NIU College of Law Dean Eric Dannenmaier was elected by representatives of the North American Commission for Environmental Cooperation’s (CEC) Joint Public Advisory Committee (JPAC) to serve as the committee’s chair for 2017.
Dannenmaier was appointed to JPAC by President Barack Obama in 2013, and he has served as a United States member of the international environmental body since that time.
As a JPAC member, Dannenmaier has chaired meetings in Canada, the United States and Mexico on regional environmental issues ranging from biological diversity and climate change to water quality, and has met with senior environmental officials from all three countries to discuss environmental concerns and opportunities for cooperative action. He also has served as JPAC liaison to CEC scientific research projects relating to blue carbon, climate change and biodiversity.
The JPAC is a treaty body established by the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) environmental side agreement. Its 15 members include five from each NAFTA party, appointed by the Presidents of Canada, Mexico and the United States. JPAC advises the senior environmental officers of the NAFTA countries, including the Administrator of the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Canada’s Minister of Environment, and Mexico’s Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources, as well as the CEC Secretariat in Montreal. Dannenmaier’s election to chair the JPAC was announced at the JPAC’s December meeting in Long Beach, California.
Because Dannenmaier is a presidential appointee to the JPAC, his term will end when President-Elect Donald Trump appoints a successor or asks for Dannenmaier’s resignation. Until that time, Dannenmaier said, “it will be an honor to chair this important treaty body.”
“International trade and environmental protection are two critical and interrelated issues that affect the health and well-being of the people of North America and drive our mutual economic interests,” he said.
Given the attention that NAFTA and relations with Mexico received during the recent presidential election, Dannenmaier said he trusts Trump has the insight to take regional trade and environmental concerns seriously and to recognize “that the social issues he championed as a candidate are best managed through careful research, respectful dialogue and close cooperation.”
“The CEC provides an important forum for regional cooperation, and its 23-year history is proof that North American trading partners can advance their mutual social as well as economic interests in a constructive and collaborative fashion,” he said.
Dannenmaier will travel to Montreal in early January to meet with the CEC Executive Director and Secretariat staff and will reach out to incoming environmental officials of the Trump administration in the weeks that follow.