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AG selects alumni to head environmental law enforcement agency

November 17, 2009

Stephanie Parent ‘92 and Patrick Flanagan ‘04 have been named by Oregon Attorney General John Kroger to oversee the enforcement of state and federal environmental laws.

Flanagan is a former Clackamas County prosecutor and federal law enforcement officer with the U.S. National Park Service. Parent, a former attorney with the federal government, spent the last 11 years representing environmental groups in litigation.

“Oregon has always been a nationwide leader in environmental protection,” Kroger said. “Stephanie Parent and Patrick Flanagan will help us continue that tradition.”

The faculty and staff of the environmental and natural resources law program recognized this achievement as part of its ongoing success as a top-ranked law program.  “We are delighted at this news, but not surprised,” Associate Dean Janice Weis said.  “We try to challenge our students while they are here to make the most of the outstanding legal education they receive, and we are glad that our graduates are making a difference here in Oregon as well as across the world.”

Flanagan will head the Department of Justice’s new Environmental Crimes Unit, which was created by the 2009 Senate Bill 797. That law authorized the Department of Justice to use existing funds to launch a new enforcement program focusing on violations of Oregon environmental laws.

Flanagan moved to Portland in 2000 to attend Lewis & Clark Law School. He began his career in public service nearly 20 years ago with the U.S. Forest Service in wildlife biology. In addition to conducting species inventories, he worked on a trail crew and as a wildland firefighter. Flanagan then transferred to the National Park Service where he worked in Zion, Grand Canyon and Grand Teton National Parks as a federal law enforcement officer. 

Parent will work primarily in the Special Litigation Unit of the Oregon Department of Justice. She served as the managing attorney for Pacific Environmental Advocacy Center, a legal clinic at the law school, from 1999 to 2007. Since last year, she has provided legal and litigation counsel to environmental organizations concerning state and federal environmental law, including the Endangered Species Act, the Clean Water Act and the National Environmental Policy Act. She was also an Honors Attorney for the U.S. Department of Agriculture and later for the U.S. Department of Justice in the Environmental and Natural Resources Division.

“By hiring Stephanie Parent, DOJ shows its commitment to strong environmental expertise and efficient litigation of environmental enforcement cases in Oregon,” said Dick Pedersen, Director of the Department of Environmental Quality.  “We look forward to working with Stephanie in enforcing Oregon law to protect our environment.”

“Stephanie Parent is one of the most respected environmental enforcement attorneys in the Northwest and her hiring is a strong sign that DOJ and DEQ are serious about increasing environmental enforcement in Oregon,” said Mark Riskedahl, executive director for Northwest Environmental Defense Center.