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Environmental Law Clinic Students Speak at US Senate Oceans Caucus Briefing in DC

Wells Environmental Law Clinic students present research on plastic marine pollution policy to US Senate Ocean Caucus in Washington, DC


​On December 9, 2013, two Frank Wells Environmental Law Clinic students, Jaimini Parekh (J.D. 2015) and Thomas Oh (J.D. 2014), traveled to Washington, DC along with Emmett/Frankel Fellow Megan Herzog to speak on a panel at a briefing focused on the topic of plastic marine pollution. "Preventing Marine Plastic Pollution: Legal & Policy Briefing and Workshop," which was sponsored by the UN Environment Programme, U.S. Senate Ocean Caucus, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), and Surfrider Foundation, was held at NRDC's offices in Washington, DC, and simulcast at the California Department of Conservation in Sacramento and over the internet.  The more than 100 attendees included senate staff, federal and state agency officials, industry representatives, and members of the NGO community.


Clinic students Jaimini Parekh and Thomas Oh provided an overview of the problem of plastic trash in the marine environment and presented a menu of federal law and policy solutions, based on their semester-long research for clinic client Surfrider Foundation.  Megan Herzog described the international law and policy context for the plastic marine pollution problem, drawing from the Emmett Center's recently-published Pritzker Policy Brief, "Stemming the Tide of Plastic Marine Litter: A Global Action Agenda."

Following the workshop, on December 11, 2013, the clinic students joined Surfrider Foundation's Legal Director, Angela Howe, in follow-up visits to several Senators' offices to discuss the details of the proposed federal actions to reduce the production and improper disposal of heavily-littered plastic items.  Visits included conversations with staff for Senate Majority Leader Reid (NV), and Senators Cantwell (WA) and Murkowski (AK).

For more information about the Clinic's work on the issues of plastic marine pollution, see Surfrider's blog post here.  You can also find the Clinic's and Surfrider's Briefing Booklet, "Federal Actions to Address Plastic Marine Pollution," here.