Past Events

February 28, 2014

IU McKinney School of Law's Seventh Annual Environment, Energy & Natural Resources Symposium
Indiana Rivers: Water Access, Water Quality, & Water’s Future

CLE: 6.0 including 1.0 Ethics Hours

Speaker: Carol Comer, General Counsel for the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM)
Time: 9:30am
Location: Wynne Courtroom (Room 100),Inlow Hall, 530 W. New York Street, Indianapolis, IN

“A river is more than an amenity—it is a treasure that offers a necessity of life that must be rationed among those who have the power over it."
- Former US Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes    

Indiana’s Rivers are indeed a treasure as well as a resource that the state is bound to protect and conserve.  Through a complex system of laws and regulations at the state and federal level, the rivers that flow through the state and define some of its borders are monitored, protected, assessed, and conserved and activities on their shores, and in their watersheds, that can affect water quality are likewise monitored and regulated.  Recent events in West Virginia – where over 300,000 people lost access to basic drinking water for over a week following a chemical release into the Elk River – demonstrate that even the most complex and carefully-managed regulatory system can still fail.  And recent experience in Indiana – where almost two-thirds of state waters that have been assessed for quality have been designated as “impaired” under the Clean Water Act – shows that more can be done.

IU Robert H. McKinney School of Law’s Seventh Annual Spring Environmental Symposium will focus on these challenges and engage experts and leaders, in a discussion of the state of Indiana’s riverways and watersheds, and the scope of the current regulatory framework.  Panels will:

  • Describe the state of water access and water quality law and challenges in Indiana
  • Examine recent efforts to protect water quality affected by coal combustion
  • Assess the measures that exist to prevent an Elk River-type disaster in Indiana
  • Explore water access and water quality as an Environmental Justice Concern

Our Keynote, Carol Comer, General Counsel for the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM), will be joined by experts and leaders including the Co-Director of Advocates for Environmental Human Rights in New Orleans, LA, the Managing Principal of Beveridge & Diamond, P.C., in Washington, DC, the Water & Ag Policy Director for Hoosier Environmental Council, the Conservation Director of Sierra Club’s Hoosier Chapter, the Executive Director of the Conservation Law Center in Bloomington, and speakers from the Indiana House of Representatives, the Indiana Senate, Earthjustice, Prairie Rivers Network, the US Attorney’s Office, the Office of Utility Consumer Counselor, IU McKinney Law School in Indianapolis, and IU Maurer Law School in Bloomington.


» Online Registration for Outside Attendees

  • $75 Attorney w/ 6.0 CLE Credit hours (pending approval)
  • $25 General Admission

» Online Registration for High School/College (IU, McKinney and Other) Students, Faculty, Staff and Non-Profit Employees - Registration is closed. We will accept walk-ins registration and CLE credit is still available.


9:30am - Noon Registration
10:00am-10:15am Welcome & Introductions
10:15am-10:30am Setting the Stage - We all Live Downstream: Legal Challenges in Indiana
  • Eric Dannenmaier, Professor of Law, IU Robert H. McKinney School of Law, Indianapolis, IN
10:30am-11:30am Panel One - Agricultural & Water: What would a “Right to Farm” Mean to Water Landscapes?
  • Dan Cole, Professor of Law, IU Maurer School of Law, Bloomington, IN
  • Kim Ferraro, Water & Ag Policy Director and Staff Attorney, Hoosier Environmental Council,  Lafayette, IN
  • Justin Schneider, Legal Counsel, Indiana Farm Bureau – Indianapolis, IN
  • Linda L. Chezem, Professor, Purdue University – West Lafayette, IN
  • Representative Ed Delaney, District 86 – Indianapolis, IN
11:30am-12:00pm LUNCH
12:00pm-12:45pm KEYNOTE - Indiana’s Water Priorities
  • Carol Comer, General Counsel, Indiana Dept of Environmental Management (IDEM), Indianapolis, IN
12:45pm-1:00pm Special Presentation - Announcing a New Legal Education Opportunity at IU McKinney
  • William Weeks, Executive Director, Conservation Law Center, Bloomington, IN
1:15pm-2:15pm Panel Two - Environmental Justice & Legal Ethics in Watershed Communities
  • Carlton Waterhouse, Professor, IU Robert H. McKinney School of Law, Indianapolis, IN
  • Norman Hemming, Special Counsel to the US Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Miami, FL
  • Monique Harden, Co-Director, Advocates for Environmental Human Rights, New Orleans, LA
  • Benjamin F. Wilson Managing Principal, Beveridge & Diamond, P.C., Washington, DC
2:15pm-2:30pm Special Presentation – Introducing the Rivers of the Anthropocene Project
  • Jason M. Kelly PhD, Director, IUPUI Arts and Humanities Institute
2:30pm-3:30pm Panel Three - Coal and Water Quality
  • Bowden Quinn, Conservation Director, Sierra Club Hoosier Chapter, Indianapolis, IN
  • Thomas Cmar, Staff Attorney, Earthjustice, Chicago, IL
  • Jessica Dexter, Attorney, Environmental Law and Policy Center – Chicago, IL
  • Rosemary G. Spalding, Director, Spalding & Hilmes, PC, Indianapolis, IN
3:45pm-4:45pm Panel Four - Could Elk River, West Virginia, Happen in Indiana?
  • Matthew Klein, Exec. Director of Technical Ops, IN Office of Utility Consumer Counselor, Indianapolis, IN
  • Bruno Pigott, Assistant Commissioner of the Office of Water Quality, IDEM, Indianapolis, IN (Invited)
  • Peter Beering, Attorney and Security Expert
  • Joe Romero, Director of Planning and Assessment, IN Department of Homeland Security, Indianapolis, IN
  • Senator Jim Merritt, Majority Caucus Chair, Indiana Senate, Indianapolis, IN
4:45pm-5:45pm Final Plenary - Prospects for Water’s Future
  • Eric Dannenmaier, Professor of Law, IU Robert H. McKinney School of Law, Indianapolis, IN
    Panelists from throughout the day will be invited to respond and comment
6:00pm RECEPTION - All Invited


Parking is available for a nominal fee at the campus Gateway Garage, located on the corner of Michigan and California Streets (Address is 525 Blackford Street).

Parking is also available for a nominal fee at the Natatorium Garage two blocks west of the law school.

Special Accommodations:

Individuals with disabilities who need special assistance should call (317) 274-8036 no later than one week prior to the event. Special arrangements can be made to accommodate most needs.


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