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MSBA Environmental and Natural Resources Law Section

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MSBA Environmental, Natural Resource, and Energy Law Section
Annual Report
2010-11

Section Membership
As of June 22, 2011, the Environmental, Natural Resource, and Energy Law Section has 274 members.  This is a 5% decrease in membership since July 1, 2010.

Financial Status
The Environmental, Natural Resource, and Energy Law Section had an account balance of $8,223.05 as of April 30, 2011. 

Continuing Legal Education Programs and Social Events
The Section hosted four CLE programs in fiscal year 2010-11, including the Section’s annual “State of the Environment” program.  Additionally, the Section co-sponsored the 7th Annual Minnesota Environmental Institute with Minnesota CLE.  The Section also hosted one law student outreach program and two social events. 

Program Date
Program Title
CLE Event Code & Credit
# of Attendees
9/13/10
Law Student & New Lawyers Pizza Reception
N.A
76
12/2/10
Green Marketing or Greenwashing? The FTC's Proposed Updated Green Guides

150737;
1.0 Standard

20
12/8/10
State of the Environment: 2010 Agencies Update

150898;
3.5 Standard

56
2/10/11
ENRE Law Section Happy Hour
N/A
25
2/25/11
Making Sense of the EPA Greenhouse Gas Regulations (co-sponsored w/ Public Utilities Law Section)
153031;
1.0 Standard
23
4/21/11
7th Annual Environmental Institute
(co-sponsored with MNCLE)
153876;
5.75 Standard,
1.0 Ethics
198
5/4/11
Minnesota's Recent Streamlining Legislation: Changes to the Environmental Review and Permitting
155272;
1.0 Standard
48
5/7/11
Family Social @ MN Landscape Arboretum
N/A
30

Legislation and Amicus Briefs

N/A

Annual Meeting and Election Results
The Section’s annual meeting and elections were held in conjunction with a CLE on May 4, 2011, at the Minnesota State Bar Association offices in Minneapolis, MN.   The meeting and program were well attended with 48 participants.

The following individuals were elected to serve as officers in 2011-12:

Chair: Sara Peterson
Vice Chair: David Zoll
Treasurer: Dan Schleck
Secretary: Aleava Sayre
Past Chair: Katherine Roek

The following individuals were elected to serve as Council Delegates from July 1, 2011, to June 30, 2013:

Chris Dolan
Lindsey Hemly
Alexandra Klass
Joe Maternowski
Alex Iliff
Chuck Salter
Jeff Sepesi
Jacob Woodard

The following individuals will serve as the Section’s MSBA Assembly representative and alternate in 2011-12:

Representative: Sara Peterson
Alternate: Katherine Roek

Other Section Accomplishments

Submitted By:
Katherine Roek, Section Chair

 

MSBA Environmental, Natural Resources and Energy Law Section
2007-2008 Annual Report

The Chair of the MSBA Environmental, Natural Resources and Energy Law Section submits the following annual report of the Section’s activities during 2007-2008:

Section Name Change

One of the major actions the Section took this year was to change its name and identity to the “Environmental, Natural Resources and Energy Law Section.”  Members voted to amend the Section’s bylaws to include energy law as part of the Section’s focus at the monthly Governing Council meeting on November 1, 2007. In doing so, the Council joined the American Bar Association, the Federal Bar Association, the International Bar Association and at least a dozen other state bar associations in acknowledging the growing interconnectedness between environmental, natural resources and energy law, as well as recognizing energy law’s emergence as a growing practice area for the 21st century.  The MSBA’s General Assembly approved the bylaw amendments the following month and the Section has been operating under its new name since the first of the year.  The Section’s challenge going forward is to learn how it can best serve attorneys working in the area of energy law and to make that practice area a cornerstone of the Section’s focus.

Seminars
The Section once again offered several high-quality, low- (or no-) cost continuing legal education programs covering timely and important environmental, natural resources and energy law topics.  The Section sponsored or co-sponsored a total of six seminars throughout the year, worth a total of 12.5 CLE credits.   

On November 14, 2007, the Section sponsored its fourth annual “Fall Agency Update” CLE, entitled, “The State of the Environment: 2007 Update from Minnesota’s Regulatory Agencies.”  Over sixty attendees learned of upcoming enforcement, rulemaking and legislative priorities from Minnesota Pollution Control Agency Commissioner (“MPCA”) Brad Moore, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Commissioner (“DNR”) Mark Holsten, Minnesota Department of Agriculture Assistant Commissioner Joe Martin and Minnesota Board of Soil and Water Resources Executive Director John Jaschke. 

Just three weeks later, the Section offered the first of the three free, one-hour CLEs it provided to its members this year.  This program immediately followed the December 6, 2007 meeting of the Section’s Governing Council.  Five members of the Minnesota Climate Change Advisory Group (Chair Ed Garvey, J. Drake Hamilton, David Sparby, David McMillan and Barbara Freese) joined us the day before the Group met for the last time to provide their perspectives on the Group’s efforts and their predictions for the Group’s report to the Governor and the Legislature in early 2008.    

Jeff Connell, the head of the Enforcement and Compliance Section of the MPCA’s Industrial Division, provided the year’s second free one-hour CLE following the Governing Council’s February 7, 2008 meeting.  Mr. Connell updated Section members on the MPCA’s current initiatives in the area of stormwater pollution control, with an emphasis on the MPCA’s efforts to revise its general NPDES industrial stormwater permit. 

On April 23, 2008, over 160 attorneys, consultants, and other environmental professionals attended the Section’s premier educational offering, the fourth annual Minnesota Environmental Institute.  Co-sponsored by the Section and Minnesota Continuing Legal Education, the Institute featured a number of prominent state and national speakers addressing a variety of current issues in environmental, natural resources and energy law.  Keynote speaker Granta Nakayama, who is the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Assistant Administrator for Enforcement and Compliance Assurance, EPA Region V Regional Counsel Robert Kaplan and MPCA Commissioner Brad Moore all spoke on the topic of current and future enforcement priorities at the state and federal levels.  The Institute also offered presentations from twenty faculty members on a wide range of timely topics in one plenary and nine small-group sessions.  The presentations included an environmental case law and regulatory update; a presentation by Professor John Dernbach of Widener University on the topic of climate change regulations following Massachusetts v. EPA and another presentation regarding the transactional implications of climate change; three “basics” presentations on the Clean Air Act, RCRA and water and wetlands law; an update on Minnesota’s renewable energy efforts, a case study of a brownfield redevelopment; an update on stormwater regulations; and a discussion of the environmental, health and safety implications of nanotechnology.  Attendees to the Institute who completed a course evaluation gave the Institute an overall average rating of 6.1/7.0.  The Section also once again offered $100 scholarships to the Institute to twenty individuals from governmental or non-profit organizations. 

In conjunction with its Annual Meeting on May 1, 2008, the Section offered its final free CLE for the year.  Marty Vadis, the Director of the DNR’s Division of Land and Minerals, and Lori Stegink, a Vice President at Barr Engineering, discussed the recent resurgence of mining efforts in Minnesota and the environmental and administrative challenges associated with this increased activity.

Finally, the Section sponsored a one-hour CLE as part of the MSBA Annual Convention on Monday, June 16, 2008.  Dr. Elise Amel from the University of St. Thomas and Dr. Christie Manning, a Visiting Assistant Professor at Macalester College, will discuss how law firms can adopt more cost-efficient, environmentally-friendly practices in a presentation entitled “The Psychology of Sustainability:  What a Law Office Can Do.”  In conjunction with this presentation, the Section will sponsor an MSBA-wide challenge this fall to name the “Greenest Law Office” at the 2009 MSBA Annual Convention.

Award
The Section presented its fourth annual Distinguished Service Award at beginning of this year’s Environmental Institute.  The Distinguished Service Award recognizes a member of the bench or bar who has demonstrated a significant commitment and made an outstanding contribution to environmental, natural resources or energy law in the state of Minnesota.  Prior recipients of the award include Eldon Kaul, Chuck Dayton and Mac Hyde.  The Section was pleased to honor Martha Brand as this year’s recipient.  Ms. Brand has been the Executive Director of the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy for the past seven years.  Ms. Brand has also served on the Minnesota Environmental Quality Board and the Board of Directors of American Rivers, was a member of the Metropolitan Council’s Housing and Land Use Advisory Committee and served for a number of years on the Section’s Governing Council.  Ms. Brand is also a frequent lecturer on environmental topics, particularly Minnesota’s lakes and rivers, brownfields redevelopment and smart growth.

Newsletter
The Section has published two newsletters in 2007-2008 as of the time of this writing, with a third slated for publication in the summer.  The two newsletters published to date offered feature articles summarizing the work of the Climate Change Advisory Group, ballast water issues on the Great Lakes, an update on Total Maximum Daily Load issues in Minnesota and a pending auto emissions bill that was before the Minnesota Legislature this session.  In addition, the newsletters contained regular columns discussing environmental issues affecting agriculture and summarizing recent judicial decisions in environmental, natural resources and energy law.

Section Social Gathering
The Section hosted a social for its members on Wednesday, March 26, 2008 at the Minnesota Judiciary Center.  Section members and a large contingent of law students mingled over drinks and appetizers, while Minnesota House Representatives Jean Wagenius and Dennis Oment shared their perspectives on a number of environmental initiatives that were before the Minnesota Legislature at the time.  Attendees were then given the option of a tour of the Minnesota Capitol under the guidance of the Minnesota Historical Society. 

Summer Internship
The Section, for the first time ever, funded a partial summer internship through the Minnesota Justice Foundation.  The Section donated $2,500 to MJF to allow it to provide a student with a demonstrated interest in environmental, natural resources or energy law the opportunity to intern at an organization working in those areas that could not otherwise afford to provide such an opportunity on its own.  This year’s recipient will intern at the Sierra Club.  The intern will provide the Section at the end of the summer with a paper summarizing her experience, which we will then post on the Section’s webpage. 

Outreach
Outreach to law students and young lawyers continued to be a priority for the Section this year.  On October 11, 2007, the Section hosted another successful reception in which students from the four area law schools were invited to discuss the practice of environmental, natural resources and energy law with attorneys working in those fields.  Between forty-to-fifty law students had the chance to meet nearly twenty attorneys from a variety of public, private and non-profit offices and organizations.  Law student interest continued throughout the year, as a number of law students attended, without charge, the various CLEs the Section offered throughout the rest of the year.  A number of law students even attended the monthly Governing Council meetings to stay abreast of Section activities. 

Section Elections
The election for Section Officers and Governing Council Delegates yielded a full roster comprised of lawyers engaged in all facets of environmental, natural resources and energy law practice.  The 2008-2009 Section Officers and Council Delegates include attorneys from large and small private law firms, corporations, public interest groups, universities and law schools, and solo practitioners. 

Respectfully submitted

William P. Hefner
The Environmental Law Group, Ltd.
Section Chair 2007-2008

 


MSBA ENVIRONMENTAL & NATURAL RESOURCES LAW SECTION
Annual Report for 2006-2007

The Chair of the MSBA Environmental & Natural Resources Law Section submits the following annual report of the Section’s activities during 2006-2007:

Seminars
In response to requests from our members, the Section continued its efforts in 2006-2007 to provide high-quality, low-cost continuing legal education programs covering timely and important environmental law topics.  The Section offered a total of four seminars and a total of eleven CLE credits addressing environmental topics this year.  Several of these seminars were offered without charge. 

In November 2006, the Section held its third annual “State of the Environment” seminar.  The program provided an update from Minnesota environmental regulatory agencies.  Over fifty attendees discussed such diverse issues as impaired waters, climate change, sustainable timber harvesting, and environmental review with officials from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, and the Minnesota Environmental Quality Board.

In December 2006, Ken Haberman, president of Landmark Environmental, LLC, and Council Delegates Joe Maternowski and Sue Steinwall discussed the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s new “All Appropriate Inquiries” rule.  The panelists explored the EPA rule and its interaction with new standards from the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) for Phase I environmental assessments.  Offered without charge, the one-hour program followed the monthly meeting of the Section’s Governing Council. 

On April 11, 2007, the Section offered a program during which Janette Brimmer of the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy discussed recent developments under the Wetland Conservation Act.  This one-hour program was also free to all Section members and followed the Section Governing Council’s monthly meeting.

On April 19, 2007, over 160 attorneys, consultants, and other environmental professionals attended the Section’s premier educational offering, the third annual Environmental Law Institute.  Sponsored by the Section and Minnesota Continuing Legal Education, the Institute featured an outstanding keynote address by John C. Cruden, Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the Environment Division of the United States Department of Justice.  In addition, the Institute offered presentations from twenty faculty members on a wide range of timely environmental issues in two plenary and eight small-group sessions.  The presentations included an update of environmental case law and regulations, climate change and carbon dioxide regulation, the all appropriate inquiries rule, the future of environmental enforcement, hot topics under the Clean Water Act, and the future of environmental review and environmental rights in Minnesota.  There were also several small-group sessions designed for newer attorneys, including a discussion of the basics of administrative law for environmental practitioners, a technical primer for lawyers on analyzing groundwater and surface water issues, and a panel discussion focused on the challenges facing public interest environmental lawyers.

Newsletter
The Section published two newsletters in 2006-2007.  The newsletters offered feature articles analyzing the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Massachusetts v. EPA addressing climate change, the new storm water rules for the City of Minneapolis, and the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s recently promulgated “All Appropriate Inquiries” rule. In addition, the newsletters contained regular columns discussing environmental issues affecting agriculture and summarizing recent judicial decisions in environmental and natural resources law.

Family Day
Over thirty members and their families enjoyed the Section’s annual Family Day on February 10, 2007, held at the Minnesota History Center in St. Paul.  The event included lunch and a scavenger hunt for historical information in the History Center’s museum.

Award
At the Environmental Law Institute, the Section presented its third annual Distinguished Service Award, which recognizes a member of the bench or bar who has demonstrated a significant commitment and made an outstanding contribution to environmental or natural resources law in the state of Minnesota.  Prior recipients of the award include Eldon Kaul and Chuck Dayton.  This year’s recipient was Mac Hyde.  Mr. Hyde has been a leader in environmental law and litigation in Minnesota for more than forty years.  He represented Reserve Mining in one of the most important environmental cases in the state’s history, tried the first case under the Minnesota Environmental Response & Liability Act, and handled several environmental insurance coverage claims that were ultimately resolved in the Minnesota Supreme Court.  Mr. Hyde also crafted a number of innovative settlement agreements with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and other regulatory entities.

Outreach
Outreach to law students and young lawyers was another of the Section’s priorities this year.  In early October 2006, the Section held a reception at which over two dozen area law students and nearly one dozen Section members discussed the practice of environmental and natural resources law in the upper Midwest.  At the Environmental Law Institute, the Section hosted its third annual law student lunch, providing students the opportunity to discuss the practice of environmental law with Section members and Institute faculty.  As discussed above, the Institute also offered a number of sessions designed for law students and young lawyers.

Section Elections
The election for Section Officers and Governing Council Delegates yielded a full roster comprised of lawyers engaged in all facets of environmental and natural resources law practice.  The 2007-2008 Section Officers and Council Delegates include attorneys from large and small private law firms, government, corporations, public interest groups, universities and law schools, and solo practitioners.

Respectfully submitted

 

Thaddeus R. Lightfoot
The Environmental Law Group, Ltd.
Section Chair 2006-2007



MSBA Environmental & Natural Resources Law Section
2005-06 Annual Report


The Section continued to provide valued services to its members over the past year. Section activities included the following:

Seminars
The Section sponsored two major CLE programs this year. Over 50 people attended the Section's fall "State of the Environment" agency update CLE on November 17. Speakers from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, the Department of Natural Resources, the Attorney General's Office, the Environmental Quality Board, and the Board of Water and Soil Resources each provided information and insight on issues of importance to their agencies as they attempt to fulfill their mandates, use their limited enforcement resources, and plan for the future.

On April 19, 2006, the Section sponsored the second annual Environmental Law Institute, presented by Minnesota Continuing Legal Education. This full-day CLE offering drew nearly 140 attendees, featured 18 speakers and included a keynote address by Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Gene Merriam. Five plenary sessions were presented, as well as seven breakout sessions. A tuition discount was provided for government and non-profit lawyers. The Section also presented its second annual Distinguished Service Award at the Institute.

For the first time this year, the Section's educational offerings included the following series of one-hour CLEs in conjunction with Section Council meetings in October, January, and May:
"A Constitutional Right to Environmental Quality" - Marcia Gelpe, Emerita Professor of Law at William Mitchell College of Law and professor at Netanya Academic College School of Law, Israel.
"The Uniform Environmental Covenants Act" - Michele Timmons, Minnesota Revisor of Statutes and a member of the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws Committee.
"Looking Back to the Future of Environmental Law and Policy" - Eldon Kaul, retired Minnesota Assistant Attorney General, and Michael Sandusky, Director, Environmental Analysis and Outcomes Division, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.

Newsletter
Three issues of the Section newsletter were published to provide members with case law and administrative updates, reports on environmental issues in agricultural law, submissions from state agency personnel, and articles on other topics contributed by members. The Council continued to employ a local law student to assist with case updates.

Family Day

Members, their families, and guests enjoyed the Section's annual Family Day activity at the March 12 Minnesota Wild-Edmonton Oilers game. This unique event gives Section members and their families an opportunity to interact in a social setting.

Award

The Section presented its second annual Distinguished Service Award to Charles Dayton in recognition of his long-time and tireless advocacy for the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, education and change on global warming issues, and other environmental causes.

Outreach

The Council explored ways to reach out to law students and newer lawyers. Activities included a Council-hosted law student reception on September 29 at the MSBA offices and a lunch for law students during the Environmental Law Institute. These events provided an opportunity for exchange of information and ideas between and among Council members and students regarding the state of the practice, career opportunities, and possible career paths.

The Council shared the rewards of the Section's successful programs and activities by contributing in November to the MSBA Katrina Legal Assistance Relief Fund. In support of this initiative, the Council approved a donation of $1,000 to assist legal service organizations in the Gulf Coast region. Every Section member can be proud of being a part of this effort to help our colleagues in the affected areas.
Council Members Council elections resulted in a full roster of officers and delegates comprised of lawyers representing different aspects of environmental and natural resources practice. The 2006-2007 Council includes attorneys from private law firms, government, corporations, public interest groups, universities and law schools, as well as solo practitioners.

Submitted by

Gary L. Hansen
AgriBank, FCB
Section Chair 2005-2006

 


MSBA Environmental & Natural Resources Law Section
2004-05 Annual Report

The Section had a great year this past year. The Section's activities this year included the following:

Seminars
The Section worked on two seminars this year. The first seminar, presented on November 9, 2004, was entitled "What's Hot Now? An Environmental Update from State Government." Over fifty people attended this seminar featuring speakers from the Pollution Control Agency, Environmental Quality Board, Department of Natural Resources and Board of Water and Soil Resources. Each speaker gave an update as to the activities of her or his agency as well as a preview of that agency's focus and initiatives for the upcoming year.

On April 22, 2005, the Section sponsored the First Annual Environmental Law Institute, presented by Minnesota Continuing Legal Education. This full-day CLE drew over 175 attendees, featured 17 speakers and included a keynote address by Minnesota Pollution Control Agency Commissioner Sheryl Corrigan. Seven plenary sessions were presented as well as seven workshops. The Section sponsored a tuition discount for government and non-profit lawyers. The Section also presented its first Distinguished Service Award at the Institute. The Section and MCLE plan to make this an annual event and believe that participation will continue to be high.

Newsletter
The revamped ENR Newsletter continued to provide the Section's members with caselaw and administrative updates, reports on environmental issues in agricultural law, submissions from state agency personnel and articles on other topics contributed by section members. The Council adopted a specific policy as to the purpose of the newsletter and disclosure of personal or professional involvement with the subject of her or his submission. The Council has continued to employ a local law student to assist with case updates.

Family Day
On February 5, the Section held its annual Family Day event. Two dozen members and guests attended the Minnesota-Wisconsin men's basketball game. The Section plans to hold a similar event this coming year in order to give Section members and their families an opportunity to interact in a social setting.

Award
The Section presented its first distinguished service award to Eldon Kaul, retired Assistant Attorney General, in recognition of his years of public service. Eldon began a well-deserved retirement in June 2004 after nearly 34 years of public service to the Attorney General's Office, his governmental clients and the people of Minnesota. Eldon currently spends at least some of his retirement doing volunteer work that focuses on civic education at the high school level. Eldon's goal in this work is to assist young people to better understand how their governmental and legal systems work. Most importantly, he wants to teach them to recognize their responsibilities as citizens to ensure that our democratic system works for the best interests and common good of the people. The Council was proud to award this honor to Eldon.

Outreach
The Council explored ways to reach out to law students and newer lawyers. As a part of this initiative, the Council hosted a lunch for law students during the Environmental Law Institute. The lunch was well-attended by both students and Council members, and provided a good exchange of information and ideas regarding the state of the practice, career opportunities and possible career paths. The Council plans to host a reception for law students interested in environmental law this fall.

The Council invited a number of visitors to informally address the Council. Council Delegate Dennis Coyne spoke with the Council about his career coaching practice at one meeting. In addition, the Council heard from students at the University of Minnesota Law School regarding their efforts to start an Environmental Law Clinic at the school. Martha Brand, Executive Director of the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy, also made a presentation to the Council.

Council elections resulted in a full roster of officers and delegates comprised of lawyers representing different aspects of the environmental and natural resources practice. The 2005-2006 council includes attorneys from private law firms, government, corporations, public interest groups, as well as solo practitioners and a law professor.

Submitted by

Elizabeth H. Schmiesing,
Faegre & Benson LLP
Section Chair 2004-2005


MSBA Environmental & Natural Resources Law Section
2003-04 Annual Report

This past year the Council worked hard to provide services to its membership. The Sections activities included:


MSBA Environmental and Natural Resources Section
1998-99 Annual Report

The section has completed another successful year in the service of our members. The section sponsored a number of educational and outreach activities:

Robert E. Cattanach,
1998-99 Chair

- Last Updated 08/03/12 -