By Lynn L. Bergeson
The Environmental Law Institute (ELI) recently released Environment 2021: What Comes Next?, a report that looks at the Trump Administration’s impact on environmental law and policy and what lies ahead. ELI states that the report is “a response to growing demand for analysis of how deregulatory initiatives by the Trump Administration will affect environmental protection, governance, and the rule of law with a focus on what might happen in a second Trump administration or a new administration.” According to ELI, the report:
- Assesses the Trump Administration’s steps to remake federal environmental regulation and redefine the relationships among state and federal environmental decisions;
- Identifies key categories of action affecting environmental regulation and examines some possible future outcomes; and
- Helps environmental practitioners, policymakers, and the public at large think about what lies ahead, looking particularly at the nation’s ability to address new problems and confront as yet unsolved challenges, such as environmental justice.
By Lynn L. Bergeson
On September 18, 2020, ELI will host a webinar titled “Advanced Biofuels: Fuel for the Future?” from 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. (EDT). The webinar, as implied by its title, will focus on the practical and policy challenges and opportunities facing advanced biofuels and the impacts of the coronavirus on biofuel production and research. Panelists may include:
- Lauren Helen Leyden, Partner, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, L.L.P. (invited);
- Lynn McKay, Assistant General Counsel, Volkswagen Group of America (invited);
- Shailesh Sahay, Senior Regulatory Counsel, POET, Inc.;
- Luke Tonachel, Director, Clean Vehicles and Fuels Group, Climate & Clean Energy Program, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC); and
- Stephanie Wettstein, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Montana State University (invited).
The webinar will be open to the public; registration, however, is required. Click here to register.
On September 11, 2019, from 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. (EDT), the Environmental Law Institute (ELI) will host a webinar titled “Genetic Engineering: The Good, The Bad, and The Necessary.” The webinar is designed to cover the vast possibilities offered by genetic engineering in a world where regulatory officials face increasing pressure to guarantee global food security. Along with the many possibilities associated with genetic engineering, however, there are great concerns about the environmental, health, and ethical implications of it. Webinar panelists will discuss many of these possibilities and concerns.
Bergeson & Campbell, P.C. (B&C®) is a proud sponsor of the Environmental Law Institute’s (ELI) GreenTech Conference, bringing together leaders from some of the world’s most innovative companies to engage with policymakers, lawmakers, technologists, and non-governmental organizations (NGO) to explore environmental protection in an era of transformative technological change. Dr. Andrey J. Zarur, CEO and President of GreenLight Biosciences, will discuss using targeted biocontrol of RNA interference to increase yields during the Food for the Future panel on October 2, 2019. Join B&C, ELI, Intel, Amazon, and Google, among others, in Seattle, Washington, from October 2-3, 2019, for this exciting conference.
Bergeson & Campbell, P.C. (B&C®), the Environmental Law Institute (ELI), and the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health are pleased to present the one day conference “TSCA: Three Years Later” on June 24, 2019. Panelists Alexandra Dunn, Assistant Administrator, Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention (OCSPP), EPA, and Lynn R. Goldman, Michael and Lori Milken Dean and Professor, Environmental and Occupational Health, Milken Institute School of Public Health, George Washington University, will dive into a host of topics, including the current impacts of TSCA on science policies, challenges faced by industry, and the impacts of TSCA on regulatory policies, especially those concerning ensuring compliance and enforcement. This conference (in-person and webinar) is free and open to the public, but registration is required by June 21, 2019, at the ELI website.
By Lynn L. Bergeson
On April 25, 2019, the Environmental Law Institute (ELI) held an event to provide an overview of their latest publication, a book titled Legal Pathways to Deep Decarbonization in the United States. Providing an overview of the book, a few of the authors were part of a panel discussion opened by William K. Reilly, former EPA Administrator under President George H. W. Bush. In his opening remarks, Mr. Reilly emphasized the potential existing with politics to change culture to achieve low-carbon emissions in the near future. Following Mr. Reilly, Commonwealth Professor of Environmental Law and Sustainability Director at Widener University, John C. Dernbach, started the panel discussion by providing an overview of the contents of the book. According to Professor Dernbach, deep decarbonization is defined as achieving at least 80 percent GHG emissions through deep cuts by 2050. The book therefore contains chapters on federal, state, and tribal legal tools that are available to decarbonize the U.S. In the book, the authors present twelve types of legal tools available; some that are regulatory tools, and some that are not. Types of legal tools include, research and development (R&D), market leveraging approaches, removal of incentives for fossil fuels, and infrastructure development, among others. During the event, other authors and co-authors spoke about specific chapters of the book, stating that they were almost certain that the legal tools available would create economic, social, and environmental security. Unfortunately, the event was interrupted by a fire alarm in the building. For further information, the book can be found for purchase here.
By Lauren M. Graham, Ph.D.
Sandia National Laboratories announced that it is helping HelioBioSys Inc. learn whether farming cyanobacteria on a large scale would be successful in producing sugar for biofuels. HelioBioSys Inc. patented a group of three non-genetically modified marine cyanobacteria for the production of sugars, which can then be converted into a variety of fuels and chemicals. Similar to algae, cyanobacteria grow in water and avoid competition with food crops for land, water, and other resources, making them a desirable renewable resource. Cyanobacteria colonies, however, grow more efficiently than algae and excrete sugars directly into the water where they grow. Whereas a typical algae farm may produce one gram of biomass per liter, small-scale testing of the cyanobacteria demonstrate that they can produce four to seven grams of sugar per liter of biomass, a 700 percent increase in efficiency. Additionally, filtering sugar from water is simpler and more cost effective than extracting lipids from algae.
Now that HelioBioSys has proven the efficacy of the cyanobacteria in a closed, controlled, sterile laboratory, the company is working with Sandia researchers to understand where predation may cause issues by growing the organisms in large open air raceway systems, and to further study how the three types of cyanobacteria work together.
On July 29, 2016, President Obama signed into law Senate Bill 764 (S. 764), creating a national bioengineered food disclosure standard. This law requires companies to provide information on food packaging directing customers to a website or phone line for more information about genetically modified organisms (GMO) that are present in the food product. S. 764 also contains specific language preempting State regulations on "labeling of whether a food (including food served in a restaurant or similar establishment) or seed [in interstate commerce] is genetically engineered ... or was developed or produced using genetic engineering."
In addition to requiring companies to disclose the presence of bioengineered ingredients, S. 764 creates an official definition of bioengineering as "a food -- (A) that contains genetic material that has been modified through in vitro recombinant [DNA] techniques; and (B) for which the modification could not otherwise be obtained through conventional breeding or found in nature." The law also creates a "non-GMO" label that can be displayed on products that are U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) "certified organic." While harmful effects of GMOs have not been proven, this law allows consumers to educate themselves on the ingredients in their food while creating consistent national language and requirements for bioengineered foods. More information about this bill is available in the Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group's (BRAG®) article "Senate Passes GMO Bill Creating A National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard With Federal Preemption And Exclusion Information."
Oils Inc. issued a press release announcing the issuance of a feedstock-only
pathway for the production of Camelina-based fuels under the California Low
Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS). According to the release, this action
by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) results in Camelina being the only
scalable, non-food based crop that meets both California and federal fuel