Virginia Environmental Law Journal Symposium to Focus on Water Rights

October 21, 2015

The Virginia Environmental Law Journal will delve into the laws and controversies surrounding water rights in the Eastern United States at its annual symposium Oct. 30 at the University of Virginia School of Law.

The symposium, "Water Rights in the Eastern United States: Current Issues in Law and Policy," will bring together members of legal academia, nonprofits, government and private practice, with panels focusing on the water dispute between Georgia, Florida and Alabama and developing issues in riparian water law.

"Water shortages in the West are getting a lot of press right now, but the various interstate disputes and unsettled areas of law show that water rights in the Eastern U.S. are also hotly contested," said third-year law student Will Grossenbacher, editor-in-chief of the journal. "With the threats that climate change and population growth will impose on water resources, water law — even in the East — is now more relevant than ever."

Michael Shapiro, deputy assistant administrator for water with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, will deliver the keynote address at noon in Caplin Pavilion. Shapiro's office is responsible for federal programs to restore and protect the nation's waterways and ensure safe drinking water. Shapiro previously served as principal deputy assistant administrator for the Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response, as director of the Office of Solid Waste, and as deputy assistant administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation, where he directed implementation of the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments.

The student-run Virginia Environmental Law Journal, established in 1980, is one of the oldest journals at the School of Law. The journal's annual symposium aims to encourage dialogue about environmental law and policy among students, professors and the Charlottesville community, according to its website.


Friday, Oct. 30

All events take place in Caplin Pavilion.

9 a.m.
Co-Sponsored by the Virginia Environmental Law Forum

9:45 a.m.
Introductory Remarks
Jonathan Cannon , University of Virginia School of Law

10 a.m.
Panel Discussion: The Tri-State Water War

  • William Andreen, University of Alabama School of Law
  • Frank Chitwood, Coosa Riverkeeper
  • Gil Rogers, Southern Environmental Law Center
  • Todd Silliman, Dentons US

Lunch and Keynote Address
Michael Shapiro, Deputy Assistant Administrator, Office of Water, Environmental Protection Agency

1:15 p.m.
Panel Discussion: Current Issues in Riparian Law

  • Noah Hall, Wayne State University School of Law
  • Jerome C. Muys Jr., Sullivan and Worcester
  • George Somerville, Troutman Sanders


Founded in 1819, the University of Virginia School of Law is the second-oldest continuously operating law school in the nation. Consistently ranked among the top law schools, Virginia is a world-renowned training ground for distinguished lawyers and public servants, instilling in them a commitment to leadership, integrity and community service.

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