What does the legal face of the fight to save the planet look like?
Speakers will address different tactics used by activists in the struggle against climate crisis and those used by the government against them, and the role of the legal industry in protecting polluters, asking too: Is “environmental law” really a discipline? The discussion will begin with a general address by each speaker based on their experiences under current law, and will develop into an open discussion between attendees and presenters. Moderation and scheduling will be provided by the Chicago-Kent National Lawyers Guild.
Jerry Boyle, National Lawyers Guild (NLG) Chicago - Chicago attorney
Jerry will speak about defending street activism.
Kevin Gosztola - Journalist for Firedoglake.com
Kevin regularly covers civil liberties/national security issues and has written extensively about information released by WikiLeaks, including the sabotage of the Copenhagen climate talks by the Obama administration.
Kari Lydersen - Environmental journalist
Kari is a Chicago-based journalist and professor who did a fellowship studying climate change and mining at the University of Colorado last year. She is the author of several books and teaches journalism at Columbia College and the School of the Art Institute. She has written extensively on the environmental damage of coal-powered plants in the Chicago Little Village community.
Coal plants across the US are closing because of federal environmental regulations (and competition from cheap natural gas). But US laws meant to reduce emissions harmful to public health, and federal efforts to regulate carbon dioxide, do not of course apply overseas. So US coal companies hurt by the closing of domestic coal plants are pushing the development of sweeping infrastructure to export coal to power plants in China. Opponents have a few legal avenues to try to block this maneuver, namely demands for comprehensive Environmental Impact Statements on the effects of coal exports; legal challenges to the subsidizing of coal on federal land in the Powder River Basin; and tribal treaty rights in the Pacific Northwest where the export terminals would be built.
Steve Horn - Research Fellow for DeSmogBlog
Steve was previously a reporter and researcher at the Center for Media and Democracy, and he is now based in Madison, WI. See "Merchants of Doubt Deny Climate Change Connection to Hurricane Sandy". Steve Horn will speak about how the shale gas/oil industry, with the helping hand of groups like ALEC, the Council of State Governments, and the Big Green group Environmental Defense Fund, uses the regulatory framework as a weapon to push through its agenda, blocking federal regulations, gutting zoning laws (aka getting rid of local democracy), and leaving everything at a state-level that's under-funded and that isn't doing its job. It's by design. He will also provide different avenues activists have been taking - at least the smart ones - to fight back against this regime, including pushing "Nature Bill of Rights" bills and bills that criminalize fracking.