development of renewable energy projects, with a flock of recent decisions and regulatory developments. This panel will address the important cases, existing and proposed regulatory programs to permit incidental take, and vicarious agency liability for project approvals, from the government, wildlife advocate and industry perspectives.
- Panelists: Philip Kline, Attorney-Advisor, Dept. of the Interior Office of the Solicitor; William Eubanks, Partner, Meyer Glitzenstein & Crystal; Sarah Stauffer Curtiss
- Legal Strategies to Fight Mountaintop Removal Coal Mining
- The attorneys with Appalachian Mountain Advocates and Sierra Club work with mountain residents and grassroots groups throughout Appalachia to implement legal strategies to protect local communities from the devastating impacts of mountaintop removal. Learn about this highly destructive method of coal surface mining, what the Obama administration has and hasn’t done on the issue, and what legal strategies have proven most effective.
- Panelists: Aaron Isherwood, Sierra Club, Managing Attorney; Jane Davenport, Defenders of Wildlife, Senior Staff Attorney; Amy Vernon-Jones, Appalachian Mountain Advocates, Staff Attorney; Tierra Curry, Center for Biological Diversity, Senior Scientist
- Will the Nuclear Industry Learn from the Fukushima Meltdowns?
- Before the 2011 Fukushima disaster, the nuclear industry and its regulators considered multiple reactor meltdowns and extensive spent fuel pool damage unlikely. That they were wrong hasn’t stopped efforts to license new reactors and relicense old ones. Fukushima’s lessons about protecting spent fuel and reactor cooling systems have not been embraced by the industry nor its regulators. This panel will discuss the Fukushima meltdowns and public interest efforts to force regulators to take account of the disaster’s lessons.
- Panelists: Diane Curran, Attorney, Harmon, Curran, Spielberg and Eisenberg, LLP; Robert Eye, Attorney, Robert V. Eye Law Office, LLC.
- Speaking for the Trees: How to Improve Your Environmental Advocacy through Clear and Effective Writing
- Clear, concise, powerful writing is essential to being an effective environmental advocate. This panel will provide tips to step-up your legal writing game. In the first half of the session, legal writing experts will share concrete principles for improving your writing. In the second half, you will get hands-on experience applying what you’ve learned.
- Panelists: Joan Rocklin, University of Oregon Law, Legal Research and Writing Professor; Lance N. Long, Stetson University College of Law, Professor Legal Skills
Panel 5: Friday, 3/6/15, 3:30 – 4:45 PM
- Voices for the Earth
- Stories from yesterday; notes from tomorrow… The events and stories of awakening environmental concern and activism in the 1960’s, 70’s and 80’s, and the accompanying rise of environmental law provide reference points for where we are today. As the environmental bar faces the challenges of today’s disputatious times, there are valuable lessons to be learned from veterans of those early years of environmental law. Come and hear these veteran litigators tell war stories about their many years of experience litigating public interest environmental cases, how the practice of environmental law has changed over the years, and what lessons are to be learned from those experiences.
- Panelists: Tony Ruckel, Sierra Club Litigation Committee and Former Rocky Mountain Regional Director, Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund; Mike Axline, partner at Miller, Axline and Sawyer, founder of WELC; Reed Zars, private practitioner in Laramie Wyoming; Karin Sheldon, President, Four Echoes Strategies, Former President of Western Resource Advocates (2007-13)
- Keystone and Beyond: Legal Update of Tar Sands Pipelines
- While the proposed Keystone XL pipeline from Alberta, Canada to Nebraska has received much of the media attention, there are a number of tar sands pipeline projects and proposals in the United States. This panel will discuss legal and legislative issues concerning Keystone XL as well as these additional projects and proposals, including the ongoing case against the State Department regarding Enbridge’s proposed Alberta Clipper pipeline expansion, and the case against the U.S. Corps of Engineers regarding Enbridge’s Flanagan South pipeline.
- Panelists: Marc Fink, Center for Biological Diversity, Senior Attorney; Jared Margolis, Center for Biological Diversity, Staff Attorney; Doug Hayes, Sierra Club, Staff Attorney
- Citizen Use of Public Records Laws
- Intended for citizens, organizations and attorneys who use the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and state public records laws. This panel will address framing a records request, obtaining fee waivers, how agencies seek to circumvent disclosure (and ways to counter these efforts) and how to use these laws to change agency behavior. Some recent high-profile Oregon public records cases will also be discussed as illustrative case studies.
- Panelists: Dave Bahr, Bahr Law Offices, principal; Dan Snyder; Christian Wihtol, Senior Editor, The Register Guard
- Oil and Gas: Fracking Bans and Local Control Litigation
- In recent years hydraulic fracturing has become a national issue, with oil and gas companies attempting to drill in heavily populated areas and residential neighborhoods. Citizens and local communities have responded in many parts of the country by working to ban fracking and assert greater local control over oil and gas development. This panel will discuss those efforts and the litigation that has followed.
- Panelists: Michael Freeman, Earthjustice Staff Attorney;Helen Slottje, Managing Attorney, Community Environmental Defense Council; Jonathan Smith, Earthjustice Associate Attorney; Irene Gutierrez, Associate Attorney, Earthjustice
Panel 6: Saturday, 3/7/15, 9:00 – 10:15 AM
- The Many Reasons Why “We Can’t Breathe”: Toxics, Health and Disproportionate Impacts on Communities of Color
- This panel will focus on current legal and extra-legal campaigns to address the known disproportionate impacts of toxics on communities of color. Practicing legal experts at environmental justice organizations will share their experiences working on cases, in coalition, and with community organizers fighting for sustainable communities.
- Panelists: Maya Golden-Krasner, Communities for a Better Environment, Staff Attorney; Ingrid Brostrom, Center on Race, Poverty & the Environment, Senior Attorney; Yana Garcia, Communities for a Better Environment, Staff Attorney
- Restoring Natural Conditions: The Next Phase of Legal Advocacy to Eliminate Regional Haze Pollution in National Parks and Wilderness Areas
- The Clean Air Act’s regional haze program requires states to clean up haze pollution in our most treasured public lands and provides unique opportunities to compel retrofits of coal-fired power plants and other significant sources of air pollution. This panel will provide perspective on what has been accomplished in the first generation of state implementation plans under the regional haze program and discuss legal and advocacy strategies for securing the greatest possible emissions reductions and visibility benefits during the next phase of regional haze program implementation.
- Panelists: Donna House, Botanist & Advocate for Clean Air and Energy, Oak Springs, Navajo Nation; Dr. Al Armendariz, Senior Campaign Representative, Sierra Club Beyond Coal Campaign; Janette Brimmer, Staff Attorney, Earthjustice; Stephanie Stephanie Kodish, Director & Counsel, Clean Air Program, National Parks Conservation Association
- RS 2477 Hoax Highways – a Western States Update
- In 2012 the State of Utah filed a series of lawsuits that, together, are larger than any other public lands litigation in the nation. Relying on the 1866 Mining Act, Utah claims more than 14,000 “roads” totaling roughly 36,000 miles across the state, including within National Parks and Monuments. Other western states are watching Utah’s progress. This panel will discuss Utah’s litigation, several recent key decisions, as well as practical tips in the fight to stop this state land grab.
- Panelists: Steve Bloch, Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, Legal Director; Joe Bushyhead, Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, Staff Attorney; David Garbett, Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, Staff Attorney
Panel 7: Saturday, 3/7/15, 10:30 – 11:45 AM
- Waters of the U.S. – What’s all the Fuss?
- EPA and the Corps have recently proposed a rule intended to refine the definition of “Waters of the US” under the Clean Water Act. This rule is an outgrowth of the Supreme Court’s extremely fractured 2007 decision in Rapanos v. U.S. where there was no majority opinion with how to address the jurisdictional waters issue. In developing the proposed rule EPA sought the advice and counsel of a panel of scientific experts in an effort to provide a definition that would continue to provide protection from pollution and dredging to our nation’s waters and wetlands, while also striving to conform to Justice Kennedy’s “significant nexus” approach to defining waters of the U.S. The proposed rule has drawn extreme fire from the agricultural and development communities despite the fact that agricultural interests received all they asked for and their interests will remain largely unchanged from the past. This panel will outline the content of the rule, including scientific support for it, will outline critiques of the rule and will engage in a discussion of how the rule will or will not change the landscape of Clean Water Act regulation and how the rule may fare if challenged in litigation.
- Panelists: Janette Brimmer, Earthjustice Attorney; Becky Hayat, Project Attorney, NRDC
- ESA “Take” Liability and Litigation
- This panel of litigators will discuss how to prove liability under the “take” provision in Section 9 of the Endangered Species Act, and what kind of relief may be obtained when liability is proven. They will focus on federal cases involving terrestrial species such as the red fox, marbeled murrelet and lynx, and aquatic species such as Chinook salmon and Virgin River chub.
- Panelists: Pete Frost, Attorney, Western Environmental Law Center; Tanya Sanerib, Attorney, Center for Biological Diversity; Sierra Weaver, Attorney, Southern Environmental Law Center
- Clearing the Murky Waters: Suction Dredge Mining Update
- Suction dredge mining uses machines to vacuum up gravel and sand from streams and river bottoms in search of gold. Suction dredging pollutes waterways with sediment and historic mercury, hurts a range of fish and wildlife such as endangered salmonids, and harms culturally sacred sites and recreational resources. The panel will provide a brief overview of the practice, and then discuss the current legislative and legal landscape of suction dredge mining in Oregon and California.
- Panelists: Jonathan Evans, Center for Biological Diversity, Toxics and Endangered Species Campaign Director and Staff Attorney; Forrest English, Rogue Riverkeeper, Program Director; Marla Nelson, Northwest Environmental Defense Center, Staff Attorney
- Environmental Concerns and Public Participation in Oil Spill Response Planning
- The rapid increase in the use of trains to move crude oil across North America has led to several accidents, resulting in hundreds of thousands of gallons of crude oil being spilled into waterways. These incidents have highlighted the need for comprehensive oil spill response planning, to ensure that people and the environment are protected from harm.
- The National Oil and Hazardous Substances Pollution Contingency Plan is the federal governmentâ€™s master plan for addressing oil and other hazardous substance spills in the U.S. Among its many functions, the NCP defines federal agency roles, creates Regional Response Teams, and requires the development of Area Contingency Plans, which are regional plans that establish the available spill response actions. These actions include the use of dispersants, surfactants, biological additives and bioremediation; the deflection and collection of spilled oil; in situ burning; and dredging. Each of these response activities may impact the species and habitats in the spill response area.
- The development of Area Contingency Plans is an iterative process, wherein the Environmental Protection Agency and United States Coast Guard must consider the available response measures, establish a process for responding to accidents, and provide sufficient site-specific information to allow for a rapid response that also limits the potential harm that such actions may have on the environment. The panel will discuss the pre-spill planning process, how the public can participate in that process, and the environmental concerns raised by oil spill response actions.
- Panelists: Cliff Villa, US EPA Region 10, Assistant Regional Council; Jared Margolis, Center for Biological Diversity, Staff Attorney
- “Celebrating” A Decade of REAL ID Act – Lawless in the Borderlands
- 2015 marks the 10th anniversary of the REAL ID Act, the largest waiver of environmental laws in U.S. history that has resulted in the destruction of ecologically important public lands. Which laws have been waived under the REAL ID Act and subsequent regulations? Learn about relevant case law and the expansion of this waiver to other parts of the country. Brainstorm ideas on how to bring back the laws and change the direction borderlands conservation law is headed.
- Panelists: Cyndi Tuell, Sierra Club volunteer; Dan Millis, Sierra Club Borderlands Organizer; Dinah Bear, Attorney; Randy Serraglio, Center for Biological Diversity, Southwest Conservation Advocate
- Environmental Justice and the Clean Power Plan
- EPA’s Clean Power Plan seeks to reduce carbon emissions and gives states considerable flexibility in how they will achieve EPA’s performance standards for existing power plants. This panel will discuss the Clean Power Plan from a community and environmental justice perspective including legal and policy issues connected to the Plan. Issues implicated under the Clean Air Act and the Civil Rights Act will also be examined.
- Panelists: Brent Newell, Legal Director, Center on Race, Poverty & the Environment; Jalonne L. White-Newsome, Ph.D., Director of Federal Policy, WE ACT for Environmental Justice; Nicky Sheats, Esq., Ph.D., Director, Center for the Urban Environment of the John S. Watson Institute for Public Policy at Thomas Edison State College and member of the New Jersey Environmental Justice Alliance
Panel 8: Saturday, 3/7/15, 2:15 – 3:30 PM
- MS4 Permits and Residual Designation Authority (RDA) Petitions: Strategies for Tackling Urban Stormwater Pollution
- Polluted stormwater runoff is one of the most problematic water quality concerns nationwide. As our nation’s population centers continue to grow there is an corresponding need to ensure we possess and implement strong, proven legal mechanisms that prevent harmful pollutants from being washed or dumped into NPDES-regulated MS4s, and discharged to local waterways. However, much of the stormwater discharged through MS4s – and much additional urban runoff discharged in rapidly developing areas beyond the boundaries of MS4s – comes from private property that is not currently subject to NPDES permitting. This panel will provide an overview of the MS4 program and recent litigation illuminating MS4 monitoring requirements, effluent limitations, the MEP standard, and the nexus between MS4 permits and TMDL receiving waters. It will also explore advocate’s recent experience seeking to invoke a relatively little-used provision of the Clean Water Act, called “Residual Designation Authority,” which authorizes EPA and states, on petition from citizens, to designate for regulation sources of stormwater that are not currently subject to NPDES permitting.
- Panelists: Drevet Hunt, Partner, Lawyers for Clean Water; Becky Hayat, Staff Attorney, NRDC; Guy Alsentzer, Executive Director, Upper Missouri Waterkeeper
- Clean Air Act: Year in Review
- This panel will review the significant Clean Air Act judicial decisions of 2014 and discuss why they matter. We will also look ahead to preview the major cases and agency actions on the horizon in 2015.
- Panelists: Paul Cort, Earthjustice, Staff Attorney; David Bender, McGillivray Westerberg & Bender LLC, Attorney; Adriano Martinez, Earthjustice, Staff Attorney
- Dodging their Duty: The Many Ways FWS Tries to Avoid Protecting Species
- Increasingly, political opposition to Endangered Species Act listings has resulted in U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service taking actions preventing imperiled species from getting needed protection. FWS recently established new policies that curtail which species qualify for listing, withdrawn listing rules with the release of voluntary conservation agreements that facilitate energy extraction, and listed species as threatened when they are indeed endangered to exempt industrial activity. Panelists will discuss how these actions have affected specific species and what they are doing about it.
- Panelists: Lori Ann Burd, Center for Biological Diversity, Environmental Health Director; Jason Rylander, Senior Staff Attorney, Defenders of Wildlife; Tanya Sanerib, Center for Biological Diversity, Senior Attorney; Noah Greenwald, Center for Biological Diversity, Endangered Species Program Director
- Harnessing the Public Trust Doctrine to Protect Wildlife
- The focus of this panel is to identify and analyze existing environmental laws and principles and apply them to the field of wildlife law to promote a more ecosystem-based, precautionary approach to conservation and wildlife protection. How can the public trust doctrine be applied to better protect all wildlife and promote biodiversity before the eleventh hour, particularly for apex predators that impact ecosystem health? Case studies in Idaho, North Carolina, and elsewhere will be utilized, including recent efforts to protect species in danger of imminent extinction due to their similar appearance to animals considered to be a “nuisance.”
- Panelists: Tara Zuardo, Wildlife Attorney, Animal Welfare Institute; Daniel J. Rohlf, Professor of Law, Of Counsel, Earthrise Law Center, Lewis & Clark Law School; Amy Atwood, Endangered Species Legal Director, Senior Attorney, Center for Biological Diversity; Aurora Paulsen, Staff Attorney, Center for Food Safety
- Pitfalls and Opportunities of the 2012 National Forest Management Act Planning Rule
- The panelists, all of whom are on the Federal Advisory Committee overseeing implementation of the 2012 Rule, and involved in place-based revision under the Rule, will discuss their views on early implementation of the Forest Service’s new Planning Rule. The panelists will discuss some of the problematic issues faced by the Early Adopter national forests that are already undergoing forest plan revision, as well as some of the opportunities for the conservation community presented by the Planning Rule. The panelists will also share their experiences as Federal Advisory Committee members, as well as provide an update on litigation brought by the extractive industries that challenges the 2012 Planning Rule.
- Panelists: Susan Jane Brown, Staff Attorney, Western Environmental Law Center; Mike Anderson, The Wilderness Society; Andy Erickson, Alaska Representative, Defenders of Wildlife;
Panel 9: Saturday, 3/7/15, 3:45 – 5:00 PM
- CWA Permitting & Impaired Waterways
- The 40+ years of the CWA has demonstrated that point source pollution can be effectively controlled, if not yet eliminated, by use of the NPDES program. Yet in the face of increased permit enforcement and improved permits, waterways nationwide continue to decline, and impairment designations increase apace. This panel will discuss cutting-edge CWA enforcement actions, the relationship between strong permits – and the possibility of no permits – for impaired waterways, and the final frontier of TMDL enforcement actions.
- Panelists: Jack Tuholske, Professor of Law, Director – Water & Justice Program, Vermont Law School; Zak Griefen, Environmental Enforcement Litigator, Conservation Law Foundation; Guy Alsentzer, Executive Director, Upper Missouri Waterkeeper
- HuRAH (Human Rights at Home)!: Community and Legal Strategies for Using International Human Rights Treaties in Environmental Advocacy
- Environmental activists and legal practitioners have traditionally overlooked international human rights treaties as a tool for advancing environmental interests. The HuRAH panel will introduce advocates to basic human rights treaties, processes and bodies that implicate environmental interests, including the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the Universal Periodic Review. The panel will also discuss how advocates can use these mechanisms to challenge polluting projects and protect their communities.
- Panelists: Joshua Cooper, Director, Hawai’i Institute for Human Rights; May Nguyen, Director, Public Interest Law and Advocacy of Coastal Louisiana (PILAR)
- The Most Ambitious Environmental Lawsuit Ever
- Oil, gas and pipeline companies that cut at least 10,000 miles of oil and gas canals and pipelines through Louisiana coastal lands must repair the damaged environmental buffer zone that helps protect most of the greater New Orleans region from catastrophic flooding, a lawsuit filed by the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority East (SLFPA-E) asserted. The lawsuit alleges that approximately 100 defendants compromised the integrity of Louisiana’s coastal lands with activities tied to hundreds of wells and pipelines, heightening risks of hurricanes, storm surge and flooding in the region.
- Panelists: Jonathan Henderson, Gulf Restoration Network, Coastal Resiliency Organizer; Bessie Antin Daschbach, Jones, Swanson, Huddell & Garrison, L.L.C.; Kevin E. Huddell, member of Jones, Swanson, Huddell & Garrison, L.L.C.
- Can the Law Save America’s Wild Horses?
- Climate change is taking its toll on western public lands. More than 15 years of drought has devastated habitat from California to Wyoming. While many species in the west are impacted, little attention has been given to wild horses. Drought has placed America’s dwindling wild horse population (less that 40,000) in direct competition with the hundreds of thousands of cattle and sheep seeking to graze on public grasslands. The result has been proposals to round up and remove many, if not all, of the remaining herds. This panel will examine the scientific, legal and political implication of protecting wild horses in America.
- Panelists: Nicole Rivard, Friends of Animals, Correspondent; Anne Novack, Protect Mustangs, Founder; Craig Downer, Independent Research and Scientist; Jenni Barnes, Friends of Animals, Associate Attorney
- Using the Common Law to Protect Trails as Public Assets
- This panel will discuss a 2014 jury trial defending and protecting an ancient Hawaiian trail as a public asset—the Haleakala Trail on Maui. This trail was in use in the 1800s but had almost been forgotten in recent decades. Panelists will discuss legal and political obstacles, as well as pertinent legal theories, such as implied dedication, public trust and custom. Participants will take away tested court techniques for cases involving historic public assets.
- Panelists: Tom Pierce, Tom Pierce, Attorney at Law, LLLC, Attorney; Peter Martin, Tom Pierce, Attorney at Law, LLLC, Attorney
Panel 10: Sunday, 3/8/15, 9:00 – 10:15 AM
- The Northwest Forest Plan Under Attack
- The historic Northwest Forest Plan of 1994 set policy for the management of 24 million acres of public forest lands. Since then, the plan has been under attack by the timber industry and anti-environmental politicians. This panel will give some background on the Plan, efforts to weaken it over time, and why it remains important. It will address current legislative and policy threats, and the impacts such threats could have on endangered species, climate, and more.
- Panelists: Susan Jane Brown, Western Environmental Law Center, Attorney and Wildlands & Wildlife Program Director; Doug Heiken, Oregon Wild, Conservation & Restoration Coordinator; Chandra LeGue, Oregon Wild, Western Oregon Field Coordinator; Steve Holmer, American Bird Conservancy, Senior Policy Advisor
- Plastics: Changing the Rules
- Plastic has, by and large, not been viewed as a pollutant. This panel will focus on legislative and regulatory solutions that seek to change that paradigm to combat the quickly expanding plastic pollution that now reaches even the most remote corners of the globe. Panelists have worked all angles to address this problem, including drafting new legislation, changing regulatory language and interpretation of current law, and pushing changes in corporate policy and the development of independent standards. Panelists agree, however, that existing tools are insufficient, so the panel will also discuss the way forward: what changes to law, policy, and public perspective are needed to get on top of the growing plastic pile?
- Panelists: Emily Jeffers, Center for Biological Diversity, Staff Attorney; Jason Totoiu, Executive Director Everglades Law Center; Leila Monroe, Clear Resource Law; Rachel Doughty, Attorney and Founder Greenfire Law
Panel 11: Sunday, 3/8/15, 10:30 – 11:45 AM
- Oregonians Shut the Door on the Coal Industry
- Oregonians have shut down all three attempts to export dirty coal from our ports. In August 2014, the Oregon Department of State Lands denied a Removal – Fill permit for Australian coal company Ambre Energy. The agency denied the permit based on overwhelming public opposition as well as a “small but important long-standing fishery at the project site.” Hear how of these elements came together to protect salmon, clean water and our communities and what is next for coal export in the Pacific Northwest.
- Panelists: Chris Winter, Crag Law Center, Co-Executive Director; Julie Carter, Columbia River Inter Tribal Fish Commission (CRITFC), Policy Analyst; Jasmine Zimmer-Stucky, Columbia Riverkeeper, Community Organizer