Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration director to address Gulf cleanup at UF Law

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – John H. Hankinson, Jr., Executive Director of the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Task Force, which is preparing recommendations to restore the Gulf Coast areas damaged by the 2010 oil spill, will speak at the University of Florida on June 17.

Hankinson’s visit, which is open to the public, is co-sponsored by the Center for Governmental Responsibility at UF’s Levin College of Law and by the Department of Civil and Coastal Engineering in UF’s College of Engineering.

The program begins at 10 a.m. and will be held in the Martin H. Levin Advocacy Center at the law school.

“We are honored to host John Hankinson, who is at the forefront of restoring the Gulf of Mexico and making the region even stronger, following the disaster of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill,” said UF Law Dean Emeritus Jon Mills, who is also director of the Center for Governmental Responsibility. “We know John well because he is a graduate of the UF law school and has spent decades as one of the leading authorities on environmental issues throughout the southeast.”

Mills and Peter Sheng, Ph.D., professor of coastal and oceanographic engineering, will co-host Hankinson’s visit. Both served on UF’s university-wide oil spill task force, an interdisciplinary group of faculty researchers who developed research projects related to the spill and who served as experts during the response process. Additionally, Mills chaired the law school’s working group on legal and policy issues related to the oil spill.

Hankinson has spent more than 30 years on environmental policy and regulation, including work on the National Estuary Program in the Gulf of Mexico, water quality protection plans for the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, restoration and protection of the St. Johns River system, and serving as regional administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. His top priority while at EPA was helping states and communities protect air and water quality and restoring and protecting key ecosystems such as the Everglades and the Gulf of Mexico. Prior to his service at EPA, Hankinson worked for almost ten years as Director of Planning and Acquisition for the St. Johns River Water Management District in Palatka. Hankinson most recently served as an environment and conservation lands consultant, advising on land conservation, strategic land use decision-making, and constructive environmental management and policy projects across the Southeastern United States.

As the executive director of the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Task Force, Hankinson – who reports directly to EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson – coordinates interagency efforts, oversees staff and outreach efforts in developing a regional ecosystem restoration strategy and ensures that science underpins the task force’s efforts. The task force is an advisory body comprised of lead officials from the five Gulf states appointed by the president upon recommendation of each governor, and 11 federal agencies and White House offices. Engagement of local stakeholders, representatives from affected tribes, and the scientific and academic communities is ongoing and will inform the development of the strategy. Offices for the task force are located in Washington, D.C. The Task Force was created by President Barack Obama in October, 2010, and will prepare a restoration strategy for the Gulf Coast by October, 2011.

For additional information: Jon Mills, 352-273-0835

Published: June 7th, 2011

Category: News

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