Environmental Law Distinguished Speaker Series

Rising from the Ashes: The Resurgence of Environmentalism

March 12, 2021

View the recording below or directly on our YouTube channel.

It’s a long way from the tie-dyed celebrations of first Earth Day in 1970 to the sobering realities of the global climate crisis, the Covid 19 pandemic, and racial reckoning in a divided nation. Professor Parenteau will look back on the halcyon days of the environmental movement when everything seemed doable, take stock of the successes and failures over the years, and offer some observations on what has changed in the body of laws and policies and what we might expect from the incoming Biden-Harris administration.

Professor Parenteau’s Biography: Patrick A. Parenteau is Professor of Law and Senior Counsel in the Environmental Advocacy Clinic at Vermont Law School. He previously served as Director of the Environmental Law Center and was the founding director of the Environmental and Natural Resources Law Clinic . Professor Parenteau has an extensive background in environmental and natural resources law. His previous positions include Vice President for Conservation with the National Wildlife Federation in Washington, DC; Regional Counsel to the New England Regional Office of the EPA; Commissioner of the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation; and Of Counsel with the Perkins Coie law firm in Portland, Oregon. Professor Parenteau has been involved in drafting, litigating, administering, teaching, and writing about environmental law and policy for over four decades. His current focus is on confronting the twin challenges of climate disruption and biodiversity conservation through his teaching, writing, public speaking and advocacy. Professor Parenteau is a Fulbright US Scholar and a Fellow in the American College of Environmental Lawyers. He is the recipient of the Kerry Rydberg Award for excellence in public interest environmental law and the National Wildlife Federation’s Conservation Achievement Award. Professor Parenteau holds a B.S. from Regis University, a J.D. from Creighton University, and an LLM in Environmental Law from the George Washington U.


Best Practices for Large Scale Development – Understanding the Law

December 16, 2020

View the recording below or directly on our YouTube channel.

A growing number of municipalities are looking for ways to reconcile local quality of life consistent with new large scale development, including redevelopment. In this program, speakers will address the current state of municipal land use law, the economics of large scale development, and best practices for mitigating environmental and social impacts of large development. Professor John Dernbach, Director, Environmental Law and Sustainability Center at Widener University Commonwealth Law School moderated the discussion.


Mary Wood

November 19, 2020

View Professor Wood’s lecture below or directly on our YouTube channel.

Mary Christina Wood is a Philip H.Knight Professor of Law at University of Oregon and Faculty Director of the law school’s nationally acclaimed Environmental and Natural Resources Law Program. Her research focuses on a fundamental rights approach to ecological restoration and distribution of resources. She is one of the foremost authorities in the world on the public trust principle and is widely credited with originating the approach used in youth-led litigation across the U.S. and in other countries around the world invoking the principle to hold government accountable for promoting the fossil fuel energy system. She is a frequent speaker on global warming issues and has received national and international attention for her sovereign trust approach to global climate policy.

Professor Wood is author of Nature’s Trust, Environmental Law for a New Ecological Age (Cambridge University Press), as well as textbooks, book chapters, monographs, and articles spanning environmental and natural resources law, tribal sovereignty, and climate crisis.


Heather Payne

March 20, 2019

Professor Heather Payne spoke to the audience about “Howe Regulators Should Address the Potential for Shared Shale Gas Assets.”

View Professor Payne’s Lecture below or directly on our YouTube Channel.

Heather Payne is an Associate Professor at Seton Hall University School of Law and an emerging leader in the areas of energy law, environmental law, and evolving regulatory policy. A former chemical engineer and corporate executive, she brings a deep understanding of both the technical and economic implications of policies to address new realities in a carbon- and water-constrained world. Before joining the Seton Hall law faculty in 2018, Professor Payne was Fellow and Assistant Director of the Center for Climate, Energy, Environment and Economics (CE3) at the University of North Carolina School of Law. Prior to entering academia, she clerked for Judge Martha Geer on the North Carolina Court of Appeals, and worked with Sears Holdings Corporation and Honeywell International.

Professor Payne holds a BChE in Chemical Engineering where she graduated with High Honors from the Georgia Institute of Technology, and a J.D. from University of North Carolina School of Law, where she graduated with High Honors and served as a member of the North Carolina Law Review and Symposium Editor for Environmental Law Project.


Emily Hammond

April 14, 2016

Professor Emily Hammond spoke to the audience about “Climate Change and the Limits of Administrative Law.”

Professor Hammond is a nationally recognized expert in energy law, environmental law, and administrative law. A former environmental engineer, she brings technical fluency to cutting-edge issues at the intersection of law, science, and policy. An elected member of the American Law Institute, Professor Hammond is also chair-elect of the American Association of Law Schools’ Administrative Law Section, and a member scholar of the Center for Progressive Reform. She was recently honored as a Distinguished Young Environmental Scholars by the Stegner Center, University of Utah.

View Hammond’s lecture below or directly on Widener Law Commonwealth’s YouTube Channel.


Franklin Kury

October 29, 2015

Legislative advocate, author and speaker, Franklin Kury, spoke to the audience about “The Environmental Amendment to the Pennsylvania Constitution: How It Came to Be and Where It is Going.”

Kury was elected to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives for three terms (1966–1972), where he was the author and lead advocate for the environmental rights amendment to the state constitution (Article I, Section 27).  In 1972, he was elected to the first of two terms in the Pennsylvania State Senate, where he became a leader in government reform.  He is now with Malady & Wooten in Harrisburg, where he advises clients on state government issues and advocates on their behalf.

View Kury’s lecture below or directly on Widener Law Commonwealth’s Viddler website.