2019 Energy Law and Policy Institute Environmental Conference

Date and Times: 
Tuesday, March 5, 2019 - 11:30am to 4:30pm

University Club, Ballroom A
123 University Pl
Pittsburgh, PA 15260

Contact Email: 

Contact Phone: 

CLE Credit Information: 

This program has been approved by the Pennsylvania Continuing Legal Education Board for (4) hours of substantive credit. 


Access written materials here.

Presented by Pitt Law's Energy Law & Policy Institute & Environmental Law Program


Join Pitt Law for a conference surrounding current environmental issues in Pennsylvania.  

Register Here


$150 (Includes conference and reception)

A special rate of $125 is being offered to full-time public interest attorneys and individuals employed at non-profit or government agencies.

Free for Pitt faculty, staff, and students.


Key Environmental Issues of 2019:  Challenges and Opportunities for Pennsylvania

12:00 - 1:00 p.m.

Keynote Speaker: Monika Ehrman

The advancement of human rights begins with access to affordable and reliable energy access. The lack of energy, whether for electric power or heat, substantially restricts economic and industrial development and is a barrier to social welfare. Challenges to this energy development arise in the forms of infrastructure, access, and climate consequences.

1:00 - 2:00 p.m.

Panel 1: Urban Water Planning

Moderator: Professor Josh Galperin

Panelists: Gerald Bright, Kirsta Staley, Grant Ervin

Urban water issues come in many forms. In Pittsburgh and surrounding areas, water issues seem to come in every form. As the apt saying goes, when it rains it pours. Like many older cities, Pittsburgh is wrestling with intertwined issues including water pollution, combined sewer overflows, lead in pipes, and storm water runoff.  Unfortunately, the topography of our city adds regular inundation and flooding to the already complex situation. This panel will bring together experts on urban water to address the law and policy aspects of these overlapping water management and planning challenges. The panel will discuss the opportunities that city government sees for green infrastructure and other modern approaches to water management; the land use law and policy constraints on integrated planning with neighboring municipalities; the perspective of community activists; and lessons from Philadelphia, which has been tackling these same issues for some time with notable success.

2:15 - 3:15 p.m.

Panel 2: Environmental Justice Panel Discussion

Moderator:  Professor Marily Nixon

Panelists: Andrew Place, Allison Acevedo, Jamil Bey

Why are some Pittsburgh-area communities more polluted than others, and why do their residents live sicker and die earlier?  Why do poorer communities and communities of color across our region often have fewer environmental “goods” – parks, safe spaces, gardens – and more environmental “bads” – landfills, decaying houses, polluting industrial plants – than other communities?  What elements of our social, political, legal, financial, land use, and environmental systems create this un-level playing field, and what are the best ways to level it?  These are the questions the field of environmental justice law seeks to answer.  This expert panel, composed of government, industry, and community leaders, will discuss the state of environmental justice in the Pittsburgh region and beyond.  Panelists will consider local environmental justice challenges, legal and practical strategies to resolve them, and prospects for moving closer as a society to an environmentally just future. 

3:15 - 4:15 p.m.

Panel 3: The Environmental Rights Amendment: Where are we and where are we going?

Moderator: Professor Grant MacIntyre

Panelists: Lauren Williams, Andrew Bockis , John Dernbach, Sarah Winner

The Pennsylvania Environmental Rights Amendment is revived. Join our expert panel of litigators and Environmental Rights Amendment experts for a discussion of current cases and their thoughts on what the future may hold for the Environmental Rights Amendment.