Sustainability in the Trump Era: Corporate, Global, and Enforcement Perspectives

Date01 July 2017
7-2017 NEWS & ANALYSIS 47 ELR 10561
Sustainability in the Trump Era:
Corporate, Global, and
Enforcement Perspectives
To commemorate Earth Day, Paul Hastings LLP
hosted a panel discussion on April 18, 2017, featuring
three prominent attorneys with extensive and diverse
experience in environmental counseling and litiga-
tion. e panelists reected on the transition to the
Trump Administration, and what it might mean for
long-standing issues of federalism, globalization, pri-
vate environmental governance, and enforcement and
compliance. Below, we present a transcript of the dis-
cussion, which has been edited for style, clarity, and
space considerations.
Tom Mounteer (moderator) is a Partner in the Environ-
mental and Energy Practice at Paul Hastings LLP.
John Cruden was the Assista nt Attorney General for the
Environment and Natural Resources Division at the U.S.
Department of Justice.
Charles Di Leva was Chief Counsel of the Environmental
and International Law Unit at the World Bank.
Martha Rees was Vice President and Assistant General
Counsel a nd Chief Environment Counsel at the DuPont
Tom Mounteer: I want to star t by saying there’s a new
sheri in town. Over the past few months, we’ve seen a
new administration start to implement its vision of what
environmental protection should look like. For my 30
years in environmental law, it’s probably the most abrupt
transition, policy-wise, I have ever witnessed. We make
incremental changes, but this seems like a wholesale repu-
diation of what went before.
Today, our focus is on the global, corporate, and enforce-
ment perspectives on what we might expect under this new
administration. Maybe we will unveil a deep-seated envi-
ronmentalism that might persist, that might mean that all
of these regulatory changes don’t disrupt things as much as
we might otherwise think.
Let me start with introductions. Representing the cor-
porate perspective is Martha Rees. Martha had a 42-year
career at DuPont. She started as a research engineer and
moved into the lega l department, where she had a variety
of assignments including as a commercial attorney repre-
senting the pharmaceutical and agricultural products busi-
ness, as a corporate and securities lawyer, and as a federal
lobbyist. For the last nine years of her DuPont career, she
served as Vice President and Assistant General Counsel.
Unlike that steady career path, Charles Di Leva has had
quite a dierent ca reer trajectory. In December, Chuck
ended a 25-year career at the World Bank. His last posi-
tion was as chief counsel for the Environmental and Inter-
national Law Unit. Before that, Chuck spent three years
in private practice in Washington, D.C.; a year with the
United Nations Environment Programme in Nairobi; ve
years with the Depar tment of Environmental Management
in Rhode Island; and four years as a trial attorney with the
Environment and Natural Resources Division of the U.S.
Department of Justice (DOJ).
John Cruden was, until the transition, the nation’s lead-
ing environmental enforcement ocial, serving as the
assistant attorney general for the Environment and Natural
Resources Division. John has had a long and distinguished
career in public service w ith the federal government. Prior
to ser ving as the assistant attorney general, he served for
20 years in the Division, rst as chief of t he Environmen-
tal Enforcement Section, then as a career deputy assistant
attorney general. John was the rst government lawyer
to ser ve as president of the D.C. Bar, as well as the rst
government attorney to be elected chairman of the Ameri-
can Bar Association Section of Environment, Energy, and
Resources. And I’d be remiss not to mention John’s presi-
dency at the Environmental Law Institute for a spell.
Federalism and Regulatory Burden
Tom Mounteer: I thought from the corporate perspective,
we might start talking about two dominant themes that
seem to be emerging. One being the philosophical disposi-
tion that environmental regulation should be done at the
state level rather than federal level. And the second theme,
that environmental regulations are unduly burdensome
and don’t bring about the benets that we intend them to
bring about.
So oddly enough, John, I’d like to start with you and
talk about this whole notion of cooperative federalism,
Copyright © 2017 Environmental Law Institute®, Washington, DC. Reprinted with permission from ELR®,, 1-800-433-5120.

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