The Conservation Law Center, a non-profit environmental law firm based in Bloomington, has hired Christian Freitag to succeed W. William Weeks as president and director of the organization. The Conservation Law Center provides legal counsel without charge to conservation organizations, works to improve conservation law and policy, and offers law students clinical experience in the practice of law and the profession's public service tradition.
Director Bill Weeks spoke at Friends of the White River annual meeting this February. CLC has been assisting FOTWR in negotiations with the DNR about tree removal on the White River levee.
At the event, President Dan Valleskey presented the organization's annual award to CLC. The hand-made carved paddle represents FOTWR's gratitude for CLC's legal council.
On October 26, the CLC submitted comments on the Office of Surface Mining’s proposed Stream Protection Rule on behalf of the Hoosier Environmental Council. The proposed rule updates surface coal mining regulations in light of new information on coal mining’s effects on ecosystems and the difficulty of replacing healthy streams impacted by mining. The proposed rule would allow companies to mine through streams if avoiding the streams is not practicable and the applicant demonstrates that she can replace the form and function of the impacted stream. However, the rule allows states with primary authority over surface coal mining to develop their own standards to measure stream function.
The CLC is assisting The Nature Conservancy in clearing mineral encumbrances from properties in the Wabash River watershed for conservation. Many property owners do not own the mineral rights beneath their property. This means the mineral rights owner can use the surface to reach any coal, oil, or natural gas beneath the property. We are clearing abandoned rights of titles and working with owners with current rights to secure the release of the surface rights so the property can be committed to conservation use without the risk of mining or drilling occurring in the future.