“Changing Currents” expresses an awareness that the physical currents of our planet are shifting and that we must alter our human patterns to adapt for a better future. Actions of the past set in motion the drastic changes we are experiencing today. At the same time our actions today will deeply affect our world’s future. The currents that drive our climate system are changing and causing unprecedented changes to human and biotic communities across the globe. But, armed with an awareness of these changes, we can mobilize the social currency needed to change currents and set humanity on the path to resiliency. This year’s conference will provide an opportunity to challenge each other and discuss solutions and strategies for how we may move forward in confronting the world of today with an eye towards tomorrow’s reality.

PIELC 2015 Panel Submission Form


2015 Public Interest Environmental Law Conference to Feature Helen Slottje as a Keynote Speaker

EUGENE, Ore. –(Nov. 19, 2014)– Helen Slottje will give a keynote presentation at the Public Interest Environmental Law Conference 2015: Changing Currents, held at the University of Oregon.


Helen Slottje and her husband David Slottje are the architects of New York’s local fracking ban strategy. By using a clause in the state constitution that empowers municipalities to make their own local land use decisions, Helen and David successfully helped over 200 communities in New York say no to natural gas hydraulic fracturing.

The Slottjes formed the Community Environmental Defense Council (CEDC) in 2009 to coordinate their efforts against fracking. Through that organization, the Slottjes have provided thousands of hours of pro-bono legal representation throughout New York. The legal strategy used by the Slottjes and CEDC relies on the “home rule” doctrine, a legal principle that prioritizes local community rights over the benefits of a single private property owner. CEDC believes that citizens have a right to insist that the community’s interest come before the shareholder’s profits, and that communities have the right to refuse to allow industry to hide behind the call for profits while polluting water, air and natural resources.

In April of 2014, Helen was chosen as the North American recipient of the Goldman Environmental Prize. Helen and David not only continue their work with New York municipalities but also travel across the country to spread their pioneering legal strategy with other communities under attack from the gas industry.

PIELC 2015: Changing Currents will take place March 5 – 8, 2015 at the University of Oregon School of Law in Eugene, Oregon. More information can be found at www.pielc.org. For media inquiries, please contact askpielc@uoregon.edu.