April 10, 2013

Joe Feller – Rest in Peace

By Art Hinshaw

On Monday evening my ASU colleague Joe Feller was struck by a car and killed while jogging.  Joe, a natural resources scholar who engaged in impact environmental litigation, was an ADR skeptic (at best) who thought collaborative processes were being used to subvert the protections offered by the country’s natural resource laws.  He expressed his views as part of a UNLV symposium about water issues in the west in Collaborative Management of Glen Canyon Dam: The Elevation of Social Engineering Over Law, 8 NEVADA L.J. 896 (2008).   Joe was not a shrinking violet and knowing his stance on
environmental ADR I suggested that he be a part of the panel “Environmental Conflict Resolution (ECR): A Report Card” at the AALS meetings in January.   As anticipated, Joe made the presentation worth the price of admission.  His contrarian view lit up the room, causing most speakers to deviate from their prepared remarks, and even resulted in Lawrence Susskind saying that
collaborative procedures should not have been used in the situation Joe was describing.  Now that’s saying something.

Since many of our readers were at that panel, I mention his passing here.  There’s much more to say about him, but we’re too far in the grieving process to do him justice at this time.  However, there’s a great remembrance by one of his colleagues in the environmental community that’s worth a read.

It goes without saying, but should be said – Joe you will terribly missed.

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Comments

  • Corinna Fritsch says:

    I, and my husband, are in mourning over our friend and co-rider of Arizona public transportation – Joe Feller.

    We 1st met Joe at our local bus stop for the 8:10am bus to Tempe AZ in September 2011 when he had just returned to AZ from Colorado (after teaching there from ASU)…. he said he was surprised to see us because when he left AZ for Colorado (a couple years before ) no one was taking the bus from our neighborhood, as he did, from South Mountain near 48th & Baseline -we go to Mill Ave and he continued on to ASU (with a stop for a bagel).

    We are thinking sadly but fondly of our friend and the bitter-sweet memory of Joe from very recently, he had called it a “sisyphean task” what we all did at the bus stop every morning; his & our picking up the cigarrette butts & trash…

    We just heard the devastating news tonight and still have to take his route tomorrow, to cross the street (in the three possible places) where this tragedy may have occurred. We would like to find exactly what crosswalk, to protect ourselves and others.

    Walking home from the bus, we would casually debate what was the best place or way to cross these particular streets. We would like to help make Joe’s, our and the world’s loss into a better, safer place for the walkers and runners in AZ.

    Good Bye Joe. We miss you.
    Corinna Fritsch & Kevin Moore

  • Jen Reynolds says:

    I moderated the AALS panel that Art mentioned above, and after Joe spoke, I wrote him a note — “you electrified the panel.” He smiled and shook his head, modestly. But it was so true. He put the ADR community on notice that we need to be sure that those involved in non-litigation decisionmaking and dispute resolution are given real, not phony “participation” and “voice”; that the public interest is represented in all environmental disputes, no matter how narrow the affected parties; and that the ADR community must be on guard to ensure that our philosophy and processes are not co-opted by predatory corporate and/or state actors. Rest in peace, Professor Feller. You will be missed.

  • Jean Sternlight says:

    And I hosted the panel that Joe presented at at UNLV. Our topic was Conflict Resolution and the Colorado River. I had met Joe many years before, at Harvard Law School, but never knew him well. He did a great job of presenting his views at our conference but especially at conveying the beauty of the Grand Canyon and the Colorado River and the importance of caring for its fish. Ironically, today’s paper brings a headline that the river itself is endangered. I wish Joe could have stayed with us to help save the river.

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