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### Best Environmental Law Programs: Top Schools to Consider

Our honor roll highlights the accomplishments and initiatives of law schools nationwide.

The field of environmental law is experiencing growth, particularly in areas such as energy, climate, land use, national and state policies, pollution control, and animal law. For individuals interested in this legal domain, it is advisable to seek out institutions offering a diverse range of well-established courses and a certificate program that can enhance both your professional profile and your perspective.

At the University of Denver Sturm College of Law, students engaged in the Environmental Law Clinic are actively tackling critical environmental issues in Colorado. Recently, these students achieved a significant legal victory representing the Center for Biological Diversity and Food & Water Watch in challenging a water pollution permit for factory farms in the state. Their argument centered on the Clean Water Act violation resulting from the permit’s lack of pollution monitoring requirements. Despite appeals from the state and the factory farm industry, clinic participants remain dedicated to advancing this case.

The University of Colorado Law School’s Getches-Wilkinson Center has been awarded a generous $400,000 grant from the Walton Family Foundation. This funding will support the Western Water Policy Program, which focuses on research and discussions regarding water management in the Western region, with a specific emphasis on the Colorado River Basin.

In a similar vein, the University of Miami School of Law recently introduced its inaugural Everglades Law and Policy short course. Students had the unique opportunity to explore the Big Cypress National Preserve, stay at the Seminole Tribe of Florida’s Big Cypress Reservation, visit Lake Okeechobee, and inspect the Herbert Hoover Dike. This hands-on experience provided insights into infrastructure, water quality, endangered species, flood control, agriculture, and public land management issues.

The Georgia State University College of Law’s Center for the Comparative Study of Metropolitan Growth offers specialized programs for students and professionals seeking a deeper understanding of the challenges faced by expanding metropolitan regions. These programs cover various areas, including environmental law, land use law, housing law, and the preservation of cultural and historic resources, fostering collaborative efforts towards global solutions.

Meanwhile, at the University of San Diego School of Law, the Energy Policy Initiatives Center focuses on studying energy policy matters affecting California and the San Diego Region. Through research and analysis, the center aims to raise awareness and comprehension of energy- and climate-related policies among decision-makers and law students. Additionally, the center oversees the Energy Law and Policy Clinic, where students collaborate with state agencies on researching climate change and energy issues impacting Californians.

The University of California, Berkeley, School of Law’s Environmental Law Clinic made headlines by serving a Notice of Intent to Sue the U.S. Navy and EPA on behalf of Greenaction for Health and Environmental Justice. This legal action, which garnered media attention on NBC-TV, aims to enforce the federal Superfund law (CERCLA) due to inadequate cleanup efforts at San Francisco’s former Naval Shipyard at Hunters Point. The site, historically used by the Navy for vessel cleaning contaminated with radioactive fallout from World War II, still exhibits traces of radioactive materials despite partial re-testing by the Navy.

Students at Marquette University Law School actively contribute to significant research projects within the environmental law program, often co-authoring resulting publications. Recent projects have seen students taking on leadership roles in major initiatives, including federal grants focusing on PFAS regulation, nonpoint source pollution studies, wastewater reuse potential assessments, and collaborative efforts with regional government agencies to devise legal and policy strategies for controlling chloride levels in surface water and groundwater.

Lastly, students at the University of Wyoming School of Law involved in the Energy, Environmental, and Natural Resources Law Clinic collaborate closely with attorneys from the Water and Natural Resources Division of the Wyoming Attorney General’s Office. Engaged in cases concerning the State of Wyoming, state agencies, or state officials, these students draft motions and represent the state in various proceedings before entities such as the Wyoming Oil & Gas Conservation Commission and Industrial Siting Council.

For further insights, refer to the Spring preLaw 2024 digital issue article for additional details.