AMERICAN BAR ASSOCIATION


Since its report to the House of Delegates in August 2008, the Standing Committee on
Environmental Law (SCEL) has conducted coordinating activities; organized its 37th national
spring conference on the environment for 2009 and revised the committee’s planning for its
upcoming international environmental law conference; issued a Call for Nominations for the
2009 ABA Award for Distinguished Achievement in Environmental Law and Policy;
cosponsored a policy position on law offices and sustainability; continued work on a carbon
offsets initiative; and conducted its fall and winter business meetings.

Coordination and Communication
SCEL cosponsored three Annual Meeting CLE programs (Climate Change; “Hot Topics in
Environmental Law” and Corporate Counsel), a policy resolution on law office sustainability,
developed by the Section of Law Practice Management (#120) and a policy resolution developed
by the Section of International Law supporting the contribution that the negotiated liberalization
of international trade in goods and services, through government-to-government trade
agreements, makes to the spread of the rule of law (#108B). The House of Delegates postponed
indefinitely #120 and adopted #108B. SCEL subsequently provided input on, and is a cosponsor
of, a proposed ABA policy resolution developed by SEER to address law office sustainability.
SCEL also convened an Annual Meeting Environmental Law Coordinating Forum for ABA
entities to discuss planned work for 2008-09 and hosted a coordinating call in the fall. SCEL
continues communication with ABA environmental law and CLE entities through updates on
environmental law activities occurring throughout the ABA, and published the 2008-09
Directory of ABA Environmental Law and CLE Contacts. The Committee also began to facilitate
discussions about organization of the “Hot Topics in Environmental Law” 2009 Annual Meeting
program and will cosponsor the program; the lead sponsor is the Litigation Section. In addition,
SCEL cosponsored a panel on “EPA regulatory authority over CO2 emissions” at the 2008 Fall
Meeting of the Section of Administrative Law & Regulatory Practice and will cosponsor a 2009
Annual Meeting program proposed by the Section of Environment, Energy & Resources (SEER)
on “Alternative Energy and Environmental Incentives: Legal Opportunities Abound.”

Standing Committee Conferences
The 2009 spring conference will address legal issues relating to renewable/sustainable energy
and energy efficiency. Acknowledging the concentration of energy-related work in the Denver
area, the program for the first time will take place in Denver. The University of Denver and
University of Colorado law schools are expected to take part along with consulting institutes and
government agencies in the region that are active in renewable energy. Among the subjects that
the program will address are legal issues presented by cutting-edge technologies and renewable
challenges and opportunities for a “green” economy.
At the 2008 Annual Meeting, the Board of Governors approved the Committee’s proposal for an
international conference on sustainability in global environmental structures, planned for
Vancouver, B.C. in 2009. Weekly planning meetings took place, but subsequently it became
clear that the declining global economy will not present a favorable environment for success of a
self-funded international environmental law conference. This year’s spring conference therefore
flows from the planning of the international conference. The Committee will postpone its
international programming while transforming one of the more important topic areas, renewable
energy, into the agenda for the 2009 spring program.

Environmental Achievement Award
At the 2008 ABA Annual Meeting, Daniel Barstow Magraw, Jr. and the Alliance for the Great
Lakes received the 2008 ABA Award for Distinguished Achievement in Environmental Law and
Policy. President of the Center for International Environmental Law, Mr. Magraw has been
influential in numerous arenas, including defending the concept of sustainable development;
integrating laws and policies on international economic activity and environmental protection;
promoting appropriate treatment for developing countries in international norms; and setting the
international agenda for developing environmental law. Established in 1971, the Alliance for the
Great Lakes has toiled for 40 years to safeguard the Great Lakes. Their team of environmental
lawyers and other professionals serves the public interest in championing an important natural
resource, crafting sound water policy through strategic litigation, public education, legislative
outreach, and regulatory reform. Their achievements include substantial water quality
improvements; protection of wetlands and other critical habitats; improved lakeshore
accessibility; and leadership in community-based networks. The Section of Environment, Energy
and Resources cosponsored the award and organized the reception. The Committee has issued a
“Call for Nominations” for the 2009 Award.

Law Offices and Sustainability
As noted above, the Committee will cosponsor a 2009 Midyear Meeting policy proposal
addressing law office sustainability. This proposal builds in part on proposal #120 developed last
year by the Law Practice Management Section and in part on a law office initiative under way by
SEER. A Committee representative also is participating in an initiative to develop a strategy to
measure and offset carbon emissions resulting from entity events.

Business Meetings
The Committee convened its fall and winter business meetings. The winter meeting of the
Standing Committee and the SEER Winter Council meeting took place simultaneously and in the
same locale in order to provide an opportunity for the two entities to network. In addition to its
meetings, the Committee conducted subcommittee conference calls on the international
conference and the 2009 Spring Conference.

                                                     Respectfully submitted,

                                                     Howard Kenison, Chair
February 2009

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