The Environmental Law Program at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law will conduct the legal and policy analysis for a new, $10 million dollar U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) effort focused on an increasingly important issue: how to develop and promote the use of sustainable water in U.S. agriculture.
The Maryland Carey Law team will be led by Professors Robert Percival, Robert F. Stanton Professor of Law and director of the Environmental Law Program, and Professor Michael Pappas, a faculty member in the program. Pappas and Percival will be part of a multidisciplinary group of researchers from several schools at the University of Maryland and other universities which includes bioscientists, engineers, economists, and public health experts.
The Environmental Law team will look first at existing legal and regulatory barriers to producing more sustainable water and then recommend new policies to remove barriers, encourage farmers’ use and protect public health. Their work will focus particularly on state laws and regulations in the mid-Atlantic (Maryland, Virginia and Delaware), where agriculture can be proactive about water use, and in the Southwest (California and Arizona), which has suffered from severe drought.
“This is important and exciting work, with vital environmental, legal and economic consequences, not only in the US, but globally,” said Percival. “We are honored to be part of such a distinguished team and innovative effort.”
In addition to domestic policies, Percival and Pappas will also analyze the legal structures for the use of sustainable water in Israel, Australia and the European Union, and conduct a series of international workshops to gather additional information that can be used to promote sustainable water use in the U.S.
“We are incredibly proud of our Environmental Law Program,” said Maryland Carey Law Dean Donald B. Tobin. “It has been doing cutting edge work since its inception. Now, it is playing a pivotal role in a new interprofessional effort that will bring tremendous benefits in Maryland and internationally.”
Paul Goeringer and Ashley Ellixson, extension legal specialists with the Department of Agriculture and Resource Economics at the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of Maryland, College Park, will also work on the new grant.
Pappas, Goeringer and Ellixson are members of the Agriculture Law Education Initiative (ALEI), a collaboration of the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law at the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB); the College of Agriculture & Natural Resources at the University of Maryland, College Park (UMCP); and the School of Agricultural and Natural Sciences at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. ALEI is an initiative of the University of Maryland: MPowering the State, a strategic alliance between UMB and UMCP created in 2012 to significantly expand research, business development, and student opportunities at both universities.
As part of its participation in the project, the Environmental Law Program becomes a member of the CONSERVE, (COordinating Nontraditional Sustainable watER Use in Variable climatEs) team and its Center of Excellence, a multidisciplinary group of researchers led by Dr. Amy R. Sapkota at the University of Maryland School of Public Health, the principal investigator for the four-year grant.