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Friday, February 24th

Pre-Conference Events

7:00pm: Student Festivities (all registrants welcome)
Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies

Featuring: "A Reasonable Band," Yale Law School's premiere musical group, with the wonderful  Yale Environmental Law Association Co-President Emeritus, Eric Merrill, at its helm. Additionally, in partnership with the legendary Yale Forestry TGIF ("Thank Goodness I'm a Forester"), we are pleased to offer Contra Dancing, as well as assorted food and beverages.

Kroon Hall
195 Prospect Street
New Haven, CT 06511


 Saturday, February 25th

8:45 - 9:15am Registration: Kroon Hall, 1st Floor
Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies
195 Prospect Street
New Haven, CT 06511
Coffee will be available on the 3rd floor of Kroon Hall

9:20 - 9:50am   Conference Welcome: Douglas Kysar
Deputy Dean and Joseph M. Field '55 Professor of Law, Yale Law School
Kroon Hall, Burke Auditorium
This year's Conference is the second annual conference in our New Directions in Environmental Law Conference Series. [Re]Claiming Accountability will critically examine environmental accountability amongst evolving legal strategies, and ask questions such as: Who are individuals, governments, and other actors accountable to; on what scale; and for what harms? How can we hold people or governments accountable to environmental goals across different implementation levels?  Canand shouldwe expand the scope and sources of environmental accountability by pioneering divergent legal and regulatory targets, market mechanisms, or commitments amongst ourselves as a global polity?  And perhaps most crucially, can novel conceptualizations of legal tools or regulatory regimes help us to better hold actors accountable for their environmental harms?

9:55 - 11:10am   Workshop Session I
Detailed workshop descriptions appear below this full schedule, as linked to here

11:15 - 12:30pm   Workshop Session II
Detailed workshop descriptions appear below this full schedule, as linked to here.

12:30 - 1:15pm Lunchtime Programming
Lunch will be served in Bloch Cafe´ Area of Kroon Hall

Discussion for Students: Environment 2050 – A Students' Agenda
Scott Schang, Vice President, Climate & Sustainability, Environmental Law Institute
Student Moderators: Vrinda Manglik, FES '13, Stephanie Safdi, YLS/FES '13, Turner Smith, HLS '12
By 2050, today’s law students will be entering the final stages of their careers. The vast majority of Americans will live in urban areas, and the country will be predominantly people of color. There will likely be 9 billion or more people on the planet, with no new resources having been added to support their desire for a longer life and higher standard of living.

The Environmental Law Institute has embarked on Environment 2050, a project that seeks to identify environmental goals for by 2050 and provide a roadmap to reach those goals. To add input to this project, the lunchtime discussion will focus on students’ vision of and potential approaches to environmental law in their futures:

  • What impact would you realistically hope to have on environmental law, natural resource management, and sustainability by the time you retire?
  • What will the most pressing issues be?
  • What environmental goals can society realistically attain by 2050?
  • Where will solutions to today’s and tomorrow’s pressing issues come from?
  • What do lawyers need to do today to prepare for  tomorrow’s environmental issues?
    Find more information on the Environment 2050 project.

12:55 – Tours of LEED-Platinum Kroon Hall
Thomas Downing PE, CEM, LEED AP, Sr. Energy Engineer

1:15 - 1:30pm Keynote Introduction: Daniel Esty
Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection
Kroon Hall, Burke Auditorium

1:30 - 2:30pm Keynote Address: Mary Nichols
Chairman of the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and former Assistant Administrator for the U.S. EPA'Office of Air and Radiation. Chairman Nichols has been a pathbreaker for clean air solutions at CARB, a pivotal leader towards implementing California's landmark Global Warming Solutions Act, AB 32, and a bold advocate for environmental and public health throughout her career.
Kroon Hall, Burke Auditorium

2:40 - 4:25pm   Panel Speakers & Dialogue
Nature in Brief: Creative Legal Approaches to Accountability
John Cruden, President, Environmental Law Institute
Michael Wara, Assoc. Professor, Stanford Law School; Research Fellow, Freeman Spogli Inst. for Int'l Studies
Mary Wood, Professor,
University of Oregon Law School; Director of Env. & Natural Res. Law Program
Student Moderators: Agustin Carbo, FES '12 & Halley Epstein, YLS '14
Kroon Hall, Burke Auditorium

With gridlock and a widening partisan divide, it seems unlikely that new, robust environmental statutes will be implemented in the near future.  Thus, environmental practitioners are constrained to operate within the current legal framework, even as environmental problems are becoming increasingly complex and interrelated. Nature in Brief will be a dynamic panel conversation that questions how practitioners can—and whether they should—stretch the bounds of standard canons, the common law, or constitutional claims to hold actors accountable for environmental harms through creative legal approaches, and in particular, litigation.

In the past year we have seen examples of this type of thinking in AEP v. Connecticut, the Rio Tinto mining trial, and pending public trust litigation. How do cases like these change conversations about legal accountability for pollution? Are there additional areas of the law that could be employed in the service of environmental causes of action? What are the practical and tactical benefits to pursuing environmental accountability through litigation within the current legal framework? Are there considerations that should restrain our pursuit of boundary-pushing strategies?  Nature in Brief will bring together divergent voices—including individuals who are looking at existing laws through a new lens and individuals who must ground their approaches within established institutional frameworks—to advance this evolving conversation.

4:25 - 4:45pm   Coffee Break
Kroon Hall, Bloch Cafe´ Area

4:45 - 6:00pm   Workshop Session III
Detailed workshop descriptions appear below this full schedule, as linked to here.

6:00 - 6:45pm  Reception

Closing Remarks
Kroon Hall, Knob Area



Workshops will be led by experts in their fields and designed to be round-table discussions that bring participants into the discoursebridging communities of inquiry and practice amongst students, professors, and practitioners. The workshops will engage participants in conversations about the contours of environmental accountability.

WORKSHOP SESSION I - 9:55 - 11:10am 

From Access to Agency: The Role of Diverse, Urban Communities in Regional Food Systems
Amy Laura Cahn, Skadden Fellow at Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia
Martha Page, Executive Director of the Hartford Food System
Jesus Espinosa, Farmers' Market Director, Nuestras Raíces
Ramiro Davaro-Comas, Community Garden
Director, Nuestras Raíces
Student Leaders: Eric Merrill, YLS '12 & Casey Hinkle, YLS '12
This workshop will focus on the ability of regional food systems to better serve—and be accountable to—traditionally marginalized urban communities. While many initiatives have attempted to link local food producers and urban consumers in underserved communities, they have often focused solely on improving physical access to food and providing price supports. At the same time, many urban communities have reinvigorated longstanding efforts to diversify and control their food supply. These related strains speak to the complex relationship between food and community and the panoply of needs beyond nutrition that are served by food.

Env. Enforcement: Using Civil & Criminal Laws to Address Env. Misdeeds
Jeffrey Meyer, Yale Law School & Quinnipiac Univ. School of Law
Kevin Cassidy, Lewis & Clark Law School - Pacific Environmental Advocacy Center
Student Leader: Lindsey Trachtenberg, YLS '12 & John Broderick, Univ. Michigan Law School '13
As part of enforcing environmental laws, a plaintiff or prosecutor has significant discretion over decisions such as whom to name as defendants, what charges to bring, and whether to take a case to trial or try to reach a settlement or plea agreement. This workshop will delve into how decisions are, and should be, made regarding whom to hold accountable for what environmental misdeeds through which mechanisms. We will explore these questions in the context of criminal prosecutions and civil enforcement actions brought by the government, as well as citizen suits brought by private parties.

Old Laws, New Problems:
Evolving Strategies & Responsibilities for Water Quality

Ann Powers, Pace Univ. School of Law, Center for Env. Legal Studies
Tom Lindley, Partner in Environment, Energy, & Natural Resources Practice, Perkins Coie
Student Leader: Devin Judge-Lord, FES '13
Land-use accountability in water quality, wetland, and habitat markets. By what criteria doe we determine landowner baseline responsibility before getting paid for offset credits? Addressing nonpoint sources through the Clean Water Act through water quality trading requires establishing such a baseline; by what criteria do we set it?

Ensuring Healthy & Sustainable Communities for All:
Federal, State, & Local Approaches to Advancing Environmental Justice
John (Jack) Dillon, Executive Director, Groundwork Bridgeport
Suzi Ruhl, Senior Attorney Policy Advisor, U.S. EPA Office of Env. Justice
Gerald Torres, Visiting Professor at Yale Law School
Student Leader: Vrinda Maglik, FES '13

Low-income, minority and tribal Americans often live in the shadows of the worst pollution, facing disproportionate health impacts and greater obstacles to economic growth in communities that cannot attract businesses and new jobs. At all levels, the commitment to healthy and sustainable communities for populations that have historically borne a disproportionate share of environmental harms and risk and unequal distribution of the positive environmental and health benefits is advancing environmental justice. However, significant work remains to be done. Join a seasoned environmental lawyer from the EPA Office of Environmental Justice, a Yale Law School professor, and a member of Groundwork Bridgeport in exploring a range of approaches that advance environmental justice and healthy communities for overburdened and underserved communities.

WORKSHOP SESSION II - 11:15 - 12:30pm

Shale Gas Development & Hydrofracturing: An Environmental Justice Issue
James Saiers, Prof. of Hydrology & Associate Dean of Academic Affairs
; Yale School of Forestry
Briana Mordick, Oil and Gas Science Fellow, Natural Resources Defense Counsel
Deborah Goldberg, Managing Attorney, Earthjustice
Student Leaders: Vanessa Lamers, FES/Yale Pub. Health '12
Hayley Fink, YLS/FES '13, Jaimini Parekh, FES '12
This workshop will explore the environmental justice implications of the increased growth of shale gas development and hydraulic fracturing technologies.  Debate exists amongst policymakers and scientists as to whether shale gas, a form of natural gas, can be considered a 'cleaner' energy source than some other, more carbon intensive sources like coal when this consideration includes necessary energy production technologies, such as hydraulic fracturing. Shale gas development differs from traditional oil and gas extraction because it utilizes horizontal drilling techniques; additionally, it injects pressurized, complex proprietary mixes of chemical fluids deep underground to increase the volume of gas recovered from unconventional reservoirs. This practice of shale gas development may threaten strained water resources because it (1) requires millions of gallons of freshwater to be pumped into each well, and (2) may contaminate groundwater surrounding drilling sites. Current U.S. legal exemptions prevent the EPA from regulating these water issues under the federal Safe Drinking Water Act, though many states are investigating legislative avenues to potentially mandate state water testing and regulation. How do current regulatory gaps impact local communities? What can states do to ensure that certain communities do not bear the brunt of shale gas harms? What is the appropriate level of government for regulating shale gas development? Furthermore, as many developing nations begin to tap into their vast shale gas reserves, including China, they are turning to the U.S. shale gas industry - the most advanced in the world - to learn how to develop their valuable resources. Given this, should U.S. policymakers be more accountable to a global community as shale gas resources are developed far and wide? In what context should we consider the virtual regulatory void that the U.S. oil and gas industry has been able to develop under, if this may have significant ripple effects if exported abroad? Can and should shale gas development concerns be integrated into international negotiations?  How will moving to an international forum for shale gas impact our most vulnerable communities?

pH, Phytoplankton, and Policy:
Drivers of Ocean Acidification and Potential Solutions

Dr. Libby Jewett, Director of NOAA Ocean Acidification Program
Ryan P. Kelly, Stanford Center for Ocean Solutions
Ann Powers, Pace Univ. School of Law, Center for Env. Legal Studies
Student Leader: Daniel Knudsen, YLS '12
The oceans are becoming more acidic. Labeled "the other CO2problem," scientists have measured a 30% increase of oceanic PH levels, to a current background acidity of 8.1. Though the implications of acidification are not fully understood, rising acidity has had deleterious effects on shellfish and coral populations. As a result, ocean acidification is certain to affect the ecosystem services that coral and shellfish provide for coastal communities
a substantial part of the world's population. Scientific and policy work on this issue is in its infancy, and as of yet, no legal regulations to address the problem have been promulgated. Moreover, unlike climate change itself, ocean acidification has not be politically framed. Science has identified some of the local sources that contribute to ocean acidification. This workshop will explore and explain the drivers of ocean acidification. Given these, can existing legal frameworkslike the Clean Water Act, local land use and erosion control provisions, and Clean Air Act pollutant limitationsprovide important steps toward local, and perhaps even global, solutions? What is the role of international law in this space, as either policy option or policy necessity? This workshop will examine the role of law in an area of science that is still in its infancy, unpolarized at the national level, yet scarily important in its implications. We will also highlight the gaps that still need to be bridged at the intersections of science, policy and law. Lastly, the workshop has an aim of forming a working group to explore these issues and perhaps present the results in other fora.

Righteous Minds & Black Swans:
Strategies for Adapting to Public Morality & Chance in Env. Enforcement 

Justin Savage, U.S. DOJ,  Env. & Natural Resources Division, Env. Enforcement Section
Student Leader: Lindsey Trachtenberg, YLS '12
Advancing the goals of environmental enforcement and accountability requires more than an objective reading of the law, an understanding of the facts, and a passion for the environment. The outcomes in environmental litigation can be influenced by seemingly random events including, most notably, the selection of decision-makers who may see the world through different moral matrices. This interactive workshop will discuss innovative strategies for adapting to a myriad of real-world factors that affect environmental enforcement, drawing on the works of Dr. Jonathan Haidt and Nassim Nicholas Taleb.

Adam Riedel, Associate Director, Columbia Center for Climate Change Law
Alisa Valderama, Finanicial Policy Analyst, NRDC Center for Market Innovation
Jim Coburn, Senior Manager, Investor Programs, Ceres
Student Leader: Stephanie Safdi, YLS/FES '13
This workshop will explore strategies for creating corporate accountability for the environment through multiple domains, including regulation, litigation, information disclosure, and market innovation. From voluntary sustainability reporting initiatives to new regulatory requirements in federal and state securities law, a proliferation of mechanisms are allowing the public to access information on corporate activities with respect to climate change and the environment. Consumers and the courts may both play powerful roles in forcing companies to internalize environmental and related social harms. At the same time, new possibilities are emerging for deploying financing mechanisms to enhance green infrastructure and incentivize environmentally responsible practices. This workshop will address innovative strategies for building transparency and fairness in market activity to create corporate accountability for climate change and environmental stressors. The workshop will also examine the case-study of Philadelphia storm-water retrofits to examine the use of financial investment and market mechanisms to augment green infrastructure.

WORKSHOP SESSION III - 4:45 - 6:00pm

The Case of Specialized Environmental Courts & Tribunals
Merideth Wright, Vermont Environmental Court, Retired
Elizabeth Burleson, Pace Univ. School of Law
Student Leader: Lindsey Trachtenberg, YLS '12 & Jaimini Parekh, FES '12
In some jurisdictions, specialized environmental courts and tribunals are important institutions for holding actors accountable for their effects on the environment. This workshop will explore the work of those specialized courts, as well as their role in broader legal systems. We will look at domestic, foreign, and international courts and will consider how environmental courts differ from, and work with, generalized courts.

Accountability to Future Generations
Sebastien Jodoin, Centre for International Sustainable Development Law
Student Leader: Alex Metz, YLS '14
This workshop will explore emerging proposals to create criminal accountability mechanisms for protecting the rights and interests of future generations. What role can criminal justice play in dealing with systemic environmental problems? Are the principles of criminal justice suited to capturing environmental harms? How should the scope of criminal accountability be defined for the purposes of protecting future generations? Can criminal accountability be extended to acts that have future consequences or must it be tied to harm occurring in the present? Is it more effective to administer a criminal accountability regime at the level of each signatory's government, or through a supranational body? In addition, participants will be given the opportunity to comment on a draft Convention on Economic, Social, and Environmental Crimes, which will be presented during the workshop.

Conservation or Renewable Energy? Conflicting Interests in the Land Use Arena 
Sara Bronin, U. Conn Law, Program Director of Center for Energy and Environmental Law
Student Leader: Jonathan Smith, YLS/FES '12
Renewable energy has the potential to dramatically reduce our greenhouse gas emissions while markedly altering our natural landscapes. Sara C. Bronin, Program Director of the University of Connecticut Center for Energy and Environmental Law, will lead a workshop that will explore the contentious land use issues that are dividing environmental communities. At what point does conservation become NIMBYism? At what point does progressive clean energy policy become energy sprawl? Participants are invited to examine both the legal tools that can help achieve an ideal balance between these two interests, and the role that environmentalist lawyers should play in the dispute.

Continuing the Panel Conversation: Practical Difficulties Posed by Suing the Government, and Why Suing the Government Still Makes Sense (Sometimes)
Matthew Oakes, U.S. DOJ,  Env. & Natural Resources Division, Env. Defense Section
John Cruden, President, Environmental Law Institute
Sarah Langberg, YLS/FES '13
Bringing a claim against the United States is hard.  Governments can assert soverign immunity.  Caselaw, such as the Mellon doctrine, has limited who can sue the federal government and administrative exhaustion requirements and other procedural barriers make such lawsuits cumbersome.  Complex jurisdictional provisions make it hard to determine where suits are appropriately filed.  Additionally, the United States is represented by one of the most specialized law firms in the world, and has the resources to vigorously defend itself.  In spite of these barriers to suit and structural advantages, litigants seeking wide scale impact often target the federal government or its agencies in citizen suits.  This workshop examines why suing the government can be an effective strategy to advance an environmental agenda, and also explores the practical difficulties presented by this approach.