Coronavirus Information and Update: Fall 2021 Plans

Environmental, Natural Resources, and Energy Law

Food for Thought: The Impact of Food Choices in a Changing Climate

Saturday, March 13, 2021 (virtual via webinar)


This informative program will address a variety of cutting-edge and important law and policy issues relating to the connection between food production and energy use and climate impacts. Panelists will address these issues as they relate to the various sectors of our food chain and offer perspectives on potential innovative approaches.

Speakers and topics included:

8:30 am PST:
Welcome: Janice Weis, Associate Dean, Environmental, Natural Resources, and Energy Law Program, Lewis & Clark Law School

*Supporting the Conversation: Video remarks from U.S. Congressman Earl Blumenauer, 3rd District of Oregon

Keynote: Elizabeth Kirk, Professor of Global Governance & Ecological Justice, University of Lincoln, United Kingdom
The Plastics Problem—Breaking the plastics-food connection: Challenges and Opportunities

AGRICULTURAL ISSUES: Crops, Pesticides, Farms and Climate

George Kimbrell, Symposium Co-Planner, Legal Director, Center for Food Safety, and Adjunct Professor of Law, Lewis & Clark Law School, Portland, Oregon
The Environmental and Health Costs of Pesticide Use in Industrialized Agriculture in the US: a review of current law, the importance of the recent NFFC v. EPA case on dicamba and suggestions for improvement.

Related materials

Will Regulators Catch the Drift? NFFC v. EPA and Breathing New Life into Pesticide Regulation Draft/Don’t Circulate
                     NOTE: This paper will be published in Environmental Law 51:3

Lori Ann Burd, Environmental Health Director and Senior Attorney, Center for Biological Diversity, Portland, Oregon:
The Climate Impacts of Industrial Monoculture Crop Systems

Dr. Meredith Niles, Assistant Professor, Department of Nutrition and Food Sciences, University of Vermont, Burlington, Vermont:
New Coalitions and Approaches: discussion of ways farmers can and are working to reduce emissions, including an overview of the recently formed Food and Agriculture Climate Alliance

Additional related materials

Read about how George Kimbrell JD ’04, Amy van Saun JD ’11, Ryan Talbott JD ’12, and Audrey Leonard JD ’20 are fighting for food safety and the environment

10:45-11:00 Break


THE ANIMAL-CLIMATE CONNECTION: Factory Farms and Slaughterhouse Practices

(1) Climate Impacts of Factory Farms

Brent Newell, Food Project Senior Attorney, Public Justice Food Project, Oakland, California
Industrial dairy and hog operations are major sources of greenhouse gas emissions, especially methane, a climate super pollutant. But Big Oil & Gas smell opportunity and have begun to capture factory farm gas as a combustion fuel to greenwash their products with this so-called “renewable” energy. This presentation will discuss the climate impact of industrial animal agriculture, why factory farm gas is dirty energy and a false solution, how pollution trading schemes support factory farm gas and exploit Black, Latino, and people of color, and what policy makers should be doing to Build Back Better while centering environmental justice at the core of climate policy.

(2) Issues at the Slaughterhouse

Delci Winders, Assistant Clinical Professor & Director, Animal Law Litigation Clinic, Lewis & Clark Law School, Portland, Oregon and
Dani Replogle, Senior Fellow, Earthrise Law Center, Lewis & Clark Law School, Portland, Oregon
Slaughter and the Environment—An Under-Examined Climate-Food Nexus
The climate change and other environmental impacts of raising animals for food on an industrial scale are gaining increasing—and long overdue—attention. Often overlooked, however, are such impacts beyond the farm, particularly at the slaughterhouse. This presentation will focus on the environmental impacts of slaughter itself, how those impacts are exacerbated by recent moves to increase slaughter line speeds, and what can be done to address these issues legally.

Additional related materials

Shanna McCormack JD ’20, LLM ’21 - Climate Change and Animal Agriculture: Federal Actions Protect the Biggest Contributors from the Disasters They Cause Draft/Don’t Circulate
Josie Moberg JD ’21 - Air Quality as the Epicenter of Environmental Justice Issues & Regulatory Solutions Draft/Don’t Circulate
                   NOTE: These papers will be published in Environmental Law 51:3
Slaughterhouse Related Readings

12:30-1:00 Break


INNOVATING IN A CLIMATE CRISIS: Issues relating to food policy, safety, and ecosystem market tools

Margot J. Pollans, Professor of Law and Faculty Director, Pace-NRDC Food Law Initiative, Elisabeth Haub School of Law, Pace University, White Plains, New York
An examination of food safety and how food law treats consumers. How productive is it to rely on food consumers to generate change in the food system?

Laurie Ristino, Lecturer, Johns Hopkins, Krieger School of Arts & Sciences, Washington, DC; founder, Strategies for a Sustainable Future; board member, Center for Progressive Reform
Will the renewed rise of ecosystem markets on agricultural lands differ from earlier attempts and result in measurable impacts to improved climate and water quality outcomes and sustainable funding streams for farmers?

Jon Lovvorn, Faculty Co-Director of the Law, Ethics, & Animal Program and co-teacher, Climate, Animal, Food, and Environmental Law & Policy Lab, Yale Law School, New Haven, Connecticut; Chief Counsel, Humane Society of the United States, Washington, DC
Food Policy Innovations in a Climate Crisis

Additional related materials

Margot J. Pollans - Powerless by Design article in progress
Jonathan Lovvorn, Clean Food: The Next Clean Energy Revolution, 36 Yale Law & Pol’y Rev. 283 (2018)

Click here to watch the different segments of Food for Thought.