American Bar Association
Government and Private Sector Innovation

Government and Private Sector Innovation

Recent News

Energy Department Announces $220 Million in Grid Modernization Funding

The Energy Department on January 14th built on its Grid Modernization Initiative--an ongoing effort that reflects the Obama Administration's commitment to improving the resiliency, reliability, and security of the nation's electricity delivery system. The Secretary announced the award of up to $220 million over three years, subject to congressional appropriations, to DOE's National Labs and partners to support critical research and development in advanced storage systems, clean energy integration, standards and test procedures, and a number of other key grid modernization areas. See the Energy Department news release for the full story.

Energy Department Announces $18 Million to Develop Solar Energy Storage Solutions, Boost Grid Resiliency

As a part of the Energy Department's Grid Modernization Initiative announced by Secretary Moniz on January 14 (see above), DOE announced on January 19th, $18 million in funding for six new projects across the United States. These projects will enable the development and demonstration of integrated, scalable, and cost-effective solar technologies that incorporate energy storage to power American homes after the sun sets or when clouds are overhead. To find out more click here.

EPA Launches Green Infrastructure Wizard (GIWiz)- An interactive tool for government, industry, and the public

EPA just launched GIWiz, which offers quick, direct access to Green Infrastructure tools and resources that can support and promote water management and community planning decisions. Users can produce customized reports that include links to the resources they want to use. Check it out here.

ARPA-E Announces $30 Million in Funding for Window Efficiency Technologies

On October 7, the Energy Department’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) announced up to $30 million in funding for a new program focused on improving the energy efficiency of commercial and residential buildings. ARPA-E’s Single-pane Highly Insulating Efficient Lucid Designs (SHIELD) program seeks to reduce heat-loss for improved building efficiency by developing innovative materials that are both transparent and insulating to retrofit existing single-pane windows. Under SHIELD, ARPA-E will allocate up to $10 million to small businesses through its Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer program, with up to $20 million made available to all applicants. See the Energy Department news release and the full funding announcement.

Grant Opportunity: 13th Annual P3 Awards: A National Student Design Competition for Sustainability Focusing on People, Prosperity and the Planet

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), as part of the P3-People, Prosperity and the Planet Award Program, is seeking applications proposing to research, develop, and design solutions to real world challenges involving the overall sustainability of human society. The P3 competition highlights the use of scientific principles in creating innovative projects focused on sustainability. The P3 Award program was developed to foster progress toward sustainability by achieving the mutual goals of improved quality of life, economic prosperity and protection of the planet -- people, prosperity, and the planet – the three pillars of sustainability. The EPA offers the P3 competition in order to respond to the technical needs of the world while moving towards the goal of sustainability. Please see the P3 website for more details about this program.

EPA Proposed Rule and Industry Commitments Regarding HFC Emissions.

A proposed rule (RIN 2060-AS51) would expand Section 608 of the Clean Air Act to bar the deliberate venting, release or disposal of HFCs or other non-ozone-depleting substitute refrigerants when servicing or disposing of air conditioning and refrigeration equipment. The EPA proposed rule came the same day as major private sector companies, including Dow Chemical Co., Honeywell International Inc., Johnson Controls Inc., and Target Corp. announced new commitments to slash emissions of HFCs.

At the White House Industry Leader Roundtable, the Air Conditioning, Heating & Refrigeration Institute, which represents large air conditioning and refrigeration companies, said it is pledging $5 billion over the next 10 years for research and development and for investment to develop low global-warming–potential technologies. The administration also highlighted new commitments from 14 private companies and associations to reduce global HFC emissions as well as agreements made with 22 private companies and organizations in September 2014, which have a goal of reducing HFC emissions, by the equivalent 700 million metric tons of carbon dioxide through 2025. The proposed rule is available at

The White House fact sheet on the latest HFC announcements is available at

NEW BOOK: Richard L. Sandor, Nathan J. Clark, Murali Kanakasabai, and Rafael L. Marques, Environmental Markets: A New Asset Class.

A new book by Richard Sandor et al. surveys the case for and against environmental asset classes in the air, water, catastrophe and weather risk, and sustainability asset classes. In particular, it looks at how the financial crisis of 2007-2009 affected examples from Emission Trading Systems currently in place, and how the general economic environment affects the outlook of these assets in the short- and medium-term for Investors. It predicts that if the global environmental situation is going to improve (or at least stop deteriorating) then these market mechanisms will increase in importance.

Message From The Chair

Welcome to the Government and Private Sector Innovation Committee homepage. This is a committee with many opportunities for new members and new ideas. The Committee includes a cross-section of the bar with diverse experience in environmental and energy law, as well as financing. These practice areas come together at the intersection of government-private sector innovation and sustainability.

Government private sector innovation -- or GPSI -- is when the public and private sector collaborate or at times exchange roles in order to better advance and fast track sustainable and smart growth goals.

Governments and private entities share economic risk in many ways. The examples grow each year. In the past, the committee has focused on the related areas of environmental/energy regulatory innovation, environmental management systems, trading initiatives and producer responsibility issues, such as the flurry of recent legislation on electronic waste.

The Committee's goal is to provide opportunities for professional discourse, substantive information exchange and legal scholarship within the diverse bar of attorneys interested or involved in public-private funding of environmental, resources and/or energy projects. We strive to encourage broad participation in our programs, publications, and policy dialogues, as well as to develop programs and materials of value to private, non-profit and government practitioners.

We encourage you to participate in our programs, submit to our publications and explore our existing resources, including: 1) contribute links and newsworthy articles of interest to our website page; 2) submit a 500-900 word article to our newsletter; 3) assist with our year-end review report; and 4) offer to speak or enlist speakers in our monthly programs.

For programs and speaker questions, please contact co-chair Jessica Chiavara at or our program vice chair Daniel Freedman, (whose e-mails appear under the leadership directory tab of this page). For publications, please contact co-chair Doug Canter or Communications Vice-Chair Ashton Roberts at and

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Committee Chair(s)


Davis, Todd

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Committee Events

Committee Program Call - Land Banks, What the Modern Practitioner Needs to Know: History, Lessons and Policy Objectives

February 25, 2016
Land Banks, What the Modern Practitioner Needs to Know: History, Lessons and Policy Objectives

Thursday, February 25, 2016
1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. Eastern
Via Teleconference

CLE credit - No
Dial information will be included in your registration confirmation email

Program Overview

Land banking is an innovative land use tool that has the ability to advance multiple policy objectives, potentially simultaneously. But this innovation is not new is not without its detractors, but has evolved considerably since its inception. So why hasn’t it been more widely adopted, and just what all can it be used for? This panel aims to discuss successes and lessons to be learned so practitioners can either utilize, advocate or caution their clients or organizations on how to advocate for the adoption of or utilize an existing program.   

Sorell E. Negro, Robinson & Cole LLP - Miami, FL

Ms. Negro, is going to give an overview of the history and evolution of land banking as a land-use and social policy tool.

Jessica A. Chiavara, BlueRock Energy - Syracuse, NY

Ms. Chiavara, is going to examine what New York State’s land bank law has accomplished since its inception, where it can improve, and the successes of this relatively young program.

Mona Dajani, Baker & McKenzie LLP - Chicago, IL and New York City

Ms. Dajani, will conclude the presentations with a discussion on how land banking can be used as a vehicle to install and implement renewable and clean energy, and conversely how using land banked properties for renewable energy contribute to a successful land banking program.

Daniel Freedman, Jeffer Mangels Butler & Mitchell LLP - Los Angeles CA

If you have any questions regarding the panel discussion or would like to submit questions in advance or during the teleconference, please e-mail Jessica Chiavara at with the subject line “Land Banks”.

Section Events

Modified by Peter Clark on August 21, 2017

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