Hot Topic Series Continues…“No More Water, the Fire Next Time.”

Tomorrow, June 21 from 12-1 in Oakes 007, David Mears ’91 will present “No More Water, the Fire Next Time.”

David Mears ‘91, commissioner of the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation: The flood disasters of 2011 tested Vermont’s ability to respond to natural disasters and heightened fears about future emergencies. Mears will discuss Vermont’s response to Tropical Storm Irene, while reflecting upon what this type of catastrophe can tell us about our relationships to each other and to the natural world.

Hurricane Irene proved some things are beyond the control of humans. And, every day we are reminded of Irene’s environmental damage. Our own VPR has continued to cover the Irene recovery efforts and the human impact.

We have a variety of books in the collection at VLS which provide a broader legal context and scholarly materials on flooding and watershed management. Including:

Floodplain Fact Sheets published in part by the Vermont Land Use Institute, explains flooding issues in laymen terms. Factsheets include “Floodplain Basics,” “Protecting Property Rights to Reduce Liability,” “Living with Inadequate Maps,” “Using Freeboard and Setbacks to Reduce Damage,” “No Adverse Impact Floodplain Management,” and “Protecting Lives and Property through the NFIP Community Rating System.

Authors Dan Farber and Jim Chen assert that disaster law deserves more serious attention in law school. In Disasters and the Law, Katrina and Beyond the authors use Hurricane Katrina as a case-study to explore the legal issues which are presented by disaster. The second half of the book offers thoughts on the future of disaster law and specifically how to prevent harm from disasters.

Community-Based Watershed Management “describes the highly successful approaches to watershed managements implemented by the 28 National Estuary programs.” The five chapters detail the following: The National Estuary Program, Establishing a Governance Structure, Identifying Problems and Solutions, Developing a Management Plan, and finally, Implementing the Management Plan.

I look forward to David Mears’ talk tomorrow and his thoughtful commentary on Hurricane Irene and Vermont communities.