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August 31, 2011

Students receive American Bar Association Award

The University of Oregon School of Law’s 2011 Public Interest Environmental Law Conference has been named the law student program of the year by the American Bar Association’s Section of Environment, Energy and Resources.

This year’s conference, “Turning the Tides: Creating a Clean and Green Future,” included panels on Liberia’s environmental abuses, forestry mining in Ghana and Liberia, pesticide pollution, the impacts of natural resource extraction in Latin America and environmental impact assessments in Estonia and Hungary. The four-day conference was held at the UO in March.

The ABA award recognizes the best student-organized educational program or public service project of the year that focused on the fields of environmental, energy or natural resources law.

The Public Interest Environmental Law Conference – organized primarily by UO law students – has grown from 15 speakers and 75 participants in its inaugural year of 1982 to more than 2,000 attendees at this year’s 125 panels, workshops and presentations. Past years’ conferences have hosted keynote speakers including Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.; Ralph Nader; David Brower; Terry Tempest Williams; and Winona LaDuke.

The law student program of the year award was presented to the student organizers of the PIELC earlier this month at the ABA’s annual meeting in Toronto.

“Receiving this award from the ABA is a great honor for the conference, and is real testament to the hard work put in by last year’s organizers,” said Alek Wipperman, a second-year law student and co-director of next year’s conference. “PIELC is one of the main factors that drew me to Oregon Law, and I’m excited to have the opportunity to help organize the conference as it enters its 30th year.”

The 2012 PIELC, “New Frontier: The Political Crossroads of Our Environmental Future,” will be held March 1-4, 2012, at the University of Oregon.

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