Continuing Legal Education

Wildlife, Renewable Energy and Climate Change: Critical Legal Issues

October 25, 2012
8:45 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
6.50 MCLE hours
Co-sponsored by Chicago-Kent College of Law, Certificate Program in Energy and Environmental Law

Chicago-Kent College of Law
565 W. Adams
(map and directions)

Climate change has begun to dramatically alter the way law is practiced in the fields of natural resources and land use. Modern natural resource law depends on historic baselines, protecting pre-existing biota, and shielding nature from human activity, which is increasingly untenable in light of climate change. Increases in temperature over the last 100 years have led species to shift their ranges, primarily toward the poles and higher altitudes. Climate change has also led to phenological changes, such as changes in the times at which birds lay eggs and plants flower. Changes in temperature are now occurring rapidly, requiring species to move long distances in exceptionally short periods of time in order to survive. At this rate, up to two-thirds of species will need to migrate or be moved to new habitats to survive by the year 2050. Perhaps the most significant impediments to range shifts are anthropogenic barriers such as cities, highways and monocultures that inhibit migrations.

Don’t miss this opportunity to update and renew your knowledge on a number of key environmental and animal law areas, including wind power, lake bed leasing, climate impact modeling, adaptation management tradeoffs, critical legal issues, and much more. Environmental and energy lawyers, animal law practitioners, land use and real estate attorneys, and lawyers advising corporations and local units of government – with all levels of experience – will gain a better understanding of:

  • The good and bad of climate impact modeling;
  • How Lake Michigan offshore wind energy development may impact the future of our wildlife;
  • The ongoing work of the Midwest Habitat Conservation Plan;
  • The potential consequences of policy/regulatory changes made to accommodate accelerated climate change; and
  • The legal issues that may arise when Illinois regulation and strategic planning fully incorporate climate change considerations.
Please Note: Prior to the program, you will receive a weblink via email allowing you to access the course materials prior to the program. You will also receive a copy of the course materials (for no additional charge) when you arrive at the program, but will need to check the appropriate box on the registration page letting us know if you prefer a flash drive or printed course book.


Program Coordinator/Moderator:
Jane E. McBride, Senior Assistant Attorney General, Illinois Attorney General’s Office, Springfield




8:45 – 9:00 a.m.  Welcome and Introductions
Peter B. Canalia, Canalia & Clark LLC, Munster, IN
Matthew E. Cohn, Meckler Bulger Tilson Marick & Pearson, Chicago
Prof. A. Dan Tarlock, Chicago-Kent Certificate Program in Energy and Environmental Law, Chicago

9:00 – 10:00 a.m.  What the Polar Bear and Whitebark Pine ESA Cases Have Taught Us
Join us for this informative segment in which our speaker discusses her involvement with both the polar bear and whitebark pine listing litigation. Topics include: evidence presented in the polar bear case, the strengths and shortcomings of climate impact modeling, and the climate change factors that must now be included in any analysis conducted under the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA) and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).
Moderator: Prof. Keith Harley, Clinical Faculty and Co-Director of the Program in Environmental and Energy Law, Chicago-Kent College of Law, Chicago
Rebecca J. Riley, Natural Resources Defense Council, Chicago

10:00 – 10:15 a.m.  Break (beverages provided)

10:15 – 11:45 a.m.  Lake Michigan Offshore Wind Energy Development: The Advisory Council Report Is In
In 2011, the Legislature created the Lake Michigan Offshore Wind Energy Council to assist the Illinois Department of Natural Resources in the preparation of a report that develops criteria for the Department to use in reviewing applications for offshore wind development in Lake Michigan. This panel discussion examines the compiled report, as well as the anticipated legislation regarding the process by which the state will lease the lake bed. The unanswered questions on how this impacts the future of our wildlife are also discussed.
Moderator/Speaker: Todd F. Rettig, Acting Director, Office of Realty and Environmental Planning, Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Springfield
Bob Fisher, Bird Conservation Network, Evanston
Jeffrey P. Smith, Attorney at Law, Evanston

11:45 a.m. 12:45 p.m.  Lunch (provided)

12:45 – 2:00 p.m.  Wind Power and Incidental Take: The Multi-Species Midwest Habitat Conservation Plan
A coalition of eight states – including Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Minnesota (which together comprise Region 3 of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) – have proposed to develop a multi-species habitat conservation plan and incidental take permitting program. The future wind energy development in this area may ultimately impact thirty federally listed species, making this an important topic to know about. This panel presentation provides an up-to-date status report on the Midwest Habitat Conservation Plan’s ongoing work.
Moderator: Prof. A. Dan Tarlock, Chicago-Kent Certificate Program in Energy and Environmental Law, Chicago
Joseph A. Kath, Endangered Species Manager, Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Springfield
T.J. Miller, Endangered Species Chief, Region 3, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bloomington, MN
Erin Wiedower, AKUO Energy, Chicago

2:00 – 3:30 p.m.  A Primer for the Practitioner: Natural Resource Law Meets Uncertainty, Interjurisdictional Collaboration and the Public Debate Regarding Adaptation Management Tradeoffs
Accelerated climate change impacts all ecosystems, habitats and species – not just those identified as imperiled – and is the single biggest threat to wildlife. In an effort to better advise clients and effectively advocate important initiatives, practitioners must anticipate the ramifications of policy and regulatory modifications made to accommodate these changes. This segment explores the belief that the law, itself, must be adapted in order to better serve the environment, as well as our current capability in anticipating and managing change.
Moderator/Speaker: Prof. John Nagle, University of Notre Dame law School, Notre Dame, IN
Kimberly Hall, The Nature Conservancy’s Great Lakes Project, Lansing, MI
Stacy Small-Lorenz, Environmental Defense Fund, Washington, D.C.
Glen Salmon, Eastern Tallgrass Prairie & Big Rivers LCC Coordinator, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bloomington, IN

3:30 – 3:45 p.m.  Break (refreshments provided)

3:45 – 5:00 p.m.  A Look at Critical Legal Issues when Climate Change is Incorporated into State and Greater Chicago Resource Management Planning
This comprehensive overview offers a look at the legal issues that may arise when state regulation and state/regional strategic planning/policy fully incorporate climate change considerations. Topics include: managing wildlife and aquatic life in Illinois via the Wildlife Action Plan; the Field Museum’s technical expertise in developing the Chicago Wilderness Climate Action Plan for Nature; updating natural resource best management practices to reflect a changing climate; and how vulnerability assessments have helped states incorporate climate change into their wildlife action plans.
Moderator/Speaker: Mitchell L. Cohen, General Counsel, Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Springfield
Ann Marie Holtrop, Watershed Protection Section, Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Springfield
Abigail Derby Lewis, Conservation Ecologist, The Field Museum, Chicago
Jeff Walk, Science Director, The Nature Conservancy Illinois, Peoria