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Law professor publishes timely book on environmental protections

Loyola press release - July 19, 2010

Robert Verchick, J.D., is a Loyola University New Orleans law professor, deputy associate administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Policy, Economics and Innovation and now, a celebrated author.

He recently published a book calling for stricter environmental protections and changes in disaster law, a subject that remains in the headlines as the devastation in the Gulf of Mexico continues to escalate.

In “Facing Catastrophe: Environmental Action for a Post-Katrina World,” published by Harvard University Press in June, Verchick argues for a new perspective on disaster law that is based on the principles of environmental protection. His ideas boil down to three simple commands: Go Green, Be Fair and Keep Safe. Verchick argues that government must assume a stronger regulatory role in managing natural infrastructure, distributional fairness and public risk. He proposes changes to the federal statutes governing environmental impact assessments, wetlands development, air emissions, and flood control, among others. Making a strong case for more transparent governmental decision-making, Verchick offers a new vision of disaster law for the next generation.

“While the book is inspired by Katrina and uses the Gulf of Mexico as an example for various recommendations, the book is forward looking and deals with a range of catastrophic environmental risks,” said Verchick.

In a post on the environmental law and policy blog, Legal Planet, University of California, Berkeley law professor Dan Farber writes, “Verchick’s new book might help avoid future disasters like the Deepwater Horizon blowout.”

Douglas A. Kysar, Yale University College of Law professor says of Verchick’s book, “Beautifully written, powerfully argued, and sweeping in its scope, ‘Facing Catastrophe’ answers the wake-up call for environmental policymakers that was Hurricane Katrina. This is a book that deserves to be read, re-read and read yet again."

Verchick will be reading selections from his book on August 21 at Octavia Books, located at 513 Octavia Street, in New Orleans. The event is scheduled for 6 p.m.

Last October, Verchick was selected by the Obama administration for his position with the EPA. He holds the Gauthier-St. Martin Eminent Scholar Chair in Environmental Law at Loyola and plans to return to teaching at the university after completing his service with the EPA.

For more information, contact James Shields in the Office of Public Affairs at 504-861-5888 or publaff@loyno.edu.