Keynote Speakers: 
Jim Chen, Dean and Professor, University of Louisville Brandeis School of Law
Dr. Stephen Leatherman, Director, Laboratory for Coastal Research


Panel 1: Cultural & Economic Aspects of Environmental Disasters

Dr. Gregory V. Button

Department of Anthropology, University of Tennessee. Online profile available here

Dr. Rick Dunford

Dr. Rick Dunford is the owner of Environmental Economics Services (EES), a consulting firm in Raleigh, North Carolina specializing in assessing natural resource damages (NRD) from oil spills and hazardous-substance releases. He has worked on more than 60 NRD assessments on behalf of responsible parties.

Rick has a Ph.D. in Environmental Economics from the University of Wisconsin in Madison. He was a professor in the Department of Agricultural Economics at Washington State University in Pullman for nine years after receiving his Ph.D. He has been a full-time consultant since 1986. 

Panel 2: Governance Failure & Environmental Disasters: The Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill

Alyson Flournoy

Alyson Flournoy is UF Research Foundation Professor and Director of the Environmental and Land Use Law Program at the University of Florida Levin College of Law. She is also a member scholar of the Center for Progressive Reform. Professor Flournoy received her A.B. from Princeton University and her J.D. from Harvard University and clerked for Chief Justice Robert Wilentz of the New Jersey Supreme Court. She practiced with the firm of Covington & Burling in Washington, D.C., principally in the field of environmental law, before joining the University of Florida faculty. 

She has written numerous articles on environmental ethics, decisionmaking processes under environmental and natural resource laws and the intersection of science and law. She is co-editor and co-author of the recent book BEYOND ENVIRONMENTAL LAW: POLICY PROPOSALS FOR A BETTER ENVIRONMENTAL FUTURE (Cambridge Univ. Press 2010) and of the recent Center for Progressive Reform paper: Regulatory Blowout: How Regulatory Failures Made the BP Disaster Possible, and How the System Can Be Fixed to Avoid a Recurrence.

Lindsay Conlon

Lindsay Conlon is a researcher with the World Resources Institute. More information is available here

Panel 3: Insurance Implications of Environmental Disasters

Sean B. Hecht

Sean B. Hecht is the Executive Director of the UCLA Environmental Law Center at UCLA School of Law. He teaches Public Natural Resources Law and Policy, Environmental Law, the Environmental Law Clinic, and a Climate Change Seminar at the School of Law. He co-directs the Frank G. Wells Environmental Law Clinic and directs the activities of the Evan Frankel Environmental Law and Policy Program, which include research and education on governance, regulation, and environmental policy. Through his work, Sean builds collaborations on environmental issues involving academia, practicing environmental lawyers, advocacy organizations, policymakers, and the business community. His current research projects include evaluating the way courts review environmental impact analysis of governmental decisions under CEQA, analyzing the insurance and finance sectors’ roles in addressing climate change, and studying the adaptation of decisionmaking in the governmental and private sectors to changing climatic conditions. Sean continues to practice environmental law through UCLA’s clinic and privately, with a recent focus on NEPA and CEQA issues as well as potential regulation of stationary-source greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act. He has served as a convener and facilitator for various governmental and multi-stakeholder settings and conferences. He is an advisor to, and a past chair of, State Bar of California’s environmental law section, and serves on the Executive Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar environmental law section. He also serves on a state expert advisory board on offshore oil and gas platform decommissioning. Sean began law practice at the firm Strumwasser & Woocher, litigating cases involving election law, employment law, environmental and land-use law, and insurance regulation. More recently, he served as a Deputy Attorney General for the California Department of Justice, representing the Attorney General and state agencies on environmental and public health matters. He received a B.A. from Yale University and a J.D. from the University of Michigan. He blogs about environmental law and policy topics, along with other UCLA and UC Berkeley law faculty, at

Walter A. Rosenbaum

Walter A. Rosenbaum (Ph.D., Princeton) is Director Emeritus of the Bob Graham Center for Public Service and Professor Emeritus of Political Science at the University of Florida. Additionally, during the academic years 2003-2005 he was a Visiting Professor in the Program in the Environment, University of Michigan, and, earlier, a Fellow in the Global Environmental Assessment Program and a Visiting Scholar at the International Center of Harvard University, and an Adjunct Professor Department of Environmental Medicine, School of Public Health, Tulane University Medical College In recent years he has been a Consultant to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Working Group for the South Florida (Everglades) Restoration Task Force, and the Resources for the Future Press. He has previously served as a staff member of the Water Planning Division and as a Special Assistant to the Assistant Administrator for Policy Planning, U.S. EPA. He is also Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences His research and publications focus on U.S. environmental and energy policy, the politics of risk assessment, and regulatory science.

Panel 4: Environmental Disasters & Litigation

Carl R. Nelson, Fowler White Boggs P.A.

Carl R. Nelson is a shareholder in the Insurance, Healthcare and Class Action

Litigation Practice. Board Certified in Admiralty and Maritime Law by The Florida Bar, he has extensive experience litigating admiralty and maritime law cases involving environmental protection laws (including class actions), collisions, cargo damage, injury and death, charter party disputes, insurance coverage issues, salvage claims, mortgage foreclosures, and considered an expert in admiralty limitation of liability actions. He headed the firm's legal team in the litigation arising out of the 1993 Tampa Bay oil spill and argued numerous appeals. In addition, he has experience in commercial litigation, including defense of class actions and qui tam proceedings, representation of Receivers in SEC enforcement actions, and representation of insurers on business practices and coverage issues. His Appellate practice experience includes litigated cases in state and federal courts. Mr. Nelson has taught admiralty and maritime law as an adjunct professor at Stetson Law School for 20 years.

James R. May

Professor of Law, H. Albert Young Fellow in Constitutional Law, and Professor of Graduate Engineering (Adjunct), Widener University. Online profile available here.

Panel 5: Environmental Disasters & Human Health

Dr. Christopher M. Teaf

Dr. Teaf has served on the Florida State University faculty since 1979 (the year Three Mile Island occurred!) and has been Associate Director of the FSU Center for Biomedical & Toxicological Research for 24 years. He has 3 decades of in environmental and public health experience regarding water quality, risk assessment, emergency response and environmental health issues including petroleum, pesticides, metals, solvents, particulates, and bacteria/molds. Chris has directed research or taught many environmental toxicology and risk assessment courses for the private sector clients as well as for U.S. EPA, the World Health Organization, NATO, U.S. Air Force, ATSDR and state or local agencies in Florida and other states. He presently serves as Senior Human Health Editor for Human & Ecological Risk Assessment, international journal. He has served on Technical Advisory Committees for many environmental symposia in the US, Europe and Central Asia. Chris has provided toxicology and health testimony in federal and state courts spanning over 20 years. 

Richard McNelis

Assistant General Counsel, Florida Department of Health; Counsel to Florida Bio-T Programs; Counsel to DOH Central Pharmacy; Counsel for EMS Discipline; Counsel to DOH Computer Security Incident Response Team; and Florida legal counsel to Southern Governors Association Telehealth Group.