Vermont Press Releases

Earthjustice, Vermont Law School Partner on Community Environmental Justice Cases

News Release — Vermont Law School
Feb. 16, 2017

Maryellen Apelquist, Director of Communications, Vermont Law School
office: 802-831-1228, cell: 802-299-5593, [email protected]

SOUTH ROYALTON, Vt., Feb. 16, 2017––Earthjustice, the nation’s original and largest nonprofit environmental law organization, and the pro bono Environmental and Natural Resources Law Clinic (ENRLC) at Vermont Law School are partnering on a new environmental justice program to advocate for safer, healthier communities. The partners plan to take on cases and projects to include Vermont and New England-based initiatives, with potential for efforts in other regions of the United States and at the national level.

Specifically, the ENRLC will hire a full-time attorney, an Earthjustice clinical professor, to manage the clinic’s growing environmental justice caseload and work with Earthjustice’s Healthy Communities program, which aims “to ensure widespread protections from pollution and exposure to toxic chemicals.” Like the ENRLC, Earthjustice represents clients free of charge.

“Earthjustice is looking forward to this new partnership and opportunity with Vermont Law School,” said Lisa Garcia, Earthjustice vice president of litigation for healthy communities. “This is a great way to help expand our work with communities in the Northeast and also to work with VLS students who will be the future protectors of a clean environment.”

The Earthjustice clinical professor will teach and mentor VLS students in addition to managing environmental justice cases and projects.

“The Environmental and Natural Resources Law Clinic is proud to partner with Earthjustice on community environmental justice cases,” said Professor Ken Rumelt, senior attorney at the ENRLC. “Our partnership puts the Vermont Law School motto, ‘law for the community and the world,’ into action, and reinforces our commitment to preparing our students to use the power of the law make a difference. Working for cleaner air and water, advocating for our neighbors—this is the good fight, and we are proud to be part of it.”

In addition to the Earthjustice partnership, the ENRLC recently announced a new two-year Toxics Fellowship to provide legal assistance to communities facing toxic pollution problems. For more information about environmental justice work at the clinic, email [email protected] or call 802-831-1031.

The Environmental and Natural Resources Law Clinic operates as a public interest law office, providing VLS students with clinical experience to become skilled professionals who can develop arguments and claims from the ground up; explore strategies and options; and communicate effectively with clients, courts, agency officials, scientific experts, and opposing parties. The clinic’s work includes a mix of litigation, administrative agency proceedings, client counseling, and other forms of environmental advocacy. ENRLC clients include community groups and conservation organizations, and the clinic partners with a variety of organizations at the local, regional, and national level. ENRLC attorneys and student clinicians represented the Vermont Public Interest Research Group (VPIRG) in its pursuit of a state labeling law for genetically engineered (GE) foods, making national headlines; stopped a new railroad proposed for Montana’s Powder River Basin; and established important precedent for Vermont’s Act 250 in a case opposing smokestack industry next to a residential community. For more information about the ENRLC, including cases, visit

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