Campus News

Red Clay Conference to focus on environmental issues

Photo of Hirsch Hall, home of the College of Law. (Photo by Peter Frey/UGA)
Hirsch Hall, home of the UGA School of Law. (Photo by Peter Frey/UGA)

The University of Georgia School of Law will host the 32nd Annual Red Clay Conference Feb. 21. “Overcoming Toxic Relationships” is the title of the daylong event, which will address coal ash disposal, brownfield redevelopment in Georgia and per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, in drinking water.

“We selected this theme because we wanted to cover emerging environmental issues affecting Georgia,” conference organizer and second-year law student Christopher J. “Chris” Bertrand said. “Also, to recognize the 40th birthday of Superfund, we included a panel on brownfield redevelopment. We encourage anyone interested in environmental issues and law in the Southeast to attend and contribute to important discussions with environmental experts, attorneys and practitioners as well as stakeholders and like-minded citizens.”

The Peter Appel Lecture will be delivered by environmental activist Lois Gibbs, who is known for her work with New York’s Love Canal. Her efforts led to the creation of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act, also known as Superfund. Administered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, this fund is used “to clean up uncontrolled or abandoned hazardous-waste sites as well as accidents, spills and other emergency releases of pollutants and contaminants.” Gibbs is the founder and executive director of the Center for Health, Environment, and Justice (formerly known as the Clearinghouse for Hazardous Waste) that trains and supports local activists with efforts to combat environmental crises in their communities.

Starting at 9 a.m., the conference will be held in the Larry Walker Room of Dean Rusk Hall on UGA’s North Campus. Registration for the conference is required, and lunch will be provided. The event is free for members of the UGA community. For attorneys seeking four continuing legal education credits, the cost is $60. The fee for all other entrants is $12.

The annual Red Clay Conference represents the law school’s commitment to preparing its students for real-world practice by connecting them to policymakers, practitioners and legal leaders seeking to improve our state and society, according to law school Dean Peter B. “Bo” Rutledge.

Organized by law students who are members of the Environmental Law Association, the Red Clay Conference aims to increase public awareness of environmental issues of regional, national and international significance through a series of educational presentations and open forum discussions. For more information please visit Registration can be found under the Red Clay Conference tab.

This event is associated with UGA’s Earth Day 50th Anniversary Celebration.