Robert H. Jackson Center To Host ‘A New Deal For The Environment’ Panel Wednesday

The Robert H. Jackson Center, 305 E. Fourth St., will host a panel of experts to address “Valuing Water: A New Deal for the Environment,” on Wednesday at 6 p.m.

The program is free and open to the public. The program is part of a GreenUp Jamestown series which seeks to “collaborate and cooperate with regional organizations that support conservation and sustainability.” In keeping with its mission, the Jackson Center will examine and share Justice Robert H. Jackson’s lifelong bond with the environmental beauty of the region of the country. Growing up in Spring Creek, Pa., and Western New York, Jackson appreciated from an early age the community’s responsibility to preserve the natural wonders that allowed him to fish, swim, sail, and camp in the area throughout his life.

A 6 p.m. reception will be followed by the formal program at 7 p.m. Moderator Julia Craighill is a Jackson Center board member and an environmental architect. Craighill will reflect on the involvement of her grandfather, Robert H. Jackson, as the attorney in a local environmental case in 1923 which eventually led to Jamestown’s decision to develop and execute a sewage treatment plan. She owns Ensight Consulting, which helps rejuvenate buildings and businesses with green programs and certifications.

The program will proceed with presentations by Dr. Michael Shelly of the University at Buffalo’s RENEW Institute, UB School of Law Professor Kim Diana Connolly, and Lee Willbanks, Save The River executive director and Upper St. Lawrence riverkeeper. Shelly is an environmental economist with more than 25 years of experience. He will discuss how economists actually determine the value of water based on use, production, waste, and recreational use, among other considerations. Dr. Shelly values the environmental benefits associated with both natural and engineered systems and has also valued the health impacts of pollution. He has analyzed a wide variety of projects on five continents. The RENEW Institute is a university-wide, interdisciplinary research institute that focuses on complex environmental issues, as well as the social and economic issues with which they are connected.

Connolly will address the history of the Clean Water Act, issues related to environmental case law, and how policy is shaped by those decisions. She is the University at Buffalo School of Law’s Director of Clinical Legal Education, director of the Advocacy Institute and vice dean for advocacy and experiential education. Connolly also studies, writes, and speaks about environmental and animal law policies, creatively examining and sharing ideas as to how to move toward a sustainable future.

Willbanks will discuss his work as a fresh water advocate and the value of water to First Nations people, among others. He has a law degree from Syracuse University College of Law and a Master of Public Administration from Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. Willbank’s diverse career has spanned from being environmental counsel for an independent power producer to serving as chief of staff to a New York state senator. Save The River is a not-for-profit, member-based environmental organization with the mission to preserve, protect and restore the St. Lawrence River, one of North America’s most important rivers. The program will conclude with an opportunity for questions and answers.

The program is made possible by Jackson Center annual fund donors and the following funds held at Chautauqua Region Community Foundation: Robert S. & Je’ Anne Barger Fund and William E. & Nancy R. Jackson Fund.

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