Podcasts – Social, Urban and Consumer Issues Committees

Opportunities to Raise Public Awareness about Climate Change and the Need for Action – 03/31/16

Environmental Law Committee, Michael G. Mahoney, Chair
International Environmental Law Committee, Gail Suchman, Chair
International Committee on Human Rights, Anil Kalhan, Chair
Energy Committee, Daniel Rosenblum, Chair
Special Task Force for Climate Change Adaptation Law, Stephen Kass, Chair
Corporate Law Committee, David Silk, Chair
Sabin Center on Climate Change Law, Columbia University, Michael Gerrard, Director
Leitner Center for International Law and Justice at Fordham University School of Law
Environmental Law Institute


This conference aims to create a productive dialog among New York City metropolitan organizations regarding opportunities to scale up New Yorkers’ responses to climate change and to align communications on the need for urgent action. The sponsors’ intention in organizing this conference is to bring together these local organizations that are concerned about climate change in a half-day session to: (i) discuss the positive efforts underway to mitigate climate change; (ii) discuss the legal, moral and practical imperatives that have driven those efforts; and (iii) consider how to align the different efforts now underway behind unified and effective messaging about the urgent need for action. The conference will identify existing and potential new opportunities for attorneys and the New York City Bar Association to support this public awareness effort.


Keynote: (11:00 AM)
Professor Jeffrey Sachs, Director of the Earth Institute, Columbia University

Michael Burger, Executive Director of Sabin Center for Climate Change Law, Columbia University, Moderator-Panel 1: Getting the Message Across

Bessie Schwarz, Communication Strategist, Yale Project for Climate Change Communications
Miranda Massie, Executive Director and Founder, Climate Museum Launch Project
Father Samuel Fuller, OFM, Cap., St. Pius X, Middletown, Ct., Pope Francis’ Encyclical on Climate Change
Lisa Benenson, NRDC’s Chief Communications Officer, NRDC Climate Communications

Networking Lunch: (12:45 -1:15 PM)Great Hall

Jeff Gracer, Partner, Sive Paget, Moderator-Panel 2: Thoughts on Aligning Actions to Amplify Message

Peter Boyd, Sr. Advisor & Climate Lead, The B Team; Founder & CEO, Time4Good Group
Nilda Mesa, Director, NYC Mayor’s Office of Sustainability, NYC One Plan
Sally Fisk, NYCBA-ELC Member, Sr. Environmental Attorney, Pfizer Inc., Corporate Perspective
David Fenton, Founder and CEO, Fenton Communications
Kevin Healy, Bryan Cave, LLP)-Overview of Break-out Session Objectives
Allen Zerkin, The Wagner School, New York University

Break-out Sessions- (2:30-4:00 PM)

Kevin Healy, Partner, Bryan Cave, Summary of Working Sessions and Next Steps; (4:15-5:00PM)

Reception (5-6:30 PM) Second floor – Reception Area

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Race Relations and Collaboration Between Asian American and African American Communities After the Peter Liang Case – 03/28/16

Presented by: Asian American Business Development Center and One Hundred Black Men, Inc.

After NYPD Officer Peter Liang was convicted of second degree manslaughter in the fatal shooting of Akai Gurley, Asian American and African American communities responded in different ways, leading to rising tensions between these two communities. Asian American Business Development Center and One Hundred Black Men have come together to organize a panel of community, civic and political leaders to discuss race relations, communications, and collaborations between the two communities.

Moderators: CeFaan Kim, Reporter, WABC Eyewitness News; L. Joy Williams, Founder and Principal, LJW Strategies

Welcome & Opening Remarks: Michael Garner, President, One Hundred Black Men; John Wang, President, Asian American Business Development Center

Different Community Reactions to the case of Peter Liang: Two Perspectives: Sandra Leung, Board Member, Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund; Lumumba Akinwole-Bandele, NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund

Exploring Common Issues Facing the Two Communities: Ron Kim, New York State Assemblyman; Walter Mosley, New York State Assemblyman

Common Areas for Future Collaboration: Peter Kwong, Distinguished Professor of Asian American Studies and Urban Affairs, Hunter College; Rev. Jacques DeGraff, Associate Pastor of Canaan Baptist Church

Co-sponsor: The City Bar Committee to Enhance Diversity in the Profession and Committee on Minorities in the Profession; Asian American Bar Association of New York (AABANY)

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What’s New in New York City Cannabis Policy – 11/10/15

The debate over cannabis law and policy is developing quickly in New York City as concern grows over the use of “synthetic marijuana” and the expected opening date for medical marijuana retail and manufacturing establishments in the City approaches. Join the Committee on Drugs and the Law for a discussion of current events in this uncharted area of law.

Moderator: Ellen C. Yaroshefsky, Clinical Professor of Law, Cardozo School of Law

Panelists: Honorable Rafael Espinal, New York City Council, 37th District-Brooklyn; Alyssa Aguilera, Political Director, VOCAL-NY; Ed Manchess, Director of Harm Reduction Services
Boom!Health; Eric Sawyer, MPA, ACT-UP, Founding Member; Housing Works, Co-founder; Health GAP, Co-founder; New York State Senator Jeffrey D. Klein, Senate Coalition Leader and Democratic Conference Leader, 34th Senate District

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Regulating Marijuana: What New York Can Learn from Other States – 5/21/15

In defense of American federalism, Justice Brandeis once touted the states as laboratories for social experimentation. With Colorado and Washington legalizing marijuana in 2012, and others following or poised to follow their example, legal professionals, policymakers, and businesspeople are now tasked with the challenge of reconciling overlapping and often contradictory laws.

In this forum, we will explore this emerging, tangled legal terrain. Along with focusing on the effect of inconsistencies between federal, state, and local cannabis law, we will ask whether states and municipalities can influence higher levels of government and, if so, how. Over the last two decades, numerous local governments, including Oakland, Denver, Montclair NJ, and the District of Columbia, have been experimenting with cannabis legalization policies to widely varying degrees. Are they outliers, or do they illustrate the catalytic role cities play in the federal laboratory? Join the Committee on Drugs & the Law and the New York City Affairs Committee to learn from those who have addressed these questions firsthand.

Speakers: Hon. Liz Krueger, New York State Senate, 28th District; Hon. Mark Levine, New York City Council, 7th District; Malik Burnett, M.D., Policy Manager, Drug Policy Alliance, Washington, D.C.; William J. Caruso, Of Counsel, Archer & Greiner P.C.; Steering Committee member, New Jersey United for Marijuana Reform; former Executive Director, New Jersey Assembly Majority Office; Robert Raich, Cannabis Attorney, Oakland, California; Rachelle Yeung, Government Affairs Manager at Vicente Sederberg LLC, Washington, D.C. (formerly Denver, Colorado office)

Moderator: Eric Sterling, President, Criminal Justice Policy Foundation

Sponsors: Committee on Drugs and the Law; New York City Affairs Committee

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The Future of Marijuana Law in New York City – 1/28/15

Public attitudes and laws governing the use of cannabis have been changing fast and creating challenges and opportunities for policymakers at the state and local level.

The changes in New York State during 2014 were especially great. A new statute legalized certain limited uses of cannabis for medical purposes and the Department of Health has released draft regulations for public comment. After attempting in 2012 to convince the State legislature to expand the scope of New York’s cannabis decriminalization statute, New York County District Attorney Cyrus Vance endorsed the de Blasio administration’s announcement that the New York City Police Department will issues summonses for possession of personal-use amounts of cannabis open to public view instead of making arrests. Earlier, Kings County District Attorney Kenneth Thompson announced that his office will not prosecute first-time offenders for possession of personal-use amounts.

Meanwhile, if proposed legislation that would regulate cannabis like alcohol succeeds, it will require adjustments to state and local law far broader than those necessary to create the newly legalized medical-use-only cannabis market.

Join the Committee on Drugs and the Law and the New York City Affairs Committee for an open discussion of the past, present and possible futures of cannabis law in New York City.

Panel: Stephen Levin, New York City Council, District 33; Jumaane D. Williams, New York City Council, District 45; Nitin Savur, Deputy Chief of Trial Division in Charge of Criminal Courts, Office of the New York County District Attorney

Moderator: Patricia Salkin, Dean and Professor of Law, Touro Law Center

Sponsors: Committee on Drugs and the Law; New York City Affairs Committee

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Innovations in Climate Adaptation: Through the Lens of Cities – 10/7/13

Climate change is placing increasing strain on the infrastructure and resources of cities around the world. Rising sea levels, increases in heat waves, and more frequent and intense weather events demand broad adaptation initiatives and new attention to long-term resilience. As home to more than half of the world’s population, cities are becoming the first responders to climate change and are taking a leadership role in addressing its impacts. This panel will discuss adaptation initiatives being implemented in cities around the world, and New York’s role within this global movement.

Download materials from the event here.

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Sunset for Elephants and Rhinos in the Wild?: Illegal Trafficking, Inadequate Enforcement, and Lack of Political Will – 4/25/13

Extinction is imminent for wild elephants and rhinos due to a confluence of uncontrolled poaching, illegal wildlife trafficking, consumer demand, and the inadequate reach and enforcement of conservation laws. A panel will discuss these issues, including the CITES treaty, relevant U.S. laws, and the potential impact of the U.S. State Department’s new four-part strategy to strengthen and expand enforcement.

Moderator: Martha Golar, Member, Committee on Animal Law

Speakers: Bryan Christy, Contributing Writer, National Geographic; Author, Blood Ivory; William Clark, Wildlife Crime Officer, INTERPOL; Major Scott Florence, NYS Bureau of Environmental Crimes Investigation; Adam Roberts, Executive Vice President, Born Free USA

Sponsored by:Committee on Animal Law, Christine Mott, Chair

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Protecting the Rights of People with Mental Disabilities in Africa – 02/06/13

Read a summary of the event here.

People with mental disabilities in Africa face enormous obstacles to the exercise of their human rights, including societal stigma and exclusion, lack of community services, and lack of legal protections. The coming into force of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which many African countries have ratified, has given renewed impetus to protecting the rights of persons with disabilities, including those with mental health and intellectual disabilities. The panel discussion will bring together advocates and experts from the fields of international human rights and disability law, mental health law, and international development to examine a range of strategies to enhance protections of the rights of people with mental disabilities in Africa.

Moderator: ARLENE S. KANTER, Bond, Schoeneck & King Distinguished Professor of Law; Director, Disability Law and Policy Program; Co-Director, Center on Human Policy, Law and Disability Studies, Syracuse University School of Law

Speakers: SHUAIB CHALKEN, United Nations Special Rapporteur on Disability; CHARLOTTE McCLAIN-NHLAPO, Coordinator, Office for Disability and Inclusive Development, USAID; MED SSENGOOBA, Finberg Fellow/Researcher, Human Rights Watch; STEVEN DATLOF, Hogan Lovells; LYCETTE NELSON, Litigation Director, Mental Disability Advocacy Center (MDAC)

Sponsored by: Committee on African Affairs, Christina Holder, Chair; Committee on Mental Health, Karen Gomes Andreasian, Chair; Cyrus R. Vance Center for International Justice

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New York Environmental Year in Review – 2/15/12

In this law podcast, leading practitioners and professors of New York environmental law will review the year’s most significant judicial, regulatory, and administrative developments. Featured topics will include the regulation of high volume hydraulic fracturing, new developments under the State Environmental Quality Review Act, events at DEC, and more.

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Animal Law Conference – 9/8/11

This conference was designed for attorneys, animal interest groups, animal rescue groups, and anyone with an interest in helping animals, gain a basic understanding of the various laws that affect animals. Presentations featured a variety of current animal law topics, including a review of various NYS laws and NYC laws as they pertain to: housing laws, Trap-Neuter and Return programs, and cruelty laws and their enforcement; an overview of the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act; a review of estate planning issues as pertains to animals; and a review of NYS legislation as pertains to animals.

Welcoming/Closing Remarks: Mikki Golar, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey; Chair, Committee on Legal Issues Pertaining to Animals; Melissa Gillespie, Law Offices of Melissa Gillespie; Conference Chair, Committee on Legal Issues Pertaining to Animals

Speakers: Elizabeth Kocienda, Legislative Affairs Associate, New York City Bar; Fran Carlisle, solo practitioner; Daryl Vernon, Vernon & Ginsberg LLP; Bryan Kortis, Board Member, Neighborhood Cats; Program Manager, PetSmart Charities; Vernessa M. Poole, Legal Counsel, Humane Law Enforcement; Adam Saunders, Ulster County SCPA; Odette Wilkens, Executive Director, Equal Justice Alliance; Meena Alagappan, Executive Director, Humane Education Advocates Reaching Teachers (HEART); Jane Hoffman, President and Chair of the Board, Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals; Caroline Van Zandt, LCSW, PETS Project Coordinator, Jewish Association for Services for the Aged (JASA); Alexandra Collier, Director of Volunteer Services and Special Projects, Jewish Association for Services for the Aged (JASA); Ssuan Kaufman, Founder and President, Animal Relief Fund (“ARF”)

Listen to the conference: Part 1(mp3), Part 2(mp3).

View conference materials here.

Climate Change: What Is To Be Done? – 5/12/10

Efforts to address climate change through international negotiation in Copenhagen and legislative action in Congress have encountered significant difficulties, but some remain hopeful that progress can still be made. Meanwhile, EPA is moving forward with several rulemakings that would regulate greenhouse gases under existing provisions of the Clean Air Act, and the courts have decided several climate change cases seeking injunctive relief and damages from greenhouse gas emitters. This program will examine whether there is a path toward sensible collective action on the international front, the shape of EPA regulation and Congressional deliberations, and the evolving role of the courts in addressing climate change matters.

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Marcellus Shale: Shall we drill? – 3/10/10

Proposals to drill for natural gas in the Marcellus Shale formation have generated controversy. The New York State DEC (NYSDEC) has received extensive comments on a draft environmental impact statement (EIS). Concerns have been raised that the draft EIS does not adequately address a number of issues, including surface and ground water pollution, cumulative impacts, alternatives, and potential impacts to New York City’s drinking water supply. Commenters also have questioned NYSDEC’s plan not to issue comprehensive regulations. Others have suggested that the draft EIS goes too far, will set the highest bar in the country for industry, and does not suffer from shortcomings alleged by certain commenters. This program will examine the issues from all of these perspectives.

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Climate Change and Priorities in Buenos Aires and Latin America – 4/9/08

Graciela Gerola, president of the Buenos Aires Department of Environmental Protection, and Carl-Axel Soderberg, both with the Association of Sanitary Engineering and Environmental Sciences, discuss the effect global warming will have in Latin America in general and Buenos Aires in particular. They prioritize the issues facing Buenos Aires in this law podcast.

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Disclosure of Climate Risk in SEC filings – 3/11/08

Global warming will have significant impacts on businesses, and in this podcast Anne Kelly, Director of Governance Programs at Ceres, discusses why companies should disclose climate risks in their SEC filings. More at http://www.nycbar.org/mp3/Petition-to-SEC-on-climate-risk.pdf

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Controlling Carbon Emissions Through Cap and Trade or Tax Programs – 11/13/07

a Sussman and Nancy Anderson explain the merits and disadvantages of controlling carbon emissions through a cap and trade programs or a carbon tax in this second interview in the City Bar’s podcast series on climate change. Recorded November 13th, 2007. More here

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Climate Change series kick-off interview with Michael Gerrard – 11/01/07

Michael Gerrard of Arnold and Porter discusses the basics of climate change and what can be done to combat it. This is the first of this year’s series of interviews on climate change issues. Recorded November 1, 2007. More at http://www2.nycbar.org/mp3/CleanDevelopmentMechanisminAct.pdf and http://www2.nycbar.org/mp3/ClimateChangeLitigationNew_Y.pdf.

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Green Buildings and NYC Local Law 86 – 7/17/07

Russell Unger, the Exec Dir of the US Green Building Council’s NY chapter, explains what green buildings are, and the NYC law that requires certain buildings to meet green building, or LEED, standards. Recorded July 17, 2007.

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Anatomy of a Vapor Intrusion Tort Case – 6/07/07

Scott Schwarz, an attorney at Mattioni, Ltd in Philadelphia, gives insights into a tort litigation involving vapor intrusion and explains how vapors from contaminated land can move, in this Environmental Law Interview recorded June 7, 2007.

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Overturning EPA’sPower Plant Cooling Water Rules in Riverkeeper v. EPA 475 F.3d 83 (2007)

Riverkeeper and others successfully challenged the EPA’s rules on power plants’ use of cooling water. Reed Super, counsel in the case, discusses the decision and its impact in this May 3, 2007 podcast.

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South Bronx Environmental Health Study – 4/05/07

This episode focuses on the results to date of the South Bronx Environmental Health and Policy Study. Researchers from NYU address the relationships between air quality, transportation, waste transfer activity and public health in the South Bronx..

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Incineration: Good or Bad for New York City? – 3/22/07

Whether incineration and other thermal treatment technologies are viable alternatives for NYC waste, or whether NYC should recycle and compost exclusively is explored in this March 22, 2007 podcast from the New York City Bar’s Environmental Law Committee

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Small Business Environmental Assistance Program discussion – 12/07/06

In this 12/7/06 interview, James R. Coyle, Environmental Program Manager of New York’s Small Business Environmental Assistance Program, discusses the environmental resources available to small businesses; more at www.nysefc.org/home/index.asp?page=20

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Filtration Avoidance Determination discussion – 9/07/06

In this 10/5/06 Environmental Law Interview hosted by the New York City Bar, Bob Alpern explains the USEPA’s decision not to require New York City to filter its drinking water.

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