Environmental Law Section

The section informs its members of local, state and national environmental laws and regulations. The section coordinates annual substantive continuing legal education programs on environmental law and produces a quarterly newsletter.

TN Dept of Environment &...
312 Rosa L Parks Ave., 2nd floor
Nashville, TN 37243
Tennessee Department of...
William Snodgrass Building, 312 Rosa Parks Blvd, second floor
Nashville, TN 37243
Immediate Past Chair
Chambliss Bahner & Stophel, P....
Liberty Tower, 605 Chestnut Street, Suite 1700
Chattanooga, TN 37450-0019
Staff Coordinator
Tennessee Bar Association
221 4th Avenue N. Suite 400
Nashville, TN 37219

DOI's Solicitor Defines Administration's Take on the Migratory Bird Protection Act Enforcement

A recent opinion from the office of the Department of Interior’s (DOI) solicitor has redefined how the current administration will address “incidental fatalities” pertaining to the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA). Congress passed MBTA in 1918, in response to public outcry over the mass slaughter of birds. The law prohibits killing or harming America’s birds except under certain conditions, including managed hunting seasons for game species.
Under the new interpretation of the law, “incidental” fatalities that are not the purpose of an action, “even if they are direct and foreseeable results, are no longer subject to potential criminal prosecution.” A press release from Akin Gump on behalf of the DOI states the purpose of this new interpretation is to “provide welcome relief to companies that unavoidably kill migratory birds, sometimes even after efforts to mitigate take and to comply with industry best practices or the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service voluntary guidelines.”
This decision has incensed some conservation advocates, such as the Audubon Society, who was instrumental in the passage of MBTA. The full memorandum from the U.S. Department of Interior is available here.
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What's Happening in the World of USTs

There are approximately 555,000 underground storage tanks (UST) nationwide that store petroleum or hazardous substances. The greatest potential threat from a leaking tank is contamination of groundwater, the source of drinking water for nearly half of all Americans. Along with the EPA, state organizations work in partnership with industry to protect the environment and human health from potential releases.
At this year’s Environmental Law Forum, we will address what is happening in the world of underground storage tanks from both Tennessee Department of Energy and Conservation’s and Tennessee Fuel and Convenience Store Association’s perspectives. This program will provide the opportunity to hear both viewpoints, along with updates from an interactive panel discussing the future of this ever-changing landscape.
To learn more and register for the forum, click here.
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