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The Clean Power Plan: How We Got Here, Where We Are Going

Date: Wednesday, March 25, 2015 1:00 PM to 4:30 PM
Venue: William Mitchell College of Law  Saint Paul, MN United States  Get Directions
Total Price: $35.00

Deadline to Register: March 23, 2015

On June 2, 2014, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed the Clean Power Plan, a rule aiming to cut carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants by 30% from 2005 levels. By 2030 the rule is also projected to reduce the pollutants that contribute to soot and smog by over 25%. The proposed rule potentially could change utility regulation to a greater degree than any government action in decades.

The EPA’s proposed rule sets state-specific carbon dioxide emission targets and requires states to submit plans detailing each state’s strategy for meeting the targets. States have flexibility in developing their plans and can consider pollution control strategies as well as renewable energy and energy-efficiency approaches to make the necessary reductions.

Our three panelists will address the history leading up to the Clean Power Plan, EPA implementation options, state and interest group differences, the role of politics and litigation, Minnesota’s position and how the building blocks may be applied to Minnesota.  Please join us for this diverse panel and engaging discussion to follow.

Refreshments and social hour to follow at 4:30 p.m.

Parking is free and permitted in the William Mitchell parking lot and in the nearby Grotto lot.  A shuttle to transfer participants from the Grotto lot will be available.


• David Thornton, Assistant Commissioner of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency
• Hari Osofsky, Professor of Law and the Director of the Joint Degree Program in Law, Science, and Technology at the University of Minnesota Law School
• Tom Lorenzen, Dorsey & Whitney 

Moderator:  Bill Black, Government Relations Director Minnesota Municipal Utilities Association

Assistant Commissioner David Thornton is responsible for overseeing the development and implementation of the agency's air policies to improve and maintain air quality in Minnesota.  David joined the MPCA staff in 1980 as the Acid Rain Coordinator. After that, he managed air quality monitoring, data analysis and air policy activities for many years. Most recently he has been involved with implementing federal regional haze regulations, and developing policies to help reduce air emissions, particularly mercury emissions from power plants.  Originally from Texas, David is a graduate of Texas Christian University with a degree in chemistry and attended graduate school at the University of Minnesota where he studied atmospheric chemistry and environmental science.

Thomas Lorenzen is a partner at Dorsey & Whitney, specializing in environmental law and the federal rulemaking process. Thomas was previously an Assistant Chief at the U.S. Department of Justice, where for most of the last decade, he oversaw the legal defense of all of the Environmental Protection Agency’s rules and regulations, including the EPA decision that gave rise to the seminal Massachusetts v. EPA decision and EPA’s first suite of greenhouse gas regulations. He presently represents businesses and trade associations seeking effective engagement in EPA’s rulemaking process and policy decisions within the White House, and seeking to comply with the resulting regulations.

Hari Osofsky is a Professor of Law; 2014-15 Julius E. Davis Chair in Law; the Faculty Director of the Energy Transition Lab; and the Director of the Joint Degree Program in Law, Science, and Technology at the University of Minnesota Law School.  She also is on the faculty of the Conservation Biology Graduate Program, an adjunct professor in the Department of Geography, Environment and Society, and a Fellow with the Institute on the Environment. She received a B.A. and a J.D. from Yale University, and a Ph.D. in the Geography from the University of Oregon.  Osofsky’s interdisciplinary law and geography scholarship, which has been published with Cambridge University Press and leading law and geography journals, focuses on governance and justice concerns related to energy and climate change. Her article on governance and the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill was selected for inclusion in Land Use and Environment Law Review’s annual compilation of the top land use and environmental law articles, and she has been awarded the Daniel B. Luten Award for the best paper by a professional geographer by the Energy and Environment Specialty Group of the Association of American Geographers.  Osofsky assisted with the Inuit Circumpolar Conference’s petition on climate change to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and has supervised or is supervising course contributions to the American Wind Energy Association, Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling, Earthjustice, Great Plains Institute, Hennepin County, Twin Cities Met Council, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, the National Regulatory Research Institute, Northwest Arctic Borough, the Phillips Community, the Southern Environmental Law Center, the University of Minnesota, and the Western Environmental Law Center. Her professional leadership roles have included serving as President of the Association for Law, Property, and Society; chair of the American Association of Law School’s Section on Property; and a member of the Executive Council of the American Society of International Law; the International Law Association’s Committee on the Legal Principles of Climate Change; and the Board of Governors of the Society of American Law Teachers. 

Moderator Bill Black. As Government Relations Director for the Minnesota Municipal Utilities Association, Bill Black advocates on behalf of the state’s publicly owned electric, gas and other utilities before the Minnesota Legislature, Public Utilities Commission and other state agencies as well as the U.S. Congress and federal agencies.   Bill was involved in shaping Minnesota’s Next Generation Energy Act in 2007 and continues to monitor and influence its implementation.  Prior to his current position and admittance to the Minnesota bar, Bill served as Senior Legislative Assistant to U.S. Representative Collin Peterson in Washington, organizing information flow to the Congressman in the areas of energy, foreign affairs, national defense, telecommunications, transportation and other public policy subjects.  He is a native and current resident of St. Paul.

CLE Credits:

3.0 Standard CLE credits approved | Event Code: 202205 


Section Member:  $30.00
MSBA Member not in the section: $35.00 
Non-Member:  $35.00
Law Student: Free


Date: Wednesday, March 25, 2015
Time: 1:00 – 4:30 p.m. - with a reception to follow
Location: William Mitchell College of Law
875 Summit Ave  Saint Paul, MN 55104

Remote Participation: 

Teleconferencing is not available.

Want more information about the Public Utilities Section
To register with a check, please mail in this registration form.
Need to cancel? Please see our cancellation policy.
Questions? Contact Jennifer Brask | 612-278-6305
No sessions have been associated with this event.