2017 Summit: Where There’s Muck There’s Brass: RCRA

Saturday, March 11, 9am, Weinmann Hall, Room TBD

The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) is the basis for proper management of hazardous and non-hazardous solid waste in the U.S. This panel will examine various perspectives of the imminent and substantial endangerment provision of RCRA.  Experts will explore RCRA’s cleanup provisions, including whether the imminent and substantial endangerment provision can be used as a tool for enforcing contaminated site cleanups.

Richard Webster Esq.

richard webster.JPGRichard is currently an environmental enforcement attorney at Public Justice in Washington D.C. His academic background includes a B.A. in physics from Oxford University, a Masters in engineering hydrology from Imperial College, London, and a J.D. from Columbia Law School. Through Public Justice, he currently represents citizens’ groups in a wide range of matters, including lawsuits concerning earthquakes in Oklahoma, mercury pollution in Louisiana, and coal ash pollution in various states. He specializes in using the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (“RCRA”) in creative ways to address large scale pollution problems.

Andy Jacoby, Partner, Scott Vicknair Hair & Checki

andrew-jacobyAndrew Jacoby has spent the last ten years working with people and communities impacted by environmental and public health threats. This includes oilfield contamination, leaking gas station storage tanks, hazardous contamination from dry cleaners, hazardous landfills, and pollution facility siting. It also includes lawsuits to enforce the Public Records Requests to state agencies, solar power issues, and fights to require local governments to follow their own laws with respect to zoning and land use issues. Mr. Jacoby serves as a volunteer board member of the Louisiana Bucket Brigade, president of the Center for Human-Environmental Research, and works with the GreenARMY. He writes legislation aimed to protect Louisiana’s most vulnerable communities, including those along the state’s “Cancer Alley,” the small towns along the Mississippi River which are burdened by industrial operations that often don’t comply with public health safeguard rules. While in law school, and as a member of Tulane Law School’s “Katrina Class,” Mr. Jacoby won the Brian P. McSherry Award for the student demonstrating the greatest dedication to community service. He worked as a student attorney for Tulane’s Environmental Law Clinic, where he fought against landfill expansions, among other work. He recently received the Profile in Courage Award from Concerned Citizens of St. Tammany Parish.

Robert Brager Esq.

rob brager.jpgRob Brager is both a litigator and a counselor. He has defended enforcement, toxic tort, and class actions cases in federal and state courts across the country. A substantial part of his practice is litigation involving toxic torts to land, where he has been successful in developing defenses based on environmental law compliance to defeat toxic tort claims. Rob excels at efficiently managing litigation teams, understanding complex technical issues, crafting and advancing creative legal defenses, and negotiating settlements with difficult opposing parties. Among other matters, Rob currently represents a major energy company in federal courts in both a Clean Air Act citizens’ suit and a class action suit. Rob counsels clients with respect to a number of Clean Air Act regulations, ranging from the Benzene Waste Operations NESHAP and Vinyl Chloride NESHAP, to Refinery MACT and Fiberglass MACT, to New Source Performance Standards for petroleum refineries and storage tanks, to Prevention of Significant Deterioration and Non-Attainment New Source Review. He also represents companies in permit, variance, and enforcement proceedings (administrative, civil and criminal) under the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act. He is a member of the Firm’s Management Committee and formerly served as the Firm’s Managing Principal.

Court VanTassell (Moderator), Associate, Liskow & Lewis

Court VanTassell headshot.jpgCourt VanTassell is an associate in the New Orleans office of the Liskow & Lewis law firm. His practice focuses on energy and environmental litigation, including claims relating to toxic torts, the use and management of coastal and wetland habitats, environmental conservation, and remediation issues. He often represents oil and gas companies in matters involving regulatory compliance for exploration and production operations, as well as the management or restoration of industrial properties.

Court earned a bachelor of science degree in biology from Pennsylvania State University. He then served the U.S. National Park Service as an endangered species restoration biologist before entering law school. Court is a proud graduate of Tulane University Law School, where he was a member of the Environmental Law Society, a senior member and articles editor of the Tulane Law Review, and was recognized as the John E. Parker Environmental Scholar. Court’s background in science and law provide him with a useful toolset for tackling complex environmental issues and working in tandem with environmental experts and state and federal agencies.