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PIEC kicks off Thursday to celebrate 40 years of ESA

Published: February 18th, 2013

Category: Feature

PIEC Final R1 By Matt Walker
Senior writer

When the Endangered Species Act was passed in 1973, it proved to be a great step forward in showing the United States’ and Congress’ commitment to preserving our nation’s natural heritage and protecting native plants and animals from becoming extinct.

In honor of the 40th anniversary of the ESA, the 19th annual Public Interest Environmental Law Conference at the University of Florida Levin College of Law will focus on the evolution of endangered species protection over the past four decades. “The Endangered Species Act at 40: Polishing the Crown Jewel,” will be held Feb. 21-23 at UF Law.

“I’m very excited about this year’s conference,” said UF Law Professor and Director of the Environmental and Land Use Law Program Mary Jane Angelo. “We are bringing in experts from around the U.S. to discuss the act’s many successes, such as the recovery of our national symbol, the bald eagle, as well as significant challenges we face in the future such as addressing impacts from habitat loss and climate change.”

Keynote speakers for this year’s conference include Carl Safina, founding president of the Blue Ocean Institute and award winning author of Song for the Blue Ocean and Eye of the Albatross, and Zygmunt Plater and Patrick Parenteau, attorneys in the landmark decision of Tennessee Valley Authority v. Hill et al. – temporarily halting the completion of the Tellico Dam on the Little Tennessee River in order to protect the snail darter, an endangered species of fish.

The conference will also include multiple panel discussions, a workshop sponsored by The Florida Bar, and training opportunities for both attorneys and those outside the legal field.

UF Law student and PIEC co-chair Chelsea Sims said the PIEC is one of the largest student-run conferences in the nation.

“It’s a great opportunity for UF students to engage with cutting edge issues surrounding endangered species such as the Florida panther, corals, sea turtles, manatees and more,” Sims said.

To view the agenda and register for the conference, visit http://www.law.ufl.edu/academics/concentration/elul/public-interest-environmental-conference. UF Law students and faculty attend free-of-charge. Select “student” when registering.

“Any student that is interested in learning about the status of endangered species, the role of climate change, or the interface of science and policy regulating endangered species will enjoy this free event at the law school campus,” said Rachael Bruce, UF Law student and PIEC co-chair. “Please come out and join us.”

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