Valuing Water: A New Deal for the Environment

This program will consider the fundamental question: “How does society value water from both a financial and legal perspective?” Experts in environmental economics, policy, and law will examine economic frameworks, legal precedents and legislation that have shaped current water policies.  The project title is a nod to Robert H. Jackson’s significant involvement in the Roosevelt administration’s efforts to create “New Deal” programs in the 1930’s that helped the country recover from the Great Depression. Just as the New Deal restored economic viability in the U.S., a better understanding of the complex factors that influence the importance of water will enable communities to make more informed and cost-effective decisions.

An open reception will be held at 6 pm. The program will begin at 7 pm with reflections on the importance of the environment to Robert H. Jackson’s formative years and how it shaped his perspective that the preservation of the environment relies on a commitment from the entire community and its citizens.

Julia Craighill, Ensight Consulting, Owner

Ms. Craighill is a board member of the Robert H. Jackson Center and a green building expert who identifies actionable practices that make the leap from good intentions to long-term, profitable performance. Her company, Ensight Consulting, helps rejuvenate buildings and businesses with green programs and certifications. She will provide introductory remarks and, after the speakers have shared their perspectives, moderate the panel discussion.

Professor Kim Diana Connolly, University at Buffalo School of Law

Professor Connolly studies, writes and speaks about environmental and animal law policies, creatively examining and sharing ideas as to how to move toward a sustainable future. She is UB Law’s Director of Clinical Legal Education, Director of the Advocacy Institute and Vice Dean for Advocacy and Experiential Education. She practices law, supervising student attorneys, on local environmental matters through the law school’s Environmental Law Clinic. Professor Connolly’s research focus includes Environmental Law, International Law, Law and Science, Law and Social Science, and Natural Resources Law.

Dr. Michael Shelly, University at Buffalo, RENEW Institute – 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.

Dr. Shelley is an environmental economist, with over 25 years of experience, who has analyzed a wide variety of projects on five continents.  Dr. Shelly values the environmental benefits associated with both natural and engineered systems, and has also valued the health impacts of pollution.

Lee WillbanksExecutive Director of  Save The River – Save The River/Upper St. Lawrence Riverkeeper, 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.

Mr. Willbanks has a Law Degree from Syracuse University School of Law and a Masters of Public Administration from the Syracuse University Maxwell School. His 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.

In 2016, Freshwater Future named Willbanks a “Freshwater Hero,” as the Citizen Advocate of the year for “his persistent and passionate advocacy on complex policy issues.”

This event was made possible by the generosity of our donors and the following sponsors.

William E. & Nancy R. Jackson Fund at Chautauqua Region Community Foundation

Robert & Je’Anne Bargar Fund at Chautauqua Region Community Foundation