Public Interest Environmental Law Conference
University of Oregon School of Law
Eugene, Oregon
Pictures - coming soon!
2008 PIELC Speakers

Click a name below to link to speaker's bio
David Cobb
Carrie Dann
Dave Foreman
Cynthia McKinney
James Milkey
Sophia Rabliauskas
Bill Rodgers
Edith Brown Weiss
Jane Williams

David Cobb
David Cobb was the Green Party nominee for President of the United States in 2004. He served as the General Counsel for the Green Party until declaring his candidacy in 2003. His entire legal career is dedicated to challenging illegitimate corporate power and to creating democracy. In 2002 he ran for state Attorney General in Texas on a platform to use the office to revoke the charters of corporations that break the law and challenge corporate ability to manipulate the legal system at the expense of the people.

David is a volunteer member of the Democracy Unlimited of Humboldt County Steering Committee. He has worked intimately with the Program on Corporations, Law and Corporations, the Center for Voting and Democracy and

David currently serves on the Sierra Club's national Corporate Accountability Committee and as a Fellow for Liberty Tree: Foundation for the Democratic Revolution. He is also a co-founder and member of the Board of Directors for the Green Institute, and as a Principal with Program on Corporations Law and Democracy.

David also shoots a mean game of pool and is a barely competent juggler. He moved to Humboldt County in January 2003.

Carrie Dann

Carrie Dann is a Western Shoshone grandmother and hero to many, standing for her ancestral lands against government and industry actions that damage them.  In 1863, the Western Shoshone Nation and the United States of America signed the Ruby Valley Treaty, of peace and friendship, allowing safe passage through Western Shoshone lands, which includes two-thirds of what is now referred to as the State of Nevada and small portions of California, Idaho and Utah.  (18 Stat. 689).  That treaty did not cede title.  Since that time, multiple waves of law have attempted to usurp Western Shoshone lands, and major occupation, mining, and pollution have occurred.  (E.g., the Dept. of Energy is now attempting to make sacred Yucca Mountain the main repository for the whole nation’s high-level nuclear waste. 

Indigenous people live in harmony with natural surroundings, respecting all forms of life.  Now the waters are no longer clear and cool, and outrageous pollution is destroying all forms of water life.  When the waters go, we are next.  Carrie Dann leads Western Shoshone and other indigenous people to resist the destruction, pollution, and forgetting of the land, based on the Creator’s Law for the environment, not on the economic law that puts market interests as priority over the life of the land.


Dave Foreman
Dave Foreman has worked as a wilderness conservationist since 1971. From 1973 to 1980, he worked for The Wilderness Society as Southwest Regional Representative in New Mexico and as Director of Wilderness Affairs in Washington, DC. He was a member of the board of trustees for the New Mexico Chapter of The Nature Conservancy from 1976 to 1980. From 1982 to 1988, he was editor of the Earth First! Journal. Foreman is a founder of The Wildlands Project and was its Chairman from 1991-2003 and executive editor or publisher of Wild Earth from 1991-2003. He is now the Executive Director and Senior Fellow of The Rewilding Institute, a conservation “think tank” advancing ideas of continental conservation. He was a member of the national Board of Directors of the Sierra Club from 1995 to 1997 and is a founder of the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance. He speaks widely on conservation issues and is author of The Lobo Outback Funeral Home (a novel), Confessions of an Eco-Warrior, and The Big Outside (with Howie Wolke). His new book, Rewilding North America, was published in 2004. He writes a biweekly Internet column “Around the Campfire.” Foreman is the lead author and network designer of the Sky Islands Wildlands Network Conservation Plan and the New Mexico Highlands Wildlands Network Vision from The Wildlands Project. He received the 1996 Paul Petzoldt Award for Excellence in Wilderness Education and was named by Audubon Magazine in 1998 as one of the 100 Champions of Conservation of the 20th Century. He is considered one of the most effective and inspirational public speakers in the conservation movement. Foreman is a backpacker, river runner, canoeist, fly-fisher, wilderness and wildlife photographer, and birder. He lives in his hometown of Albuquerque, New Mexico. For more information see

James Milkey
Assistant Attorney General James R. Milkey is Chief of the Environmental Protection Division (EPD) of the Massachusetts Office of the Attorney General.  In that capacity, he directs the environmental litigation involving the Commonwealth and its agencies.  Milkey graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School in 1983 and received a master’s degree in city planning from M.I.T. the same year.  After clerking for Justice Benjamin Kaplan, he joined the Attorney General’s Office in 1984, was appointed Deputy Chief of EPD in 1990, and Chief in 1996.  During the 1994-95 academic year, Milkey was a visiting associate professor at Pace Law School in White Plains, New York, where he taught environmental and administrative law courses, and during the 2000-01 academic year, he was on leave in Copenhagen, Denmark.  He has in the past assisted in teaching a course on “the Government Lawyer” at Harvard Law School, and he is a frequent lecturer on enforcement, brownfields, regulatory takings, and climate change issues.  He argued, and served as Counsel of Record in, Massachusetts v. EPA, the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark case addressing EPA’s refusal to regulate greenhouse gas emissions under the federal Clean Air Act.  For his work on this case and other matters, he was named one of ten “Lawyers of the Year” by Lawyers USA, he was co-recipient of the Eighth Annual American Bar Association Award for Distinguished Achievement in Environmental Law and Policy, and he was honored by the Environmental League of Massachusetts as Public Servant of the Year - 2006.  From 2003 to 2005, he served as co-chair of the Environmental Law Section of the Boston Bar Association.  Milkey lives in Newton Highlands with his wife Cathie Jo Martin -- a political science professor at Boston University -- and their sons Julian and Jack.

William H. Rodgers, Jr.
Stimson Bullitt Professor of Environmental Law
University of Washington School of Law
B.A. 1961, Harvard University
J.D. 1965, Columbia University
Professor Rodgers began teaching at the UW School of Law in 1967, spent seven years at Georgetown University Law School, and returned to the UW in 1979.  Professor Rodgers specializes in natural resource law and is recognized as a founder of environmental law.  He teaches Environmental Law, and Oceans and Coastal Law.  Professor Rodgers is actively involved in the Environmental Law and Litigation course, as well as the Berman Environmental Law Clinic.  He has produced the first volume of his two-volume treatise entitled Environmental Law in Indian Country (Thomson West 2005) and co-authored the recently published The Si'lailo Way: Salmon, Indians and Law on the Columbia River (Carolina Academic Press 2006). He has been actively involved in the Exxon Valdez "reopener," including publishing The Exxon Valdez Reopener: Natural Resource Damage Settlements, and Roads Not Taken, in the Alaska Law Review.  The topics of his seminars have included Puget Sound, the Duwamish River, Hanford, sacred Native American sites, Global Warming in Indian Country, and forest practices. Professor Rodgers was selected as the UW recipient of the Bloedel Professorship of Law from 1987-92.  In 1999, Professor Rodgers was selected as the first UW Stimson Bullitt Professor of Environmental Law and is serving his second five-year appointment.  He is admitted to the bar in New York, Washington, and the District of Columbia and has appeared in the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of Indian tribes.  Professor Rodgers recently served on the committee for Defining Best Available Sciences for Fisheries Management with The National Academies.  He completed a six-year term as a member of the Board of Environmental Studies and Toxicology, National Academy of Sciences.


Edith Brown Weiss
Edith Brown Weiss  is the Francis Cabell Brown Professor of International Law at Georgetown University Law Center. In September 2002, she was appointed to a five year term at the Inspection Panel of the World Bank, and served as the Chairperson of the Panel from August 2003 through August 2007, an appointment at the Vice Presidential level.  Before Georgetown, she was a professor of civil engineering and politics at Princeton University.

She has won many prizes for her work, including the Elizabeth Haub prize from the Free University of Brussels and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) for international environmental law, the American Bar Association Award to an individual for distinguished achievements in Environmental Law and Policy, and the American Society of International Law’s Certificate of Merit given to the most outstanding piece of scholarship in international law in the previous year. Her book In Fairness to Future Generations, for which she won the ASIL award, has been published in English, French, Spanish, Japanese and Chinese.

Ms. Brown Weiss served as President of the American Society of International Law from and as Associate General Counsel for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, where she established the Division of International Law.  She is a member of many editorial boards, including those of the American Journal of International Law and the Journal of International Economic Law. Professor Brown Weiss has been a director, trustee, or advisor for the the Cousteau Society, the Center for International Environmental Law, Japanese Institute for Global Environmental Strategies, and the National Center for Atmospheric Research, among others.  Professor Brown Weiss has been a Special Legal Advisor to the North American Commission on Environmental Cooperation. She has been a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences’ Commission on Geosciences, Environment, and Resources, the Water Science and Technology Board, the Environmental Studies Board, and the Committee on Sustainable Water Supplies in the Middle East.  She serves on the Editorial Advisory Board for the new edition of the Encyclopedia of International Law, prepared by the Max Planck Institute in Germany.   She is an elected member of the American Law Institute, the Council on Foreign Relations, the International Council on Environmental Law, and the IUCN Commission on Environmental Law, for which she is a member of the Steering Committee. 

She received a Bachelor’s of Arts degree from Stanford University with Great Distinction, an LL.B. (J.D.) from Harvard Law School, a Ph.D. in political science from the University of California at Berkeley, and an Honorary Doctor of Laws from Chicago-Kent College of Law.


Jane Williams
Jane Williams serves as the Executive Director of California Communities Against Toxics (CCAT). A network of 70 local environmental justice groups in California, CCAT works to protect communities from industrial pollutants. Jane carries on the tradition of her mother, Norma “Stormy” Gail Williams, working to protect the health of people and the environment as a common cause. Her mother, Norma, had launched a campaign that sought to identify toxins causing a brain cancer cluster among children in Rosamond, California. Eleven children had contracted a similar type of brain cancer in Rosamond; they all died.   This tragedy propelled Jane Williams to work toward protecting human life by safeguarding the environment. She has organized dozens of communities to successfully fight the building of facilities that would pollute their environment, such as incinerators, landfills, nuclear waste dumps, and industrial plants. Jane has served on a number of federal and state advisory committees, was instrumental in helping pass the AB32 Global Warming Solutions Act in California, and is currently co-chair of AB32’s Environmental Justice Advisory Committee. 

Jane makes herself available night and day for community efforts, championing human health and the environment, and is helping lead the fight to achieve real solutions to climate change at the local, state, national and international levels.


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