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Environmental Regulation 2015: Hot Topics, Regulatory Developments, and Practical Guidance for Corporate Compliance

Speaker(s): Betty Moy Huber, D. Evan van Hook, Duke K. McCall, III, James M. Altman, Kathy Robb, Michael B. Gerrard, Nicholas Yost, Paul E Hagen, Philip E. Karmel, Ronald J. Tenpas, Sharyl Reisman
Recorded on: Jun. 12, 2015
PLI Program #: 57212

James Altman has successfully tried cases and arbitrations and argued appeals in a wide variety of civil cases across the country.  In addition to general commercial matters, Mr. Altman has concentrated a substantial portion of his time on issues of professional liability and legal ethics and the representation of foreign entities and individuals in domestic litigation.

Professional Affiliations

  • New York State Bar Association – Committee on Professional Ethics, 1999- 2007, 2014-Present; Chair, Committee on Attorney Professionalism, 2002-2008, Member, Committee on Attorney Professionalism, 1994- ; Special Committee to Review Mandatory CLE, 1998-2005
  • The Association of the Bar of the City of New York – Committee on Professional and Judicial Ethics, 1994-1997
  • American Bar Association – Committee on Labor and Employment Law; Labor and Antitrust Law Subcommittee, Co-chairman, 1985-1988

Civic Involvement and Honors

  • Brooklyn Law School – Adjunct Professor of Law, 1996-1998
  • Member of the Departmental Disciplinary Committee of the First Judicial Department, January 1, 2009 to date
  • Arbitrator on the Commercial Panel of the American Arbitration Association, November 2009 to date
  • Mediator on the Mediation Panel appointed by the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, September 2011 to date

 Related Practices


  • Yale University, J.D., 1975
  • Yale University, B.A., magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, 1971


  • New York, 1982
  • Connecticut, 1975
  • District of Columbia, 1976
  • United States Supreme Court
  • United States Courts of Appeals for the Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Ninth and District of Columbia Circuits
  • United States District Courts for the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York

 Committee/Leadership Roles

  • Ethics Committee

Nicholas Yost has a nationwide and international practice of environmental and natural resources law.  He chairs Dentons’ US Environmental practice and co-chairs the firm’s international environment practice. Nick is the recipient of the American Bar Association's 2010 Award for Distinguished Achievement in Environmental Law and Policy.

Nick has served for the past 29 years as a private practitioner, having previously served as a lawyer and official with federal and state (California) governments and as a public interest lawyer.

Nick practices under all environmental laws with the focus of his practice involving counseling, document review, administrative proceedings and litigation under Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) laws, particularly the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and its state analogues, including the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).

As general counsel of the President's Council on Environmental Quality, Nick was lead draftsperson of the federal government's NEPA regulations and has played a comparably significant role in the development of CEQA.

His practice also includes counseling clients on compliance with such laws, obtaining permits and authorizations under federal and state environmental laws, representation of clients before federal and state agencies on environmental matters, Washington and Sacramento advocacy, handling environmental due diligence and litigation.

In connection with his principal work involving assistance to proponents of projects going through the NEPA and analogous state law processes, he reviews NEPA documents to ensure their legal adequacy in a full range of contexts, from public lands to specific projects, and participates in litigation to defend those approvals and otherwise to assert clients' interests under NEPA. He also regularly assists environmental consulting firms in ensuring NEPA compliance in documents they are preparing. He has also acted as an expert witness on NEPA and related laws.

Examples of his practice include successful representation of clients in taking major projects through NEPA and related environmental permit processes, such as renewable energy projects; airport expansions (Philadelphia, San Jose); land developments; international and interstate natural gas pipelines; electrical power plants; mining; highway, bridge and light rail projects; and Indian gaming and other facilities. He currently acts as outside NEPA counsel to a congressionally created federal agency, the Presidio Trust, reviewing the agency's documents for compliance with NEPA.

Nick has also represented the pharmaceutical industry and the veterinary pharmaceutical industry in environmental regulatory reform issues in Washington, DC; led negotiations among responsible parties at hazardous waste sites; and worked with federal and state trustees under the Oil Pollution Act concerning Natural Resources Damages (NRD) arising from an oil spill from an OCS drilling platform.

Nick also has represented plaintiffs in litigation to enforce NEPA and other environmental laws, including successful litigation on behalf of the state of Louisiana against the Corps of Engineers concerning offshore dredging. He has received an award for his pro bono activity.

He has also aided clients in asserting environmental leadership, such as by assisting in developing and drafting corporate environmental policies and assistance in strategic planning.


  • US-wide private practice of environmental and natural resources law in Washington, DC, (1985–1994) and in San Francisco with Dentons (1994–present)
  • Varied litigation practice directing the Washington office of the Center for Law in the Public Interest (1982–1985)
  • Visiting scholar, Environmental Law Institute (1981–1982), Washington, DC
  • General counsel, Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) in the Executive Office of the President of the United States (1977–1981). Responsibilities in that office include lead responsibility for the development and drafting of the regulations that implement the National Environmental Policy Act and its environmental impact statement requirement throughout the federal government (40 C.F.R. Parts 1500-1508). Also assisted in negotiating and drafting a Presidential Executive Order dealing with international environmental impacts of US actions
  • United States director of the Law and Administration Project under the United States-Soviet environmental agreement, heading a US delegation to the USSR and hosting the Soviet delegation
  • Member of the US delegation hosting Chinese environmental specialists
  • Director, President's Task Force on Global Resources and Environment (1980–1981), taking a leave of absence from duties as CEQ general counsel to act as director of a cabinet-level task force co-chaired by the secretary of state and chair of CEQ
  • Deputy attorney general in charge, Environmental Unit, State of California Department of Justice (1971–1977), responsible for environmental litigation and administrative proceedings initiated by the attorney general and for drafting and advocating legislation in the California Legislature
  • Counsel to the California State Environmental Quality Study Council (1969–1971), created to study all California's environmental laws, problems, and institutions and report to the governor and the Legislature
  • This followed a period (1965–1969) when he was an administrative lawyer and litigator in the California Justice Department, representing various state agencies
  • Military Service (1963–1965): United States Army, Captain, Artillery, 1st Infantry Division


Honors and Awards

  • Selected for inclusion in Who’s Who in America and Who’s Who in American Law
  • Named Best Lawyer for Environmental Law in Northern California's Best Lawyers
  • Ranked by Chambers USA as one of the leading American lawyers for business in the fields of Environmental Law and Native American Law


  • NEPA Deskbook, Environmental Law Institute, 4th Edition, 2014
  • "The Environmental Impact Statement Process," Bureau of National Affairs, Corporate Practice Series, 2014
  • "The Background and History of NEPA," in The NEPA Litigation Guide, American Bar Association, 1998, 2012
  • Co-author, "The 'Action-Forcing' Requirements of NEPA and Ongoing Action of the Federal Government," Environmental Law Reporter, Environmental Law Institute, 2004
  • "Administrative Implementation of and Judicial Review Under the National Environmental Policy Act," Law of Environmental Protection, Environmental Law Institute, Clark-Boardman-Callaghan, 1987
  • "Environmental Law and Practice," Environmental Law Institute, Clark-Boardman-Callaghan, 1992
  • "Rio and the Road Beyond," SCEL, American Bar Association, 1992
  • "The Governance of Environmental Affairs, Toward Consensus," Aspen Institute, 1982
  • Articles published in numerous publications including the Los Angeles Times and the New York Times.  Speaker at numerous venues.

Activities and Affiliations

Nick is a member of the bars of California and the District of Columbia and of the Supreme Court of the United States and of other federal courts. He has litigated at the Supreme Court, intermediate appellate and trial court levels in both the federal and state systems and has testified at numerous legislative hearings at both federal and state levels.

His professional service has included:

  • Chair, Standing Committee on Environmental Law, American Bar Association
  • Member, US Delegation to the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (the "Earth Summit"), Rio de Janeiro (1992)
  • Delegate to or speaker at numerous international environmental law conferences, including those in Brussels, Hong Kong, Mexico City, Toronto, Rio de Janeiro, Tokyo, Czech Republic, Poland and Uganda
  • ABA Member, National Conference of Lawyers and Scientists
  • Member and subcommittee chair, California EPA Blue Ribbon Commission on a Unified Environmental Statute
  • Chairperson, Committee on the Environment, State Bar of California
  • Co-chair, Section on Environment, Energy and Natural Resources, District of Columbia Bar
  • Member, board of directors, Environmental Law Institute
  • Awarded the Environmental Quality Award by the Natural Resources Council of America (1996)

Ronald J. Tenpas
Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP
Washington, DC

Ron brings his Justice Department experience working with federal environmental agencies such as the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the US Fish and Wildlife Service to the advice he offers clients on regulatory compliance questions under environmental laws and related compliance programs. He also handles due diligence issues involved in transactional settings.

Ron previously served as Assistant Attorney General (AAG) for the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the US Department of Justice, a presidentially appointed, Senate-confirmed position. In that role, he managed a 700-person division that included 400 lawyers, and oversaw civil and criminal litigation arising under more than 150 environmental and natural resources laws. He also advised Cabinet and White House officials on policy and litigation risks associated with the environmental laws. The Division’s major client agencies were the EPA and the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Energy, Homeland Security, and Interior. Ron oversaw litigation in which regulated entities challenged new regulatory commands, and matters in which the government sought to enforce environmental requirements arising under the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, CERCLA (Superfund), RCRA, the Pipeline Safety Act, and other statutes. Ron received the Edmund Randolph Award, the Justice Department’s highest honor, for his service.

Before serving as AAG, Ron served as an Associate Deputy Attorney General, as the US Attorney in the Southern District of Illinois (also requiring Senate confirmation), and as an Assistant US Attorney in the District of Maryland and the Middle District of Florida. In these positions, he investigated and tried white collar matters related to healthcare fraud and public corruption. He has testified five times before Congress on multiple topics, including environmental enforcement, healthcare fraud, insider trading, and identity theft. He chaired the Justice Department’s healthcare fraud coordinating committee, served on the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee of US Attorneys, and served as executive director of the 17-agency Identity Theft Task Force.

Ron has an active pro bono practice, chairing the Washington, DC, office’s Pro Bono Committee and serving on the Board of the DC Legal Aid Society.

Ron served as law clerk to Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist of the US Supreme Court, Judge Louis H. Pollak of the US District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, and Judge Howard Holtzmann of the Iran-US Claims Tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands.  Ron was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship to attend Oxford University.

Sharyl Reisman has substantial experience in a broad range of complex litigation matters, including preparing and trying cases involving toxic tort, product liability, environmental, trade secret, and intellectual property matters. She has represented clients in the electronics, pharmaceutical, chemical manufacturing, oil and gas, and consumer products industries. She has extensive experience in cases involving health effect allegations and with experts in numerous disciplines, including economic damages, medicine, epidemiology, toxicology, and risk assessment.

Sharyl was trial counsel for Yamaha in a bellwether case relating to rollovers of an off-road vehicle. After a three-month jury trial, she obtained a complete defense verdict. Sharyl is currently defending IBM in a case involving claims of personal injury, medical monitoring, and property damage relating to groundwater contamination and vapor intrusion. Her other recent representations include defending against patent infringement claims involving satellite and broadcast technology, cancer claims allegedly due to oil exploration activities, and sterility claims allegedly due to pesticide exposure. She was a member of the trial team defending Dole Food Company in a five-month jury trial of the first of these sterility claims to go to trial. Of 42 plaintiffs selected from thousands of claimants worldwide, only four were awarded damages; their aggregate award was less than plaintiffs' costs and was later vacated. Sharyl also represented IBM in hundreds of workplace exposure claims alleging various health effects and was a member of the trial team obtaining a unanimous defense verdict in a four-month jury trial.

Sharyl is Firmwide Chair of Recruiting and serves as a member of the Firm Diversity & Inclusion Task Force.


University of Michigan (J.D. cum laude 1992); Dartmouth College (A.B. magna cum laude 1989; Phi Beta Kappa)

Bar Admissions

Illinois and New York

Betty Moy Huber is co-head of the firm's ESG Group as well as co-head of the firm's Environmental Transactional Group. For over two decades, she has provided advice in hundreds of transactions as well as ESG, disclosure and other regulatory advice to various public and private equity companies.

A former member of the SASB’s Advisory Council, she speaks on ESG topics for numerous organizations including ALI, ABA, Bank Policy Institute,, Environmental Law Institute, Lawline, the New York City Bar, Risk Management Association, SIFMA, and the Society for Corporate Governance.

Ms. Huber writes on ESG topics for various publications, including Bloomberg BNA, Financial Times' Agenda,,, Directorship magazine, Financier Worldwide, Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance and

Financial Regulation, Corporate Governance Advisor and Dow Jones Private Equity Analyst.

She is cited as a legal expert in countless publications, including Barron's, Pensions & Investments, Thomson Reuters and The Wall Street Journal.

Ms. Huber guest lectures on ESG matters at various law schools including University of Virginia and University of Florida.

Kathy Robb’s practice focuses on litigation in federal district and appellate courts across the country, including in the U.S. Supreme Court.  She represents water districts, developers, investors, lenders, industrial companies, and chemical manufacturers, among others, with regard to water rights, endangered species issues, environmental impact reviews, river sites with contaminated sediments, and on large sites with contaminated groundwater.  She also works on complex transactions from the bid process through closing and advises clients on corporate structuring to best manage risk.

Michael B. Gerrard is Andrew Sabin Professor of Professional Practice at Columbia Law School, where he teaches courses on environmental and energy law and founded and directs the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law.   He is also a member and former Chair of the Faculty of Columbia’s Earth Institute. Before joining the Columbia faculty in January 2009, he was partner in charge of the New York office of the Arnold & Porter law firm; he is now Senior Counsel to the firm.  He practiced environmental law in New York City full time from 1979 to 2008. His practice involved trying numerous cases and arguing many appeals in federal and state courts and administrative tribunals; handling the environmental aspects of numerous transactions and development projects; and providing regulatory compliance advice to a wide variety of clients in the private and public sectors.

Gerrard was the 2004-2005 chair of the American Bar Association’s 10,000-member section of environment, energy, and resources. He also chaired the New York City Bar Association’s executive committee and the New York State Bar Association’s environmental law section. He has served on the executive committees of the boards of the Environmental Law Institute and the American College of Environmental Lawyers. Several independent rating services ranked Gerrard as the leading environmental lawyer in New York and one of the leading environmental lawyers in the world.

Since 1986, Gerrard has written an environmental law column for the New York Law Journal.  He is author or editor of thirteen books, two of which were named Best Law Book of the Year by the Association of American Publishers: Environmental Law Practice Guide (twelve volumes, 1992) and Brownfields Law and Practice (four volumes, 1998). Among his other books are Global Climate Change and U.S. Law (with Jody Freeman) (2d ed. 2014); Law of Clean Energy: Efficiency and Renewables (2011); Climate Engineering and the Law: Regulation and Liability for Solar Radiation Management and Carbon Dioxide Removal (with Tracy Hester 2018); and Legal Pathways to Deep Decarbonization in the United States (with John Dernbach, 2019).

He received his B.A. from Columbia University and his J.D. from NYU Law School, where he was a Root Tilden Scholar.

Mr. McCall is a partner in the Washington, D.C., office of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP, where he specializes in environmental law and complex litigation. He has advised clients concerning the regulatory requirements of numerous federal and state environmental programs, the development of corporate environmental compliance procedures, the disclosure of environmental liabilities, and the conduct of internal investigations relating to environmental matters. He has represented clients in enforcement proceedings, citizens’ suits, and cost recovery actions brought under the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, CERCLA (Superfund), RCRA, and analogous state laws.  In addition, he has advised clients concerning environmental aspects of corporate transactions. He holds a B.A. degree from Furman University and a J.D. degree from Vanderbilt University.

Philip E. Karmel is a partner at Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP.  His litigation practice includes environmental and real estate litigation, land use matters arising under environmental review statutes and zoning laws, and the defense of toxic tort actions.  He has tried a number of cases in federal and state courts and before administrative law judges and arbitrators and has briefed or argued motions or appeals in California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maryland, Montana, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, Washington, D.C., West Virginia and Wisconsin.  He also counsels clients on environmental matters, including environmental impact statements, environmental permitting, environmental compliance, investigations by governmental agencies, the redevelopment of brownfield properties, environmental aspects of corporate and real estate transactions, and issues arising under the Clean Air Act and federal and state superfund and oil spill statutes.  He has served as counsel for major energy, transportation and real estate development projects.

He has published many articles and several book chapters on environmental law, environmental litigation and toxic torts.  Upon graduation from law school, Mr. Karmel clerked for the Hon. Edward R. Becker, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, and thereafter served for five years as a Trial Attorney in the Environmental Enforcement Section of the U.S. Department of Justice, Washington, D.C., where he received the Department’s Special Achievement Award for sustained superior performance of duty.  He received his J.D., cum laude, from the University of Chicago Law School, where he was an editor of the University of Chicago Law Review, and holds an M.Phil. in Economics from the University of Cambridge and a B.A. with Honors in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania.

He is listed in BEST LAWYERS IN AMERICA; CHAMBERS USA; and SUPER LAWYERS.  In 2005, he received the Scale of Justice Award from MFY Legal Services, Inc. for pro bono work. 

Paul E. Hagen
Principal, Beveridge & Diamond, P.C.

Paul Hagen practices in the areas of U.S. and international environmental law. He advises a diverse group of multinational corporations and trade associations on market access, global supply chain, and product stewardship matters in the U.S. and in key markets worldwide. Mr. Hagen also counsels clients on the negotiation and implementation of regional and global environmental agreements, with a particular emphasis on treaties and related legislation impacting the electronics, chemicals and pharmaceutical sectors. He has helped clients with the successful implementation of national and global product take-back and recycling programs.  His recent work includes:

  • Conflict Minerals: Advising a wide range of companies on due diligence, supply chain communication and disclosure requirements under the SEC’s Conflict Minerals Rule.
  • Chemicals and Material Ban Legislation: Advising companies on market access requirements for chemicals and material ban legislation for electronics, toys and consumer products in key markets worldwide.
  • Product Take-Back: Counseling U.S. companies on the collection and environmentally sound management of used and end-of-life electronic equipment, batteries, pharmaceuticals and other products in the U.S. and in key markets world-wide.
  • Basel Convention on the Transboundary Movement of Wastes: Counseling the U.S. electronics industry on the negotiation and implementation of the Basel Convention, related OECD Council Decisions and U.S. bilateral agreements governing the transboundary movement of used and end-of-life electronic equipment.
  • Energy Efficiency: Counseling U.S. companies on federal and state energy efficiency mandates and environmentally preferable procurement standards.

Mr. Hagen serves on the boards of several leading conservation non-profit organizations, including the Conservation Fund and the Chesapeake Conservancy, and is a former board member and Chair of the Environmental Law Institute. He has advised governments in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East on the drafting of environmental and natural resources legislation. In addition, he has taught as an adjunct professor at the Washington College of Law at American University (Washington, D.C., Geneva). Mr. Hagen's environmental practice has been prominently recognized in Chambers USA and other leading publications, including The Best Lawyers in America and Super Lawyers.

Evan has led Health, Safety, Environment, Product Stewardship & Sustainability for Honeywell International, a Fortune 100 Company, since 2004.  He has lectured on International Environmental Law at Columbia Law School and the United Nations ITR, and was a credentialed attendee at UN FCCC COP 23 and COP 24.  He is a graduate of Yale Law School, and is both a former partner in the law firm of Sidley & Austin and Assistant Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.  He is on the Boards of  NTESS, LLC. and the Housatonic Valley Association.