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American Bar Association
American Bar Association Energy and Resources Committees

Environmental Disclosure Committee

2010-2011 Committee Chair:

Scott D. Deatherage, Thompson & Knight LLP, Dallas, TX

Recent Developments

SEC Issues Interpretive Guidance on Disclosure Related to Business or Legal Developments Regarding Climate Change
At a meeting on January 27, 2010, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission voted to provide public companies with interpretive guidance on existing SEC disclosure requirements as they apply to business or legal developments relating to the issue of climate change. In her speech, Chairman Mary Shapiro stated, "We are not opining on whether the world's climate is changing, at what pace it might be changing, or due to what causes. Nothing that the Commission does today should be construed as weighing in on those topics." Instead, the guidance "will help to ensure that our disclosure rules are consistently applied."
Posted: March 2, 2010

Nation’s First Greenhouse Gas Reporting Rule In Effect as of January 1, 2010
Starting January 1, 2010, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, for the first time, is requiring large emitters of heat-trapping emissions to begin collecting greenhouse gas (GHG) data under the Final Mandatory Reporting of Greenhouse Gases Rule. Under the rule, suppliers of fossil fuels or industrial greenhouse gases, manufacturers of vehicles and engines, and facilities that emit 25,000 metric tons or more per year of GHG emissions are required to submit annual reports to EPA. The gases covered by the proposed rule are carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), hydrofluorocarbons (HFC), perfluorocarbons (PFC), sulfur hexafluoride (SF6), and other fluorinated gases including nitrogen trifluoride (NF3) and hydrofluorinated ethers (HFE). This new program covers approximately 85 percent of the nation’s GHG emissions and applies to roughly 10,000 facilities. The first annual reports for the largest emitting facilities, covering calendar year 2010, will be submitted to EPA in 2011. Vehicle and engine manufacturers outside of the light-duty sector will begin phasing in GHG reporting with model year 2011. Some source categories included in the proposed rule are still under review.
Posted: March 2, 2010

About the Committee

This Committee focuses on: 1) generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) relating to environmental costs, assets, liabilities, and impairments; 2) disclosure of environmental matters under Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) regulations; 3) the requirements of Sarbanes-Oxley pertaining to environmental matters; and 4) voluntary sustainability/social responsibility disclosures of environmental matters to stakeholders.


Primer on Mandatory Environmental Disclosure: A Presentation Explaining the Longstanding SEC Regulations as Amplified by Sarbanes Oxley

SEC regulations and authoritative accounting guidance dealing specifically with disclosure of environmental liabilities have been in effect since the 1970s, and have been updated on various occasions throughout the 1980s and 90s. Taken all together, they constitute an impressive body of requirements. Unfortunately, they have not been promulgated in a cohesive fashion, and it has been difficult for environmental practitioners to sort through and comprehend the requirements.

And then came Sarbanes-Oxley. This statute, and its blizzard of implementing SEC regulations, has made it urgent for all environmental practitioners to understand what is required to be reported pursuant to SEC and accounting standards.

Here is a “primer” that will help you to understand both the SEC and accounting requirements, including the very substantial impact Sarbanes-Oxley has on these requirements.

View the "primer" page.


To become a member of the Environmental Disclosure Committee, please complete the on-line Committee Sign-Up Form.

For more information on becoming a member of the Environmental Disclosure Committee, please contact our Membership vice chair.


Scott D. Deatherage

Vice Chairs:
Committee Newsletters
Kevin J. Klesh

Jeffrey C. Fort

Stephen J. Humes

Public Service

Rebecca Leamon

David A. Roth

The Year in Review
Jeffrey B.Gracer

Seth Kerschner

Leslie H. Lowe

Additional (Liaison - Business Law and EENR)
Lawrence P. Schnapf

Additional (Liaison - Canadian Bar)
Len Griffiths

Committee Resource

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