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Chair’s Report From Kelly Martorano

By Environmental Law Journal posted 09-17-2019 01:05 PM


Kelly MartoranoPublished in Michigan Environmental Law Journal, Summer 2019, Vol. 37, No. 1, Issue 106 [view full issue].
Cite: 37 Mich Env Law J 1 (2019)

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the Environmental Law Section has the best members! Seriously, I am so happy to have the members of this Section as my colleagues and I am constantly impressed by the good work that all of you do. So far, 2019 has been a great year for the Section and I want to tell you about all of the value this Section has to offer its members.

First, the Environmental Law Section provides timely and informative webinars to our membership. Over the past year, the Section has hosted webinars to update members about legislative changes at the end of 2018 and on the effects of dynamic Great Lakes shorelines on zoning and planning in Michigan’s coastal communities. Second, the Environmental Law Section continues to organize and host excellent conferences. In April, the Section held its annual Air Conference in collaboration with the Michigan Manufacturer’s Association. The Section, in collaboration with the East and West Michigan Chapters of the Air and Waste Management Association, will also present the Fall Joint Conference again in November. The Conference includes numerous presentations by EGLE Program Directors and staff. Finally, the Environmental Law Section publishes the Michigan Environmental Law Journal (MELJ), which provides members with quality articles on various key topics pertinent to environmental professionals in Michigan. The MELJ is an important resource that is available to the current and future members of the Section.

As many of you know, the last several years have been some of the most challenging for environmental practitioners in recent memory. From interpreting and staying informed about updated vapor intrusion criteria and processes, to dealing with water quality issues related to lead and PFAS, the members of this Section have been on the front lines responding to these issues and working tirelessly to advise their clients and the community under circumstances that seem to be constantly changing. I believe that these challenges will lead to more young people becoming interested in environmental issues and the law. The next generation of environmental lawyers will draw on experiences and ideas that are different than those of previous generations. Never before have we had a generation that has had environmental issues discussed and presented to them from so many sources, with so much knowledge and understanding, and with so much frequency. Therefore, I believe this is the time for the Environmental Law Section to focus on reaching out to younger generations. The Section should continue to provide the valuable programs that I mentioned above, but it should also concentrate on developing new opportunities for young people to connect with seasoned lawyers. As my term as Chair comes to an end, I am committed to staying involved with the Section to foster these opportunities. I am handing the baton off to some of the very best lawyers and people that I know, who can definitely lead the Section forward toward these goals.

My sincere thanks and gratitude go out to each and every member of this Section for your ideas, hard work, and commitment. I also want to say a big thank you to Mary Anne Parks our Section Administrator. Without you, nothing would get done! I have enjoyed my time as Chair and look forward to many more years as a member of the Environmental Law Section.