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UMM Announces Fall Speakers on Precautionary Principle

Added on: August 20, 2012
Jonathan Adler
Jonathan Adler

MACHIAS, Maine – The University of Maine at Machias will host several speakers this fall on the Precautionary Principle, a prescription for policy and process in areas of risk and uncertainty, including climate change, public health, and national security policy.

Jonathan H. Adler, this year's Koch Speaker on Environmentalism and Freedom, will open the series at 4 p.m. on Thursday, September 13. He is the inaugural Johan Verheij Memorial Professor of Law and director of the Center for Business Law & Regulation at the Case Western Reserve University School of Law, where he teaches courses in environmental, administrative, and constitutional law. Adler is the author or editor of four books on environmental policy, and his articles have appeared in publications ranging from the Harvard Environmental Law Review and Supreme Court Economic Review to The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post. He is also a senior fellow at the Property & Environment Research Center in Bozeman, Montana, a contributing editor to National Review Online, and a regular contributor to the popular legal blog, “The Volokh Conspiracy.”

Mike Belliveau
Mike Belliveau

Mike Belliveau will offer an opposing view at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, October 3. He has worked for 30 years as a science policy analyst, health advocate and social entrepreneur. Belliveau directs the Environmental Health Strategy Center, which promotes human health and safer chemicals in a sustainable economy. He led the 2008 campaign to pass a landmark safer chemicals reform law in Maine, and other policies to replace dangerous chemicals such as mercury, lead, and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) with safer alternatives. In the last decade, he has played a national leadership role in the health-based movement to overhaul federal chemical policy. In 2005, Belliveau co-founded SAFER, the national alliance behind the growing wave of state-based safer chemical reforms.

Jon Reisman, chair of the Professional Studies Division at UMM, is coordinating the speaker series and hopes the presentations will spark more discussion on the topic.

“Different versions of the Precautionary Principle are influencing broad areas of environmental and public health policy, in some ways that are benign and positive, but in others that stifle technology and progress and damage our economy and prospects,” said Reisman. “In matters of public policy affecting us all, it's high time we had an open discussion about whose values, risk preferences, and assessments will rule.”

The talks are free and open to the public and will take place in the Portside room of Kimball Hall. They will also be streamed live on the UMM Web site at There will be an opportunity for questions and discussion following each presentation.

The presentations on the Precautionary Principle are part of UMM’s public service mission and ongoing efforts as New England’s only public Environmental Liberal Arts institution. For more information, contact Jon Reisman at or 207-255-1242.

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