Environmental Law Clinic Year in Review

Student attorneys in the Environmental Law Clinic had a fabulous 2018-2019 school year. The Clinic this year had an incredibly diverse docket, covering litigation, administrative law, transnational law, and transactional work, in support of community groups and non-profit organizations. Clinic students learned how to apply a variety of skills, to real world matters, including, writing, oral presentation, counseling, and critical research and analysis. In total, the students worked more than 3,500 hours as a group for the academic year. 

Academic Year 2018-2019 Highlights:

  • The Clinic continued its representation of the Patuxent Riverkeeper in a zoning proceeding regarding a special exception allowing a polluting coal ash landfill to exist in an area zoned for low-impact residential use. The case proceeded to judicial review in Circuit Court and one of our clinic students argued the case, receiving praise from both the Judge and opposing counsel.  
  • The Clinic submitted additional comments in multiple letters to the Maryland Department of Environment on behalf of several groups regarding the implementation of a 2013 settlement involving the Clean Water Act. The letters involved extensive understanding of technical information and coordination amongst multiple clients.
  • The Clinic provided legal counseling to several community groups involving litigation risk analysis, agency rule development, and other advocacy tools regarding environmental impacts from proposed projects and facilities in specific areas across Maryland. Clinic students were able to attend community meetings to work with impacted or potentially impacted individuals.
  • The Clinic provided legal support to the Maryland Environmental Health Network (MDEHN) in legislative efforts. Two clinic students testified in front of the Maryland General assembly.  
  • Clinic students joined the environmental law program’s TEA project, analyzing ways in which information collection on harm in developing countries can help in advocacy with governments and corporations. Two clinic students will implement their analysis on a summer 2019 trip to Guinea, West Africa.
  • Clinic students provided complex legal research and analysis for environmental advocacy groups on citizen science, potential arguments for comment in federal agency rulemaking, and legal preemption. The analysis resulted in legal memorandum that will be useful for clients in ongoing advocacy efforts.
  • Clinic students worked with the law school’s Small Business and Community Equity Development Clinic, to produce a toolkit for the NAACP’s environmental and climate justice program, on financial tools in climate change adaptation. One clinic student presented the toolkit at a large forum held at the law school for the NAACP.
  • Clinic students presented on zoning and climate change finance as legal advocacy tools at the University of Maryland’s Environmental Justice Symposium, held in conjunction with the School of Public Health.