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February 23, 2009

27th Annual Public Interest Environmental Law Conference Takes Place February 26-March 1

“Solidarity! United Action for the Greener Good,” the 27th Annual Public Interest Environmental Law Conference (“PIELC”), will take place Thursday, February 26 through Sunday, March 1, at the Knight Law Center. This year, the students of Land Air Water (“LAW”), a student environmental law society, will host the annual conference of the National Association of Environmental Law Societies and the Environmental Alliance Worldwide in conjunction with the PIELC.
Billed as the premier annual gathering for environmentalists worldwide, the 2009 PIELC will examine how leading defenders of the environment identify and maximize their shared missions and work cooperatively to find solutions to the immense problems facing our planet and its inhabitants. This year’s keynote speakers are:

  • Riki Ott — Author of Sound Truth and Corporate Myths and Not One Drop, two books that draw on her firsthand experience of the devastating effects of the Exxon Valdez oil spill.
  • Katharine Redford — Cofounder and U.S. Office Director of Earth Rights International (“ERI”), a nonprofit group of activists, organizers, and lawyers with expertise in human rights, the environment, and corporate and government accountability, with offices in the U.S. and Southeast Asia.
  • Stephen Stec — Adjunct Professor at Central European University in Budapest, Hungary, and Associate Scholar at Leiden University in The Netherlands. He is former head of the Environmental Law Program of the Regional Environmental Center as well as one of the authors of the Aarhus Convention Implementation Guide and main editor for the Access to Justice Handbook under the Aarhus Convention.
  • Fernando Ochoa — Founding member and Executive Director of the environmental advocacy organization Defensa Ambiental del Noroeste (“DAN”); Legal Advisor for Pronatura Noroeste, a Mexican nonprofit organization, and the Waterkeeper Program for the Baja California Peninsula.
  • Claudia Polsky — Deputy Director of the Office of Pollution Prevention and Green Technology for California’s Department of Toxic Substances Control (“DTSC”). Before working for the DTSC, Polsky worked for the California Department of Justice, Earthjustice, Public Citizen Litigation Group, and The Nature Conservancy.
  • Gail Small ’82 — Director of Native Action, an environmental justice organization in Lame Deer, Montana. Her work includes litigation, drafting tribal statutes, and creating informational resources for tribal members.
  • Matthew Pawa — Litigator who has represented governments, non-profit groups, citizens, and small businesses in a wide range of environmental, constitutional, and antitrust cases, including class actions and individual cases. In 2001, he opened the Law Offices of Matthew F. Pawa, P.C. to provide representation in major environmental cases for government and nonprofit clients.
  • Derrick Jensen — Acclaimed author of thirteen books, including A Language Older Than Words, The Culture of Make Believe, and Endgame. Jensen writes for The New York Times Magazine, Audubon, and The Sun Magazine, among many others.
  • Pablo Fajardo Mendoza — Attorney and lead lawyer in a 14-year battle to bring U.S. energy giant Chevron Corporation to account for massive oil contaminations in the Amazon; winner of a 2008 Goldman Environmental Prize and a 2007 CNN Hero’s Award.
  • Anhthu Hoang — General Counsel for WE ACT for Environmental Justice, the first environmental justice organization in New York city.
  • Carla Garcia Zendejas — Environmental Attorney from Tijuana, Mexico, who currently is advancing strategies to protect the Baja California Peninsula and the Sea of Cortez from unsustainable development projects.
The four-day conference is organized by the volunteers of Land Air Water and is sponsored by Friends of LAW. Online registration is available on the conference Web site.

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