Analyzing Risk Assessment and Cumulative Risk Assessment from a Scientific, Legal and Client/Stakeholder Perspective

Level: Advanced
Runtime: 95 minutes
Recorded Date: March 17, 2021
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  • Introduction to Risk Assessment and Environmental Justice Applications
  • Analyzing Risk Assessment and Cumulative Risk Assessment: Legal Perspectives
  • Client/Stakeholder Engagement with Risk Assessment: Case Study
Runtime: 1 hour, 35 minutes
Recorded: March 17, 2021


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.

This program was recorded on March 18th, 2021.

Provided By

American Bar Association


Lawrence K. Pittman

Attorney Advisor
Environmental Protection Agency

Lawrence is an attorney advisor at the Environmental Protection Agency in the Office of Regional Counsel RCRA & Toxics Enforcement Branch in Dallas, Texas. A Stone Mountain, Georgia native, Lawrence attended Lewis & Clark Law School in Portland, Oregon. While in law school, Lawrence served as the Student Bar Association President and the Black Law Student Association Co-President. Since being barred in the State of Georgia, he gained experience at Earth & Water Law Group and the City of Atlanta – Office of the Public Defender. In Atlanta he was involved in community programs such as the City of Atlanta - Sustainability Ambassador Program, the EPA Region 4 - Environmental Justice Academy, and the Young Alumni Council at Georgia State.

Jessica Sharrow Thompson

Assistant Counsel, Environmental Health & Safety
PPG Industries

Jessica Sharrow Thompson is the Environmental Health & Safety Assistant Counsel at PPG Industries.

Bernadette Rappold

Greenberg Traurig, LLP

Bernadette M. Rappold focuses her practice on federal and state regulatory issues related to energy, manufacturing, and the environment. She has substantial litigation experience and advises clients on regulatory compliance as well as the environmental, safety, and health aspects of numerous business and real estate transactions, including water, air, and chemical hazards.

Bernadette offers clients perspective gained through years of service at the Environmental Protection Agency. While serving as a director of the Special Litigation and Projects Division in the Office of Civil Enforcement at the EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance, she led complex enforcement actions in response to violations of the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, and other environmental statutes. Her work at the EPA covered a variety of economic and industrial sectors including the oil and gas, chemical, pharmaceutical, telecommunications, and agriculture industries.

Roy D. Prather, III

Beveridge & Diamond PC

Roy represents businesses and public sector entities across a broad range of industry sectors in federal and state courts. He defends citizen suits and class actions involving toxic tort and product liability claims under federal environmental laws and state analogues, including the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), Safe Drinking Water Act, Clean Air Act, and Clean Water Act. Roy advises clients on issues relating to regulatory compliance, and represents clients in indemnity and other commercial contract disputes relating to construction as well as contaminated site cleanup under the federal Superfund law (CERCLA). Roy also works with clients to proactively manage sensitive multi-stakeholder interactions related to environmental justice, including developing creative solutions to address environmental justice community concerns. Additionally, Roy assists clients in navigating administrative regulatory proceedings under various environmental laws and advises them on mitigating the risks of regulatory enforcement actions and litigation. He currently serves as the Deputy Chair of the firm’s Toxic Tort and Environmental Tort Practice Group and is the Chair of the firm’s Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Committee.

Roy prioritizes being an active member of his community. He is a member of the National Aquarium’s Conservation Education Advisory Group, where he facilitates the creation of conservation education programming focused on urban and ocean conservation for students within Baltimore City and the surrounding areas. Roy is also a founding member and serves on the Board of the Black BigLaw Pipeline, Inc., a non-profit comprised of senior Black attorneys established to promote positive outcomes for Black attorneys working in large law firms. Beyond legal-related roles, Roy contributes to his community through youth mentorship as a Big Brother for Big Brothers Big Sisters and as a mentor for Bridges Baltimore.

Roy also maintains a commitment to pro bono service. He has been recognized by the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas' Pro Bono Honor Roll for assisting indigent and homeless clients in resolving contract disputes and obtaining public benefits. For his service with the Prisoner Pro Se Civil Rights Panel where he represented a prisoner in a civil rights case, Roy received a Certificate of Appreciation from the Judges of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Roy also provides pro bono representation in various other areas of law, including unfair wage practice, immigration, and landlord/tenant matters.

Travis Kline

Senior Principal Toxicologist
Gesyntec Consultants, Inc.

A board-certified environmental toxicologist, Travis has experience in litigation support developing novel approaches and solutions to the characterization of problematic exposures. His recent focus has been on risk-driven advocacy and allocation support at large, multi-Potentially Responsible Party (PRP) Superfund sites in Oregon Washington, New York, and New Jersey.

Travis is the lead author of a 2019 health-mediated cost allocation strategy for a large multi-PRP coastal riverine sediment site in the eastern U.S, addressing carcinogenic PAHs, dioxin/furans, PCBs, and toxic heavy metals. Travis is actively engaged in emerging constituent issues and is leading characterization efforts and developing positions for negotiations with the administrative authorities at multiple PFAS sites with national significance in Delaware, New York, Virginia, and North Carolina. He has authored, provided expert peer review, and chaired development working groups for state and federal risk assessment guidance development, statutes and rules. He was Chair of the external review of USEPA's Human Health Risk Assessment Protocol for Hazardous Waste Combustion Facilities. As an invited lecturer for continuing education (CLE) classes on behalf of the American Bar Association (ABA), he has instructed on risk-mediated topics, such as factoring toxicity into cost allocation. Travis is Chair of the ABA's Science & Technology Committee.

Travis has extensive expertise in vapor intrusion assessment and is active on investigations surrounding problematic constituents (e.g., subchronic inhalation exposure to TCE). Travis consults with specialty chemical manufacturers to address TCSA requirements, product development challenges, pesticide registrations under federal and state programs (e.g., FIFRA) and data gap assessments, with specialized expertise in plasticizer and phthalate exposure, focusing on endocrine disruption and reproductive/developmental endpoint assessment. Travis is also active on consumer product safety assessments, including Prop. 65 hazard assessments, SDS development, and product stewardship services (e.g., Hazard and Safety Assessments, Regulatory Review, GSH Classification, CPSC labeling). Travis authored the first state- or federally-promulgated Alternative Assessment Report for bisphenol-A and his work on behalf of Eastman Chemical Company to clarify neurotoxicological implications and respiratory sensitization for a non-orthophthalate plasticizer was nominated for a Presidential Green Chemistry Award.

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