The Future Environmental Agenda: Environmental Law & Policy Issues Facing the Next President

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EDITOR'S NOTE *

On October 24, 2008, the Duke Environmental Law & Policy Forum (DELPF) presented its annual symposium, entitled The Future Environmental Agenda: Environmental Law & Policy Issues Facing the Next President, which explored the environmental challenges likely to face the forty-fourth President of the United States. (1) Held just weeks before the 2008 election, the Symposium presented a unique opportunity for the panelists to analyze and propose recommendations for the next administration without being constrained by the practical realities and limitations of which candidate would actually face these challenges. After eight years of Bush Administration policy, (2) it was clear that either a President Obama or a President McCain would face significant environmental challenges, and that U.S. environmental policy was likely to change course rather dramatically--particularly with regard to climate change.

Dean William Chameides, Dean of the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University, delivered the opening remarks, in which he noted that the developing economic crisis would likely have a major impact on the next President's environmental agenda. This theme--that the unfolding economic crisis would present both unique opportunities and limitations for the new administration's environmental policies--was continued throughout much of the day's discussion. The morning's first panel focused on international environmental agreements, and included Amy Fraenkel, Director and Regional Representative for the United Nations Environment Programme; David Hunter, of Washington College of Law at American University; and Carl Bruch, Co-Director of International Programs at the Environmental Law Institute. The second panel of the morning analyzed natural resources issues, and featured J.B. Ruhl, of Florida State University College of Law; Mark Squillace, of the University of Colorado Law School; and Victor Flatt, of the University of Houston Law Center and visiting professor at the University of North Carolina School of Law.

The final panel of the day focused on pollution, in addition to a broad range of other environmental issues, and included Don Elliott, Partner at Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP and adjunct professor at Georgetown University Law Center and Yale Law School; Vickie Patton, Deputy General Counsel at Environmental Defense Fund; Robert Percival, of the University of Maryland School of Law; and Noah Sachs, of the University of Richmond School of Law. …