Join Us for Our Kick-Off BBQ!

Join the Environmental Law Program for its kick-off BBQ on Wednesday, September 10 from 5pm-7pm on the patio outside the Hark (rain location is Hark Fireside Lounge). Professor Freeman, Professor Lazarus, Professor Jacobs and Kate Konschnik will provide a short introduction to the academic, clinical and policy opportunities available to students, and the student heads of the Environmental Law Society and Environmental Law Review will discuss their plans for the year. Then enjoy dinner, dessert, and drinks as you get to know or reconnect with HLS’s fantastic environmental community!

Clinic Releases New Edition of Fracking Guide

The Clinic released a newly revised edition of their fracking guide, entitled A Landowner’s Guide to Hydraulic Fracturing: Addressing Environmental and Health Issues in Oil and Gas Leases (Revised Edition, July 2014).  This expanded version of the guide builds upon the previous edition.  In particular, it is aimed at landowners across the country and contains information relevant for property owners who are considering whether to sign a lease to allow either oil or gas extraction by hydraulic fracturing, including proposed lease language.  The guide was prepared and revised by Clinic students, including Joshua Herlands (JD’12), Humu-Annie Seini (LLM’11), Zachary Kearns (JD’14), Sarah Peterson (JD’15), and Albert Teng (JD’15), together with the Clinic’s lawyers Shaun Goho, Wendy Jacobs, and Aladdine Joroff.

The Clinic and Policy Initiative Announce New Report on Regional and Municipal Stormwater Management

The Emmett Environmental Law & Policy Clinic and the Environmental Policy Initiative (EPI) released a new report, Regional and Municipal Stormwater Management: A Comprehensive Approach.  This report analyzes options for addressing stormwater pollution at both the regional and municipal level, encourages the adoption of green infrastructure by municipalities as a stormwater pollution reduction strategy, and recommends that municipalities consider participating in a regional program as a comprehensive and cost-effective way to address stormwater pollution.

This report is part of the Clinic and EPI’s ongoing green infrastructure pilot partnership with EPA, and was authored by Clinic Director Wendy B. Jacobs and EPI Director Kate Konschnik.  The following students also contributed to the report:  Dakotah Burns, JD’15; Tsuki Hoshijima, JD’15; Carl Lisberger, JD’14; Sean Lyness, JD’15; and Chrystel Marincich, JD’15.

EPA’s Climate Rule for Existing Power Plants Under 111(d) – HLS Faculty Analysis and Research

ELP faculty and staff have been hard at work analyzing EPA’s plan to regulate carbon emission from existing power plants. Professor Jody Freeman, Director and Founder of ELP, wrote a New York Times op-ed “Teaching an Old Law New Tricks” about the legal prospects of using the Clean Air Act to regulate greenhouse gases. Kate Konschnik and Ari Peskoe of the Environmental Policy Initiative published a paper evaluating the potential for states to use energy efficiency to meet the requirements of EPA’s proposed power plant standards. Politico’s Morning Energy briefing, Energy CollectiveUtility Dive, and Greenwire reported on this paper, and EPA cited it in their 111(d) proposal.  Kate and Ari have also published a paper exploring how states might approach 111(d) compliance, using four states – Arizona, Florida, Illinois, and Pennsylvania – as examples.  Lastly, Kate Konschnik guest blogged for Legal Planet  discussing EPA’s statutory authority to issue the sec. 111(d) regulations.

2014 Barron Fellows Announced!

The Environmental Policy Program is proud to announce the winners of its summer fellowship program. Natasha Burnett, Samantha Caravello, Brenden Cline, Seth Hoedl, Sean Lyness, Genevieve Parshalle, and Cecilia Segal all received fellowships to work on environmental and energy issues for a variety of non-profits and governmental agencies. As always, ELP thanks its generous donors who make this fellowship a reality. More information about the fellows, their past experience and their work this summer available here.

New Clinic and Policy Initiative Report Suggests Ways States Could Better Respond to Landowner Complaints from Oil and Gas Activity

On May 14, the Emmett Environmental Law & Policy Clinic and the Environmental Policy Initiative (EPI) released a report, Responding to Landowner Complaints of Water Contamination from Oil and Gas Activity: Best Practices.  The report recommends policies for states to consider implementing for a more robust, comprehensive response to water quality complaints.  If adopted, these practices can help ensure that agencies conduct a thorough investigation of potentially contaminated water sources, that landowners obtain an accurate understanding of the findings, and that the process is open and transparent.

The report was authored by William Cranch, JD’15; Margaret Holden, JD’14; Shaun Goho, Senior Clinical Instructor; and Kate Konschnik, EPI Director.

Professor Lazarus Alerts Supreme Court to Error in Opinion

On April 29, the Supreme Court issued a divided opinion in Environmental Protection Agency v. EME Homer City Generation, L.P. Justice Scalia and Justice Thomas dissented, and the dissent contained a noticeable error. The dissent explained, “This is not the first time EPA has sought to convert the Clean Air Act into a mandate for cost-effective regulation.  Whitman v. American Trucking Assns., Inc., 531 U. S. 457 (2001), confronted EPA’s contention that it could consider costs in setting NAAQS.” Though Whitman did involve the claim that the Clean Air Act allowed the EPA to consider costs, it was not the EPA arguing in favor of considering costs, but rather industry. After Prof. Lazarus noticed the mistake, he invoked the Court’s formal rules and procedures and wrote the Court a letter pointing out the mistake. On Wednesday April 30, the Supreme Court had corrected the opinion. Read more herehere, and here

Harvard Gazette Article Profiles ELP’s Work on Climate Change

On April 25,  the Harvard Gazette published an interview with ELP Founder and Director, Prof. Jody Freeman, discussing ways in which ELP scholars and students are engaged in confronting climate change. The interview described the diversity of opportunities available at HLS to study and work on climate change, noting the variety of classes available, and the fabulous work being done in the Emmett Environmental Law & Policy Clinic and the Environmental Policy Initiative. Read more here.

Policy Initiative Launches

State policies promoting renewable energy have driven rapid growth in wind and solar energy.  But those policies are being challenged as unconstitutional.  Challenges are wide ranging but focus on two grounds: preemption by the federal government and State overreach into interstate commerce.

The Environmental Policy Initiative launched to track these cases.  The site includes summaries of litigation, background about key concepts, and the judicial decisions and filed briefs.  We offer the site as a clearinghouse and reference for stakeholders, students, and researchers with an interest in these cases.

Environmental Law Society’s Environmental Justice Conference a Huge Success!

On March 28-29, the Harvard Environmental Law Society had the privilege of hosting the 26th annual National Association of Environmental Law Societies (NAELS) annual conference.  The conference was entitled “Environmental Justice: Where are We Now?” and celebrated the 20th anniversary of President Clinton’s Executive Order on environmental justice. The conference helped raised awareness about the EJ movement and fostered great discussions on how EJ can move forward on pressing topics, including access to healthy food, clean air, and public transit. The conference included an opening address by Dr. Robert Bullard, the “father of environmental justice,” a keynote address by Former EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, and an interview with Professor Gerald Torres, architect of the Executive Order, as well as numerous panels filled with insightful and inspirational community activists. The conference drew practitioners, students, professors and activists from around the country, and we are so proud of our students for all their hard work organizing the conference.

Round-up of Recent Exciting Events

The Environmental Law Program has had a busy spring semester! Professor Freeman has a new paper “Old Statutes, New Problems” with Prof. David P. Spence coming out in the Pennsylvania Law Review. The paper argues that in the absence of Congressional action and updating, agencies can and should adopt old statutes to fit new problems. She recently gave a talk about the paper at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, and you can listen to the talk here or here.

Professor Lazarus is also on the move, as he recently gave a keynote address at Florida State University College of Law’s conference entitled “Environmental Law Without Congress.” Professor Lazarus also has a new ELI article out available here.

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