Events at Reed

October 3

Lecture: Zygmunt Plater, "The Curious Case of the Endangered Snail Darter"

7 p.m., Vollum lecture hall

The famous snail darter case—the Supreme Court's 1978 decision in TVA v. Hill—still stands as the most important milestone in the Endangered Species Act's four decades of conservation. Charged with high drama, it featured a rag-tag band of environmentalists squaring off against one of the most prolific dam-building agencies on the planet. As a young law professor, Zyg Plater collected money in a hat to begin the fight against the Tennessee Valley Authority's scheme to build Tellico Dam; he was later fired for his efforts. The case was generally reported as “a silly little fish stopping a huge hydroelectric dam,” but the true story is quite different. Plater will tell the amazing tale of how he and a handful of students and farmers carried their fight for the Little Tennessee River through the corridors of federal agencies, the U.S. Supreme Court, and finally to the president of the United States. It’s a story that resonates today, with environmentalists’ efforts to protect and restore endangered species and the ecosystems upon which they depend. Sponsored by the Walter Krause Economics Lecture Fund and the Reed economics department. Cosponsored by the Animal Law Journal of Lewis & Clark Law School and the Audubon Society of Portland, with special appearances by Portland Audubon’s education birds.