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American Bar Association (ABA), Analyzing Risk Assessment and Cumulative Risk Assessment from a Scientific, Legal and Client/Stakeholder Perspective

The ABA Section of Environmental, Energy, and Resources (SEER) will present a Panel to discuss the application of risk assessment, efficiencies and deficiencies of the tool, legal challenges to the EPA's application of risk assessment, how the tool has evolved over presidential administrations, what the future of risk assessment may look like in the Biden Administration, and how stakeholders influence the risk assessment process. As various federal environmental statutes rely on risk assessment to support environmental decision-making, it is important to understand how it functions and risk assessment's implications for the future.

Panelists include:  Bernadette Rappold, Greenberg Traurig, Shareholder, Environmental practice; Jessica Sharrow Thompson, Assistant Counsel, PPG Industries; Roy D. Prather, III, Beverage & Diamond; and Travis Kline, Geosyntec, Senior Principal Toxicologist.   Moderator is Lawrence Kaleb Pittman, Attorney Advisor, Environmental Protection Agency in the Office of Regional Counsel RCRA & Toxics Enforcement Branch in Dallas, Texas

Risk Assessment (RA) is a tool used by the EPA to characterize the nature and magnitude of health risks to humans and ecological receptors from chemical contaminants and other stressors that may be present in the environment. Risk Assessment is utilized in various environmental regulatory programs and federal statutes, (i.e. Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act; the National Environmental Policy Act; Clean Air Act) to inform decisionmakers about the impact actions will have on human health and the environment. Over time, Risk Assessment evolved to be a more transparent tool, providing clear characterization of risks and taking account of the social dimension of users utilizing this tool in an analytic-deliberative process.

As the Biden Administration suggested that changes may be in the future for how the EPA employs Risk Assessment, it is important to highlight how Risk Assessment influences environmental decision making, the political and legal challenges to the tool, and how stakeholders may impact the future of Risk Assessment. This program aims to provide an overview of Risk Assessment in its simplest form, discussing the scientific application of RA, how RA works to evaluate environmental risks and exposures, the pros & cons of RA, the deficiencies of the tool and how it could be improved, and opportunities to incorporate holistic approaches in RA, i.e. Community Science.

Following this, the panelists will transition to a legal evaluation of Risk Assessment including looking toward how the Biden administration may utilize it. They will highlight how RA has developed over time, the incorporation of Cumulative Risk Assessment, legal challenges to RA analyses, and how the implementation of Cumulative Risk Assessment has changed between administrations. Finally, attendees will learn how RA has affected businesses and corporations, how the future of RA may impact clients and future environmental decision-making, and ways that all stakeholders can engage now to influence how EPA uses RA moving forward.