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The Climate and the Land: Clean Energy, Land Protection & Ethics CLE

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Date(s) - 02/10/2021
12:30 pm - 3:30 pm


In this three hour CLE, participants will spend the first hour learning from national and regional experts on public policy for land conservation and climate at the state and national levels. The final two hours will focus on local and regional land conservation efforts focused on land trust legal standards and property law as it pertains to land protection.

As our region and the world navigate the burdens of the pandemic, most of the focus has appropriately been on health and economic fallout. Despite these challenges, the threat of our warming climate looms in the background. Just as the warning signs were there for decades about the potential of a global pandemic, the warning signs are all around us about what could become a global catastrophe if the effects of climate are not addressed.

12:30-1:30pm (60 minutes) Jay Leutze and Luis Martinez:

The first hour will provide participants with an understanding of the challenges in state and federal policies with respect to land ownership, unfinished public land corridors, climate resilience and clean and renewable energy.  Award-winning author and conservationist Jay Leutze will share his work advocating on behalf of regional land trust for land conservation policy and climate resilience at the State and Federal level and why it is so important but also challenging in our current regulatory environment.  Buncombe Bar member and NRDC Southeast Energy Director for Climate and Clean Energy, Luis Martinez will then finish the first hour by discussing policy implications and developments for energy and the environment in North Carolina and the southeast in the coming year.

1:30-2:30pm (60 minutes) Panel–Koral Alman, Carl Silverstein, George Santucci, Garrett Artz:

The second hour will focus on ethics and standards for nonprofit conservation organizations accredited by the National Land Trust Alliance. The panel will be moderated by local attorney Koral Alman of Van Winkle Law Firm. Executive Directors Carl Silverstein of Southern Appalachian Conservancy and George Santucci will join Buncombe Bar member and RiverLink executive director Garrett Artz to share experiences and standards that each of these accredited land trusts must follow. While the standards are written for land conservancies, many of the rules represent the best practices for nonprofit governance more generally.

2:30-3:30pm (60 minutes) Panel: Garrett Artz, Marc Rudow, John Noor:

The third hour will focus on real property law and specifically land protection. Garrett Artz will moderate a panel with Marc Rudow and John Noor of the Roberts and Stevens Law Firm about voluntary landowner agreements for conservation easements. The model conservation easement applied by grantees for the North Carolina Land and Water Conservation Fund (Formerly the NC Clean Water Management Trust Fund) will be reviewed by Marc and then John and Marc will discuss benefits and legal liabilities to landowners in undertaking these perpetual obligations that run with the land in conservation easements.


Jay Leutze is an award-winning author and conservationist who advocates to state and federal government on behalf of various environmental groups including the regional alliance of land trusts, Blue Ridge Forever.  Jay’s work promotes greater conservation funding of our public lands. Jay has also authored “Stand Up That Mountain” which is the fascinating tale of how Jay teamed up with his Avery County neighbors to save an important piece of the Blue Ridge landscape from being destroyed by a proposed quarry. Jay is a graduate of the University of North Carolina School of Law.

Luis Martinez is Director, Southeast Energy, Climate & Clean Energy Program for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). Luis Martinez’s legal advocacy for NRDC focuses on strengthening state climate policies, utility regulations, energy efficiency, and renewable energy programs. Prior to joining NRDC in 2004, he served as a special aide to the president of Puerto Rico’s Environmental Quality Board as well as that agency’s legislative director. He holds a bachelor’s degree in environmental policy and behavior from the University of Michigan and a JD from Tulane Law School. He works out of NRDC’s satellite office in Asheville, North Carolina and is a member of the Buncombe Bar.

Koral F. Alman is a partner in the Van Winkle Law Firm’s Trust, Estates and Elder Law practice group. Koral’s practice focuses on probate law, trust and estate planning, as well as estate and trust administrations. Prior to joining Van Winkle, Koral practiced in Los Angeles, California at boutique law firms specializing in commercial, antitrust, and unfair competition litigation. Koral holds an undergraduate degree from University of Florida and her law degree from Washington and Lee University School of Law and is licensed to practice in North Carolina and Florida.

Garrett Artz is executive director of RiverLink, a regional nonprofit promoting the environmental and economic vitality of the French Broad River and its watershed.  Prior to RiverLink, Garrett was a staff attorney at Pisgah Legal Services and corporate counsel for Mills Manufacturing. He holds a law degree from North Carolina Central University School of Law. Following graduation from the U.S. Naval Academy, he served ten years on active duty as a Navy Helicopter Pilot.

Carl Silverstein is executive director of Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy where he has been a member of the staff since 2000. SAHC works to conserve the unique plant and animal habitat, clean water, farmland, scenic beauty, and places for people to enjoy outdoor recreation in the mountains of North Carolina and Tennessee for the benefit of present and future generations. Carl holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Stanford University and a law degree from the University of Alabama Law School. He practiced law in Seattle before moving to Asheville in 1995.

George Santucci is Sustainability and Special Projects Manager for the Town of Boone. Previously, he was President of the New River Conservancy. The New River Conservancy is an accredited land trust dedicated to protecting the waters, woodlands, and wildlife of the New River Watershed.  Prior to NRC, he worked for North Carolina Cooperative Extensions Center. He has an extensive background in education having served as a high school teacher and instructor with Outward Bound. George has a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science.

Marc Rudow is a partner with the Roberts and Stevens Law Firm. Marc practices commercial and residential real estate law, land conservation, bankruptcy and creditors’ rights, and estate planning. Marc works with the land trust community in many capacities and is very familiar with all of the organizations that are dedicated to protect land and water in NC. He graduated from UNC Law School in 1979.

John Noor is a litigation attorney with the Roberts and Stevens Law Firm focusing on environmental law, complex business litigation, governmental affairs, and public policy. John joined the firm in 2013, after serving for two years as a law clerk to the Honorable Calvin E. Murphy on the North Carolina Business Court. Prior to his clerkship, John was a summer clerk to the Honorable Robert C. Hunter, Jr. on the North Carolina Court of Appeals and, before attending law school, worked for UNC President Erskine Bowles. John has been involved in cases concerning a broad range of companies, from multi-billion-dollar financial institutions, to small, closely-held family businesses. In his environmental practice, John has worked on Brownfields Redevelopment, permitting under the Clean Water Act and Endangered Species Act, nuisance actions, administrative rulemaking, oil and natural gas leasing, and energy performance contracting.

(Thank you to RiverLink for partnering with the Bar to present this seminar)


Registrations are closed for this event.