American Bar Association
Science and Technology
American Bar Association Energy and Resources Committees

Science and Technology

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

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

An industrial party, SQM North America has petitioned Supreme Court to review 9th Circuit decision reversing the trial court’s exclusion of hydrogeologist’s testimony under Daubert in a case involving claims of groundwater contamination alleged due to perchlorate. The Court has extended the time to file a response to the petition for certiorari to November 13, 2014. The docket sheet is available here.

A petitioner in an alleged fraudulent accounting scheme involving drug stores in New York now seeks Supreme Court review a Second Circuit decision admitted expert testimony from accounting lay witnesses not designated by the U.S. as expert witnesses prior to trial. Cuti v. U.S. , No. 13-3756 (assigned to Oct. 17, 2014 conference for consideration)

Climate Change—Science and Issues

The UN’s IPCC releases new report on climate change and the urgent need to reduce carbon emissions. For a summary of the Fifth Synthesis report, released November 2, 2014. For a summary of the report read, click here. For a copy of the full IPCC report, visit here.

Ice in Antarctica increases, despite global warming. How is this possible? See the detailed article in the UK paper, The Guardian.
Sept. 2014: A Yale professor of atmospheric chemistry argues that the “conventional wisdom” urging nations to just plant more trees fails to take into account the complex interactions, and that large-scale increases in forest cover can actually make global warming worse. See N. Unger, “To Save the Planet, Don’t Plant Trees” The N.Y. Times, Sept. 20, 2014.

Other Science and Technology Issues

GAO Report Summarizes Federal Actions and Additional Questions in Ocean Acidification. In its report, GAO reviews ongoing federal efforts, including the National Science & Technology Committee’s subcommittee on Ocean Science & Technology to understand and monitor the impacts of acidification of the oceans. The GAO’s report, issued on October 14, 2014, is available here.

New NOAA Website for Marine Debris and Programs to Address this Problem: The NOAA Marine Debris Program serves as a centralized marine debris capability within NOAA in order to coordinate, strengthen, and increase the visibility of marine debris issues and efforts within the agency, its partners, and the public. This Program is undertaking a national and international effort focusing on identifying, reducing, and preventing debris in the marine environment. Additionally, the MDP supports and works closely with various partners across the U.S. to fulfill the Program’s mission. Committee members interested in this problem should visit the NOAA website, to find out more about Marine Debris in their part of the country (or world).

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Sites of Interest

Programs, Meetings, and Events

Committee Events

CLE Webinar - Cybersecurity Risk Management 101

December 2, 2014
SEER and the ABA Science & Technology Committee are sponsoring a webinar on managing risks in a world filled with hackers. Recently, even scientific organizations such as NOAA were the victim of hackers apparently seeking data from that organization.
Section Events

Modified by Romeo Talento on November 19, 2014

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