10th Marine Law Symposium (Nov 2016)

Legal and Policy Approaches to Reduce Marine Debris in New England

Friday, November 4, 2016
Roger Williams University School of Law

Marine debris poses a serious threat to New England’s coastline. Every year, derelict fishing gear, plastic bottles, plastic bags, cigarettes, abandoned vessels, and other debris washes ashore in New England. This debris causes negative social, environmental, and economic impacts, such as decreased aesthetic value, harm to coastal ecosystem health, and damage to vessels and gear. These challenges create complex management problems for coastal managers and attorneys, who work to mitigate the creation of new debris and remove and manage debris that washes ashore.  

This Symposium discussed the adequacy of U.S. law and policy to prevent the creation of new marine debris and to remove debris once it is created. The first session included keynote presentations on the science, law, and policy of marine debris. Speakers then examined case studies from coastal New England states to consider how each state identified a marine debris problem, took steps to address it, and how the approach could serve as a model elsewhere. Finally, a panel of attorneys lead a facilitated discussion to identify effective legal and policy strategies to prevent and manage marine debris in New England and to frame questions for future research.   



Part 1   Welcome Remarks and Keynote Addresses
             Senator Sheldon Whitehouse & Dr. Sandra Whitehouse

Part 2   Morning Session: Cialino, Stone, Lyden-Kluss, Carey

Part 3   Afternoon Session:  Panel: Case Studies & Panel: Next Steps
             Panel: Case Studies - Porter, Patterson, Powers, Callen, McLaughlin, Owen
             Panel: Next Steps - Nixon, Cute, Bryant, Rhodes, Roylos

 Planning Committee:

Terra BowlingSenior Research Counsel, National Sea Grant Law Center
Michelle CarnevaleProgram Associate, 11th Hour Racing
Casey Charkowick, Esq. '16, Staff Attorney, Textron, Inc.
Monica Allard CoxCommunications Director, Rhode Island Sea Grant
Michael Daly, Esq., Partner, Pierce Atwood
Dennis H. Esposito, Esq., Director, RWU Law Environmental and Land Use Clinical Externship Program and Adjunct Professor, Marine Affairs Institute
Charlotte M. FerrisProgram Coordinator, Marine Affairs Institute
Jonathan GutoffProfessor of Law, RWU Law
Brett HargadenEditor-in-Chief, RWU Law Review, Class of 2017
Jennifer McCannDirector, US Coastal Programs, URI Coastal Resources Center at University of Rhode Island/Rhode Island Sea Grant Extension
Christopher McNally, Esq. '13, Sayer Regan & Thayer, LLP; of Counsel, Clagett Memorial Regatta; Assistant Solicitor, Middltown, Rhode Island
Dennis NixonDirector, Rhode Island Sea Grant, and Professor, University of Rhode Island
Patrick O’Connor, Esq. '15, Associate Attorney, Hill, Betts & Nash LLP
Read D. PorterStaff Attorney, Marine Affairs Institute/Rhode Island Sea Grant Legal Program
Julia WymanDirector, Marine Affairs Institute/Rhode Island Sea Grant Legal Program

Student Representatives:
Austyn CarolinRWU Law, Class of 2017
Casey TremperUniversity of Rhode Island

Please contact marineaffairs@rwu.edu or 401-254-5392 with any questions regarding this event. 

Close Course Type Descriptions

Course Types

We have classified RWU Law classes under the following headers. One of the following course types will be attached to each course which will allow students to narrow down their search while looking for classes.

Core Course

Students in the first and second year are required to take classes covering the following aspects of the law—contracts, torts, property, criminal law, civil procedure, and constitutional law, evidence, and professional responsibility.  Along with these aspects, the core curriculum will develop legal reasoning skills.


After finishing the core curriculum the remaining coursework toward the degree is completed through upper level elective courses.  Students can choose courses that peak their interests or courses that go along with the track they are following.


Seminars are classes where teachers and small groups of students focus on a specific topic and the students complete a substantial research paper.


Inhouse Clinics and Clinical Externships legal education is law school training in which students participate in client representation under the supervision of a practicing attorney or law professor.  RWU Law's Clinical Programs offer unique and effective learning opportunities and the opportunity for practical experience while still in law school.