Academic journal article Duke Environmental Law & Policy Forum

Symposium: "From Here to There: Sustainable Urban Development in the Triangle and Beyond" November 2, 2018 Duke University School of Law; "LASTING" AND CLOSING REMARKS

Academic journal article Duke Environmental Law & Policy Forum

Symposium: "From Here to There: Sustainable Urban Development in the Triangle and Beyond" November 2, 2018 Duke University School of Law; "LASTING" AND CLOSING REMARKS

Article excerpt

Ms. Summer Quintana: I am a Symposium Editor for the Duke Environment Law and Policy Forum. We will be having our final panel right now. (1) They will be discussing some of the lasting effects of sustainable development on urban development, and we will follow with closing remarks from our editor-in-chief, Kyle Medin. From left to right here, we have Dr. Brie Sherwin from Texas Tech University School of Law, then we have Professor Keith Hirokawa from Albany Law School. Then to his right, we have Senator Mike Woodard. He is a Senator for District 22, and then finally, on our right, we have Heather Keefer. She's the associate director from WakeUP Wake County. We will start with Dr. Sherwin and each will have between five and ten minutes to talk about themselves, their titles, and what some of their ideas on lasting impacts of sustainable development are, especially in urban communities.

Dr. Brie Sherwin: I hope no one minds if I stand up. You know it's after lunch, and I was just telling my colleague, Professor Hirokawa, that I think better on my feet. So I'm going to stand up to introduce myself and get the panel started this way. First of all, I'd like to thank DELPF and Duke Law School for inviting me here. I traveled here from Lubbock, Texas today. I'm a Professor of Law at Texas Tech University School of Law in Lubbock, Texas. Again, my name is Brie Sherwin. And, just to give you a little bit of my background, I am a cotton farmer's daughter, so I come from three generations of cotton farming, and where I live in Texas is not really a coastal area. It's kind of up in the Panhandle, so flying out here and seeing these trees is amazing, and I agree with Nicole, (2) by the way, you should keep the trees! I'm going to talk to you more about why a little bit later.

But, I come from generations of cotton farmers and conservation has always been a really important word in our family, although I honestly come from a very conservative household and so if you asked my father, "are you an environmentalist?" He would say "Well, of course not." But the truth is that he very much is because he cares about water conservation. He cares about soil health. And, of course, we sit on top of the Ogallala Aquifer in Lubbock, Texas, so we care about that water because it's a precious resource and it's running out.

To give you a little bit of my background, I graduated with a dual degree in law and a Master's in environmental toxicology, so I'm also a scientist. I'm an environmental toxicologist, and I moved down and started my practice in toxic tort litigation in Dallas. I spent a good five or six years representing low-income communities and workers in occupational health exposure cases, so much of my time as a young attorney was spent driving around the communities in East Texas in the Houston area, visiting Elks lodges, and signing up clients and learning their stories. I think that the stories from these communities are a very important part of our discussion today as well. I spent about nine years in Dallas practicing law and then I moved back up into academia, finished a PhD in environmental toxicology, and I teach Environmental Health Sciences at the medical school as well. So, I teach doctors, nurses, and people getting their public health degree every spring semester. So my perspective is as a lawyer and a scientist, and I'm going to be talking with you a little bit today about informed decision-making and particularly how scientists can play a role in better informing the community and our decision-makers because sometimes I feel like there really is a disconnect between the two--the science is coming out--yet there is a tension about how that translates into policy and how it can help our environment.

Most of my scholarship and my research recently has focused on environmental justice issues. I've written about trade secret protection and hydraulic fracturing, which is a big deal in Texas because we are from the energy state so that's a continuing issue. …

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