Professor Dave Owen to speak at conference on environmental policy

March 12, 2013

PORTLAND, Maine – Professor Dave Owen, an environmental law expert at the University of Maine School of Law, will speak to lawmakers and legislative staffers this month at a national conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.

Owen is one of four professors nationwide invited to present at the Environmental Law and Policy Annual Review Conference on March 22. The others are David Adelman and Ian Duncan of the University of Texas, and Barton Thompson Jr. of Stanford.

The general concept of the conference, organized by the Environmental Law Institute and Vanderbilt University Law School, is to highlight some of the most innovative ideas and solutions in the field of environmental law and present them to policymakers.

Owen’s presentation is based on an article he published last year in the Florida Law Review. The piece examines government practices related to the Endangered Species Act, a landmark environmental law passed in the 1970s. It’s a controversial law, in part because of its mandate for protection of critical habitat. For example, environmental advocates have sought to use the law as a basis for curbing greenhouse gas emissions, while industries have argued against such a broad interpretation of the law.

In his article, Owen concludes that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Marine Fisheries Service and federal judges continue to provide substantial habitat protection based on provisions of the Endangered Species Act. However, Owen notes some problematic examples in which agencies and judges have veered away from the statute. His findings will likely have an impact on legal strategies used by environmental lawyers.

At the March 22 conference, Owen will present his article, and then three other speakers will give their own opinions of his work. Those speakers are David Hayes, Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Interior; Michael Senatore of Defenders of Wildlife; and Andrew Turner, a lawyer with Hunton & Williams.


Media contact: Trevor Maxwell, communications director at Maine Law
Office: 207-228-8037/ Cell: 207-286-4431/ email:

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