Panel Bios


Heather Milton-Lightening
First Nations' Perspectives

Heather Milton-Lightening has sixteen years of organizing experience from local issues to international campaigns. Heather was a founding member of Native Youth Movement that empowered youth politically and socially to make change in their communities; based in Winnipeg, MB in 1995. She helped found Winnipeg's first Native youth organization called Aboriginal Youth with Initiative, Inc. in 1998 through her position as Associate Director. Heathers then went on to found and build a national Native youth network that supported Native youth organizing across the US and Canada with the Indigenous Environmental Network. She was a former member of the United Nations Environment Programme's Youth Advisory and has extensive experience in lobbying internationally through the United Nations and other International arenas on Indigenous Peoples issues. Heather's work since then has been to build capacity and find resources that help local Native communities. From funding board participation on the Funding Exchange Saguaro Fund and Honor the Earth; to helping build the Indigenous People's Power Project through the Ruckus Society that trains on non-violent direct action tools. Heather currently is working on a contractual basis with many different organizations doing trainings, facilitating and support work for Native communities.

keynote-speaker Photo By Joel Sartore

W. Don Nelson, Publisher, Prairie Fire
Media Representation and Political Influence on Information Exchange

W. Don Nelson has lived in Nebraska for 42 years with a 7 1/2 year residence in Wyoming (1977-1984). He served as policy adviser to several governors in Nebraska and Wyoming. Nelson was an investment banker in the private sector for 14 years (1987-2000). He was the Nebraska State Director for United States Senator E. Ben Nelson (2001-2006). Ben and Don, 35 year acquaintances are not related. Don is the founder and publisher of Prairie Fire newspaper, an 85,000 reader Great Plains publication covering public policy, the arts and the environment. The first monthly issue was published July, 2007. He serves as a member of numerous corporate and civic boards of directors.


Peter J. Jaskoski, Director, Government Relations, TransCanada U.S. Pipelines Central
Oil and Gas Industry Perspectives

Peter Jaskoski is Director of Government Relations for TransCanada Corporation U.S. Pipelines Central.
Based in Troy, Michigan, Mr. Jaskoski is currently responsible for legislative and regulatory activity at the state and local level for ANR and Great Lakes Gas Transmission. Among other responsibilities, Mr. Jaskoski acts as a liaison between business units and policy makers to secure the necessary approvals from government officials for projects and legislative proposals being pursued by the company's regulated business units. He represents TransCanada's U.S. Pipelines Central, which represents some of the largest U.S. interstate natural gas pipelines, covering some 15 states.
Mr. Jaskoski has been with TransCanada Corporation since 2007. He joined the El Paso Corporation in 2001 when the company merged with the Coastal Corporation. He joined Coastal as director of Government Affairs in 1995. He also served on staff for the Michigan State Legislature from 1987 to 1995 focusing primarily in the areas of corporate and property taxation.
Mr. Jaskoski earned his Bachelor of Arts in Public Administration from Michigan State University in 1987.


Dr. William Zinsmeister, Professor, Dept. of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Purdue University
Environmental Impacts Overview

Dr. Zinsmeister is a Professor in the Purdue University Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. His research interests include paleontology, stratigraphy, biostratigraphy, biogeography, and field geology. This includes teaching interests surrounding the topic of oil; he offers an undegraduate level course on this topic, and will be providing an overview of the environmental impacts associated with production. More information on his website here.

Dr. Sean Sweeney and Dr. Lara Skinner, Cornell Global Labor Institute
Determining Economic Impacts of the Pipeline

Biography available soon, website


Dr. Otto Doering, Professor, Dept. of Agricultural Economics, Purdue University
Session Moderator

Otto Doering is Professor of Agricultural Economics and Public Policy Specialist at Purdue University. His responsibilities include teaching, research, and public service/engagement on policy issues relating to agriculture, resources, energy, and the environment. He has extensive public policy experience as a policy advisor and educator and has served as chair of the National Public Policy Education Committee. His energy related experience includes service on the Department of Energy's Biomass Advisory Panel and Indiana's Energy Development Board. He was director of Purdue University's Energy Policy Research and Information Program, directed Indiana's State Utility Forecasting Group, and more recently works with the National Science Foundation's Power Systems Engineering Research Center. His experience on environmental issues includes involvement in the National Hypoxia Assessment, the National Academies' recent reports on the Mississippi River, the National Research Council's report on Water Implications of Biofuel Production, and several U.S. Environmental Protection Agency advisory committees. He has held advisory positions with the U.S. Department of Agriculture for the '77, '90, and '96 farm bills, and works with the Natural Resources Conservation Service on the design and assessment of agricultural conservation programs. Professor Doering has degrees from Cornell University and the London School of Economics. He is also Director of the Purdue Climate Change Research Center.

Ernest C. Young Hall, Room 170 | 155  S. Grant Street, West Lafayette, IN 47907-2114 | 765-494-2600

© Purdue University | An equal access/equal opportunity university | Copyright Complaints | Maintained by The Purdue University Graduate School

If you have trouble accessing this page because of a disability, please contact The Purdue University Graduate School.