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Webinar: Climate Change and Water Management in Eastern States

Webinar description

Climate change poses significant challenges for water policy makers. Environmental law and water law are structured to treat issues of water pollution and temporary shortage, but poorly equipped to deal with increasingly rapid changes in the hydrological cycle that the existing forms of law have assumed to be nearly constant. Since 1990, many eastern U.S states have seen significant threats to water quantity for the first time in recorded history. At the same time as spatial and temporal distribution of water is changing, demands for water for municipal use, agricultural use and energy production are increasing, further threatening the predictability and availability of the resource. Eastern states have responded by adopting new regulations for both riparian and groundwater resources. However, increased regulation of natural resources can threaten vested interests, making passage and implementation of new natural resource regulation politically challenging. This webinar will analyze recent state regulatory initiatives and court cases in Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut to illustrate some of hurdles water law reform faces in meeting the challenge of climate change and the accompanying evolution of water distribution, and suggest possible ways that state governments might overcome these hurdles.

About the Presenters:

Lara Fowler is a mediator and an attorney who focuses on environmental and natural resource law, including all things water. Prior to joining Penn State in 2012, she worked on public policy issues for the Oregon Water Resources Department, attended the University of Washington School of Law, and served as a mediator and an attorney with a law firm in Seattle, Washington. As a private practitioner, she mediated issues such groundwater storage rights in the greater Los Angeles area; chronic flooding issues in Washington State's second largest river basin; and reallocation of water supplies in Oregon's Deschutes River Basin. In addition, she counseled private clients on various regulatory matters, both water and energy related. She now holds a joint appointment as a Senior Lecturer at Penn State Law and a Research Fellow with the Penn State Institutes of Energy and the Environment where she is researching how water, energy and conflict play out in a region that includes Marcellus Shale development, the Chesapeake Bay, and flood prone rivers. Lara is also a member of the Chesapeake Bay Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee, which provides scientific and technical guidance to the Chesapeake Bay Program on measures to restore and protect the Chesapeake Bay.

Beth Kinne is an Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, NY where she teaches, business law, environmental law, natural resource law and courses on global water resources, sustainability, and community-based research.  She has a BA in biology from the University of Virginia, MSc in Natural Resource Management from the University of British Columbia, and a J.D. and LL.M. in Asian and Comparative Law from the University of Washington, Seattle. She has experience in water law development in Taiwan and Mainland China, and practiced water rights and municipal law in western Colorado. Her current research interests include changes in water resource law in response to pressures on water resources from competing uses, and the role of access to data and technical expertise in municipal land use and natural resource management decision-making processes. Professor Kinne is co-editor and author of Beyond the Fracking Wars: a Guide for Lawyers, Public Officials, Planners and Citizens (American Bar Association, 2013). She also serves on the Board of Trustees of the National Youth Science Foundation and is the Associate Editor of the State and Local Law Newsletter for the American Bar Association.

How to Participate


Upcoming Webinars

  • November 30, 2016 - Helping Coastal Delaware River Communities Prepare for Flooding and Future Climate, Ann Faulds, Pennsylvania Sea Grant
  • December 14, 2016 - The Effects of Hydraulic Fracturing on Property Values of Nearby Homes Using Public and Private Water Sources, Dr. Charlies Abdalla, Penn State University.
  • January 25, 2017 - Green Parking Lot Zoning and Design, David Skellie, Pennsylvania Sea Grant and Tavis Dockwiller, Landscape Architect, Viridian Landscape Studio, Philadelphia, PA
  • February 22, 2017 - Projected Changes in the Delivery of Freshwater, Sediment, Nutrients, and Organic Matter to the Chesapeake and Delaware Bays, Dr. Raymond Najjar, Penn State University
Earlier Event: October 25
The Basics of Stream Dynamics
Later Event: October 26
The Basics of Stream Dynamics