Widener Law marks 40th anniversary of Delaware’s Coastal Zone Act
Public Relations - Published: September 28, 2011
Widener Law will mark the 40th anniversary of one of Delaware’s most controversial – and some would say, important – environmental laws with a daylong public event that focuses on opportunities and challenges the legislation presents in modern times.

The Delaware Coastal Zone Act represented the first comprehensive coastal land-use law in the world aimed at curbing industrial development within a coastal area. The law forbids new heavy industry and bulk transfer facilities along the state’s fragile coastline. It was heavily opposed by industrial developers in general, and the Shell Oil Co. and Nixon administration in particular. The law passed by a slim margin in 1971 with help from an endorsement by then-Gov. Russell Peterson. Today it is widely considered one of the state’s most important pieces of legislation.

Widener Law and its
Environmental Law Center will present the program, “The Delaware Coastal Zone Act at 40: Past, Present and Future” on Friday, Sept. 30 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Ruby R. Vale Moot Courtroom at 4601 Concord Pike. The event is co-sponsored by the Delaware Humanities Forum, the Delaware State Bar Association Section on Environmental Law and the student-run Widener Environmental Law Society.

Former U.S. Rep. Mike Castle will serve as the event keynote speaker. The morning will include presentations about the law’s history, how it works and emerging challenges. The afternoon will feature breakout sessions and a screening of the recent film “An Evolving Legacy: Delaware’s Coastal Zone Act,” facilitated by the film’s writer and director, Michael Oates of 302 Stories Inc.

The day will include a “town hall meeting” moderated by retired Delaware Superior Court Judge Susan Del Pesco, an alumna of the law school. Click here for a full event schedule.

“The program will provide a neutral forum for conversations about this historic law, as well as the opportunities it provides and challenges it faces over the next 40 years,” said Professor Jim May, co-director of Widener’s Environmental Law Center.

Attorneys who attend will be eligible for 5.5 continuing legal education credits in Delaware and Pennsylvania, and in New Jersey through self reporting. The registration fee for those who attend for credit is $150, or $125 for Widener Law alumni. The cost for the general public is $20. The event fee includes lunch, snacks and continuing education materials. Seating is limited. To register, contact Debbie E. Dantinne at dedantinne@widener.edu or call 302.477.2182.