Replay available from our video archive

The 13th Annual Advanced Conference on Litigating

Natural Resource Damages - Santa Fe

Best strategies and tactics to handle large, complex NRD cases today

Presented on August 20 & 21, 2020

Download PDF Brochure
Seminar Image

Program Overview

Who Should Order

In-house and private attorneys, consultants, corporate managers, Tribal and governmental representatives, and others who are involved in natural resource damage claims

Why You will Benefit from the Replay

This year the Santa Fe NRD conference will open with John Cruden and John Pendergrass discussing the impact on NRD of the Trump Administration's rollback of federal environmental protections and the efforts by state and local governments to maintain protections. NRD recovery and restoration has evolved significantly since passage of CERCLA and we'll take a big picture look at the trend lines, and implications for the future of NRD.

This year marks the 5th anniversary of the Gold King Mine spill and the 10th for Deepwater Horizon. We'll have case study updates for lessons learned from the response to those events.

At the cutting edge of NRD, we have Perfluorinated "Forever" Chemicals (PFCs) as an emerging major source of contamination. Also emerging are damages from wildfires, glacial melting, and ocean warming due to climate change. You'll have an opportunity to hear from subject area experts in both of those topic areas.

Our second day focuses on three nitty-gritty litigation topic areas. One is the unique and often difficult issues that arise when the federal government is both a trustee and a responsible party. The second is a SCOTUS update on pending and recently decided NRD cases. We'll finish with novel common law theories of liability being advanced in local level litigation to address global problems and their interplay with NRD claims

You will hear from, interact with, and receive practical tips from leading NRD experts from around the country. We hope you'll be able to join us for the best and longest-running NRD program in the country.

~ Sarah P. Bell, Esq. of Farella Braun + Martel and William J. Jackson, Esq. of Kelley Drye & Warren, Program Co-Chairs

What You Will Learn

  • Current federal environmental policy and the implications for future recovery of natural resource damages
  • The arc of NRD cases: The last 40 years
  • The Gold King Mine case 5 years later
  • Lessons from Deepwater Horizon for Ecosystem Restoration
  • Perfluorinated Chemicals (PFCs) as an NRD subject area
  • Global Warming and NRD: Wildfires
  • Global Warming and NRD: Sea level rise and warmer ocean temperatures
  • Federal liability as a PRP
  • SCOTUS update
  • Common law claims for NRD

What Participants Said

  • "Santa Fe is a great choice for this seminar - easier to get to for West Coast folks than DC."
  • "Emerging contaminant presentation was great"
  • "This is the best NRDA LSI I have been to in the past 3 years. Thank you!"
  • This was an excellent program. Perhaps the best CLE I have ever attended.
  • "Best Year Yet!"

Agenda Day 1

8:30 am

Registration Opens

9:00 am

Introduction & Overview

Sarah Peterman Bell, Esq. , Program Co-Chair
Farella Braun + Martel / San Francisco, CA

William J. Jackson, Esq. , Program Co-Chair
Kelley Drye & Warren / Houston, TX

9:15 am

Special Opening Addresses: Current Federal Environmental Policy and the Implications for Future Recovery of Natural Resource Damages

Trump Administration rollback of federal environmental protections, including the switch from mandatory to voluntary Clean Air Act compliance in response to the Covid-19 epidemic, and the efforts by state and local governments to maintain protections

John C. Cruden, Esq.
Beveridge & Diamond / Washington, DC

John Pendergrass, Esq. , Vice President, Research and Policy
Environmental Law Institute / Washington, DC

10:15 am


10:30 am

The Arc of NRD Cases: The Last 40 Years

A data driven analysis of the history of NRD cases since the passage of CERCLA, the number of sites, litigated matters, restoration recoveries across the country, and indications for the future of NRD

Barbara J. Goldsmith , Executive Director
Ad-Hoc Industry Natural Resource Management Group / Washington, DC

11:00 am

Progress Report: The Gold King Mine Case 5 Years Later

Case study of the lasting cultural and regional impacts from the Gold King Mine Spill

Robert E. Unsworth , Principal
Industrial Economics, Incorporated / Cambridge, MA

11:30 am

Ecosystem Restoration: Deepwater Horizon After 10 Years

Lessons for early resolution and restoration efforts and the interplay with regulatory reform

Brian Israel, Esq.
Arnold & Porter / Washington, DC

12:00 pm

Lunch (on your own)

1:15 pm

An Holistic Look at an NRD Subject Area: Perfluorinated Chemicals (PFCs): "Forever Chemical" Contamination of Surface Waters, Groundwater Resources, Sediments, and Other Natural Resources

Perspectives on the national scope of PFAS litigation, the status of regulations and NRD activity across the country, and natural resource injuries and damages models

William J. Jackson, Esq. , Program Co-Chair, Moderator
Kelley Drye & Warren / Houston, TX

Kaylene Ritter, Ph.D. , Principal Scientist
Abt Associates / Boulder, CO

Shawn M. LaTourette, Esq. , Deputy Commissioner & Chief of Staff
New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection / Trenton, NJ

Robert A. Bilott, Esq.
Taft Stettinius & Hollister / Cincinnati, OH

Michael A. Olsen, Esq.
Mayer Brown / Chicago, IL

3:00 pm


3:15 pm

An Holistic Look (cont'd): Global Warming, Fire, and Rain

Perspectives on national and local impacts from global warming, fires, and extreme weather, and considerations regarding potential liability and damages for NRD

Sarah P. Bell, Esq. , Program Co-Chair, Moderator
Farella Braun + Martel / San Francisco, CA

Craig R. O'Connor, Esq. , Special Counsel for Natural Resources
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration / Seattle, WA

Katherine Palmquist, Ph.D. , Managing Scientist
Exponent, Inc. / Bellevue, WA

Christine Lee , Senior Technical Consultant
Industrial Economics, Incorporated / San Francisco, CA

Corrie Yackulic, Esq.
Sher Edling / San Francisco, CA

5:00 pm

Continue the Exchange of Ideas: Virtual Reception for Faculty and Attendees

Grab your favorite beverage and snack for a moment of comradery and a less structured discussion of what is happening in the NRD world

Friday, August 21, 2020

9:00 am

Federal Liability as a PRP

The unique and often difficult issues that arise when the federal government is both a trustee and a responsible party in natural resource damages and federal contamination cases

Annie Maxfield, Esq. , Assistant General Counsel
New Mexico Environment Department / Santa Fe, NM

The government contractor defense and issues of federal sovereign immunity

John D.S. Gilmour, Esq.
Kelley Drye & Warren / Houston, TX

Technical aspects of government operator liability cases under state and federal law

A. J. Gravel , Senior Managing Director
FTI Consulting / Bethesda, MD

10:15 am


10:30 am


Implications for NRD of the Hawaii case on discharges to groundwater and the Montana ARCO smelter case on whether CERCLA bars individual landowners from suing for additional cleanup funds

Ira Gottlieb, Esq.
McCarter & English / Newark, NJ

John T. Dema, Esq.
Law Offices of John K Dema / Christiansted, VI

11:30 am

Common Law Claims for NRD

Marching into the void resulting from lack of federal action on climate change and other global issues: Novel theories of liability being advanced in local level litigation to address global problems and their interplay with NRD claims

Ashley Campbell, Esq.
SL Environmental Law Group / Concord, NH

Donald E. Sobelman, Esq.
Farella Braun + Martel / Santa Fe, NM

12:30 pm

Evaluations & Adjourn

Faculty Bios

Sarah Peterman Bell, Sarah Peterman Bell, Program Co-Chair, is a partner at Farella Braun + Martel focusing on environmental and natural resources litigation.

William J. Jackson, William J. Jackson, Program Co-Chair, is co-chair of the National Environmental Law practice group at Kelley Drye & Warren.

John C. Cruden, John C. Cruden, Special Address, is a principal at Beverage & Diamond. He previously served as a senior leader on environment and natural resource matters at the United States Department of Justice.

John Pendergrass, John Pendergrass, Special Address, is Vice President for Research and Policy at the Environmental Law Institute.

Robert A. Bilott Robert A. Bilott is a partner at Taft Stettinius & Hollister. He brought the very first PFAS environmental exposure case in 1999 and is the author of "Exposure" which served as the basis for the recently released movie "Dark Water".

Ashley Campbell, Ashley Campbell, SL Environmental Law Group, focuses her practice on complex environmental contamination litigation.

John T. Dema John T. Dema , Law Offices of John K Dema, represents plaintiffs in complex environmental cases.

John D.S. Gilmour John D.S. Gilmour co-chairs the Environmental Litigation section at Kelley Drye & Warren.

Barbara J. Goldsmith Barbara J. Goldsmith is the Executive Director of the Ad-Hoc Industry Natural Resource Management Group.

Ira M. Gottl Ira M. Gottl ieb is a Partner at McCarter & English and Practice Group Leader of the Firm's Environment & Energy Practice Group.

A. J. Gravel A. J. Gravel is a Senior Managing Director in FTI Consulting Inc. He is the co-practice leader of the Environmental Solutions Practice and heads the Forensic History and Analysis group.

Brian D. Isr Brian D. Isr ael is a Partner at Arnold & Porter and chair of the firm's Environmental Practice Group. He served as lead counsel to BP in relation to the Deepwater Horizon NRD claim and as one of the trial attorneys at the Deepwater Horizon Clean Water Act penalty trial.

Shawn M. LaTourette Shawn M. LaTourette is Deputy Commissioner & Chief of Staff for the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.

Christine Lee Christine Lee is a Senior Technical Consultant at Industrial Economics, Incorporated. Her current work focuses on monetizing economic and natural resources damages to public entities due to wildfires in the western U.S.

Annie Maxfield Annie Maxfield is Assistant General Counsel for the New Mexico Environment Department. She represents the Department in a variety of water quality-related matters.

Craig R. O'Connor is Special Counsel for Natural Resources at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. He has dealt with NRD issues since the Exxon Valdez oil spilll.

Michael A. Olsen Michael A. Olsen is co-leader of Mayer Brown's Mass Tort & Product Liability practice. He serves as national counsel for 3M in PFAS chemical litigation and to Union Carbide Corporation with respect to asbestos.

Katherine Palmquist, Ph.D., Katherine Palmquist, Ph.D., is a Managing Scientist at Exponent, Inc. She has expertise in ecological risk assessment and natural resource damage assessment (NRDA) at large complex sites.

Kaylene Ritter, Ph.D., Kaylene Ritter, Ph.D., is a Principal Scientist at Abt Associates. She is an environmental chemist with expertise in assessing contaminant pathways, fate, and impacts.

Donald E. Sobelman Donald E. Sobelman is a partner at Farella Braun + Martel. He focuses his practice on helping clients navigate the complexities of federal and California environmental law.

Robert E. Unsworth Robert E. Unsworth is a Principal at Industrial Economics, Incorporated. He provides expert support in the assessment of economic damages resulting from adverse changes in the environment and of economic benefits associated with environmental regulation.

Corrie Yackulic, Corrie Yackulic, of counsel to Sher Edling on its climate change cases, focuses on environmental tort cases involving toxic dumping, drinking water contamination, corporate polluting, and catastrophic environmental disaster.

Continuing Education Credits

Live credits: This program qualifies for 9.20 NM MCLE, 9.25 WA MCLE, and 9.25 ABCEP environmental professional credits. Upon request, we will help you apply for CLE credits in other states and other types of credits.