Cuba Delegation Part 1: Havana Calling – The College’s New Initiative for Pro Bono Work in Cuba

Posted on October 5, 2016 by James Bruen

On September 10, 2016,  a delegation from the College returned from four days of informal meetings in Havana. These meetings laid the groundwork for further discussions with Cuban environmental organizations and environmental governmental agencies about the potential for pro bono projects in Cuba. This self-funded trip was the result of almost two years of research, U.S. governmental interactions, and planning. The delegation – including David Farer, Mary Ellen Ternes, Eileen Millett and me – found the island enchanting, its people charming, and its environment in need of help. With this blog, we begin a series of reports conveying our optimism and enthusiasm about a path towards College fellows being able to engage in potential environmental projects in Cuba.

On December 17, 2014, President Obama announced that he was rejecting the country’s Cold War-era policy towards Cuba in order to chart a new course with that country. In early January 2015, College President Pam Giblin and her fellow officers approved the initiation of the Education and Pro Bono Committee’s informal investigation and research into whether it was legal and practical to consider approaching Cuban environmental organizations and governmental agencies (potential “Sponsors”) with offers of pro bono environmental assistance. Within a year, the initial solo effort morphed into the Cuba Working Group. Throughout the ensuing year, Allan Gates, David Farer, Dennis Krumholz, Bob Whetzel, Linda Bullen, Seth Jaffe, Bob Percival, Mary Ellen Ternes, Eileen Millett, yours truly, and many others walked the College step-by-step through contacting various federal agencies for permission to approach organizations and agencies in Cuba. After filing a complex application, we successfully obtained an Office of Foreign Assets Control File Number. Throughout this trek, U.S. government regulations and practices continued to be a moving target, but they became more relaxed by the month.  

After patient persistence, the College delegation was able to embark on the September 2016 trip planned by Eileen Millett and her nominated travel company, Cuban Cultural Travel. Eileen and CCT did a marvelous job. The delegation took a 45-minute air shuttle and arrived in Havana on Tuesday, September 6. We were briefed by the legal affairs officer at the U.S. Embassy. We proceeded with informal meetings with the editor of TEMA, a Cuban cultural affairs journal; with a Cuban foreign participation/investment expert; with a Cuban health care expert; with a Cuban environmental NGO (Foundacion Antonio Nunez Jiminez de la Naturaleza y Hombre); and with individuals directly and indirectly connected to the Ministerio de Ciencia, Tecnologia y Medio Ambiente (CITMA), the Cuban ministry focused on the environment. We might have listened to some Cuban music, seen some Cuban dancing and sipped some Cuban rum along the way, but – believe me – we were “all business.” The meetings with our Cuban contacts generally opened with cautious curiosity, but they concluded with expressions that ranged from mild interest to enthusiastic support. The delegation is cautiously optimistic that these initial discussions and further exchanges of information will lead to a Memorandum of Understanding and subsequent projects throughout the island.

Within the week, the College will send formal expressions of interest to 7 individuals who are either connected to the environmental NGO or CITMA. We will include a draft MOU which could be approved by both the Cuban Sponsor and the College’s Executive Committee. Attached are links to exemplars of the letter and MOU.  

If an MOU is mutually executed, we will promptly ask the Cuban Sponsor to provide the College with a list of potential environmental projects in Cuba. We will circulate the list to all Fellows in the College. We will ask that interested Fellows submit their current curricula vitae to me as Chair of the Cuba Working Group of the Education and Pro Bono Committee. I will send them on to the Cuban Sponsor. The Cuban Sponsor will select the Fellow or Fellows it wishes to work with. The Cuba Working Group will place the Sponsor in touch with the selected Fellow(s). The ensuing engagement will be between the individual selected Fellow(s) and the Sponsor. The College will not be a party because it does not practice law.

The MOU will provide that generally all work done by College Fellows will be done free of charge. But, if the Sponsor requests or approves travel to Cuba, the Sponsor will pay coach round trip air fare and all reasonable out-of-pocket travel expenses.

You will see in subsequent blog posts from David, Mary Ellen, and Eileen, that our delegates had the time of their lives in Havana. The establishment and execution of international pro bono work is one of the great benefits of Fellowship in the American College of Environmental Lawyers. Whether you are interested in China, Haiti, Eastern and Southern Africa or Cuba, please let us know and send us your expressions of interest when we post our Sponsors’ lists of projects. I can assure you that Eileen, Mary Ellen, David, and I can hardly wait for our next assignment. 

Havana Calling: The College’s New Initiative for Pro Bono Work in Cuba

Posted on September 28, 2016 by James Bruen

On September 10, 2016,  a delegation from the College returned from four days of informal meetings in Havana. These meetings laid the groundwork for further discussions with Cuban environmental organizations and environmental governmental agencies about the potential for pro bono projects in Cuba. This self-funded trip was the result of almost two years of research, U.S. governmental interactions, and planning. The delegation – including David Farer, Mary Ellen Ternes, Eileen Millett and me – found the island enchanting, its people charming, and its environment in need of help. With this blog, we begin a series of reports conveying our optimism and enthusiasm about a path towards College fellows being able to engage in potential environmental projects in Cuba.

On December 17, 2014, President Obama announced that he was rejecting the country’s Cold War-era policy towards Cuba in order to chart a new course with that country. In early January 2015, College President Pam Giblin and her fellow officers approved the initiation of the Education and Pro Bono Committee’s informal investigation and research into whether it was legal and practical to consider approaching Cuban environmental organizations and governmental agencies (potential “Sponsors”) with offers of pro bono environmental assistance. Within a year, the initial solo effort morphed into the Cuba Working Group. Throughout the ensuing year, Allan Gates, David Farer, Dennis Krumholz, Bob Whetzel, Linda Bullen, Seth Jaffe, Bob Percival, Mary Ellen Ternes, Eileen Millett, yours truly, and many others walked the College step-by-step through contacting various federal agencies for permission to approach organizations and agencies in Cuba. After filing a complex application, we successfully obtained an Office of Foreign Assets Control File Number. Throughout this trek, U.S. government regulations and practices continued to be a moving target, but they became more relaxed by the month.  

After patient persistence, the College delegation was able to embark on the September 2016 trip planned by Eileen Millett and her nominated travel company, Cuban Cultural Travel. Eileen and CCT did a marvelous job. The delegation took a 45-minute air shuttle and arrived in Havana on Tuesday, September 6. We were briefed by the legal affairs officer at the U.S. Embassy. We proceeded with informal meetings with the editor of TEMA, a Cuban cultural affairs journal; with a Cuban foreign participation/investment expert; with a Cuban health care expert; with a Cuban environmental NGO (Foundacion Antonio Nunez Jiminez de la Naturaleza y Hombre); and with individuals directly and indirectly connected to the Ministerio de Ciencia, Tecnologia y Medio Ambiente (CITMA), the Cuban ministry focused on the environment. We might have listened to some Cuban music, seen some Cuban dancing and sipped some Cuban rum along the way, but – believe me – we were “all business.” The meetings with our Cuban contacts generally opened with cautious curiosity, but they concluded with expressions that ranged from mild interest to enthusiastic support. The delegation is cautiously optimistic that these initial discussions and further exchanges of information will lead to a Memorandum of Understanding and subsequent projects throughout the island.

Within the week, the College will send formal expressions of interest to 7 individuals who are either connected to the environmental NGO or CITMA. We will include a draft MOU which could be approved by both the Cuban Sponsor and the College’s Executive Committee. Attached are links to exemplars of the letter and MOU.  

If an MOU is mutually executed, we will promptly ask the Cuban Sponsor to provide the College with a list of potential environmental projects in Cuba. We will circulate the list to all Fellows in the College. We will ask that interested Fellows submit their current curricula vitae to me as Chair of the Cuba Working Group of the Education and Pro Bono Committee. I will send them on to the Cuban Sponsor. The Cuban Sponsor will select the Fellow or Fellows it wishes to work with. The Cuba Working Group will place the Sponsor in touch with the selected Fellow(s). The ensuing engagement will be between the individual selected Fellow(s) and the Sponsor. The College will not be a party because it does not practice law.

The MOU will provide that generally all work done by College Fellows will be done free of charge. But, if the Sponsor requests or approves travel to Cuba, the Sponsor will pay coach round trip air fare and all reasonable out-of-pocket travel expenses.

You will see in subsequent blog posts from David, Mary Ellen, and Eileen, that our delegates had the time of their lives in Havana. The establishment and execution of international pro bono work is one of the great benefits of Fellowship in the American College of Environmental Lawyers. Whether you are interested in China, Haiti, Eastern and Southern Africa or Cuba, please let us know and send us your expressions of interest when we post our Sponsors’ lists of projects. I can assure you that Eileen, Mary Ellen, David, and I can hardly wait for our next assignment. 

Highlights of the Upcoming ACOEL Annual Meeting - NYC

Posted on September 8, 2015 by David B. Farer

On October 15-17, 2015, the Fellows of the American College of Environmental Lawyers will be gathering in New York City for our 2015 annual meeting.

Registration for the annual event has been strong.  Those Fellows who plan to attend, but who have not yet registered, are urged to do so now as deadlines are imminent, particularly for the room block and for the tour described below.

Some of the highlights of this year's meeting are:

  • Thursday afternoon, October 15:  World Trade Center lecture tour and visit to the 9/11 Memorial:  An on-site lecture/tour of the rebuilding of the World Trade Center, emphasizing the environmental aspects of the rebuilding process, followed by a visit to the 9/11 Memorial.  (Registration for this event closes the week of September 7.)
  • Thursday evening:  Welcome Cocktail Reception at the New York Athletic Club, followed by the College's customary dine-arounds.
  •  Friday, October 16:  A full day of business and committee meetings and education sessions at the New York Athletic Club, including:

o   Keynote speech by Jody Freeman of Harvard Law School:  The Obama Administration's Clean Power Plan:  Is it Legal?

o   Crude by Rail: Staying Nimble in Times of Unprecedented Change, presented by Eileen D. Millett (Epstein Becker & Green), James A. Bruen (Farella Braun + Martel), Edward F. McTiernan (New York State DEC) and E. Gail Suchman (Stroock & Stroock & Levan)

o   Big City, Big Environmental Challenges, Big Opportunities, presented by Eric A. Goldstein (NRDC), Daniel Riesel (Sive, Paget & Riesel)  and Nilda Mesa (NYC Mayor's Office of Sustainability)

  •  Friday evening:  Dinner reception at the Lincoln Ristorante, located at Lincoln Center of the Performing Arts, by the Henry Moore Sculpture Pond between the Metropolitan Opera House and Avery Fisher Hall.
  • Saturday morning, Oct. 17:  A half-day of education sessions:

o    Sediment Cleanups: Stuck in the Mud?, presented by John Connolly (Anchor QEA), William H. Hyatt, Jr. (K&L Gates) and Walter Mugdan (U.S. EPA Region 2)

o    Leading Cases and Other Highlights of the Past Year, presented by John Cruden (U.S. Department of Justice) and Robert Percival (Univ. of Maryland School of Law)

  •  Saturday evening:  Jazz Dinner Dance at the Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance, located at the historic Westbeth Artists Community in West Greenwich Village, featuring the Manhattan School of Music Jazz Orchestra.

__________

Further details for ACOEL Fellows are available on the ACOEL website.  Here's to seeing many of the Fellows in New York City!

The ACOEL “China Project” - Speaking Opportunity in Xian, China

Posted on July 30, 2015 by James Bruen

The College’s International Pro Bono “China Project” reports a very interesting speaking opportunity in Xian, China.

            1.         Speaking at the All China Lawyers’ Association Annual Training Conference

            This speaking opportunity will be for one Fellow to address the All-China Lawyers Association’s annual training session. ACLA is the official professional association for lawyers (the rough equivalent of the American Bar Association) of the People's Republic of China. It was founded in July 1986. All lawyers of China are members of ACLA. 

            ACLA Director Zhou Saijun reports that the national lawyer training has been scheduled on October 17 and 18, in Xian. These dates conflict with the ACOEL annual meeting in New York, but we have no ability to change the date. On the other hand, we have spoken with officers of the ACOEL and they agree that the opportunity is for just one Fellow, so overall attendance at the annual meeting will not be materially affected.  The involved Fellow would accept this opportunity with the College’s full endorsement.

ACLA Director Saijun will forward the detailed agenda for the ACLA conference when the eventually complete it. But, as usual, they hope that the

“…. ACOEL speaker could introduce general US attorney system, environmental law and regulations, as well as how lawyer can play important role in the field of environment, energy and resource law. The topics for this annual training focus on lawyer’s role on oversea investment (relevant to Chinese international development strategy called one road one belt ), on enforcement of environmental law and how lawyer can serve PPP, etc.”.

As usual, we will ask ACLA/NRDC to confirm that they will reimburse the speaker for round trip coach airfare and other reasonable travel expenses. We imagine that the speaker may wish to extend his/her trip a day or more to see Xian’s famous terracotta warriors.

2.        To Be Considered for the Opportunity

If you wish to be considered for this opportunity, please promptly send Jim Bruen (jbruen@fbm.com) a copy of your current curriculum vita. Jim will also answer any questions. He will send all vitae received on or before 5:00 pm PST August 12  to ACLA/NRDC so that they may promptly select the Fellow who they feel best meets their needs as speaker. The selected Fellow will then contact Wu Qi and Grace Gao of NRDC/Beijing to coordinate travel and other arrangements.

Don’t miss this fascinating opportunity. 

Report from the ACOEL International Pro Bono Program

Posted on July 1, 2015 by James Bruen

            There are exciting developments in the College’s pro bono projects for Cuba, China and East Africa. This is our updated report.

            1.         Cuba

            With permission of the Executive Committee, the College has applied for a license to work in Cuba from the United States Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”). OFAC has replied by assigning the College a case number (an important development since we now have access to a Treasury Department case officer to help us) and noting that the College’s potential activities might (or might not) qualify for one of the 12 exceptions to the requirement for an OFAC license. We can either take our chances by proceeding with work and keeping careful records of our activities while awaiting a potential audit or apply for a specific opinion or license for a specifically described project. The pro bono program will work further with the Executive Committee to determine the nature and timing of our potential work in Cuba, but we regard this as a very promising path forward for the program.

            2.         China

            Notwithstanding the May 26 press coverage of the proposed new Chinese legislation declaring that Western non-profits are no longer welcome in China (describing them as “potential enemies of the state”[1]), our program continues to go forward with opportunities to work there. Zhou Saijun, the Director of Environment and Energy Committee under All China Lawyers Association has confirmed that ACLA will continue to cooperate with ACOEL and NRDC for its annual lawyer training. This event will take place in Xian in September 2015. There will be an opportunity for a College Fellow to speak at the training session. We will know shortly the proposed date and topic for the speech. As usual, we will ask those interested to submit their curricula vitae to me for transmission to the ACLA. They will select the Fellow they feel is most suited to their needs.

            Xian, as you may well know, is the site of the famous, and once-buried, terracotta warriors and their terracotta horses. It should be on everyone’s bucket list.

            3.         East Africa

            Coordinating the legal and political clients for work in East Africa has been challenging. But within the month, I hope to circulate a survey to solicit expressions of interest for work on  East African environmental issues. I will do what I can to get our African contacts to pick up the pace.

            In the interim, please call me at 415.954.4430 if you desire further information.

 


[1] See May 26, 2015 Wall Street Journal article by Andrew Browne which states in part, ”There have always been challenges in dispensing humanitarian services across such a vast country—everything from HIV/AIDS awareness campaigns to environmental cleanups and care for orphans. Regulations are so onerous that it is virtually impossible for many civic groups to operate legally. Still, thousands persist, often counting on sympathetic local police and officials to turn a blind eye to infractions. But that kind of indulgence may soon be ending. A Chinese draft law treats the entire sector of foreign nonprofits as potential enemies of the state, placing them under the management of the Ministry of Public Security. ***”

ACOEL MEMBERS CONTINUE THE DISCUSSION OF WATERS OF THE US

Posted on January 30, 2015 by David Flannery

          Members of the ACOEL Team that co-authored the earlier white paper on Waters of the US have taken the discussion further by presenting a one-hour audio program which both highlights and updates this important issue. 

          In this discussion, ACOEL members Rick Glick, Michael Wall and Karen Crawford review the judicial and regulatory history of Waters of the US as well as the proposed rule that is being advanced by USEPA and the Corps of Engineers.  In addition, these panelists offer their unique insight into the science report in support of the rule as well as the likelihood of the rule being changed in its final adaption by the agencies or upon review by the US Supreme Court. 

          ACOEL originally undertook its review of this issue at the request of the Environmental Council of States and as part of its commitment to pro bono service.  The white paper on the issue is available at:  http://goo.gl/fneJVD 

          The audio discussion by the ACOEL panel can be found at:  http://goo.gl/uv4nJi.

WATERS OF THE U. S. PAPER RELEASED BY ECOS

Posted on September 17, 2014 by Blogmaster

On Monday, the Environmental Council of the States (ECOS)  publicly announced a memorandum prepared by ACOEL members concerning  a controversial rule proposed by EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers to clarify jurisdiction over “waters of the United States.” In May 2013, ACOEL entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with ECOS to facilitate a relationship pursuant to which members of ACOEL will provide assistance on issues of interest to ECOS. 

Since the Supreme Court decision in Rapanos v. United States, there has been significant discussion regarding the scope of Clean Water Act jurisdiction.  In order to facilitate its members’ ability to comment on the proposed rule, ECOS requested that ACOEL members provide an objective analysis of how Rapanos has been interpreted to date and how the proposed rule might modify existing understanding of the term, if at all.  A diverse group of ACOEL members from academia, private law firms, and public interest groups volunteered and produced the attached comprehensive memorandum, which was made publicly available today by ECOS. 

In announcing the memorandum, Dick Pedersen, the President of ECOS and Director of the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, thanked the members of ACOEL for their significant time and effort in preparing the “very informative” memorandum, and added that ECOS looks forward to working with ACOEL in the future.  ACOEL hopes that this memorandum will serve as a valuable resource in connection with EPA’s anticipated rulemaking efforts in this area. 

This is the second white paper produced by ACOEL members to aid ECOS members in assessing important federal environmental policy initiatives.  The first concerned implementation of section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act.

ALI To Consider Environmental Law Projects

Posted on October 11, 2012 by Ridgway Hall

For the first time in its long history, the American Law Institute will consider two projects involving environmental law: 1) the law regarding environmental impact assessments, and 2) principles of environmental enforcement and remedies.  In each case, if the proposal is approved, the relevant federal, state and local law would be reviewed exhaustively by a working group with environmental experience. Their product would then be reviewed by the full ALI membership, probably resulting in a report of some sort.

Most of us know ALI as the author of the Restatements of the Law in such fields as torts, contracts, property, trusts, etc. The Restatements typically report with great thoroughness on the relevant case law and statutes, with the goal of setting forth a highly accurate statement of the law, including variations among jurisdictions, and sometimes indicating where clarification would be helpful.  The result is a consensus-based formulation of the law of the land, widely relied on by practitioners, teachers, courts and others.  Harvard Law Professor Clark Byse has  referred to it as “The law of Restatemania.”

Because the field of environmental law is relatively new and largely dominated by federal statutes, it has been widely thought until now that there is little need for a “Restatement of Environmental Law” or even a significant part of it.  A few previous ALI projects have touched on environmental law issues.  For example, the Restatement of Torts addresses nuisance, negligence, trespass and strict liability for highly hazardous activities, all of which can arise in an environmental context.  ALI’s  1991 “Reporters’ Study on Enterprise Responsibility for Personal Injury” addressed some aspects of toxic tort liability, including joint and severable liability.

The current effort is the result of the deliberations of some 47 ALI members who practice or teach environmental law, who concluded that there are a number of areas in environmental law where there is substantial confusion which could benefit from the type of thoughtful analysis and reporting for which ALI is well known.  After screening over 30 possible projects, the group is recommending the two described at the outset.

The Enforcement Law project would survey both civil and criminal law.  It would discuss how environmental liability arises, who can be liable, who can seek enforcement, and what remedies are appropriate. It would discuss areas of overlapping federal and state jurisdiction, and consider both statutes and common law.

The Environmental Impact Assessment project would discuss the triggering and nature of an obligation to assess potential environmental impact (including federal, state and local NEPAs), the scope of the inquiry and the methods.

This effort is being led by a 5 person steering committee chaired by Professor Tracy Hester, Director of the Environment, Energy and Natural Resources Center of the University of Houston Law Center.  He can be reached at tdheste2@central.uh.edu for further information. The other committee members are Dean Irma Russell and Professors Robert Percival, Victor Flatt and Joel Mintz.  Given the ALI’s clout in the legal profession, this initiative should be of considerable interest to ACOEL members.

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.

John C. Cruden Named President of Environmental Law Institute

Posted on June 22, 2011 by Rachael Bunday

 

Respected DOJ Attorney Will Focus on Building Consensus,

Preserving the Rule of Law

 

 

The Board of Directors of the Environmental Law Institute (ELI) announced on June 13th, that John C. Cruden has been selected as the organization’s fourth President. Mr. Cruden will join ELI from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), where he serves as the Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the Environment and Natural Resources Division. 

 

In his tenure at DOJ, Mr. Cruden helped shape comprehensive solutions to some of our nation’s most complex and controversial environmental disasters including Love Canal, Exxon Valdez and, most recently, Deepwater Horizon. Known for his negotiating and problem-solving skills as well as his expertise in the courtroom, Mr. Cruden has earned broad respect for his ability to work with diverse parties and his focus on preserving what works best in our nation’s laws.

 

ELI Board Chairman William Eichbaum, Vice President of Marine and Arctic Policy for the World Wildlife Fund, praised Mr. Cruden for his leadership, integrity and ability to build consensus around highly charged issues.

 

“The increasingly contentious and partisan conversations about the environment undermine the effective application of law and environmental policies, and, with them, decades of environmental progress,” said Eichbaum. “John has been enormously effective at changing that dynamic. He has an unmatched track record of bringing people together and creating real, meaningful solutions to today’s toughest environmental challenges. He has the deep respect and admiration of environmentalists, corporate CEOs, the legal community, and policymakers, and he brings that proven experience and intense commitment to ELI. Together, we will redouble our efforts to make sure the law works for the environment.”  

 

“The nation and the world are at an important crossroads,” said Cruden. “For 40 years, the U.S. has been among the world leaders in developing a legal framework to control pollution and manage our natural resources. Republican and Democratic presidents passed historic laws with broad bi-partisan support from Congress that benefit our nation, our people and our economy.  That legacy—the essential framework of an efficient system of governance and level playing field grounded in the rule of law, sound science and public participation—is in jeopardy. 

ELI plays a critical role promoting sound law and policy solutions to tough environmental problems. I am truly honored to join this extraordinary organization, and I look forward to doing great things together.”

 

At the Department of Justice, Mr. Cruden has been in senior leadership positions for over two decades, leading the Department in environmental civil litigation. Before joining the Department, he held a number of important positions including Chief Legislative Counsel of the Army, General Counsel of the Defense Nuclear Agency, and a Staff Judge Advocate in Europe. Mr. Cruden has also served as the President of the District of Columbia Bar – the first government attorney to be elected to and serve in that position – and is currently the Immediate Past Chairman of the ABA Section of Environment, Energy and Resources and a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation. A graduate of West Point, he served in airborne, ranger and special forces units in Germany and Vietnam before attending Santa Clara Law School. Mr. Cruden is also a swim coach for the Special Olympics and a past recipient of Fairfax County’s Volunteer of the Year award for his work with mentally handicapped children. 

 

ELI's third president, Leslie Carothers, is retiring after eight years of service.  She will be a scholar-in-residence and teach a research seminar at Pace University Law School in the 2011-2012 academic year.  Pace offers one of the nation's leading environmental law programs as part of its curriculum.  “ELI is profoundly grateful for Leslie’s leadership and stewardship,” said Eichbaum. “The next generation of environmental lawyers coming out of Pace will benefit enormously from her insights and practical experiences.”

 

For more information on ELI and John Cruden, please click here

 

You may also view a video of John discussing his new role as ELI President by clicking here.

 

 

 

ELI fosters innovative, just, and practical law and policy solutions to enable leaders across borders and sectors to make environmental, economic, and social progress. ELI delivers timely, insightful, impartial analysis to opinionmakers, including government officials, environmental and business leaders, and journalists. ELI is a clearinghouse and a town hall, providing common ground for debate on important environmental issues.

 

For more information, please contact Brett Kitchen at kitchen@eli.org.

 

Environmental Law Institute

2000 L St. NW Suite 620

Washington, DC 20036

www.eli.org

Pace Law School Seeking Assistant Dean of Environmental Programs and Professor of Law

Posted on March 30, 2011 by Rachael Bunday

Pace Law School in White Plains, NY is seeking an Assistant Dean of Environmental Programs and Professor of Law for Designated Project or Service (Assistant Dean) for its Center for Environmental Legal Studies (CELS). Please see the job listing.

Winner of the Stephen E. Herrmann Environmental Writing Award for 2010

Posted on October 25, 2010 by Rachael Bunday

The American College of Environmental Lawyers announces the Stephen E. Herrmann Environmental Writing Award for 2010. The winner is Kate R. Bowers for her Note, Saying What the Law Isn't: Legislative Delegations of Waiver Authority in Environmental Laws, 34 Harv. Envtl. L. Rev. 257 (2010).  You may view her article here.

Climate Change Policy

Posted on October 18, 2010 by Rachael Bunday

The American College of Environmental Lawyers has adopted the following policy statement on Climate Change. The statement reflects the collective position of the College and not of any individual member.

 

BE IT RESOLVED, that the American College of Environmental Lawyers urges the Congress of the United States to enact legislation to address climate change without delay;

 

AND, BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the American College of Environmental Lawyers urges that the United States actively promote international action to address climate change.

Climate Change Policy

Posted on October 18, 2010 by Rachael Bunday

The American College of Environmental Lawyers has adopted the following policy statement on Climate Change. The statement reflects the collective position of the College and not of any individual member.

 

BE IT RESOLVED, that the American College of Environmental Lawyers urges the Congress of the United States to enact legislation to address climate change without delay;

 

AND, BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the American College of Environmental Lawyers urges that the United States actively promote international action to address climate change.

ACOEL MEMBER RICHARD LAZARUS NAMED STAFF DIRECTOR FOR OIL SPILL COMMISSION

Posted on June 23, 2010 by Rachael Bunday

ACOEL member Richard Lazarus has been appointed as staff director for the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, the commission announced Tuesday.

Lazarus, a Harvard University Law School graduate and current professor of environmental law at Georgetown University, will be tasked with coordinating the investigation that will determine what new regulations deepwater drilling will face after the Obama administration’s moratorium on the activity is lifted.

Current ACOEL president Jeff Thaler, a partner at Bernstein Shur, in Portland, Maine, applauded the commission’s choice.

“The Commission made a wise choice in selecting Richard Lazarus as staff director,” said Thaler.  “Prof. Lazarus is a superb environmental lawyer and legal scholar with broad experience inside and outside of government.  The College is proud to have him as a member.”

ACOEL Member Awarded First Columbia University Climate Change Chair

Posted on December 14, 2009 by Rachael Bunday

LAW: Climate change, a 'popular' area of law, gets its first endowed professor (12/14/2009)

Annie Jia, E&E reporter

Columbia University has established what it says is the world's first endowed professorship in climate change law.

The endowment will be a permanent source of funding for the director of the university's Center for Climate Change Law, which was founded in January. But it also secures a faculty position in a field that, though relatively young, is growing rapidly as climate change becomes an increasingly visible issue and is poised soon to come under complex federal legislation.

"The policies that are being negotiated in Copenhagen right now and that are under debate in Congress and around the country and the world will be implemented through the mechanism of laws," explained Michael Gerard, a longtime environmental lawyer and the center's director, who has been awarded the professorship.

Climate change law emerged as a field only a few years ago and is now the fastest-growing area of environmental law, Gerrard said.

"It was nothing of a field a few years ago," said Gerrard, who began work in the area in 2005, "and it is now by far the most popular subject of ... continuing legal education programs, as well as law school symposia and special journal issues."

From salamanders to the academy

Andrew Sabin, whose foundation, the Andrew Sabin Family Foundation, was a major funder of the endowment for the professorship, said he decided to contribute because he has known Gerrard for a long time and "we're good friends. There's nobody better. Ask any environmental lawyer in the country." Sabin declined to state the amount that his foundation contributed to the endowment.

Sabin, president of a precious metals refining company, has worked with Gerrard on several legal cases since the 1990s. The first case was over "some environmental issues" regarding one of the company's factories, Gerrard said.

But Gerrard has not only represented Sabin's company.

A self-proclaimed environmentalist, Sabin has fought a number of developments since the late 1980s that would infringe on the habitat of the Eastern tiger salamander, which is listed as an endangered species in New York state, where he lives.

One fight brought him head-to-head with Tanger Factory Outlet Centers, which was building a mall in Riverside in the mid-1990s.

"The mall hired the best developer lawyer they could find, and I hired the best environmental lawyer," Sabin said. "I did this because of my passion." As a successful businessman, he could afford such suits, whereas environmental organizations often do not have the money to fight them, he said. The case resulted in the creation of a 32.5-acre preserve for the salamanders.

Sabin is also a member of the organization Republicans for Environmental Protection and said he believes firmly in environmental education. As a Republican, he said, he is in a strong position to influence other Republicans' views on climate change "from inside."

"To me, climate change, I believe it's real, I believe it is happening. ... I believe that man has accelerated it; it's not reversible," he said. "By establishing this [endowed professorship], hopefully, a lot of people are going to be educated on climate change."

Litigation around climate change is growing

Gerrard said the number of lawyers dedicated to climate change law in the United States is still "modest."

Hannah Chang, deputy director of the Columbia Climate Center and a postdoctoral research fellow at the university, said that much climate change law work in the United States currently centers on litigation.

Litigation can include everything from attempts to force the government to act -- for example, to regulate greenhouse gases -- to challenges to government regulations -- such as vehicle standards -- to suits seeking monetary redress from corporations for damages from climate change.

In one case, landowners in Mississippi brought a suit against oil, chemical, and coal companies based on the claim that Hurricane Katrina was made worse by climate change, Gerrard said.

A 'whole host of issues'

But as U.S. EPA prepares to release its rules on greenhouse gas emission regulation, and as Congress debates sweeping climate legislation, the legal community is gearing up for much more work in the area.

"Most, if not all, of the law firms with environmental practices are educating themselves and trying to position themselves to do the work when it comes," Gerrard said.

Besides litigation, climate change law could range from regulatory advice to transactional work to lobbying to corporate compliance advice regarding securities disclosures, Gerrard said.

"Treaties and statutes and regulations will be required to determine what emissions are permissible, who will bear the costs, what energy efficiency improvements will be required, how the nations of the world will deal with each other on these issues, how buildings will achieve energy savings -- a whole host of issues will be subject to laws," Gerrard said.

Climate change law is a sweeping area and goes beyond simple environmental law, Gerrard said, who has worked in environmental law for 30 years.

Energy law, corporate law, securities law, tax law, transportation law, agricultural law, international law, trade law and other fields are all involved, he said.