Oregon AG increases environmental enforcement efforts

Chris Rizo Nov. 21, 2009, 1:44pm

John Kroger (D)

SALEM, Ore. (Legal Newsline)-Delivering on a campaign promise to beef up Oregon's environmental enforcement efforts, state Attorney General John Kroger has appointed two senior aides to pursue polluters.

The Democratic attorney general has added to his senior staff a former Clackamas County prosecutor and an attorney who represented environmental groups in the Beaver State for more than a decade.

In a statement, Kroger said Patrick Flanagan, a former prosecutor for Clackamas County and law enforcement officer the U.S. National Park Service, will head his office's new environmental crimes unit.

Meanwhile, environmental attorney Stephanie Parent will work in the Oregon Department of Justice's Special Litigation Unit.

She is a former managing attorney for the Pacific Environmental Advocacy Center at Lewis & Clark Law School, which helped environmental group sue over alleged environmental violations.

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

Parent's appointment drew praise from environmentalists, who said the move shows that the state Department of Justice and the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality mean business.

"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 NEDC Executive Director Mark Riskedahl.

In June, state legislators authorized the creation of an environmental crimes unit within the attorney general's office.

Kroger had asked the Democratic-led Legislature for $500,000 in annual funding for the unit. But the Legislature, grappling with a $3.85 billion revenue gap for the biennium beginning July 1, said the attorney general would have to use existing funds for the new unit.

In his campaign last year, Kroger vowed to defend Oregon's vast natural resources and go after environmental polluters and other scofflaws.

At the time, Kroger said he would use his experience as a former federal prosecutor to enforce the state's environmental laws.

From Legal Newsline: Reach staff reporter Chris Rizo at chrisrizo@legalnewsline.com.

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