The Endangered Species Act: Putting the Bite Back in the Law

Friday October 21, 2016


Don’t forget to follow the conversation on social media #ESAVTLaw2016

8:00am     Registration & light breakfast
8:30am     VLS Introductions
8:45am     Endangered Species Act Primer; Professor Pat Parenteau, Vermont Law School
9:15am      Symposium Keynote; Professor Zygmunt Plater, Boston College Law School
10:00am  Coffee & Networking Break
10:15am   The ESA & Climate Change

Moderator: David Mears, Vice Dean for Faculty, Associate Professor, Vermont Law School
Bill Eubanks, Partner, Meyer Glitzenstein & Eubanks
Marc Fink, Senior Attorney & Public Lands Legal Director, Center for Biological Diversity
Gary Frazer, Assistant Director for Endangered Species, Fish and Wildlife Service
Jim Murphy, Senior Counsel for the Northeastern Region, National Wildlife Federation

11:15am   Coffee & Networking Break
11:30am  The ESA & Animal Rights

Moderator: Professor Patrick Parenteau, Vermont Law School
Monica Miller, Staff Attorney, Nonhuman Rights Project
Professor David Cassuto, Pace Law School; Board member, Animal Legal Defense Fund
Professor Reed Loder, Vermont Law School

12:45pm  Lunch
1:30pm    Social Media Activity (see below for instructions)

2:00pm   The ESA & the Obama Administration

Moderator: Professor Jessica Scott, Vermont Law School
Gary Frazer, Assistant Director for Endangered Species, Fish and Wildlife Service
Sarah McMillan, Senior Staff Attorney, WildEarth Guardians
Aaron Mintzes, Policy Advocate, Earthworks
Will Stelle, Senior Advisor to NOAA Administrator Dr. Kathryn Sullivan

3:30pm  Coffee & Networking Break
3:45pm  The ESA & New England

Moderator: Professor John Echeverria, Vermont Law School
Jamey Fidel, General Counsel, Vermont Natural Resources Council
Rachel Stevens, Staff Attorney, Vermont Law School

4:30pm  Closing Remarks

Speaker Biographies

David Cassuto, Professor Pace Law School; Board member, Animal Legal Defense Fund

David_CassutoProfessor Cassuto has been a member of the Pace Law School faculty since 2003. He came to the fund from Coblentz, Patch, Duffy & Bass LLP in San Francisco, where he practiced complex civil litigation. Prior to that, he was an associate at Pillsbury Winthrop LLP in San Francisco and served on the Executive Committee of the San Francisco Bar Association’s Environmental Law Practice Group. Before entering private practice, Professor Cassuto clerked for the Honorable Rosemary Barkett on the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. He has published and lectured widely on legal, literary, and environmental issues and is a frequent speaker on legal and cultural studies.


John Echeverria, Professor, Vermont Law School

Echeverria_JohnProfessor Echeverria is the Faculty Advisor for the Vermont Journal of Environmental Law. He has been a part of VLS since 2009, before which he served for 12 years as Executive Director of the Georgetown Environmental Law & Policy Institute at Georgetown University Law Center. He also was General Counsel of the National Audubon Society and General Counsel and Conservation Director of American Rivers, Inc., and was an Associate for four years in the Washington, D.C. office of Hughes, Hubbard & Reed. Professor Echeverria currently teaches Property, Public Law and a wide range of environmental and natural resource law courses.


Bill Eubanks, Partner, Meyer Glitzenstein & Eubanks

Mr. joined Meyer Glitzenstein & Eubanks in 2008 after obtaining his Master of Laws (LL.M.) in Environmental Law, summa cum laude, from Vermont Law School. He is involved in federal appellate and trial court litigation under the Endangered Species Act, National Environmental Policy Act, Park Service Organic Act, Wilderness Act, National Forest Management Act, Clean Water Act, Freedom of Information Act, and other statutes. Mr. Eubanks frequently teaches, lectures, and writes on diverse environmental law and policy topics, including a unique course examining the intersection of environmental law, food systems, and agricultural policy.


Jamey Fidel, General Counsel & Forest and Wildlife Program Director, Vermont Natural Resources Council

jamey-fidel-for-webMr. Fidel received a J.D. and M.S. in Environmental Law from Vermont Law School.  He now leads the legal program, and forest and wildlife programs, including the Forest Roundtable, which is a quarterly meeting of diverse stakeholders focused on forest policy and forest management and conservation issues in Vermont. Mr. Fidel also works with communities across Vermont promoting planning, zoning, and non-regulatory strategies for forestland and wildlife habitat conservation.


Marc Fink, Senior Attorney & Public Lands Legal Director, Center for Biological Diversity

mfinkMr. Fink oversees litigation in the Center’s Public Lands Program. His docket includes a variety of endangered species and public-lands cases across the country. Marc graduated from Lewis and Clark Law School with a certificate in environmental and natural resources law, and received a bachelor’s in political science from Florida Atlantic University. Before joining the Center in 2007, he worked as a staff attorney at the Western Environmental Law Center.


Gary Frazer, Assistant Director for Endangered Species, Fish and Wildlife Service

gary_frazerMr. Frazer began work with the Service in 1984. Over his career he has worked in many capacities to serve and strengthen the Service. Most recently his work consisted of overseeing policy direction and management of the National Fish Hatchery System, fish health and fish technology centers, fisheries management, aquatic invasive species and injurious wildlife, habitat restoration programs, environmental contaminants, natural resource damage assessment and restoration, environmental review of development activities, and wetlands inventory and mapping. In his current position, Mr. Frazer is responsible for carrying out policy development and management of all aspects of the Endangered Species program.


Reed Loder, Professor, Vermont Law School

Loder_ReedProfessor Loder has been a member of the VLS faculty since 1989, teaching Environmental Ethics, Legal Profession, Moral Philosophy for Professionals, and Property Law. Prior to that she taught Legal Writing, Professional Responsibility, and Trial Advocacy at Boston College Law School. She also clerked for the Honorable Thomas P. Smith, magistrate of the U.S. District Court in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Professor Loder is currently a member of the American Bar Association, the American Philosophical Association, and the Association of Practical and Professional Ethics, and she was selected as a 2006-2007 Fellow of the National Institute for Teaching Ethics and Professionalism.


Sarah McMillan, Senior Staff Attorney, WildEarth Guardians

Ms. McMillan is a life-long environmentalist who has worked in private practice and with Western Environmental Law Center to protect the natural world. Her litigation background is broad—from the ESA, CWA, NEPA, NFMA, etc. to protecting Montanans right to a clean and healthful environment, to defending a citizen’s initiative that effectively stopped game farm “hunting” in Montana.


David Mears, Vice Dean for Faculty & Associate Professor, Vermont Law School

Mears_David_lgDean Mears received his JD and MSEL from Vermont Law School in 1991 and first joined the staff in 2005. He returned to server as the Director of the Environmental and Natural Resources Law Clinic in August 2015 after serving four years as Commissioner of the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation. Dean Mears has extensive experience in the major pollution laws (air quality, water quality and hazardous waste management and cleanup), water resources law, federal facilities regulation, and state and federal sovereignty.


Monica Miller, Staff Attorney, Nonhuman Rights Project

Ms. Miller graduated cum laude from Vermont Law School in 2012 where she served as co-chair of the Animal Law Society. In addition to her work with the Nonhuman Rights Project, Ms. Miller is also Senior Counsel with the American Humanist Association, where she litigates First Amendment cases across the country. She has appeared on Fox News and MSNBC, as well as local television stations and radio shows, and is regularly quoted by media outlets including Fox News, Aljazeera, USA Today, Newsweek, the Washington Post, the National Law Journal, among many others.


Aaron Mintzes, Policy Advocate, Earthworks

AaronMintzes-150x170Mr. Mintzes joined Earthworks in August of 2011 after spending nearly five years as a professional environmentalist. First with Clean Water Action, and later as the Legislative and Political Manager for the Maryland League of Conservation Voters, Mr. Mintzes has researched and lobbied at all levels of government on a variety of environmental issues. After tours with the green groups, he joined the public affairs firm of Robert M. Brandon and Associates where he worked on health care and tax policy reform. In his current position Mr. Mintzes assists the policy team with developing and advocating for more responsible hard rock mining as well as oil and gas issues.


Jim Murphy, Senior Counsel for the Northeastern Region, National Wildlife Federation

Jim-Murphy_125x148_FacesNWFMr. Murphy has a has an LL. M., summa cum laude, from Vermont Law School. He has represented NWF and other conservation groups as party or amici in several precedent setting cases before the U.S. Supreme Court and Federal Circuit Courts.  Mr. Murphy currently coordinates NWF’s nationwide litigation on Clean Water Act, Endangered Species Act, National Environmental Policy Act, and other laws impacting wetlands, floodplains and water resources. He also works on federal water policy issues, advocating for legislative and administrative actions that will be protective of our water resources and floodplains.


Patrick Parenteau, Professor, Vermont Law School

Parenteau_PatrickProfessor Parenteau was formerly the director of Vermont Law School’s Environmental Law Center and of the Environmental and Natural Resources Law Clinic. He has been affiliated with VLS since 1976 and has spent the bulk of his career as an environmental advocate. He is recognized for his expertise regarding endangered species and biological diversity, water quality and wetlands, environmental policy and litigation, and climate change. And he is the recipient of the 2006 National Conservation Achievement Award in the Legislative division, presented by the National Wildlife Federation. At VLS Professor Parenteau teaches Climate Change and the Law, Extinction and Climate Change, Water Quality and Environmental Litigation.


Zygmunt Plater, Professor, Boston College Law School

Professor Plater has spent the past 30 years working on a number of issues of environmental protection and land use regulation, including service as petitioner and lead counsel in the extended endangered species litigation over the Tennessee Valley Authority’s Tellico Dam, representing the endangered snail darter, farmers, Cherokee Indians, and environmentalists in the Supreme Court of the United States. He also redrafted Ethiopian laws protecting parks and refuges, assisted in publication of the Consolidated Laws of Ethiopia, and helped organize the first United Nations Conference on Individual Rights in Africa. Professor Plater has taught on seven law faculties, and is currently teaching and researching in the areas of environmental, property, land use, and administrative agency law at BU Law School.


Jessica Scott, Assistant Professor, Vermont Law School

Scott_JessicaProfessor Scott received her J.D. magna cum laude from Vermont Law School in 2010. Prior to joining the VLS staff, she was an attorney at the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of General Counsel. There she provided legal advice under the Clean Air Act and many of the numerous federal statutes, Executive Orders, and policies that affect all of EPA’s programs, including environmental justice, federal Indian law, and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Professor Scott also counseled on international environmental law. She currently teaches Air Pollution Law and International Environmental Law.



Will Stelle, Senior Advisor to NOAA Administrator Dr. Kathryn Sullivan

Mr. Stelle joined the Obama Administration in 2010. Prior to that he held a variety of policy positions dealing with a range of environmental and natural resource programs, including time as the as the Associate Director for Natural Resources with the White House Office on Environmental Policy overseeing Federal lands, endangered species and natural resource policies. Mr. Stelle also worked for NOAA under the Clinton Administration, managing the listings of salmon and steelhead populations under the Endangered Species Act in several western states. He went on to be a partner at the law firm of K&L Gates where his practice concentrated on projects involving complex federal and state environmental regulatory challenges, specializing in freshwater and marine habitat issues and endangered species, CERCLA, CWA and NEPA issues.


Rachel Stevens, Staff Attorney, Vermont Law School

Ms. Stevens is a staff attorney and assistant professor with the Environmental and Natural Resources Law Clinic and just completed her two-year LLM Fellowship program at VLS. During her third year of law school, Rachel worked as a student clinician on several cases at the ENRLC where she received the Clinical Legal Education Association Outstanding Student Award. She has previously worked as a Law Clerk at Stack & Associates P.C., a boutique environmental law and land use law firm in Atlanta, Georgia. In addition to this environmental litigation experience, she has worked at the Witcher Law Firm in Decatur, Georgia and as an intern at the Office of the Georgia Capital Defenders.


Instructions for Social Media Activity

Every Symposium guest has been assigned to a specific species. Find your pack! Each table is designated with an endangered or threatened species, so that would be a good place to start!

Once you’re all together, learn more about your species! Information will be provided at the tables. Discuss how you think the ESA could be used to conserve your species and help it thrive. There can be more than one response per group, so get creative! We will be reading some of your responses after lunch to generate solutions regarding #biodiversity protection.

To submit your responses/brilliant ideas for saving endangered species, please:

1) Tweet your responses to @JournalVJEL with the #ESAVTLaw2016 (Pictures of your species are encouraged with the tweet! Who doesn’t love a charismatic megafauna?)


2) Text them to 802-299-9112