2020 NCBA Sustainability Contest Winners

By Maria Savasta-Kennedy

“There is a great future in plastics. Think about it. Will you think about it?”
(Mr. Maguire speaking to Benjamin Braddock in The Graduate)

The Sustainability Committee is thrilled to announce our winners for this year’s NCBA EENR Sustainability Contest. Our topic this year was—you guessed it—plastics, and our contestants did a terrific job of thinking about what that “great future in plastics”  looks like now.

Specifically, we asked students to respond to the following prompt:

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A Profile of Emily Sherlock, Incoming Chair

By Rick Kolb

Emily Sherlock is a partner at Robinson, Bradshaw & Hinson and is the Vice Chair of the Environment, Energy and Natural Resources Section of the NCBA. She will rise to the Chair position on July 1, 2020. Prior to serving on the board, Emily was one of the newsletter editors (back when our section had a newsletter) and served on the Section Council.

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Cleaning and Disinfection Protocols for COVID-19 Affected Work Spaces

By Sean Sullivan 

Unsubstantiated claims regarding a variety of cleaning and “disinfection” procedures are flooding the market—from a surprising number of sources.  Here are a few helpful hints:

CDC Guidance – The CDC has published guidance for cleaning and disinfecting most businesses and public spaces. The guidance recommends a two-step process of cleaning all potentially affected surfaces, followed by applying an EPA-approved disinfectant for that type of surface or a 0.1% solution of bleach in water. Note that cleaning operations must comply with OSHA requirements for hazard communication and blood-borne pathogens.

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Paycheck Protection Program – Employer’s Cheat Sheet

By Sean Sullivan 

On Thursday night, the Treasury Department released a direct final rule implementing the Paycheck Protection Program, which authorizes most financial institutions to make federally guaranteed loans that will help small businesses (500 employees or less) to retain employees and meet their payroll obligations during the COVID-19 epidemic. The Small Business Administration intends for these loans to be forgiven if borrowers use the proceeds as the rule allows.

Below is a summary of the eligibility requirements (which are minimal), the process for determining the amount a business may borrow and the permissible uses for these loans.

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Fight Hunger, Help Others in the COVID-19 Pandemic – Participate in the Legal Feeding Frenzy and Support Your Local Food Bank!

Michele Livingstone

Will Quick

By Michele Livingstone and Will Quick

We are in unprecedented times with COVID-19 (Coronavirus).  It is now more important than ever that we help our neighbors and those who are not as fortunate. I am confident that each of you is doing your part.

Even in the best of times, however, over 1.5 Million North Carolinians struggle with hunger—of those, nearly half a million are children. With public schools and many religious and nonprofit organizations that traditionally serve the food insecure in our communities being closed for indefinite periods, and government leaders calling for social distancing to help limit the spread of Coronavirus, that need is never more pressing than now.

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2019 Sustainability Bar Essay Contest – Winning Essays!

By Maria Savasta-Kennedy

We are pleased to share the winning essays from the 5th Annual Sustainability Contest sponsored by the NCBA’s Environment, Energy & Natural Resources Section.  The contest is open to all North Carolina high school students. Students participating in the 2019 contest were asked to respond to the following prompt:

North Carolina relies on nuclear power, coal, natural gas and renewable energy generated by solar, geothermal, biofuel and wind to meet the state’s energy needs. Each of these energy sources have positive and negative attributes in terms of cost, feasibility, transmission, distribution, and managing the waste from energy production. Is the state’s current mix of energy sources sustainable? Why or why not? If not, how would you allocate the percentage of each energy resource the state relies upon and why? Please respond in an essay of 2000 words or fewer, citing all materials (laws, studies, websites, news articles, etc.) that you rely upon in your analysis.

The EENR council was thrilled to receive 44  applications from high school students from across the state! We have included links to the following top three winning essays for your reading pleasure:

Stay tuned for the 2020 EENR Sustainability Contest question, to be announced soon!

Put It On Your Calendar Now: ‘Riding the Waves of Change: 2019 Legislative Review’


By Christina Cress

The Administrative Law Section is joining forces with the Government & Public Sector, Juvenile Justice & Children’s Rights, and Environment, Energy & Natural Resources Law Sections to bring you a 6.0 credit hour CLE this fall, titled “Riding the Waves of Change: 2019 Legislative Review.”

The CLE will take place at the NC Bar Center in Cary from 8:15 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 8, 2019.

While it will be available by webcast and on-demand, we encourage you to attend live to enjoy the networking that is sure to occur during the breakfast and lunch, both of which will be provided.

The four co-planning Sections will combine their expertise to provide updates and answers regarding the 2019 legislative actions.

Learn what the North Carolina General Assembly has (or has not) changed and the practical effects of those changes. Brush up on your legislative procedure knowledge and skills. Hear about the most debated and followed bills of the current legislative session.


It’s Not Easy Being ‘Green’ . . . Or Is It? (Part 2)

By M. Gray Styers Jr.

This article is the second in a pair of articles related to “green policies” and how to implement them.  The first part of this series was previously published here.

As concern over climate change makes almost-daily headlines, “green” policies are becoming increasingly popular.  Part 1 of this article noted that — from Fortune 500 company board rooms to the N.C. Governor’s Office — recent policy pronouncements call for reduced energy usage, lower greenhouse gas emissions, and increased numbers of zero emission vehicles.  But how — in a state like North Carolina, where direct retail purchases from third-parties are not permitted — do retail utility customers achieve the goals of these “green” policies?  Part 1 of this series discussed energy efficiency measures, time-of-use rates, and self-generation.  This second part of the series looks specifically at HB 589, passed by the General Assembly in 2017, N.C. Sess. Law 2017-192, and implemented by the N.C. Utilities Commission over the past eighteen months, and examines whether (or not) it may make it “easier . . . to be green” by providing new mechanisms for utility customers to access renewable energy resources.

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It’s Not Easy Being ‘Green’ . . . Or Is It? (Part 1)

This article is the first in a pair of articles related to “Green Policies” and how to implement them.  The second part in this series will be published in the coming weeks.

By M. Gray Styers Jr.

Your corporate General Counsel client calls and says, “Our largest customer (or our largest institutional investor) wants to see our green renewable energy policy and we don’t have one. Draft a ‘Green Policy’ to be considered at our board meeting next week.” Or perhaps your client asks, after-the-fact, “We just passed a ‘Green Policy’ for our company; how can we implement it under applicable laws?” Your first reaction might be “It’s not easy being Green,” but on second thought, “. . . maybe it is.”

The website www.RE100.org contains a long list (over 200) of companies from A (ABInBev) to almost Z (Wells Fargo, Workday and Yoox), that have adopted corporate goals committing to use 100% renewable power. These examples of green policies are readily available; they are not confidential corporate documents. In fact, most are posted on their company websites and promoted prominently so that their customers or investors can see them. E.g. Fifth-third Bankcorp; and Johnson & Johnson.

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Reminder: NCBA EENR Sustainability Essay Contest

Please pass along the following information to any high school students in your contacts that may be interested in writing about North Carolina’s sustainable future.

The North Carolina Bar Association’s Environment, Energy & Natural Resources Law Section is pleased to announce that it is again sponsoring a sustainability essay contest. Essays by last year’s contest winners included Wood Pellets as Biofuel: Is it Sustainable?, Biomass: Helpful or Harmful?, and Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle: Waste.

Access a flyer providing details about the contest here. The deadline for submissions is Friday May 31, 2019. 

Please feel free to forward this information to any of your contacts who might be interested in the contest or who might know folks who are interested.

If you have any questions, please direct them to mskenned@email.unc.edu, Maria Savasta-Kennedy, North Carolina Bar Association, Environment, Energy & Natural Resources Section, Sustainability Committee Chair.