First Foreman Biodiversity Lecture of 2020/2021 academic year to focus on role of science in Clean Water Act ruling

The Foreman Biodiversity Lecture will feature Dr. David Kaplan and Dr. Mark Rains.

The inaugural Edward and Bonnie Foreman Biodiversity Lecture of the academic year is titled “Scientists and Civic Engagement: Closing the ‘Groundwater Loophole’ in the Clean Water Act” and will hosted online on Tuesday, Sept. 15 from 12-1 p.m.  

The speakers will be Dr. David Kaplan and Dr. Mark Rains, both of whom were instrumental in working with Stetson Law’s Institute for Biodiversity Law and Policy on an amici curiae (“friend of the court”) brief in the U.S. Supreme Court in County of Maui v. Hawaii Wildlife Fund.

Academic scientists are often disengaged from civil discourse, especially in the legal domain. Most notably, academic institutions are not structured for civil discourse, and academic scientists themselves are often unfamiliar and perhaps uncomfortable with the nature of civil discourse itself. However, a group of academic scientists, including Kaplan and Rains, overcame these barriers, engaging as friends of the court in County of Maui v. Hawaii Wildlife Fund (2020). The brief informed the Supreme Court of the United States, resulting in a science-based ruling that has closed a massive loophole and strengthened the Clean Water Act.

Kaplan is an Associate Professor in the Department of Environmental Engineering Sciences within the Engineering School of Sustainable Infrastructure and Environment at the University of Florida and Director of the H.T. Odum Center for Wetlands. Rains is a Professor of Geology and the Director of the School of Geosciences at the University of South Florida.

The Foreman Biodiversity Lecture is free and open to the public, but advance registration is required. To watch the webinar, register at