Celesq® Attorneys Ed Center

Environmental Justice and Infrastructure Siting in the Black Lives Matter Era

Program Number: 30228

Program Date: 10/07/2020


The year 2020 has ushered in change and great uncertainty and also seen the mainstream emergence of the Black Lives Matter (“BLM”) movement. Although the current landscape is fluid and still evolving, it seems certain that the BLM movement and the attention paid to systemic racism endured by people of color will have tangible effects on environmental justice – long believed to be an aspirational goal, rather than a concrete compliance point. Sidley Austin LLP attorneys Emily Mallen, Simone Jones, and Nicole Noelliste will analyze the potential implications of the BLM movement on pipeline infrastructure planning and major facility siting. After providing a background on environmental justice, they specifically will discuss relevant cases proceeding in courts, matters before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and federal and state legislation. The attorneys also will provide meaningful ways that companies should consider engaging with communities of color and strengthening their partnerships with the communities they impact and serve to better ensure that their capital-intensive projects will proceed in a timely manner, the companies maintain their credibility and remain welcomed community partners, and they avoid litigation and other adverse consequences.

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Available in states

California, Colorado Eligible, Florida, Georgia, New Jersey Eligible, New York, Texas Self Study

Credit Information

50 minute credit hour - 1.0 General CLE credit, based on a 50-minute credit hour
60 minute credit hour - 1.0 General CLE credit, based on a 60-minute credit hour

State Program Numbers


Simone Jones, Esq.

Sidley Austin LLP

SIMONE JONES is an environmental associate in the Washington, D.C. office. Her specialties include complex environmental litigation and internal investigations, particularly in the automotive sector. Her recent cases include defending original equipment manufacturers and senior executives in matters involving auxiliary emission control devices, fuel economy and onboard d.iagnostics before federal courts, EPA, CARB, DOJ, the FBI, the SEC and other agencies.

Simone also has extensive experience in complex class action defense, white collar criminal defense and internal and government investigations, as well as general commercial litigation. She has represented both plaintiffs and defendants in various jurisdictions and in all stages of litigation, including initiating complaints, developing litigation strategy, briefing dispositive motions, taking and defending depositions, working with expert witnesses, managing discovery and assisting with appeals.

In addition, Simone has experience successfully defending corporations in high-stakes consumer class action suits alleging consumer fraud, violations of the civil Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) and other federal statutes, as well as violations of state laws. She also has initiated a breach of contract action, achieving a significant victory on behalf of clients after drafting a successful, dispositive motion and arguing the matter before the court. Simone also has experience responding to government subpoenas and defending and investigating claims of bribery, in addition to purported violations of criminal RICO and the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA).

Simone maintains an active pro bono practice and was awarded the Award for Excellence in Pro Bono Service by the Judges of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois and the Chicago Chapter of the Federal Bar Association and received the Thomas H. Morsch Award for Pro Bono Achievement. In addition, she recently secured class certification for a United States military veteran.

Simone earned her J.D. from Chicago-Kent College of Law, where she served as the editor of the Seventh Circuit Review Honors Journal. Simone earned her Master of Public Health from Tulane University and her Bachelor of Science in Biology from the University of Arkansas.

Simone was recognized by Super Lawyers as an Illinois Super Lawyers Rising Star for 2014–2018.


Emily P. Mallen, Esq.

Sidley Austin LLP

EMILY PITLICK MALLEN counsels clients in the natural gas, oil and products pipeline industries in federal regulatory and transactional matters. She helps her clients understand and comply with their obligations under energy and environmental laws, with particular focus on the Natural Gas Act (NGA), the Natural Gas Policy Act (NGPA), the Interstate Commerce Act (ICA) and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Emily has provided strategic advice to pipelines in over a dozen NGA Section 4 and 5 rate case proceedings. She works with in-house counsel to shepherd pipeline projects through the NGA Section 7 certificate process and provides advice on day-to-day regulatory compliance matters before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). She also has experience with proceedings before the Texas Railroad Commission and the federal courts, and advising energy industry and trade association clients working through emerging issues in energy and natural resources law.

Emily’s recent experience includes:

• Representing a trade association before the D.C. Circuit in a proceeding that focused on FERC’s NEPA review of downstream greenhouse gas emissions in natural gas pipeline certificate projects.
• Assisting a hub-services provider in Texas with obtaining market-based rates from FERC for transportation services provided under section 311 of the NGPA.
• Representing a pipeline that delivers crude oil from the Permian Basin to the Houston Gulf Coast in a hearing proceeding at FERC on challenges by its anchor shipper to expansion shippers’ prorationing policy and contract rates, while advising the pipeline in a parallel proceeding at the Texas Railroad Commission.
• Providing regulatory due diligence on a number of transactions concerning natural gas, crude oil and products pipelines transporting commodities from strategic supply basins throughout the U.S.
Prior to joining Sidley, Emily practiced with a FERC regulatory specialty firm, working with over a dozen regulated pipeline companies.

Some of Emily’s representative matters prior to joining Sidley include:

• Represented a natural gas pipeline company before FERC in a NGA section 4 rate case proceeding that resulted in the company’s first uncontested settlement.
• Represented natural gas pipeline projects in obtaining their NGA section 7 certificate authorization from FERC while orchestrating strategic responses to project opponents.
• Represented a natural gas pipeline company in its efforts to convert segments of its system from natural gas to natural gas products transportation by providing counsel on NEPA and NGA section 7 matters as well as the converted pipeline’s common carrier obligations under the ICA.
• Represented a natural gas pipeline in a litigated acquisition premium dispute before FERC and on brief before the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.
• Represented a new crude oil pipeline located in Texas and Oklahoma before FERC, which included a Petition for Declaratory Order on the pipeline’s rate and tariff structure, the crafting of tariff language and the drafting of open season materials, transportation services agreements and other transactional documents.


Nicole E. Noelliste, Esq.

Sidley Austin LLP

NICOLE NOËLLISTE is a member of the Environmental practice group in Washington, D.C., which is ranked Band 1 by Chambers USA in 2020. Nicole focuses her practice on advising clients on a wide range of complex environmental and energy matters, including regulatory compliance, enforcement actions, and rulemaking challenges. She also counsels the nuclear sector on transactional and regulatory approvals by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), including NRC approvals for transactions involving radioactive materials.

Prior to joining Sidley, Nicole was a lawyer at the NRC in the Office of General Counsel. In that position, Nicole counseled the agency staff on the development of the agency’s first Tribal Policy Statement, and reviewed National Environmental Policy Act analyses of NRC permitting decisions.
During law school, Nicole served as a law clerk at the Environmental Law Institute, an Honors Law Clerk at the EPA’s Office of General Counsel and a law clerk within the Natural Resources Section of the DOJ’s Environmental and Natural Resources Division.

Nicole also holds a Master of Public Affairs in Environmental Policy & Natural Resources Management from Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs. In college, she was nominated as the NCAA Division I “Woman of the Year” for her outstanding achievement in academics, athletic competition and community engagement.