Current and former EPA officials join symposium examining 50 years of environmental law


On October 18, 2019, Case Western Reserve University School of Law hosted “The Environmental Protection Agency Turns 50” symposium, co-sponsored by the Coleman P. Burke Center for Environmental Law and Case Western Reserve Law Review.

The day-long, interdisciplinary symposium contextualized the successes and failures of the U.S. EPA and suggested how the agency should move forward. Suggestions ranged from aggressive, industry-driving regulations to purely market-based, industry-driven solutions.

The symposium featured a wide range of environmental law experts and remarks from environmental officials who served in each of the last five Presidential administrations, including a keynote address from the current U.S. EPA Administrator, Andrew Wheeler. Additional remarks were delivered by Joseph Aldy, special assistant to the president for Energy & Environment EPA (2009-2010); E. Donald Elliott, former EPA general counsel (1989-1991); Joseph Goffman, former EPA associate assistant administrator (2009-2017); Brian Mannix, EPA assistant administrator (2005-2009); and Michael Vandenbergh, former EPA chief of staff (1993-1995).

Among the other notable environmental experts presenting at the conference were Ann Carlson of the University of California-Los Angeles, Dr. Jonathan Gilligan of Vanderbilt University, Emily Hammond of George Washington University Law School, Wendy Wagner of Texas School of Law, Daniel Walters of Penn State Law and Katrina Wyman of New York University School of Law.

The symposium was divided into four panels: Successes, Failures, and Key Lessons from the EPA; Perspectives on the EPA’s Decision Making and Regulatory Performance; the EPA’s Response to Lofty Expectations and Political Demands; and the EPA’s Influence on Domestic and International Environmental Policy.  

“The Environmental Protection Agency Turns 50” is available for on-demand viewing. Papers from this symposium have been published in the Case Western Reserve Law Review.