Environmental Law Explored: A Podcast SEERiesAuthor: ABA Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources
16 Jan 2022

Environmental Law Explored: A Podcast SEERies

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Top environmental, energy, and resources lawyers discuss career development, legal issues, historical trends, and new developments in environmental law.

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    SEER Essentials: Clean Air Act Basics — NAAQS, State Implementation Plans, and the Cross State Air Pollution Rule

    Norman Rave, who has likely defended more EPA Clean Air regulations than any other attorney in the history of the United States Department of Justice, joins moderator Matt Oakes to discuss the interaction of National Ambient Air Quality Standards, State Implementation Plans, and the Cross State Air Pollution Rule.

    In this podcast Norman Rave and Matt Oakes explain the interaction of Clean Air Act National Ambient Air Quality Standards and State Implementation Plans. These elements form the foundation of the federal Clean Air Act. We then look at these foundational elements in the context of a series of cases interpreting the Clean Air Act’s “good neighbor provision.” That provision requires upwind states to account for air emissions that contribute to air quality problems in downwind states. Norman, who spent almost a decade in private practice, and several decades in the United States Department of Justice defending EPA regulations, was one of the attorneys primarily responsible for defending EPA’s Cross State Air Pollution Rule, a rule seeking to implement the “good neighbor provision” for specific pollutants. This litigation spanned many years, resulting in several D.C. Circuit decisions and one Supreme Court decision (E.P.A. v. EME Homer City Generation, L.P., 572 U.S. 489 (2014) (upholding EPA’s interpretation of the “good neighbor provision” that mandated a cost-effective allocation of emission-reduction responsibilities).

  • Posted on 18 Jun 2021

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    SEER Essentials: Marine Debris — Laws and Legislation to Address a Global Pollution Crisis

    In this episode on the global pollution crisis of marine debris, Joan Bondareff and Martha McCoy discuss the scope, sources, and impacts of the marine debris problem and measures to address it. The episode covers ongoing and emerging federal, nonprofit, community, and international action to prevent and respond to marine debris, as well as recent and proposed legislation addressing plastic pollution and marine debris.

    Marine debris, consisting of huge amounts of materials such as plastics, metals, and rubber disposed of or abandoned into the marine environment, is a vast pollution problem facing the ocean and waterways. Marine debris is abundant and extensive, and it causes adverse impacts on wildlife, the environment, the economy, and navigation safety. Plastic pollution in the oceans and waterways poses a particular concern; plastic does not biodegrade in any meaningful amount, but rather, wave energy and sunlight can break plastic down into microplastic fragments, which may carry harmful chemicals and additives, such as endocrine disruptors. Animals consume microplastics in the environment and humans consume microplastics through sources such as drinking water and seafood; this exposure to microplastics may lead to health concerns. Key developments over the last several years in legislation, international action, and policy approaches illustrate the ongoing and emerging trends in the multi-pronged approach by federal agencies, nonprofits, and other organizations to target the sources and impacts of marine debris and further action is needed to address this growing crisis.

    The speakers, Joan Bondareff and Martha McCoy, discuss the scope, sources and impacts of marine debris and will address federal, nonprofit, community, and international action to prevent and respond to the problem of marine debris. The speakers also discuss recent and proposed legislation addressing plastic pollution and marine debris.

    Joan Bondareff is Maritime Counsel at Blank Rome LLP and former Senior Counsel to the House Committee on Merchant Marine and Fisheries, and author of several articles on the subject including https://safepassageblankrome.com/2020/12/16/marine-plastic-pollution/. Martha McCoy is author of an article in the Spring 2021 Natural Resources & Environment publication titled "Marine Debris: the U.S. Federal Role in a Local and Global Problem," and in her role as an Attorney-Advisor with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Office of General Counsel, she provides legal counsel to, among others, NOAA’s Marine Debris Program. (Disclaimer: the podcast will express Martha McCoy's personal views and not the official views or position of NOAA or the Department of Commerce).

  • Posted on 02 Jun 2021

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    SEER Essentials: Clean Air Act Basics - History of the Clean Air Act

    In this episode Dr. Devra Davis and moderator Matt Oakes discuss historic events that led to the development of the first federal Clean Air Act.

    Dr. Devra Davis joins moderator Matt Oakes to discuss the history of major air inversion events that led to smog clouds that killed many Americans in the middle part of the 20th Century. These inversion events combined with other factors to general momentum for development of the wide-scale federal air regulation. Dr. Davis was Founding Director, Center for Environmental Oncology, University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, and Professor of Epidemiology at the Graduate School of Public Health (2004-2010). She has also served as a Distinguished Visiting Professor at the London School of Hygiene (2002-03) and Tropical Medicine, and at the Yeshiva University, New York (1995-96), and as a Visiting Professor at Mt.Sinai School of Medicine (1983-2010), Oberlin College (2000-2001) and Carnegie Mellon University (1999-2004). She is the founder of Environmental Health Trust in Teton County, Wyoming, a group that provides research and education about environmental health hazards. Dr. Davis is currently Visiting Professor of Medicine at The Hebrew University Hadassah Medical School, Jerusalem, Israel, and Ondokuz Mayis University Medical School, Samsun, Turkey. She has authored three books and hundreds of other publications, including When Smoke Ran Like Water: Tales of Environmental Deception and the Battle Against Pollution (2002, Basic Books), a National Book Award Finalist.

  • Posted on 13 Apr 2021

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    Update on Carbon Capture and Storage

    Join us for our newest podcast episode on Carbon Capture and Storage. Michael Cummings speaks with Doug Scott (Vice-President, Great Plains Institute) and Stacey Dahl (Senior Manager of External Affairs, Minnkota Power Cooperative) about the current landscape of carbon capture, use, and storage including an overview of current and potential uses in power generation, enhanced oil recovery, and other industry, recent and proposed legislation, and opportunities and challenges in connecting CO2 producers and end-users.

  • Posted on 02 Jul 2019

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    2018 Year in Review - Environmental Litigation Part 3

    The authors of the Year-in-Review publication will discuss key cases occurring in environmental litigation, including cases that have created an ongoing legal debate concerning the jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act, liability for PFAS contamination, corporate responsibility for climate change, and the scope of class certification in environmental cases.

    In part 3 of the three part series, join Matt Wickersham and William S. “Buddy” Cox III.

    The 2018 Year in Review is available now. Access the chapters by becoming a section member today. To join, visit americanbar.org/environ.

  • Posted on 28 Jun 2019


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