American Bar Association
Science and Technology

Science and Technology

See you at these Spring Conference panels

Thursday, March 26:
10:30 A.M. – 12:00 P.M.
The Future of Energy in a Carbon-constrained World

Thursday, March 26:
1:30 P.M. – 3:00 P.M.
35 Years in Superfund Practice: New Challenges/Emerging Solutions

Thursday, March 26:
3:30 P.M. – 5:00 P.M.
Looking behind the Curtain: How the Rapid Expansion of Material Bans and Environmental Labeling and Disclosure Mandates Affects Your Manufacturing Clients

It's not too late to register for 44th Spring Conference!

Monthly Update from the Chair

For Science & Technology members, here are additional items of interest and opportunities to participate more directly in your Committee and with other SEER committees and ABA Sections. Among the highlights of this month’s activities are:

  • Opportunity to write on a topic of increasing concern to the western and southwestern parts of the United States—new technologies and science that might allow drought plagued areas to reuse existing water sources. Please submit abstracts by November 19 to so that we can select and gather completed articles by early December.

  • Nerds can be hacked too! As the Washington Post recently reported, even the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association’s computer data for weather prediction was the subject of a recent attack. Read More.Think that your company is too small (or too big) to be the subject of hacking? Join your fellow committee members and others for a December 2 webinar sponsored by SEER and the ABA Science & Technology Section on the topic of Cybersecurity. Register Now.

  • In one of the Committee’s focus areas, the science of climate change, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued its Fifth Assessment report on November 2. A summary of the IPCC’s report for policymakers can be found at here.

  • Are you a lawyer who is challenged by the often complex science of environmental investigations and remediation work? One of our program vice-chairs, Ravi Arulanantham, is busy working with members of the Environmental Transactions & Brownfields Committee to put together a set of basic science programs. Watch for further details and dates on this webpage, or contact Ravi directly at

  • Participants Needed: The Science & Technology Committee needs your writing skills for two publications, the Committee newsletter (contact and the Committee’s annual contribution to the Section publication, Year-In-Review (contact We invite you to write for either (or both) publications by your Committee.

We look forward to your continued participation and interest in SEER's Science & Technology Committee.

Norm Dupont
2014-2015 Chair, Science and Technology Committee
ABA Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources

Focus Topics

Daubert Cases and Credible Science Issues

Climate Change—Science and Issues

Canadian national, provincial and local efforts on climate change discussed in new chapter of environmental law treatise. For those interested in how our northern neighbor is faring with climate change efforts, see: Benidickson, Jamie, Climate Change: Canadian Legal and Policy Responses (February 24, 2015). Benidickson, Jamie Environmental Law, 4th (Irwin Law, 2013). Available for download at SSRN:

U.S. Oil Companies and risks to facilities due to sea level risks and increased storms: The Union of Concerned Scientists has published a new report, Stormy Seas, Rising Risks about the vulnerability of U.S. based petroleum companies to rising sea levels and storms caused by changing climate conditions. The report is available at:

Other Science and Technology Issues

Toxic Release Inventory Update Issued. EPA issues 2013 Toxic Releases Inventory for over 650 chemicals reported to the agency under the Emergency Planned & Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA). The complete report is located at:

Why Doubt Science? A new National Geographic article explores the sources of ever-increasing doubt about science and scientific “certainty.” As the author Joel Aschenbach writes: “We live in an age when all manner of scientific knowledge—from the safety of fluoride and vaccines to the reality of climate change—faces organized and often furious opposition. Empowered by their own sources of information and their own interpretations of research, doubters have declared war on the consensus of experts. There are so many of these controversies these days, you’d think a diabolical agency had put something in the water to make people argumentative. And there’s so much talk about the trend these days—in books, articles, and academic conferences—that science doubt itself has become a pop-culture meme. In the recent movie Interstellar, set in a futuristic, downtrodden America where NASA has been forced into hiding, school textbooks say the Apollo moon landings were faked.
In a sense all this is not surprising. Our lives are permeated by science and technology as never before. For many of us this new world is wondrous, comfortable, and rich in rewards—but also more complicated and sometimes unnerving. We now face risks we can’t easily analyze.” A complete version of this article is available at:

Scientists Use Tree Ring Measurements to Show that California’s current Drought Is worst in over a Millennium: Scientists working at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute based in Cape Cod, Massachusetts and the University of Minnesota used data from California’s blue oak tree rings to measure in historic terms the severity of the current drought (2012-2014) is in the state. Their research concluded that California’s current drought ranks among the worst in some 1200 years. As one of the researchers put it: “ . . . [T]here is no doubt, that we are entering a new era where human-wrought changes to the climate system will become important for determining the severity of droughts and their consequences for coupled human and natural systems." A copy of the news release for this latest science research is available here.

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2014-2015 Science and Technology Leadership

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DuPont, Norman

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Modified by Dana Jonusaitis on March 20, 2015

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