Dedicated Faculty Make Widener an Exciting Place to Study Environmental Law
Web Editor - Published: July 25, 2013
Environment2The motto of Widener Law’s Environmental Law Center is “Law for Sustainability,” and the committed faculty members are constantly engaged in finding ways to improve the legal system’s support of sustainable development. The dedication of ELC faculty members and the potential for hands-on-training offered by the Environmental & Natural Resources Law Clinic make Widener Law an exciting place to study environmental law!

Accomplished Faculty
Distinguished Professor John C. Dernbach and Professor James R. May, the co-directors of the ELC, are respected leaders in the field of environmental law. A former chair of the ABA Committee on Climate Change, Sustainable Development, and Ecosystems, Professor Dernbach has written more than forty articles for law reviews and peer-reviewed journals and has served as editor and author on three books that have assessed U.S. Sustainability efforts since the U.N. Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. The most recent of the three volumes, Acting as if Tomorrow Matters: Accelerating the Transition to Sustainability, was published in June of 2012. He also served as a member of the National Research Council Committee in 2011 that made recommendations on how to institutionalize sustainability at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Professor May is a Fellow of the American College of Environmental Lawyers, and a Member of Faculty to the National Judicial College and has served as a Council Member to the governing board of ABA Section on Environment, Energy and Resources and a founder and inaugural Chair of ABA SEER’s Task Force on Constitutional Law. He has authored more than 70 articles and book chapters relating to environmental and constitutional law and has litigated more than 200 public interest environmental claims at levels up to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Distinguished Professors David R. Hodas and Jean Macchiaroli Eggen, Associate Professor Ken Kristl, and Delaware campus Associate Dean for Faculty and Strategic Initiatives Andrew L. Strauss also lend their expertise to the ELC.

Preparing to Practice While Protecting the Planet
Since 1989, Widener Law students have been “Preparing to Practice While Protecting the Planet,” through the Environmental & Natural Resources Clinic. Students participating in the clinic gain constructive experience in civil litigation and representation while working with Clinic Director and Associate Professor Ken Kristl and other attorneys.

The Environmental & Natural Resources Law Clinic is one of the oldest law clinics in the country. Over 240 Widener students have participated in the Clinic over the years, providing more than 110,000 pro bono hours of legal service. The Clinic has litigated more than 200 claims in over 20 different federal and state judicial and administrative courts, including nine different federal district courts and four federal circuit courts of appeal.

In the last few years, the clinic has played an important role in several legal settlements, including a settlement to protect endangered species in the Heller Caves area in Blair County, PA and another settlement over farming of genetically engineered crops at Bombay Hook. In the spring of 2013, the Clinic received a grant from the Delaware Coastal Management Program (DCMP) to asses the legal tools available for sea level rise adaptation in Delaware.

Distinguished Speaker Series and More
Each academic year, the ELC brings in prominent guest speakers in the area of environmental law to discuss their scholarship as part of the Distinguished Speaker Series. Past guest speakers have included among others: Francis Cabell Brown Professor of International Law at Georgetown University Law Center Edith Brown Weiss; Robert F. Stanton Professor of Law and Director of the Environmental Law Program at the University of Maryland School of Law Robert Percival; American University Washington College of Law Professor David Hunter; and current visiting scholar Donald A. Brown.

This fall, the Environmental Law Center will host a symposium entitled "Marcellus Shale Development and Pennsylvania: What Lessons for Sustainable Energy?"
on the Harrisburg campus . The symposium, which will be held on Friday, September 27th, will explore the practice of hydraulic fracturing and its impact from environmental, community, public health, and governance perspectives.