Shaping Environmental Law & Policy

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Lake_Mich_sunsetEnvironmental Law Center faculty are at the forefront of important environmental legal issues of our times, helping to shape policy and the law through scholarship and advocacy. Unique areas of Center impact include:

Environmental Law – Center faculty have played key roles in helping to shape environmental law in scholarship, government, and the courts. John Dernbach served as policy director in the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. David Hodas chaired the Delaware Governor’s Energy Advisory Council, overseeing the Council’s development of the DELAWARE ENERGY PLAN 2009 – 2014, released in March 2009. Jim May served on the Delaware Coastal Zone Advisory Board and the US EPA’s Effluent Guidelines Task Force. In the courts, John Dernbach co-authored an amicus brief on behalf of 18 climate scientists in the Unites States Supreme Court’s consideration of Massachusetts v. EPA. Jim May authored an amicus brief on behalf of environmental professors in the Entergy v. EPA case before the Supreme Court, and through his work in the Clinic argued cases before the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals. The Clinic has won precedent-setting victories concerning Total Maximum Daily Loads under the Clean Water Act (impacting more than 6,500 impaired waters), anti-degradation assessments under Pennsylvania law (resulting in changes to application and review procedures for discharge permit), and consent decrees or settlements resulting in more than $ 20 million of upgrades, expenditures, and supplemental environmental projects.

Sustainability – John Dernbach wrote Stumbling Towards Sustainability (2002) and edited Agenda for a Sustainable America (2009), the leading books analyzing the increasingly important issue of how to make sustainability a reality in America. The books complement his more than 20 articles and book chapters on the topic, making him an influential expert on the topic. Indeed, Sustainability will be the focus of the Center.

Constitutional Environmental Law – Jim May has written more than 10 articles on the intersection of constitutional principles and environmental law. His article Climate Change, Constitutional Consignment, and the Political Question Doctrine, 85 DENVER UNIV. L.REV. 919 (2008), was cited by the plaintiffs in convincing the Second Circuit to reverse a dismissal of a public nuisance case for global warming on the political question doctrine (Connecticut v. American Energy Corp., (2d Cir. 2009)).

Climate Change and Energy – John Dernbach, David Hodas, Ken Kristl, Jim May, and Andy Strauss have written numerous articles on climate change issues. David Hodas, as Chair of the Delaware Governor’s Energy Advisory Council, oversaw the development of the Delaware Energy Plan for 2009 – 2014.

NEPA – Ken Kristl and the Environmental and Natural Resources Law Clinic won the first case challenging farming with genetically modified crops at national wildlife refuges in Delaware Audubon Society et al. v. Salazar (D. DE. 2009).

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