Is the Endangered Species Act Endangered?: Recent Developments and Threats

The Endangered Species Act is one of the more controversial environmental legislations enacted during the environmental legal movement of the 1970s. For the past 44 years, it has been criticized for trampling on personal property rights and is now being threatened by Congressional Republicans. What has the ESA accomplished over the years, and can it be changed practically without completely gutting it? This panel will discuss its strengths, weaknesses, and likelihood of survival during this Presidential term.

  • Patrick Parenteau, Professor of Law and Senior Counsel in the Environmental and Natural Resources Law Clinic (ENRLC) at Vermont Law School
    Parenteau Tree (2)
    Professor Parenteau has an extensive background in environmental and natural resources law. His previous positions include Vice President for Conservation with the National Wildlife Federation in Washington, DC (1976-1984); Regional Counsel to the New England Regional Office of the EPA in Boston (1984-1987); Commissioner of the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation (1987-1989); and Senior Counsel with the Perkins Coie law firm in Portland, Oregon (1989-1993).Professor Parenteau has been involved in drafting, litigating, implementing, teaching, and writing about environmental law and policy for over three decades. His current focus is on confronting the profound challenges of climate change through his teaching, publishing, public speaking and litigation. Professor Parenteau is a Fellow in the American College of Environmental Lawyers.  In 2005 he received the National Wildlife Federation’s Conservation Achievement Award in recognition of his contributions to wildlife conservation and environmental education. In 2016 he received the Kerry Rydberg Award for excellence in public interest environmental law.Professor Parenteau holds a B.S. from Regis University, a J.D. from Creighton University, and an LLM in Environmental Law from the George Washington University. He previously served as Director of the Environmental Law Center at VLS from 1993-1999; and was the founding director of the ENRLC in 2004.
  • Jason Rylander, Senior Attorney, Defenders of WildlifeE55C0982 - Jason Rylander
    Jason has litigated endangered species and habitat protection cases in federal courts across the country since joining Defenders in 2005. His cases have involved gray and red wolves, grizzly bears, piping plovers, pygmy owls, red knots, and other imperiled species. He began his legal career in the Political Law Group of the law firm Perkins Coie, LLP and then served as Litigation & Policy Counsel for Community Rights Counsel (now the Constitutional Accountability Center). Previously he was the managing editor of Land Letter, a trade newsletter covering natural resources policy.Jason earned a B.A. in Government, cum laude, from Cornell University and a J.D. from the William & Mary School of Law, where he served as an editor of the William & Mary Law Review and the Environmental Law and Policy Review. A member of the Moot Court team, he was a winner of the American Bar Association’s 1999-2000 National Appellate Advocacy Competition. Jason has published numerous articles and op-eds on environmental law and policy issues.
  • Tom Sherry, Professor, Dept. Ecology and Evolutionary Biology; and New Day Professor III and Siegel Professor in Social Entrepreneurship, Phyllis M. Taylor Center for Social Innovation and Design Thinking (moderator) DSCF3721 - Thomas Sherry 

    Professor Sherry is an Ecologist and Evolutionary Biologist with expertise in population ecology, particularly of migratory birds; tropical community ecology, focusing on birds and insects; and conservation of biological diversity. At Tulane he teaches General Ecology, Processes of Evolution, Conservation Biology, and Climate Change Across the Curriculum (in Social Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship minor, in the Phyllis M. Taylor Center). As a Taylor Center professor, he focuses on understanding and addressing climate change and global change.