Public Interest Environmental Law Conference
University of Oregon School of Law
Eugene, Oregon
2011 PIELC Speakers

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Earl Blumenauer is the Congressman for Oregon’s third district. Congressman Blumenauer has been a lifelong resident of Portland. He received both his undergraduate and law degree from Lewis and Clark. Congressman Blumenauer was elected to the Oregon Legislature in 1972 and then served on the Multnomah County Commission before serving on the Portland City Council, where he served for ten years as the Commisioner of Public Works, focusing on innovative transportation, planning, environmental programs, and public participation. Congressman Blumenauer was elected to Congress in 1996.  In Congress, he has been a chief spokesperson for Livable Communities. He has also authored and co-sponsored legislation to preserve and protect public lands, shift the nation’s energy policy towards renewable energy and energy efficiency, curb global warming, clean our nation’s water bodies, and many others. Recently Congressman Blumenauer promoted the addition of a bike lane to Pennsylvania Avenue. In the 111th Congress, Congressman Blumenauer served as the Vice Chair of the Select Committe on Energy Independence and Global Warming; this Committe was abolished by the of the 112th Congress. Congressman Blumenauer continues to serve as a member of the Ways and Means Committee and the Budget Committee.



Lori Caramanian is currently Counselor to the Assistant Secretary for Water and Science. She has a particular interest in environmentally sustainable hydropower development, and she is working with the Department of Energy and the Corps of Engineers on hydropower projects that increase generation while improving ecosystem function using environmentally sustainable low impact or small hydropower projects. Additionally, Caramanian represents the Interior on the Mississippi River and Gulf of Mexico Watershed Nutrient Task Force. The Task Force is a partnership of federal and state agencies working to address the problem of hypoxia in the Gulf of Mexico. Caramanian is also involved in Interior’s effort to develop sustainable water strategies through WaterSMART (Sustain and Manage America’s Resources for Tomorrow).

Previously, Caramanian served as an attorney for the Department of Justice Environment and Natural Resources Division. While there she received multiple awards for her service to the government. She began her legal career as a staff attorney at Riverkeeper in Garrison, New York. Caramanian earned her law degree and L.L.M. in environmental law from Pace University School of Law. 



Lynn Henning has emerged as a leading voice calling on state and
federal authorities to hold livestock factory farms accountable to
water and air quality laws. With her husband, she farms 300-acres of
corn and soybeans in Lenawee County within 10 miles of 12 Concentrated
Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs). Her mother-in-law and father-in-
law, both in their 80s, live within 1000 feet of a CAFO operation, and
have both been diagnosed with hydrogen sulfide poisoning.

In 2000, as her small rural community was inundated with CAFOs,
Henning and other concerned neighbors to form Environmentally
Concerned Citizens of South Central Michigan (ECCSCM), and they began
organizing to bring the CAFOs to justice. Henning gathered as much
information as possible about CAFO pollution spills, their locations
and points of origin. Regularly driving a 125-mile circuit multiple
times a week to track CAFO operations and surreptitiously take water

She joined forces with the Sierra Club’s Michigan Chapter as a
volunteer Water Sentinel in 2001, and became a staff member in 2005.
With their support, Henning led efforts to develop water quality
monitoring programs to measure pollution levels from CAFOs and
document their impact on local watersheds. Henning and ECCSCM
developed a body of data on CAFO operations beyond that of Michigan’s
own regulatory agencies, including the DEQ. She brought her data and
tools to state regulators to encourage them to take stronger
enforcement action. As a result, the DEQ levied hundreds of citations against Michigan CAFOs for environmental violations. For the first time, in 2008 the DEQ denied a permit to a proposed CAFO facility, based largely on Henning’s findings and recommendations of the local citizens group fighting the proposal. While a new permit was later granted, the community is crafting an appeal with Henning’s

Henning recently helped form a statewide committee made up of
representatives of the state departments of agriculture and health,
the DEQ and Michigan citizens groups charged with conducting a first-
ever assessment of the environmental impacts of CAFOs on public
health. Lisa Jackson, current head of the federal EPA, recently stated
that her department will take steps toward stricter enforcement of the
Clean Water Act rules regulating CAFO waste.



Bruce Nilles joined the Sierra Club in 2002 and currently directs its Beyond Coal Campaign, the largest component of Sierra Club's new Climate Recovery Partnerships. The beyond coal campaign is working to reduce America's over reliance on coal, slash coal's contribution to global warming and other pollution woes, end destructive mining, and secure massive investments in clean energy alternatives.

Bruce previously worked as a staff attorney for Earthjustice's San Francisco office, and during the Clinton Administration as Counsel to the Assistant Attorney General for the U.S. Department of Justice's Environment and Natural Resources Division in Washington D.C. He received his J.D. and B.S. degrees from the University of Wisconsin.



Humberto Ríos Labrada is the 2010 Islands and Island Nations winner of the Goldman Environmental Prize. The Goldman Prize is the world's largest and most prestigious annual environmental award that recognizes grassroots activists from each of the world's six inhabited continental regions. Ríos Labrada earned the award by working with farmers to increase crop diversity and develop low-input agricultural systems, encouraging Cuba's shift from agricultural chemical dependence toward sustainability. Ríos Labrada's titles include, biodiversity researcher, scientist, professor, and folk singer, all of which are used in the pursuit of sustainability. Ríos Labrada established agrobiodiversity learning centers and organized "seed fairs" to encourage farming communities to share their traditional knowledge, best practices, and seeds to enhance crop diversity. Ríos Labrada even uses his music to engage communities and express his beliefs in sustainable agriculture. He is now the coordinator of the National Institute of Agricultural Sciences's Program for Local Agricultural Innovation (PIAL) and spends his time developing Cuba's sustainable agricultural sector. Please see the video link below documenting Humberto Ríos Labrada's successes:



Arjun Makhijani is President of the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research in Takoma Park, Maryland. He earned his Ph.D. from the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences at the University of California, Berkeley in 1972, specializing in nuclear fusion.

A recognized authority on energy issues, Dr. Makhijani is the author and co-author of numerous reports and books on energy and environment related issues. He was the principal author of the first study of the energy efficiency potential of the US economy published in 1971. He is the author of Carbon-Free and Nuclear-Free: A Roadmap for U.S. Energy Policy (2007).

In 1989 he received The John Bartlow Martin Award for Public Interest Magazine Journalism of the Medill School of Journalism, Northwestern University, with Robert Alvarez; was awarded the Josephine Butler Nuclear Free Future Award in 2001 and the Jane Bagley Lehman Award of the Tides Foundation in 2008; and was named a Ploughshares Hero, by the Ploughshares Fund (2006). In 2007, he was elected a Fellow of the American Physical Society. He has many published articles in journals such as The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists and The Progressive, as well as in newspapers, including the Washington Post.

Dr. Makhijani has testified before Congress, and has appeared on ABC World News Tonight, the CBS Evening News, CBS 60 Minutes, NPR, CNN, and BBC, among others. He has served as a consultant on energy issues to utilities, including the Tennessee Valley Authority, the Edison Electric Institute, the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, and several agencies of the United Nations. He and his colleagues are currently in the midst of finishing studies on zero CO2 electricity systems for Utah and Minnesota.



Carl Safina's childhood by the sea led him into scientific studies of seabirds and fish. He holds a M.S. and a Ph.D. in ecology from Rutgers University.

During his research and recreational and part-time-commercial fishing, he noticed rapid declines in marlin, sharks, tunas and other fishes, and sea turtles. This motivated him to become a voice for restoring abundant life in the oceans. Since then, Dr. Safina has worked to put ocean fish conservation issues into the wildlife conservation mainstream. He has helped lead campaigns to ban high-seas drift-nets, re-write and reform federal fisheries law in the U.S., use international agreements toward restoring depleted populations of tunas, sharks, and other fishes, and achieve passage of a United Nations global fisheries treaty.
In 1990 he founded the Living Oceans Program at the National Audubon Society, serving for the next decade as vice president for ocean conservation.  He is currently co-founder and president of Blue Ocean Institute, an organization dedicated to inspiring among humans a closer relationship with the sea and helping more people realize its power and beauty.

Safina is author of more than a hundred scientific and popular publications on ecology and oceans. A winner of the prestigious Pew Fellowship, MacArthur Fellowship and Guggenheim Fellowship, Safina has written five books—Song for the Blue Ocean: Encounters Along the World’s Coasts and Beneath the Seas; Eye of the Albatross: Visions of Hope and Survival; Voyage of the Turtle: In Pursuit of the Earth’s Last Dinosaur; Nina Delmar: The Great Whale Rescue; and The View from Lazy Point: A Natural Year in an Unnatural World, coming this Fall 2010.

Safina also appeared on Comedy Central's "The Colbert Report" to report on his experiences and observation during this year's Gulf Oil Spill crisis. 



Dr. Vandana Shiva is trained as a Physicist and did her Ph.D. on the subject “Hidden Variables and Non-locality in Quantum Theory” from the University of Western Ontario in Canada.  She later shifted to inter-disciplinary research in science, technology and environmental policy, which she carried out at the Indian Institute of Science and the Indian Institute of Management in Bangalore, India

Dr. Shiva is one of the world’s most renowned environmentalists. Time Magazine identified Dr. Shiva as an environmental “hero” in 2003 and Asia Week has called her one of the five most powerful communicators of Asia.

Dr. Shiva has pioneered the organic movement in India and established Navdanya, the country’s biggest network of seed keepers and organic producers.

Dr. Shiva has authored many books including Soil Not Oil, Earth Democracy, Stolen Harvest, Staying Alive, Water Wars and Biopiracy.
Among her many awards are the Alternative Nobel Prize (Right Livelihood Award, 1993), Order of the Golden Ark, Global 500 Award of UN and Earth Day International Award.

Dr. Shiva also serves on the boards of many organizations including World Future Council, International Forum on Globalisation and Slow Food International.



Jeremy Wates worked as Secretary to the Aarhus Convention with the Geneva-based United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) from 1999 through May 2010. The Aarhus Convention is the world’s most far-reaching legally binding treaty on access to information, public participation in decision-making, and access to justice in environmental matters. Prior to taking up his post as Secretary to the Aarhus Convention, Mr. Wates led the campaign by the European ECO Forum, an NGO Coalition, to persuade governments to start work on a treaty on environmental democracy and then coordinated the input from civil society organizations into the official negotiations over the Aarhus Convention text.

In February 2011, following a period of sabbatical leave, Mr. Wates resigned from his post with the United Nations to take up the role of Secretary General of the European Environmental Bureau (EEB), a network of 143 environmental organizations that represent over fifteen million European environmentalists. In this role, he has pledged to work with the EEB’s member organizations in the struggle to reduce Europe’s ecological footprint. He will take up the new post in May.

Mr. Wates holds an MA Honors Degree in Philosophy and Social and Political Science from Cambridge University, UK. In the 1980s, he founded the Irish environmental organization Earthwatch, the Irish member of Friends of the Earth International, and led the organization for more than a decade. During this period, he blended environmental activism with raising a family and small scale organic farming in the south-west of Ireland.

Mr. Wates continues to be a driving force for environmental sustainability and participatory democracy in Europe and throughout the world.















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