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Webinar: The Commercialization & Exploitation of Outer Space Legal and Ethical Questions Under International and National Laws

July 15, 2021 @ 2:00 pm 4:00 pm

This program offers 2 participatory MCLE credits.


During the past twelve months the FCC has been making a series of decisions, at an accelerating pace, that may alter forever the Heavens as humans have come to experience them since well before the dawn of recorded history. These decisions include: 

  • Licenses to launch hundreds of rockets, each containing dozens of satellites to be placed into low- and very-low earth orbit(s);
  • Expedited consideration and approvals of over 80,000 non-geostationary satellites. 
  • Blanket licenses for millions of earth stations;
  • Modifications in satellite elevations from low- to very-low earth orbit(s).

Lawyers, scientists and public interest advocates around the world are voicing concerns that the FCC’s satellite licensing program presents a national and international security risk from multiple perspectives:

  • Hostile acts of sabotage (military security)
  • Vulnerability to malware and hacking (cybersecurity) in light of three major infrastructure attacks since January 2021
  • Collisions and debris (accidents)
  • Interference with weather prediction and insect/bee propagation (food security)
  • Damage to the ionosphere and unassessed effects on climate, rainforests, and biodiversity (environmental security)
  • Liability, indemnification, absence of insurance for many significant risks (Public Pays Principle)
  • Failure to address viable safe, more secure, economically robust alternatives (economic security), i.e A Balanced Solution. See Figures 1 and 2 at the end of this document.

The Controversy:

The satellite companies and the FCC itself downplay these concerns. The FCC is taking the position that the agency has no legal obligation to assess any of these risks prior to making important licensing decisions. Moreover, the FCC asserts it is not obligated to consult with at least fifteen other federal agencies that have jurisdiction and critical missions related to the satellite program (for example, the State Department, Department of Defense, Department of Agriculture, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Commerce Department, NASA). The satellite companies have not proffered proof of insurance covering the above risks, nor contracted to indemnify the U.S. or other nations injured by their actions. The FCC declines to promulgate rules to require indemnification or insurance. The FCC does not appear to have discussed any of the above risks with other governments, while the agency by its actions is abrogating obligations under international treaties that have been signed and ratified by the United States. No critical assessment of the risks and costs of the satellite program and the benefits of alternatives appears to have been taken. The FCC’s current laissez faire policy has been challenged in a Petition for Emergency/Expedited Rulemaking filed on March 11, 2021.

Purposes of the Program

  • To alert practicing attorneys to the unusually broad range of important legal issues presented by the FCC’s satellite licensing program, involving international law, Space law, national security law, export controls, environmental law (federal, state, and international), administrative law, human rights law, insurance law, human rights law, privacy law, intellectual property law, public interest law, and comparative law of many other countries.
  • To enlist the creative contributions of attorneys by demonstrating how what is being permitted and encouraged in Space will irrevocably affect their individual practices on behalf of clients here on Earth.

Speakers: Julian Gresser, Jessica Learmond-Criqui, James S. Turner, Sue Grey, and Ben Levi

Moderator: Melissa Allain


Julian Gresser is a veteran international and environmental attorney, professional negotiator, inventor, and recognized expert on East Asia and industrial policy. He is currently Of Counsel with the Washington law firm of Swankin & Turner and a co-founder of the BALANCE GROUP, a Washington based legal/consulting/technology group dedicated to helping all sides in the 5G/AI/IoT/Satellite controversy discover a path that is safe, secure, environmentally conscious, and protective of national security. Mr. Gresser has developed an innovative MCLE course, The Art of Human-centered Lawyering that addresses the dilemma attorneys face in balancing personal integrity and happiness with the stresses and practical necessities of legal practice.

Julian Gresser is also CEO of Big Heart Technologies, Inc. a humanitarian Benefit Corporation founded to provide tools and resources to empower collaborative innovation and negotiation training. As a negotiator his most dramatic success involved helping a San Francisco-based trading company transform its $8 million after-tax branch into a $1 billion Japanese company in seven years. He has served as legal advisor to numerous U.S., Japanese, and European companies on a wide array of business issues, including joint ventures, limited (venture capital) partnerships, technology licensing, export controls and customs fraud, antitrust, and intellectual property protection, particularly patent infringement disputes. Julian Gresser has been twice Visiting Mitsubishi Professor of Japanese law at the Harvard Law School and a visiting professor at MIT, Doshisha University (Kyoto) and the Beijing University. He has been a senior consultant to the U.S. State Department, The World Bank, The Prime Minister’s Office of Japan, The People’s Republic of China, and the European Commission (where he trained the Commission’s Japanese negotiating teams), and a legal adviser to hundreds of international companies (Further information). He is the author of eight books in English and Japanese, including Environmental Law in Japan (1981) which provided a conceptual framework for the Superfund in the U.S. An important recent article addressing the illusory “tragic choice” presented by 5G is“Leapfrogging China—Awakening from the 5g Trance—A Winning Strategy and Action Plan for the Next U.S. President.”

Jessica Learmond-Criqui was admitted as a Solicitor in 1991. She originally qualified as a Barrister in 1986. She is involved in all aspects of English labour law including group reorganisations and various matters of individual and collective labour law. She also works on executive immigration matters. She has frequently been interviewed on television and radio in connection with employment law issues generally. She has written numerous articles on matters relating to employment and immigration law including for The Times, The Guardian and the Independent newspapers. She appeared in The Legal 500 as having a leading reputation in employment law. She and her team, while she was at Altheimer & Gray were nominated for Employment Team of the Year by the Legal Business magazine. In March 2010, she was named Lawyer of the Week – The Times (UK).

Jim Turner is a principal in Swankin & Turner, Wash DC, represents businesses as well as individuals and consumer groups in a wide variety of regulatory matters concerning food, drug, health, environmental and product-safety matters. He has appeared before every major consumer regulatory agency, including the Food and Drug Administration, Environmental Protection Agency, Consumer Product Safety Commission and Federal Trade Commission, as well as the Department of Agriculture and the National Institutes of Health. Mr. Turner has served as special counsel to the Senate Select Committee on Food, Nutrition, and Health and to the Senate Government Operations Subcommittee on Government Research. He has also been a policy consultant to major corporations in the food, pharmaceutical and telecommunications industries, including such companies as Kraft Foods, The Quaker Oats Company, Hoffmann-LaRoche and AT&T. Mr. Turner was the lead attorney on a successful petition to the FDA to reclassify acupuncture needles from Class III to Class II medical devices, permitting their legal importation and distribution. He is a graduate of The Ohio State University School of Law. 

Sue Grey has combined law and science to create a niche in emerging medico-legal, environmental and other public rights issues. She has led leading cases, public education, and law reform and is a frequent media commentator and invited public speaker on medicinal cannabis, the risks associated with 1080 and other poisons, and on biological harm from electromagnetic radiation. She provides strategic and legal advice to empower communities and facilitate “public good” change and enjoys working with multidisciplinary teams to assess resources and challenges, identify and manage conflicts and find creative solutions that are legal, practical and effective. Sue is particularly interested in environmental, nutritional and lifestyle impacts on health and wellbeing and reforms that would focus resources on education and informed consent to encourage wellness and patient focused health care. More

Ben Levi was educated as an engineer, and has a 35 year computer consulting career specializing in the Apple platform, including hardware, software, training, systems design and Filemaker Pro database development. He has years of experience in online conferencing platforms including Zoom and Maestro, and is a master meeting rapporteur. In addition to his hardware and software expertise, Ben has decades of “wetware” experience delving into the evolution of human consciousness, including living in intentional communities, assisting with organizational and community facilitation, Bohmian Dialogue, and Spiral Dynamics integral, which he taught for over ten years with the founder, Dr. Don Beck. Ben combines all of his expertise in assisting with many online and face-to-face conferences focusing on the healthy evolution of human consciousness and working on the many problems of existence our civilization is facing, including the 5G Juggernaut which he has closely collaborated with Julian Gresser for over a year. Ben lives in the foothills of Boulder, CO in a solar home he designed and contracted, where he also has a small USDA certified organic farm growing and selling medicinal herbs and other products. He is also a New Zealand resident, spending up to a third of the year there.

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