Earth and Environment Graduate Seminar
This is a past event.
Monday, September 26, 2022 at 2:00pm
Deuxieme Maison building, MMC, 100
Title: The role of Scientists and Engineers in Environmental Law
David Reed, Executive Director Chesapeake Legal Alliance
Evan Isaacson, Senior Attorney, Director of Policy and Research Chesapeake Legal Alliance
Abstract: Evan will discuss the critical role that scientists and engineers play in environmental law. In "citizen suit" enforcement actions under the Clean Water Act and other bedrock federal environmental laws, scientists and engineers are asked to serve as expert witnesses whose testimony plays a key role in helping a court understand matters of evidence, liability, or the viability of adequate remedies. In judicial appeals of regulatory agency actions, the work of an environmental lawyer is to "pad the record" with overwhelming scientific or technical evidence to convince the court that the agency issued an unlawfully deficient permit. And while policymakers rarely have adequate time or resources to fully understand complex technical issues, the job of an environmental law practitioner in the policy realm is to synthesize and distill technical matters into policy terms that our elected officials can understand. In sum, it is almost essential for an effective environmental lawyer to have some degree of scientific, technical and/or quantitative aptitude, making science and engineering graduates ideal partners for environmental NGOs or candidates for law school. Evan and Dave will also touch on some of the basic distinctions between the restoration of the Chesapeake Bay and the restoration of the Everglades, two of America's "Great Waters."