Law Schools in the Public Interest: Environmental Programs in the South
I’ve been struck by how much environmental law programs are doing to advance the public interest. Without purporting to do a complete survey, I thought it would still be illuminating to provide five or ten examples from different parts of the country.
Today, I’m going to start with the South. Although the South is probably the area of the country least identified with environmental protection, there’s still a lot of public interest work to talk about. These examples of current work are all from different Southern law schools:
- A Conservation Clinic that has provided legislative drafting help for local cities and the state legislature on issues such as green building and wetlands preservation.
- Another clinic that has filed multiple lawsuits against oil refineries and other violators of air pollution laws in one of the most polluted areas of the country.
- National conferences of academics and practitioners on growth management, nature conservation, environmental contracting, revitalization of contaminated land, watershed management and climate change.
- A national conference of business leaders, government officials and academics to discuss emerging issues in the electricity center, this year focusing on climate change.
- A free bi-weekly newsletter about the state’s energy and environment issues.
- A detailed report on urban agriculture, prepared as part of a cooperative effort with a major city to draft “one of the most expansive urban agriculture zoning codes in the country.”
- A daylong event environmental issues in the state annually for the last 24 years.
- A clinic that has focused on helping local governments, state agencies, landowners, and non-profit organizations develop quality land use and growth management policies and practices.
- Another clinic that is devoted to providing free legal services to help protect the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.
This list is by no means comprehensive, and it doesn’t include the activities of individual faculty members who are often involved in public service. And this is only one section of the country.