IU McKinney School of Law symposium to address Indiana water issues

Water access and water quality challenges associated with Indiana’s riverways and watersheds are the focus of Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law’s seventh annual spring symposium on the environment, energy and natural resources.

The symposium, “Indiana Rivers: Water Access, Water Quality & Water’s Future,” will take place at 9:30 a.m. Friday, Feb. 28, in the Wynne Courtroom of Inlow Hall, 530 W. New York St.

Carol Comer, general counsel for the Indiana Department of Environmental Management, will present “Indiana’s Water Priorities” as the keynote luncheon address at noon.

Recent events in West Virginia — where more than 300,000 people lost access to basic drinking water following a chemical release into the Elk River — and in Indiana — where almost two-thirds of assessed state waters have been designated as “impaired” under the Clean Water Act — show that even the most complex and carefully managed regulatory system can still fail, and that more can be done to address challenges to Indiana’s water system.

In addition to Comer’s address, panels of experts and leaders at the symposium 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.

Expert panelists include the co-director of Advocates for Environmental Human Rights in New Orleans; the managing principal of Beveridge & Diamond, P.C., in Washington, D.C.; the water and ag policy director for Hoosier Environmental Council; the conservation director of Sierra Club’s Hoosier Chapter; and the executive director of the Conservation Law Center in Bloomington.

Speakers from the Indiana House of Representatives, the Indiana Senate, Earthjustice, Prairie Rivers Network, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Office of Utility Consumer Counselor, IU Maurer School of Law at IU Bloomington and the McKinney School of Law will also participate.

A detailed listing of symposium panelists and topics for discussion is available online.

Online registration is available for high school and university students, faculty, staff and non-profit employees; and for other attendees. The cost is $75 for attorneys registering for 6 hours of CLE credit; $25 general admission.

For questions, please contact: enlaw@iu.edu.

Rivers of the Anthropocene Featured in IUPUI Center for Research and Learning Newsletter

CRL Feature: A MURI Team

This month, the CRL would like to feature a Multidisciplinary Undergraduate Research Institute (MURI) team.  We are very excited to have a team led by Dr. Jason M. Kelly, Dr. Phil Scarpino and Dr. Owen Dwyer.  The students are working on “Rivers of the Anthropocene – Stage 1: A Comparative Study of the Ohio River and Tyne River Systems Since 1750” 

The team will create a methodological and conceptual framework that better integrates Earth Systems Science with the human sciences and the humanities.  Secondly, it will provide a model for interdisciplinary and comparative studies of Anthropocene rivers systems.  Students will create:

  • a 3-day academic symposium/workshop
  • open-source data sets of historical GIS data relating to the Ohio and Tyne River Systems
  • an open-access, peer-reviewed edited volume featuring articles, revised from papers given at the symposium
  • a co-written research paper submitted to a major academic science journal

The students participating on this project are: Anthony Bozzo (Anthropology), Jeremy Maxwell (History), Keenan Salla (History), Lynette Taylor (History) and Andrew Townsend (History).  Andrew Townsend said “I joined the MURI team to get experience working in a group doing real world work.  Also, I thought it would look good on my resume for grad school. We are researching the human impact on the Ohio River system and compiling information that will be made available to future researchers investigating human efforts to purposely transform their environment according to culturally dictated plans.”

Lynette Taylor went on to describe the project, “Our overall project is addressing the needs for interdisciplinary communication between humanities and sciences in regard to the human influence on the environment and climate change with a special focus on the riverine systems of the world. The current narrow focus is on a comparison of the River Tyne and the Ohio River as these two rivers are somewhat similar in geographic latitude, weather, and use. This first phase of the project is concerned with creating a searchable metadata database that contains a comprehensive collection of available data on the river watershed foci. This database will be incredibly helpful to people in nearly every discipline from history through geology in providing a one-stop repository of information.”

Jeremy Maxwell stated, “The mentors that I’m working with are great. Dr. Scarpino is experienced and really knows his stuff Dr. Dwyer is really chill and great to work with. Dr. Kelly is a genius. He also wears colorful socks, so he has that going for him.”