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April 13, 2004

Press Contact: Kirston Fortune, UT Law Communications, (512) 471.7330
Press/Event Contact: Mary Conner, Human Rights Law Society, 512-496-2239, mbconner@hotmail.com

UT Law Hosts Conference on “The State of Environmental Enforcement in Texas,” April 16

WHAT: "The State of Environmental Enforcement in Texas" Conference
WHERE: Jeffers Courtroom, third floor, UT Law
WHEN: Friday, April 16, 2004, 8:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.

AUSTIN, Texas — The University of Texas School of Law will host a conference on Friday, April 16, on “The State of Environmental Enforcement in Texas” in the Jeffers Courtroom from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. The event, which is free to the public, is sponsored by Austin-based, environmental non-profit organizations TexPIRG (Texas Public Interest Research Group) and Texas Impact. The Human Rights Law Society, a student organization, is a co-sponsor.

The conference will draw attention to many of the issues surrounding environmental enforcement in Texas, including penalty policies, involvement of the public in the enforcement process, and deterrence of future violators. The keynote address will be given by Eric Schaeffer, former director of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Regulatory Enforcement and current director of the Environmental Integrity Project. UT Law professors Lynn Blais and Gerald Torres will moderate the conference panel discussions.

The conference coincides with a review that the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), the state’s environmental agency, is currently undertaking about its enforcement program. The TCEQ review is in response to recent studies from state auditors and academics that suggest TCEQ’s current enforcement efforts are failing to deter non-compliance with state and federal environmental laws.

The following are examples of results from these studies:

For more details about the issues of environmental enforcement in Texas and details about the conference and speakers, see www.texpirg.org or www.texasimpact.com. For directions to and parking at the Law School go to http://www.utexas.edu/law/about/parking.html.

TexPIRG and Texas Impact are local environmental advocacy organizations. The Human Rights Law Society is a student group dedicated to raising awareness about issues affecting the fundamental rights of peoples domestically and internationally.

Schedule of Conference Panels:

8:30amBreakfast/Registration
9:00amWelcome - Luke Metzger, TexPIRG
9:15amKeynote address - Eric Schaeffer, Director, Environmental Integrity Project and former director, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Office of Regulatory Enforcement
10:00am First Panel Discussion: Holding Polluters Accountable: Effective Enforcement Strategies

Speakers

11:30amLunch
12:30am Second Panel Discussion: Making the Punishment Fit the Crime: The Use of Penalties in Ensuring Compliance

Speakers

2:00pmConcluding Remarks