The Environmental Law Clinic Represents the Patuxent Riverkeeper
On October 9, 2018, the Clinic represented the Patuxent Riverkeeper in oral argument before the Honorable Cathy Serrrette, Circuit Court for Prince George's County, Maryland. The case involves judicial review of a county zoning proceeding allowing a special exception for the operation of a coal ash landfill in the Brandywine community. The Clinic had also represented in the Patuxent Riverkeeper in the zoning proceeding, which ultimately resulted in the Prince George's County District Council denying the special exception to the owner, NRG Energy. To read more about the zoning proceeding, please see this article. However, in the spring of 2018, NRG Energy sought review of the denial in Circuit Court for Prince George’s County.
The oral argument was the culmination of weeks of work by Clinic students, under the direction of Professors Bill Piermattei and Seema Kakade. The students assigned to the case team included Amelia Whiting, Emily Bryant, David Kim, Dan Baker, and Maureen Hartshorn. These students had the opportunity to work on legal briefs, research areas of law including complex statutory interpretation and preemption issues, draft portions of the brief, and practice the oral argument in numerous moot sessions. Amelia Whiting, a Clinic II student who argued one of the key issues in the case, found that "Working on this case was both a rewarding and educational experience. I had my first experiences drafting and learned about the strategy employed in crafting a good response to another party's argument. Getting to work on cases like these in clinic has been some of the most rewarding and practical opportunities I have had in law school." The Honorable Judge Serrette specifically acknowledged Amelia's excellent presentation after the argument, and opposing counsel, as well as counsel for the county government, similarly congratulated Amelia on a fantastic job.
On October 22, 2018, the Clinic was excited to learn that Judge Serrette issued an opinion in favor of our clients and the Prince George’s County district council.