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Lake Erie Bill of Rights Topic of Great Lakes Water Conference Nov. 8 at UToledo

Toledo’s innovative Lake Erie Bill of Rights will take center stage with a family of “forever chemicals” during the 19th annual Great Lakes Water Conference at The University of Toledo College of Law.

Approved by voters in February and challenged by a lawsuit in federal court, the new “rights of nature” ordinance that allows citizens to sue on behalf of the lake to address pollution has attracted national and international attention.

The UToledo Lake Erie Center research vessel helps to monitor the lake’s water quality.

The conference, which is sponsored by the College of Law and its Legal Institute of the Great Lakes, will take place Friday, Nov. 8, from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Law Center McQuade Auditorium.

“Three panels of experts will be tackling issues of local, regional, national and international import,” said Ken Kilbert, UToledo professor of law and director of the Legal Institute of the Great Lakes. “Law and policy are key to the solutions.”

The keynote speaker will be Carrie Sowden, archaeological director of the National Museum of the Great Lakes. She will talk at 8:45 a.m.

The first panel, which will debate the city of Toledo’s Lake Erie Bill of Rights, will start at 9:15 a.m. Kilbert will serve as moderator with speakers Jason Hill, court administrator for the Ohio Sixth District Court of Appeals, who teaches election law; Terry Lodge, a Toledo attorney who specializes in environmental and energy issues and supports the ordinance; and Louis Tosi, attorney with Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick in Toledo, who serves as chair of the firm’s Environmental Practice Group.

The other two panels will explore water quality problems posed by PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) chemicals, a proposed rule affecting the reach of the federal Clean Water Act, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine’s the new H2Ohio initiative, and a proposed new diversion of Great Lakes water.

The one-day conference is free and open to the public. Registration is $75 for attorneys seeking 4.5 hours of Ohio Continuing Legal Education credit.

For more information about the conference and to register for credit or box lunch, visit the College of Law website.

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