Welcome to The Public Interest Environmental Law Conference

PIELC 2019 Addendum Saturday, March 2


UO Guest Wireless Self-Service

PIELC attendees can access UO Guest Wireless network and the Internet. 

  1. Find the list of Wi-Fi networks available to you on your device.
  2. Select "UO Guest."
  3. Accept the "Acceptable Use Policy." The AUP will require scrolling to the bottom of the text before the button will enable itself.
  4. You are now connected.

After the initial registration process, you can use the wireless network by selecting the UO Guest wireless network on your computer or mobile device. You may be prompted to accept the AUP when you reconnect after being disconnected. The length of network access is “unlimited” now, but it will be expected behavior for people to see the captive portal every time they connect fresh. Sessions may persist between buildings (your mileage may vary), but leaving campus and coming back will most likely mean you will be presented the AUP again before connecting.

PIELC 2019 Much Anticipated Weather Update

Some weather, huh? Have no fear--PIELC will go on!

We’ve been holding our breath trying to see how Oregon’s snowstorm would play out and it looks like the University will be open and the roads around Eugene will be accessible. Below are some considerations in your travel to Eugene for PIELC.

We have heard that a few AirBnBs have canceled reservations due to power outages, however many of the hotels around Eugene have availability! We encourage you to look around at Eugene or Springfield’s hotels and hostels for accommodations. Though we can’t make guarantees, we will work hard to try to find student volunteers to house students.

Eugene Driving:
The roads have not been safe to drive on the last week. However, as of today, the roads are accessible. Parking is still a bit tough, but we only expect conditions to improve.

Note: Lyft & Uber are operating in Eugene!

Several attendees have contacted us to inform us train tickets from Portland to Eugene have been canceled. However, shuttles to and from PDX and Eugene are still running. If you need transportation to Eugene from Portland, we encourage you to look into shuttle services.
- https://oregonexpressshuttle.hudsonltd.net/res

If you can’t make it:
We completely understand, but we’ll be sorry to miss you!
- If you are seeking a refund, please contact askpielc@uoregon.edu, and we will arrange to reimburse your CLE costs.
- If you are speaking on a panel or workshop and are no longer able to attend the conference and/or need to cancel a panel or workshop in its entirety, please let us know so we can update our schedules accordingly.

Overall, travel safe everyone! This will be a unique PIELC and we look forward to seeing those who can make it!

PIELC 2019: Common Ground. February 28 - March 3, 2019

We are pleased to release our finalized schedule for panels, keynote addresses, and special events to occur at this year's Public Interest Environmental Law Conference. PIELC 2019 will be held on February 28 - March 3, 2019 at the University of Oregon School of Law.

Over the last 37 years, the Public Interest Environmental Law Conference has brought together thousands of activists, students, and professionals, from a diverse array of communities and cultures, to advance efforts for environmental and social justice. The 2019 conference is no exception. 

One of the main goals for PIELC 2019 is to provide a space that enables growth beyond the four-day conference. We are committed to facilitating discussions, workshops, and panels that give participants the tools and knowledge they can apply beyond this special conference. We believe that change is possible and that it comes in many forms, including but not limited to changes in the legislature and in policy both at local and global levels. We further believe that change starts with each individual making a conscious effort to better their local community resulting in a nation-wide ripple effect.

PIELC 2019 Keynote Speakers

Thursday February 28, 2019 at 6:30 p.m. in Straub Hall

Eric Descheenie

Eric was an inquisitive child growing up, always reflecting on himself in relation to unfamiliar others in the suburbs of Phoenix-metro, with endless questions about tradition as practiced back home in the rural “rez” settings of northern Arizona. Raised Catholic, he sought to reconcile such teachings with the religious traditional life of his own People, but his efforts early on revealed little. He struggled to find the kind of answers that would ease his frustrations and begin to piece together a cognitive map that could help navigate slippery concepts like “spirituality” and “sacred” or to substantiate what it meant to be Navajo, other than a demographic variable. It wasn’t until he stumbled into a religious studies course at Arizona State University where he began to find answers, and those answers, which have served as a platform for evolving truths to take shape, have inspired much of his life personally and professionally. The once latchkey kid finally found the intellectual footing he longed for, igniting a personal transformation.

Eric has pressed against governance at virtually all levels with what it means to be Indigenous, what it means to be a good relative. That is to say, the space between our intentions and performance professionally and our conduct personally must close, especially in relation to place, from the environment to the cosmos. Western culture, of course, insists they remain separate, making it easier to disavow personal accountability or those of familial recourse. This is a challenge that Eric has failed at over the years, but not without some meaningful success, and it’s because of those periodic triumphs, he is able to offer insight into new ways of governance.

In 2015-16, as an advisor for the Navajo Nation Office of the President and Vice President, Eric served as the founding Co-Chair of the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition. The Coalition, consisting of five tribes, rooted in traditional religious purpose, delivered its formal proposal October 15, 2015 to President Obama seeking a Bears Ears National Monument of 1.9 million acres. Further, the proposal sought to establish a federal commission that would help facilitate land management planning and administration consistent with Indigenous Traditional Knowledge systems.

On December 28, 2016, President Obama proclaimed the Bears Ears National Monument of 1.35 million acres and established the Bears Ears Commission. Relatively speaking, Eric asserts that all of that was the easy part, mainly because the means to achieve such, the structures and processes, are widely known. Innovating new ways of public land management using intellectual lenses of Indigenous Peoples, a genuinely alternative way of interpreting reality from Western Thought, remains the challenge.

Since 2004, he has held political appointments with the Arizona Governor’s Office of Equal Opportunity, Arizona Department of Housing, Office of the Speaker – Navajo Nation Council, Navajo County Administration, and the Navajo Nation Office of the President and Vice President. He is alumnus of Arizona State University and the 2018 United Nations Institute for Training and Research(UNITAR) – Program to Enhance the Conflict Prevention and Peacemaking Capacities of Indigenous Peoples’ Representatives. In 2017-18, Eric served a term in the Arizona House of Representatives – 53rd Arizona State Legislature.

Eric is Diné, originally from Chinle, Navajo Nation (Arizona). He is Ma’ii deeshgiizhinii (Coyote Pass People Clan), born for Kiyaa’aanii (Towering House Clan). His grandfathers are Bit’ahnii (Folded Arms People Clan) and his paternal grandfathers are Honághááhnii (One Who Walks Around Clan). Today, he and his family reside in Flagstaff, Arizona, where he operates as an independent consultant in facilitation and strategic planning.

Keynote Topic: To better understand Indigenous connections with the landscape of the Bears Ears National Monument, it helps to consider different ways of knowing. Traditional Knowledge holds that what Western cultures might think of as “things” or “wildlife” – such as rocks, wind, and water – actually have agency, the potential to be alive, and the capability to think intelligently and intentionally. Eric Descheenie will speak to what hinders our ability to engage these concepts, as well as, introduce unprecedented possibilities to the way we manage public lands using Indigenous intellectual lenses.


Friday March 1, 2019 at 1:00 p.m. in Straub Hall

Norris McDonald

Norris is the founder and president of the Center for Environment, Commerce & Energy and its outreach arm, the African American Environmentalist Association. He has been a career environmentalist for thirty-six years. Formerly with the Environmental Policy Center (now Friends of the Earth), as Director of the Energy Conservation and Transportation Project, he is an energy and environmental specialist and has served as an advisor to industry and local neighborhood community groups. McDonald was president of the Washington, D.C. Chapter of the American Association of Blacks in Energy (AABE) from 1982 to 1984. He organized the first Energy Braintrust for the late Congressman Mickey Leland. He has authored and successfully worked for the passage of national energy legislation before the U.S. Congress. He has presented testimony before federal, state and local regulatory agencies, U.S. House and Senate Energy and Environmental Committees. He was a participant in the original meetings with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to adopt environmental justice policies.

McDonald led the fight in Congress in the early 1980s to maintain Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFÉ) Standards. He presented testimony before the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee at the confirmation hearing of John Herrington as Secretary of the U.S. Department of Energy in 1985. McDonald drafted and led the lobbying campaign in the U.S. Congress to pass the Federal Shared Energy Savings Act, signed by President Ronald Reagan in 1986. He served as a National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) instructor in 1997 for the U.S. Department of Agriculture Graduate School. He assisted in the passage of the first civil rights legislation of the Twenty-first Century, the No Fear Act, signed by President Bush on May 15, 2002. He also authored and led passage of the New York City Environmental Justice Act.

He was recognized by Ebony magazine as one of its Power 100 in 2012. He was the author of the first comprehensive study of pollution in Washington, D.C. He is a recognized national speaker on energy and environmental issues and has appeared in numerous print and electronic media. He has received special recognition from the U.S. Congress, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Interior. He has served on several federal, state and local environmental advisory committees. He served as a consultant for the East Bay Conversion and Reinvestment Commission, Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Pilot Project Report for the Alameda Naval Air Station, Oakland, CA, 1996.

Keynote Topic: The African American Environmentalist Association (AAEA) was founded to address the continuing crisis of pollution that disproportionately affects the poor and communities of color. Our strategy is to conduct cutting edge research on the causes and consequences of air, water and land pollution. We seek to change public policy and regulations at the federal, state and local levels to better protect vulnerable individuals and communities. We also promote African American ownership of energy infrastructure and resources because Blacks have virtually no ownership in these sectors.

The AAEA is pragmatic and pro-technology and believes technological progress is a necessary pre-condition for prosperity, freedom, equality, and solving environmental problems. We also believe that the values of freedom and equality have been essential to the development and diffusion of world-changing technologies. AAEA seeks to realize the initial promise of the environmental justice movement. At the top of our agenda is the health of all people. A healthy person is a happy person. A healthy populace is a happy populace. A happy populace is more inclined to pursue policies that continue to enhance societal health. We seek opportunities for the many, including jobs, productivity, and personal power. Whether industrial or post-industrial, a society needs abundant power in order to be prosperous. Our challenge is to produce the most power with the least amount of pollution.

Friday March 1, 2019 at 5:30 p.m. in Straub Hall

Dominique Bachelet

Dominique Bachelet is an ecologist with thirty-nine years of combined education and work experience in the United States. Her research has focused on global climate change impacts since 1989, and she has been involved in several IPCC reports since 1995. She has published over eighty peer-reviewed papers and thirty book chapters, co-edited two books, and participated in model documentation and data archiving. She contributed to the development of the first dynamic global vegetation model (MC1) that included a dynamic fire model. In 2017, she was elected AAAS fellow in recognition of her climate change science contribution. For a decade she worked in the NGO world focusing on science information delivery and communication. With her team at the Nature Conservancy, Dominique initiated the creation of the "climate wizard" (climatewizard.org) to deliver climate projections. At Conservation Biology Institute, she worked closely with web application developers to ensure that the most relevant state-of-the-art climate change information, particularly about impacts, was delivered to the stakeholders who need it (e.g. climateconsole.org/conUS, climatemapper.org). She went back to Oregon State University in 2017 and is currently teaching an online class at as well as helping develop the Climate Change Track in the Environmental Science Program. The rest of the time, she is trying to work on a backlog of publications and paint a few new watercolors.

Keynote Topic: This year marks the thirtieth year Dominiwue has stimulated climate change impacts, particularly vegetation shifts and wildfires. Her keynote will discuss her experience working with federal agencies and their variable budgets, competing for dwindling resources among Academic and NGO, working with the general public and deniers attacks, and guiding students wondering what the future might bring them.

Saturday March 2, 2019 at 1:00 p.m. in the Straub Hall

Richard McLaughlin

Dr. Richard McLaughlin is Endowed Chair and Professor for Coastal and Marine Policy and Law at the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies (HRI) at Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi. Dr. McLaughlin has over 30 years’ experience in a broad range of marine and coastal policy and legal issues including the international law of the sea, ocean energy policies, transboundary ocean and coastal governance, and marine ecosystem-based management. He has been actively involved in a variety of leadership positions in the marine law and policy field, is a former Fulbright Scholar to Japan and has published over eighty-five articles and monographs on marine and coastal policy issues. Prior to joining HRI in 2005, Dr. McLaughlin was Professor of Law and Ray and Louise Stewart Lecturer at the University of Mississippi School of Law where he regularly taught International Law, Property Law, Admiralty Law, Ocean and Coastal Law, International Environmental Law, and other courses. Dr. McLaughlin currently serves on the National Academy of Sciences and Engineering Committee on Scientific Assessment, a group that advises the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) regarding the development of Outer Continental Shelf energy and mineral resources. A graduate of Tulane University Law School and the University of Washington School of Law, he holds a doctorate degree in law from University of California at Berkeley’s School of Law.

Keynote Topic: Technological advances are allowing scientists to place satellite-based and other tracking devices on a variety of marine animals. This biologging research is providing unprecedented insights into ecological behavior and associated ocean conditions that would be difficult to obtain using other scientific methods. However, the increasing use of marine animals for collecting oceanographic data raises important legal implications under the marine scientific research provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. Marine animals, once tagged with tracking devices, are capable of continuously collecting valuable scientific information as they move into and out of different nations’ maritime zones. These movements bring into question the age-old controversy over how to balance the international community’s freedom to engage in marine scientific research with the sovereign rights of coastal States to control foreign exploration and exploitation of natural resources within their national waters.

Saturday March 2, 2019 at 7:00 p.m. in Straub Hall

Vickie Patton

Vickie Patton serves as Environmental Defense Fund’s General Counsel and leads the organization’s U.S. Clean Air Program. For over thirty years, she has worked with partners and allies to protect human health and the environment. She has helped secure numerous national and state protections addressing dangerous climate and air pollution, participated in a variety of cases enforcing and defending key protections including successful cases before the U.S. Supreme Court and U.S. Courts of Appeals, testified before congressional and state legislative committees, and authored a variety of articles on air quality protection and environmental policy. Prior to joining Environmental Defense Fund, she worked in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of General Counsel in Washington, D.C., where she worked on the historic 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments and received the Agency’s Gold Medal for Exceptional Service. Vickie has received a number of awards including the Air & Waste Management Association’s Richard Beatty Mellon Environmental Stewardship Award, the Wirth Chair Award for Creative Collaborations in Sustainability, and the Healthy Community Award received from her local health department. Vickie serves on the Board of Directors of the Environmental Law Institute and was selected a Fellow of the American College of Environmental Lawyers.

Keynote Topic: Forging common ground on climate action in the age of Trump.

Sunday March 3, 2018 at 1:15 p.m. in Straub Hall

Amy Cordalis

Amy Cordalis is a staff attorney for the Yurok Tribe Tribal Attorney’s Office. Amy graduated from the University of Oregon in 2003 with a degree in environmental studies before earning her J.D. at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law. Amy then spent six years working as an attorney for the Native American Rights Fund before joining Berkey Williams, LLP to continue advocating for Native American tribes. After her time at Berkey Williams, Amy joined the Office of the Tribal Attorney with the Yurok Tribe.

Keynote Topic: Amy will be discussing issues surrounding the Klamath Basin from tribal, environmental, and legal perspectives.

New this year at PIELC: Open Space Sessions

Open Space provides an amazing opportunity to self-organize your own sessions.  What conversation have you been longing to have?  What topics most need to be explored?  What does our movement need next, and how can that come to be?  There will be a simply structured process at the start for all themes and possibilities to come forth.  Then participants show up at whichever sessions they feel called to be at, which can include moving among several.  While many offerings will likely be discussion groups, other formats and experiments are welcome too.  Come with your energy and ideas, ready to engage! 

Friday afternoon in the EMU ballroom, 2:45-5:45pm

PIELC 2019 Registration Now Open

Registration for PIELC 2019: Common Ground is now OPEN!

Please click here, to register. 

PLEASE NOTE: Registration and attendance at the conference are free unless you are seeking Continuing Legal Education (CLE) credit. CLE Credit is available for public interest attorneys for $120 and other attorneys for $160. This price is ONLY AVAILABLE ONLINE.  If you are paying on-site at the Conference, it will not matter if you have pre-registered, you will be required to pay the higher fee. The cost of CLE credit will INCREASE at the Conference to $150 for public interest attorneys and $190 for non-public interest attorneys. 

ALSO NOTE: CLE accreditation will be sought only with the Oregon Bar for PIELC 2019. Attendees interested in CLE credits are responsible for reporting attendance and seeking accreditation from their local bar if NOT an Oregon Bar member. A list of panels that will be submitted for CLE credit will be posted on the PIELC website during the conference and/or in the brochure. Oregon bar member attendees must submit an attendance form through the conference in order to obtain CLE credit for eligible panels attended at the conference. Attorneys seeking CLE credit in states other than Oregon are responsible for pursuing CLE credit with their respective state bar. 
If you have any questions, please email us at askpielc@uoregon.edu
We look forward to seeing you! 

PIELC 2019 Tabling Request Now Open

The Tabling Request Form is Now Open. If your organization is interested in tabling at PIELC please fill out the Tabling Request Form. All tables are subject to consideration upon request.

Tabling at the event takes place from Friday, March 1st to Sunday, March 3rd.

Deadline for Table Submission is February 23rd, 2019

Please click here to submit tabling request for PIELC 2019.

Please note this is for informational tabling only. No selling of merchandise or solicitation of money is allowed at the conference.

If you have any tabling specific question please contact our Tabling Coordinator Jack Anderson.

PIELC 2019: Common Ground February 28 - March 03, 2019

This year, we want to empower our common interests to constructively and effectively work towards a healthy environment and combat climate change. The political divide felt throughout the United States and the world is more acute than ever. This polarizing trend is not only alienating cultures, races, families, and organizations with differing views, it is estranging groups within movements that have similar values and goals.

At the same time, evidence of unsuspecting alliances are forming in recognition of common interests. Currently, ranchers and indigenous communities are protesting against pipelines while environmentalists and farmers are working to conserve water. Inspired by the progress being made through finding common ground over contrasting backgrounds, Land Air Water made it our mission to incorporate it into PIELC 2019’s theme.

PIELC 2019 is built upon the shared belief that we have more commonalities than differences. By recognizing our mutual desire for clean air, clean water, and a thriving ecosystem for future generations, we hope to refocus our means by encouraging participation and inclusion to make this vision possible. Help make this conference one of diverse voices, ethnicities, cultures, and perspectives where all voices are heard regardless of background. Unite as one voice to protect our environment. Engage each other on a wide range of environmental issues. Talk with--instead of past--one other to reach common ground.

Toward this end, this year PIELC is experimenting with including several hours of "Open Space" time--participants are invited to put on DIY workshops and convene discussions on topics of your choice, on Friday afternoon, at the conference.  Please come with your ideas ready to engage!

PIELC 2019 Panel Submissions 

PIELC 2019 Panel Submissions are now open. 

Please submit ideas for a potential panel or a complete panel with identified speakers. It is helpful to provide as much detail as possible for any ideas or panels so we can best assess how the panel idea can fit with this year's conference.

In order to involve more people in the panel registration process, we are asking that you distinguish between a fully planned panel and an idea for a panel. We consider a fully planned panel to be a submission where you have panelists in mind and have reached out to potential speakers. Alternatively, an idea for a panel consists of a subject you would like to see during the conference.

If you believe your panel should qualify for CLE credit, please make sure to include sufficient information to support an application to the Oregon bar for CLE credit. PIELC organizers will be using your panel description to justify an application for CLE credit. Consequently, including information that responds directly to what the bar requires is crucial for attaining Bar credit. In particular, the bar requires that the panel “have significant intellectual or practical content with the primary objective of increasing the participant’s professional competence as a lawyer.” Additionally, the panel “must deal primarily with substantive legal issues, legal skills, practice issues, or legal ethics and professionalism, or access to justice.”

In addition to sending this form, please feel free to send us any additional documents at askpielc@uoregon.edu

Submission deadline for priority consideration is December 21, 2018. Panels submitted after the priority deadline will be considered in full, but the availability of time and space will also factor into acceptance. Therefore, submitting panels prior to the priority deadline is highly encouraged.

*If you are interested in submitting an idea for a workshop at PIELC 2019 or have general questions, please email askpielc@uoregon.edu.

Click Here To Enter Your Panel Submission