Environmental Law Clinic provides support to community organizations opposing a new gas station

All News

In the fall of 2022, the Environmental Law Clinic provided research, drafting, and organizing support to community organizations opposing a new gas station in Prince George’s county, Maryland.  The community organizations had contacted the clinic in summer 2022, expressing significant concerns about the air and water pollution that would emanate from a new proposed gas station and about a playground that was planned to be removed to accommodate the new gas station.   The work the clinic provided was an example of “community lawyering” where public interest lawyers works at the intersection of law, organizing, and community education with impacted residents instead of on behalf of impacted residents.  The fall 2022 clinic students found the experience invaluable, with two students, Katherine Schutes and Annie Klein commenting:

“During my time in the Environmental Law Clinic I was able to gain skills while truly feeling like my work was helping a local community group. I became comfortable with fast-paced research based on what the group needed, presenting that research, and drafting a document that the group ultimately filed as an appeal. Working with the community in a way where they were the experts and we were the support staff was a unique position that the Clinic taught me about.  I believe that being a part of the Clinic first has made it comfortable for me to quickly address research task, engage with clients, and present my research to colleagues. The Clinic work also allowed me to see a truly fulfilling part of the legal profession where we were able to do pro bono work that ultimately led to a positive result for this community group, and it has led me to seek out this type of work in my future career.”

“Last semester, I worked as a Student Attorney for the law school’s Environmental Law Clinic, where I was primarily focused on engaging with a community group in an environmental justice area in order to help secure legal representation and drafting a zoning administrative appeal in conjunction with [the] group…it was my engagement with the community members that sparked my interest in a career working on more environmental justice matters, especially as they relate to land use and proposed development.”