Past Events

Below are past events that have been held at the Washington College of Law (including links to webcasts and pictures where available). If you would like information about these events, please contact Erika Lennon.

Climate Action 2016 Side Event - Companies and Climate Change: Legal Liability and Human Rights Challenges After Paris COP21

Thursday, May 5 from 2:30-5:30pm
The Mayflower Hotel (1127 Connecticut Ave NW)

Sponsored by the International Bar Association, the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre, Sidley Austin, the Center for International Environmental Law, the Institute for Human Rights and Business, and American University Washington College of Law Center for Human Rights and Humanitarian Law. The event will consist of two panels. Additionally it will feature opening remarks by International Bar Association President, David W. Rivkin.

Panel 1: Human Rights and Climate Change: What you need to know

This panel will be moderated by Chris Jochnick (CEO & President of Landesa) and includes panelists from Greenpeace, the Center for International Governance Innovation, Oxfam America, and AUWCL's Bill Snape.

Panel 2: Legal Liability and Climate Change: Assessing Companies' Risks

Roger Martella (Sidley Austin) will moderate this panel. Panelists include lawyers from Ayres Law Group, the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate, Bordas & Bordas Attorneys, and CIEL.

ELS Brown Bag Lunch Series - Development, Human Rights, and the Environment

Thursday, April 14 from 12:30-1:30pm
Room Y115 (Yuma bldg)

Featured Speaker: Katie Redford, Co-founder and Director of EarthRights International
In its second brown bag lunch of the semester, ELS welcomes Ms. Katie Redford to join us to share her expertise in human rights and the environment through the work she does as the co-founder and Director of EarthRights International (ERI). ERI is a non-profit NGO that focuses on defending human rights and the environment around the world. Ms. Redford & ERI have worked extensively in Myanmar, the Mekong region, Peru, Ecuador, as well as many other countries around the world.

EarthRights International has utilized groundbreaking legal strategies to achieve corporate accountability for human rights and environmental atrocities. Some of the big cases they have litigated in U.S. Courts include: Doe v. Unocal (occurred in Burma), Wiwa v. Shell (occurred in Nigeria), Maynas v. Occidental Petroleum (occurred in Peru), Doe v. Chiquita (occurred in Colombia), Sahu v. Union Carbide (occurred in Bhopal, India), Indigenous Communities of the TIPNIS Reserve (occurred in Bolivia), Jam v. IFC (occurred in India). For more information on these cases, click here.

Ms. Redford will also share advice and job/internship searching tips with students who are interested in this area of law. 

Cooling off from COP21: Where do we go from here? - Watch the Webcast!

Wednesday, April 13 from 2-6:30pm
Room NT01 (Warren Building Ceremonial Classroom)

Four months ago, 195 countries met in Paris for the 21st Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC and decided on the Paris Agreement. Now, four months after Paris, the Sustainable Development Law & Policy Brief and the Environmental Law Society are hosting an event to discuss and debate the impacts and future of the Climate Agreement. We will explore several topics including how the agreement is being implemented both domestically and abroad,the impact the agreementhas made on climate and energy policies, private interest reactions to the agreement, the prospect of all countries ratifying the agreement, and other relevant issues. We welcome students, practitioners, and all those interested to join us in this important discussion of our climate future.

The event will feature a panel discussion and a Keynote Address by Melanie Nakagawa ('05), Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Transformation, U.S. Department of State. It will be followed by a reception. Appetizers, light beverages, and a cash bar will be provided. Download the AGENDA.



Environment and Energy Law Mentoring and Networking Event

Tuesday, March 22 from 4-7pm

Join the Faculty Practice Group on Environment, Energy and Natural Resources, Land Use, Oil and Gas, and Construction Law for our third annual mentoring and networking event. For more information, email us.

North America Regional, Stetson International Environmental Moot Court Competition

February 20-21

WCL is hosting the North America Regional of the Stetson International Environmental Moot Court Competition! If you are interested in volunteering, email Erika.

Climate Change, Energy & Environment: Strategies and Opportunities in a Post-Paris World

Saturday, February 13, 12:30-1:45pm
Location: TBD

Join the WCL Program on International & Comparative Environmental Law, alumni, and environmental professionals for a discussion about climate change, energy law, and environmental law in a post-Paris world. The discussion is part of the Ribbon Cutting weekend celebrating WCL's new Tenley campus home.

SDLP Annual Symposium: All Eyes on Paris: The Global Agreement on Climate Change

November 11 , 2015, 9am-4:30pm
WCL, Room 603

The Sustainable Development Law & Policy publication will hold its annual symposium this November on the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of the Parties in Paris (COP-21) taking place in December of this year. This conference will be of ultimate importance in determining how to move the world forward in addressing climate change. The 195 countries that are parties to the UNFCCC committed to create a new international climate agreement by the end of COP-21. The symposium will include panels featuring leading experts on climate change, domestic environmental law, and international environmental law who will discuss various issues surrounding the negotiations. The topics will include particular focus on President Obama’s Clean Power Plan, economic implications of the negotiations, the 2-degree goal and whether it is feasible, and the means for reaching the goals and purposes of the UNFCCC. See the Flyer and Agenda! Read a Recap of the event HERE

Watch the WEBCAST! 


Annual WCL Environment and Energy Law Student, Faculty, and Alumni Networking Session

October 27, 6-8pm
Location: Mission Dupont

We will be holding our annual Environment and Energy Networking Event at Mission DC in Dupont Circle (just off the North Dupont Metro). For details and to RSVP, email


Global Climate Change Week Event: What are the Options for 2C?

October 22, 3:30-5pm
WCL Room 600

Watch the webcast of this lively panel HERE.

Even if the upcoming historic Paris climate conference is a great success, President Obama noted recently that "its still going to fall short of what the science requires." This Global Climate Change Week panel discussion will explore, compare, and debate the full range of policy and technological options on the table for ensuring that the world does not cross the critical 2 degrees Celsius climate threshold.

Professor David Hunter will moderate, and panelists include:

  • Noah Deich, Center for Carbon Removal
  • Simon Nicholson, Forum for Climate Engineering Assessment
  • Bill Snape, Center for Biological Diversity

This talk is sponsored by the WCL Program on International and Comparative Environmental Law, the Forum for Climate Engineering Assessment, and the Center for Carbon Removal. For more information, see the FLYER!



Documentary Film Screening: "The Law of Water: the New Forest Code"

Tuesday, April 21 at 5:30pm
WCL, Room 603

Brazil is home of the largest rainforest of the planet, the Amazon. Despite its central role in balancing the global climate and protecting biodiversity, the Amazon has lost 20% of its original area to agriculture just in the last 40 years. In 2004, the Federal Government decided to really enforce the Forest Code, an old law that had existed for many decades, but had low rates of compliance. Since then the deforestation has dropped by 80% to the lowest levels since the monitoring system began. In 2012, after three years of intense dispute, the National Congress approved a new Forest Code. Agricultural representatives say it was modernized. Environmentalists and scientists say it was weakened.

Join the screening of the recently released documentary "The Law of Water: the new Forest Code" and learn about the politics and science behind the new Brazilian forest law. Following the screening, there will be a brief discussion with Humphrey Fellow Raul Silva Telles do Valle, a Brazilian environmental lawyer who is an expert on this topic.

Environment & Energy Law Mentoring and Networking Event

Monday, March 23, 4:30-7pm
Room 600

WCL Faculty and Alumni will provide one-on-one resume reviewing and career advising to students who pre-register (email Erika). Then at 6pm join us for a networking reception. Questions, email Erika!

The State of Extractive Industries on Federal Lands (ELS Founder's Event)

Tuesday, March 3, 10am-12pm
Room 603

The Environmental Law Society presents its Founder's Day Event: The State of Extractive Industries on Federal Lands. The extraction of energy sources is largely viewed as key to national security and economic growth. Against this backdrop, the threat of climate change continues to grow, and pushes for renewable energy are gaining traction at the local, state, and national level. This diverse Panel offers representatives from the private, non-profit, and government sectors who will discuss the extractive industry's various impacts on Federal lands, wildlife, and protected resources, as well as the costs and benefits of the continued development of our nation's oil and gas resources. Panelists will address the current state of the law, potential future directions, and proposals for the effective management of our on- and offshore natural resources. CLE credit offered. Register Here!

Panelists include:

  • Elizabeth Schuster, Food and Water Watch
  • Jill Lewandowski, Director of Environmental Assessment , Bureau of Ocean Management
  • Brett Marston, Arnold & Porter
  • moderator: Jon Freedman, Government Affairs & Policy, GE


ELS Lunch and Learn with Karim D. Marshall ('08)

Wednesday, November 12, 12:30-1:30pm
JD Student Lounge

For our second event in our Lunch & Learn Series, the Environmental Law Society is hosting Mr. Karim D. Marshall, WCL Alumni and Legislative Director at the District Department of the Environment for a brown bag lunch event. Mr. Marshall will discuss various environmental issues facing the DC area including air and water pollution, in addition to his work at the District Dept. of the Environment. Mr. Marshall will also discuss internship and job opportunities in the field of environmental law and advise interested students on how to pursue a career in this field.



SDLP Annual Symposium: A Quest for Clean Energy

Thursday, November 6, 10am-4pm
Room 603

SDLP's Annual Symposium for 2014 will focus on energy law. The Symposium will begin with panel 1, "EPA Proposed Rule on Emissions Guidelines: A 360 Degree Reaction," focused on the EPA's proposed rules for carbon emissions. It will focus primarily on the June 2014 Clean Power Plan. This will be followed by a keynote speech by EPA Associate Assistant Administrator and Senior Counsel Joseph Goffman. The second panel, "Challenges Encountered Domestically & Internationally in Pursuit of Sustainable Energy Solutions," will focus on project development and energy access. Panels will include speakers from law firms, DC Government, federal government agencies, business, and non-governmental organizations. The symposium will conclude with a reception.

CLE Credit is available.

Check out the Flyer and Agenda!


Alumni Networking Happy Hour

Tuesday, November 4, 6-8pm
Mission DC, 1606 20th Street NW (North Dupont Circle Metro Exit)

Save the date for our annual alumni and student networking happy hour! Join WCL alumni, faculty, and current students practicing or interested in environment and energy law (and related fields) for a chance to meet, reconnect and have fun!


Yasuni: A Struggle for Conservation and Democracy

Thursday, October 30, 4:30-5:30pm
Room 101

The Yasuni National Park, located in the Ecuadorian Amazon, is known to be the "lungs of the world" and one of the most biodiverse places on earth. It is also home to Ecuador's last indigneous peoples living in voluntary isolation. Yasunidos is a non-partisan, civil society movement that organized itself to promote a referendum that would avoid oil exploitationin the Yasuni. Despite getting enough signatures for the referendum, the Ecuadorian election authorities invalidated many of them and refused to put the referendum on the ballot. Come to hear from members of the Yasunidos about their struggle for conservation and democracy in Ecuador and a recount of their advocacy efforts, which led them to be nominated for the Human Rights Tulip Award 2014.

Join Pablo Piedra Vivar (WCL ILSP '13), lawyer of the Yasunidos movement, and other members of Yasunidos.

See the flyer!

This event is hosted by the LL.M Board.



Job Search Strategies for Environmental and Energy Law

Tuesday, October 28, 12pm
Room 401

Join Melanija Radnovic, Erika Lennon, and Profs Hunter, Leiter, and Snape will provide (lunch and) a briefing on 2L/3L job search strategies for students interested in environmental or energy law. We will cover how to find alumni, how to use various job-search directories, how to target government, NGO, and international jobs, resume building, and the value of clerkships, and answer any additional questions that students raise.





Practicing Environmental Law: A Discussion with Earthjustice Attorney Neil Gormley

Tuesday, September 2 at 12:30pm
Sixth Floor Student Lounge

Join us for a brown-bag lunch discussion with Neil Gormley, an associate attorney at Earthjustice in Washington, DC. Earthjustice is a U.S. based NGO that uses law to protect people and the environment. Neil will discuss his and the organization's work and how you can use law to protect the environment. For more information, view the flyer!

The Belo Monte Case: Challenges and Opportunities for the Protection of Human Rights and the Environment in the Inter-American Human Rights System

Tuesday, June 10, 12:30-2pm
WCL, Room 603

This discussion is part of Human Rights Month, which is sponsored by the Academy on Human Rights & Humanitarian Law. It will center on the case surrounding the Belo Monte dam in Brazil.

Panelists include:

  • Breno Dias da Costa, Interim Representative of Brazil, Organization of American States (OAS), Washington DC (invited)
  • Marcos A. Orellana (LL.M '98, SJD '09), Senior Attorney and Director of the Human Rights and Environment Program, Center for International Environmental Law
  • Katya Salazar, Executive Director, Due Process of Law Foundation
  • Astrid Puentes, Co-Executive Director, Asociación Interamericana para la Defensa del Ambiente (AIDA) (Inter-American Association for Environmental Defense)
  • Moderator: David Hunter, Professor and Director of the Program on International & Comparative Environmental Law and the International Legal Studies Program

For more information click HERE. To register:

Human Rights Webinar: Focus on a Right to a Healthy Environment

Tuesday, May 6, 12:30-1:30pm EDT

The Local Human Rights Lawyering Project holds regular webinars to introduce legal aid attorneys to the Human Rights in the U.S. Handbook for Legal Aid Attorneys. This webinar will focus on a new section of the Handbook that covers the right to a healthy environment. Local Human Rights Lawyering Project Director Lauren Bartlett and Program on International and Comparative Environmental Law coordinator Erika Lennon will present background on the development of the right to a healthy environment since the early 1970s and walk through the handbook section. Additionally, the webinar will discuss how to incorporate the right to a healthy environment into a case. The new section of the Handbook will be available shorty before the webinar on our website.

To view the webinar, please click HERE.


Humans and the Extinction Crisis: Population, Sustainability, and 21st Century Solutions

Wednesday, March 26, 12-1:00pm
Room 402

Co-sponsored by the Sustainable Development Law and Policy publication and the Law Students for Reproductive Justice, this discussion will feature experts from the Center for Biological Diversity's Population and Sustainability Program. With more than 7 billion people on the planet, human population growth, along with reckless overconsumption, is at the root of our most pressing environmental issues. Yet the topic of population, how to slow growth and how to live more sustainably is often left out of conversations among environmental groups, activists and the media. The Center for Biological Diversity has been working to address the connection between rampant human population growth and the extinction crisis since 2009. Through innovative campaigns -- like the award-winning Endangered Species Condoms project -- and a focus on common-sense solutions that benefit women, families, wildlife and the planet, the Center has successfully reached beyond the stigma and awkwardness to bring population and sustainability back into the conversation.

Panelists include:

  • Stephanie Feldstein, Population and Sustainability Director, Center for Biological Diversity
  • Taralynn Reynolds, Population and Sustainability Coordinator, Center for Biological Diversity

View the Flyer!

Environmental and Energy Law Networking Event

Monday, March 24

Email Erika Lennon,, for details.


Looking Ahead to the International Climate Change Negotiations: A Discussion with Germán Vera

Thursday, March 5, 12-1:30pm
International Student Lounge (Sixth Floor)

In December 2014, Peru will host the Twentieth Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP20) and the Tenth Meeting of the Parties of the Kyoto Protocol (CMP10). Germán Vera, a longtime diplomat and current Director of Environmental Policy in the Latin American Institute of International Law and International Relations, a Lima-based think tank, will be advising the Commission of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Peru for COP20. Join us for a discussion with him about these upcoming negotiations and his related new book Climate Change in International Law: A Vision for Citizens and Business in Peru and Latin America. Germán Vera will be joined in this discussion by Professor David Hunter who will serve as a commentator. This event is being co-sponsored by the American University Washington College of Law's Program on International and Comparative Environmental Law, International Legal Studies Program, and Program on International Organizations, Law, and Diplomacy; and the Organization of American States Department of Sustainable Development.

Register for the Event! Download the Flyer!


Pillage: Exploring the Links between Armed Conflict and Natural Resource Exploitation

Thursday, February 20, 3-5pm
Room 600

Miss the event? Watch the WEBCAST!

This exciting discussion will center on the law of pillage in international humanitarian law and how it relates to the exploitation of natural resources in conflict-affected countries. Does the illegal exploitation of natural resources fuel anperpetuate conflicts? What are the relevant U.S. policies? Can international criminal law ans voluntary initiatives prevent and mitigate damages? Join four expert panelists from leading organizations for an exploration of teh law of pillage in international humanitarian law as it relates to the exploitation of natural resources in conflict-affected states. The hour-long panel (3-4pm) will be followed by a reception.

Panelists Include:

  • Carl Bruch, Environmental Law Institute
  • Ilona Coyle, Environmental Law Institute
  • Holly Dranginis , The Enough Project
  • Corinna Gilfillan , Global Witness
  • Moderator: David Hunter, American University Washington College of Law

View the flyer!

The State of the Environment in the Chesapeake Bay

Tuesday, February 4, 12-4pm
Room 603

In 2010, the EPA embarked on an aggressive cleanup effort aimed at limiting the amount of nutrient pollution that flows intothe Chesapeake Bay. The farming industry challenged the EPA's authority under the Clean Water Act torequire "pollution diets" in addition to procedural challenges. Panelists will comment on the litigation, the EPA's expanding role in managing watershed and pollution diets, and the implications of a positive ruling on the implementation of similar plans in the Mississippi Delta. Specifically, panelists will focus on the recent ruling in American Farm Bureau v. EPA (decided in September 2013) and its implications for the future of pollution limits under the Clean Water Act. Lunch will be Provided. CLE available.

11:45am: Registration & Lunch
12:10pm: Welcome from Elizabeth Lewis ('15)
12:15pm: Introductory Remarks from Professor Amanda Leiter
12:20pm: Keynote Address from Ridgeway Hall
12:50pm: Panelists' Presentations and Discussion
2:30pm: Questions and Answer Session with Panelists
3:00pm: Closing Remarks
3:10pm: Networking Coffee Hour

See photos from the event on our Facebook page.


A Discussion with Gaoxiang Pan, Asia Environmental Counsel for GE

Tuesday, November 19, 12:00pm-1:20pm
WCL Room 402

Gaoxiang Pan is Asia Environmental Counsel for General Electric Corporate Environmental Programs. In this role, Mr. Pan advises GE’s business operations on regulatory initiatives and environmental compliance obligations in more than a dozen jurisdictions. Mr. Pan will give an overview of Chinese environmental law and policy and describe the challenges that face American industrial companies that produce products in China. He will also talk about the changes to his practice over the last several years, and about the opportunities available to young lawyers in the region. See the flyer!

Climate Power Play: Financial, Legislative, and Regulatory Moves Toward a New Energy Economy

Monday, November 18, 1:00pm-6:15pm (reception to follow)
McDermott, Will & Emery (500 N. Capitol Street NW)

Check out the Two Episodes of "The Hot Air Show: Carbon Policies, Politics & Markets" recorded at this event!

The American University Law Review’s Volume 63 Symposium brings together some of the top minds in the energy and climate change arena for a discussion on clean energy finance and policy, legislative efforts on climate, President Obama’s Climate Action Plan, and the Supreme Court’s decision to review EPA’s authority to regulate greenhouse gases from stationary sources. The keynote speakers will be Carol M. Browner, who recently served as Director of the White House Office of Energy and Climate Change Policy and was the Administrator of the EPA during the Clinton Administration, and The Honorable Sheldon Whitehouse,
United States Senator from Rhode Island. Other distinguished participants include Reed Hundt, former FCC Chairman and current CEO of the Coalition for Green Capital; Phyllis Cuttino, Director of the Clean Energy Program at Pew Charitable Trusts; Michael Gerrard, Director of the Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia Law School; David Doniger, Chief Climate Change Attorney at NRDC; Jacob Hollinger, Partner at McDermott Will & Emery and former Acting Air Branch Chief for the EPA Region 2 Law Department; and Stephen Fotis, Partner at Van Ness Feldman.

See the Agenda!

The Arctic: Major Opportunities - Major Responsibilities

Thursday, November 14, 4:00-5:30pm (reception to follow)
WCL Sixth Floor Student Lounges

This is a Distinguished Speaker Series Event with His Excellency Borge Brende, Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs. He will discuss current opportunities and challeges of activity in the Arctic. Event presented by the Program on International Organizations, Law & Diplomacy and the International Legal Studies Program. See the flyer.

Putting People First: Regulating Big Industry to Promote Environmental Health - SDLP's Annual Symposium

Wednesday, November 6, 9:00am-3:00pm
WCL Room 603

The Sustainable Development Law & Policy publication (SDLP) will host its annual symposium, "Putting People First: Regulating Big Industry to Promote Environmental Health, which will focus on environmental health regulations related to Big Energy (fracking), Big Food, and Big Chemicals. The symposium will feature three panels and a keynote speaker.

9:00-9:20am - Registration & Breakfast
9:20-9:30am - Welcome from Veronica Kennedy, Editor-in-Chief, Sustainable Development Law & Policy Publication
9:30-10:30am - Panel 1: Big Energy: Costs and Benefits of Hydraulic Fracturing (Fracking) (Moderator: Professor Amanda Leiter)
10:45-11:45am - Panel 2: Big Food: Genetically Modified Organisms in Agriculture (Moderator: Professor Erika Lennon)
12:00-1:30pm - Lunch & Keynote Address by Rodger Schlickeisen (wildlife conservation)
1:45-2:45pm - Panel 3: Big Chemicals: A Comparison of International and National Regulation (Moderator: Professor Bill Snape)
2:45-3:00pm - Closing Remarks
3:00-4:00pm - Reception (student lounges behind the cafeteria)

Environmental Peacebuilding on the Jordan River - Webcast Now Available!

Tuesday, October 1, 11:30a.m.-1:00p.m.,
WCL, Sixth Floor Student Lounges

On Tuesday, October 1, the three co-directors of Ecopeace/Friends of the Earth-Middle East (FOEME) Gidon Bromberg (WCL ‘94), Nader al-Khateeb, and Munqeth Mehyar, will discuss their work along the Jordan River! Few bodies of water in the world are as revered, as fought over, or as polluted as the lower Jordan River, whose vital waters have such rich symbolic value and importance to the world's   three major Abrahamic religions.   Yet this river of historic conflict has become a symbol of peaceful cooperation, largely through the efforts of FOEME, a unique, award-winning, tri-national organization that unites people of the region around one very simple idea: the peaceful stewardship of the Earth.

This event is being co-sponsored by the American University Washington College of Law Program on International & Comparative Environmental Law, the Global Environmental Politics Program, the Kay Spiritual Life Center, Middle East Studies@AU, the Center for Israel Studies, and the Center for Human Rights and Humanitarian Law!

See the Flyer! Watch the WEBCAST!

Human Rights Implications of the Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum Decision

Please join us on Tuesday, April 23, 2013 from 12-1pm ET for an online briefing to examine the implications of the Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum U.S. Supreme Court decision and how it may impact future human rights cases.


Speakers include:

  • Paul Hoffman, Lead Counsel for the Plaintiffs
  • Katie Redford, Co-Founder and U.S. Office Director of EarthRights International; Adjunct Professor at American University Washington College of Law
  • Prof. Diane Orentlicher, American University Washington College of Law
  • Moderator, Hadar Harris, Executive Director of the Center for Human Rights and Humanitarian Law at American University Washington College of Law

This event is co-sponsored by the Center for Human Rights & Humanitarian Law and the Program on International & Comparative Environmental Law at American University Washington College of Law, and the Columbia Law School Human Rights Institute.

April is Earth Month at American University

Earth Month 2013 is the continuation of a tradition that brings the AU community together with a full schedule of events to celebrate our commitment to the principles of Earth Day. This year's events have been given the overarching theme "An Active Pursuit of Sustainability"- a testament to the hard work undertaken by AU students, faculty, staff, and alumni to make our campus and our communities better places every month of the year. CHECK OUT THE EVENTS HERE.

Earth Day at WCL is Car-Free Day
Monday, April 22

On April 22, the Environmental Law Society is celebrating Earth Day 2013 with our second Car-Free Day! We are urging students and faculty to take a step towards reducing their carbon footprints by changing their transportation routine. For just one day, try an alternative means of transportation: if you drive a car to school, take public transportation; if you take the bus or metro, try to ride your bike instead. Look for ELS tabling in the lobby on April 22! We will have a treat for students and faculty who bring a picture/video which shows their car-free commute to WCL, or other proof!

Global Perspectives on Environmental Justice - UPDATED

Wednesday, March 27 from 9am-4pm
Room 603

The Sustainable Development Law & Policy publication's annual Symposium will explore the ways in which environmental risks and benefits are distributed across social, cultural, economic, and racial/ethnic boundaries. Speakers will address both domestic and international environmental issues. Here is a tentative schedule for the day:

9-10am: Breakfast, Introductory Remarks, and History of the Environmental Justice Movement
Moderators: Bethany Peak & Mark Borak (Editors-in-Chief, Sustainable Development Law & Policy publication); Discussion of the History of Environmental Justice by Mike Ewall.
10-11:45am: Food and Environmental Justice: This panel will explore access to good food and food deserts, as well as efforts at sustainable and urban farming. We'd also like to have a look at the impact of current subsidies in the context of current understandings of healthy food and sustainable growing. Panelists include: Professor Bill Eubanks (Moderator; Partner, Meyer, Glitzenstein & Crystal), Helen Dombalis (Policy and Strategic Partnerships Director, National Farm to School Network), Elise Golan (Sustainable Development Program Director, Office of the Chief Economist, US Department of Agriculture), and Sophie Milam (Nutrition Assistance and Budget Policy Program Director, Feeding America)
12-12:45pm: Lunch and Keynote Address on Climate Change and Environmental Justice
Introductory remarks by Professor Bill Snape (Senior Counsel, Center for Biological Diversity) and the keynote will feature Professor Alice Kaswan (Associate Professor, University of San Francisco): "Seven Principles for Equitable Climate Adaptation"
1-2pm: SDLP Environmental Justice Issue Authors' Panel
Panelists include: Bethany Peak and Mark Borak (Moderators; Editors-in-Chief, Sustainable Development Law & Policy publication, American University Washington College of Law), Mike Ewall (Founder and Director, Energy Justice Network), Elana Katz-Mink (JD Student, American University Washington College of Law), Hdeel Abdelhady (Professorial Lecturer in Law, GWU Law), Tendai Zvobgo (ILSP LL.M, class of 2013, American University Washington College of Law
2:15-3:45pm: Land Rights and Environmental Justice: This panel will explore environmental justice issues surrounding indigenous populations and land. The panel will look at both the problem of corporations infringing on indigenous lands and resources, and at conservation efforts that displace indigenous people. Panelists will discuss domestic and international land rights issues, providing a broad look at the various types of disputes between governments, corporations, indigenous peoples, and lingering effects of colonialism. Panelists include: Professor Ezra Rosser (Moderator; Professor, American University Washington College of Law), Marissa Vahlsing (Staff Attorney, Earthrights International), Derrick Beetso (Staff Attorney, National Congress of American Indians), Gretchen Gordon (Staff Attorney, Indian Law Resource Center), Karla General (Staff Attorney, Indian Law Resource Center). James Grijalva (Swenson Professor of Law, University of North Dakota School of Law), Danny Gogal (Tribal Program Manager, Office of Environmental Justice, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency)
3:45-4:00pm: Closing Remarks by Professor Ezra Rosser
4-5pm: Reception

This event is co-sponsored by the Sustainable Development Law & Policy publication and the Program on International & Comparative Environmental Law. Listen to the Keynote Address as Episode 12 of the Hot Air Show Podcast.

Forward on Climate Rally - WCL Contingent (pictures coming soon)

Sunday, February 17 at Noon
National Mall

The Sierra Club,, and the Hip-Hop Caucus are organizing "Forward on Climate," which aims to be the largest climate rally in history. These organizations and thousands of people will come together to tell President Obama that it's time to lead in the fight against climate change and that should start with rejecting the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. The WCL Environmental Law Society will be joining this rally, as will WCL professors. For more information and to sign-up to join your fellow WCL students, email Chelsea Tu or Maggie Coulter. Following the rally, the WCL contingent will be having a happy hour with details to come. You can also read more information about the rally.

The State of the Environment in Our Nation's Capital: Sustainability Issues and Initiatives in Washington, DC

February 14, 2013 from 12pm-3pm
Room 603

See a recap of the Discussion on our Recent News page and view Photos from the event!

This luncheon program focuses on sustainability issues currently facing Washington, D.C., and sustainability initiatives aimed at "greening" the city, including the recently passed Sustainable DC Act of 2012.

Featuring a Keynote Address by:
DC Councilwoman Mary Cheh
, Chair of the Committee on the Environment, Transportation, and Public Works

Panelists include:
Brendan Shane,
Chief of Staff, Office of Policy and Sustainability, DC Department of the Environment
Gary Belan, Director of Clean Water Programs, American Rivers
Chris O'Brien, Director, American University Office of Sustainability
Chris Weiss, Executive Director, DC Environment Network

Register for the event! Lunch is included

This event is being co-sponsored by the Environmental Law Society and is part of the WCL Founder's Day Events Program.

North American Regional of the Stetson International Environmental Moot Court Competition

February 8-10, 2013

We are happy to be hosting the North American Regional of the Stetson International Environmental Law Moot Court Competition, which will be co-sponsored by the ABA Section on Environment, Energy and Resources. The competition will take place over multiple days and be in multiple locations at WCL. More information about the details can be found here.

See a recap of the Competition on our Recent News page and view Photos from the weekend.

Environmental Externship and Environmental Course Selection Panel(s)

Wednesday, November 7
3:00-4:00 p.m.
Room 100

Please join the Environmental Law Program for an externship and course selection discussion! During this discussion, WCL environmental law professors will discuss the environmental law courses and other related courses being offered next semester, and class scheduling for next semester. We will also discuss the environmental law externship program and how you can earn academic credit while working in an environmental NGO or government agency. Additionally, we will offer advice on courses and answer any questions you have.

We look forward to seeing you there! There will be snacks!

Environmental Event During ILSP's 30th Anniversary Celebration

October 10-12, 2012

This year, the International Legal Studies Program (ILSP) is celebrating it's Thirtieth Anniversary! In celebration, ILSP is putting together a series of panels and roundtable discussions, including one related to international environmental law:

  • October 11 from 4:30-5:45pm: Trends in International Environmental Law featuring alumni including Gidon Bromberg (LL.M. 1995), Claudia de Windt (LL.M. 2001), Paul Hagen (JD, 1990), and Marcos Orellana (SJD 2009) and moderated by Durwood Zaelke.

More information is available on ILSP's 30th Anniversary website.

Corporate Liability for Human Rights Violations Outside the U.S.: A Day-After Assessment of the Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum Reargument

Tuesday, October 2 from 12-1:20 p.m.
Room 101

Update: the CSPAN video and coverage! Read a recap!

On October 1, the Supreme Court will hold a rare rehearing of Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum. The Kiobel case now seems to portend the future of the Alien Tort Statute, which has been used to hold human rights violators accountable in US courts for wrongs committed around the world. Please join us for a day-after assessment of the Supreme Court argument at the intersection of human rights, environmental justice, and extraterritoriality, with a diversity of speakers:

Paul Hoffman, Lead Counsel for the Plaintiffs
Katie Redford, Co-Founder and U.S. Office Director, EarthRights International
John B. Bellinger, III, Partner at Arnold & Porter, and Former Legal Advisor to the U.S. Department of State
Andrew Grossman, Litigator at BakerHostetler and Legal Fellow at the Heritage Foundation

Moderator: Professor Stephen Vladeck, WCL Constitutional Law Scholar

Register to attend this exciting discussion! CLE is available. If you have any questions about registering or watching the webcast, etc., please email Erika Lennon.

If you can't attend in person, you can still join us via a live webcast. Watch the live webcast at!

Interested in reporting on the discussion? Please see the Media Advisory.

International Aviation Law Conference: The Future of International Aviation: Conflict or Cooperation?

Monday, September 17, 2012 from 12:00-5:00pm (reception to follow)
Room 603

The ILSP LL.M Board is hosting an exciting conference on International Aviation Law. In recent months, international aviation has found itself at the center of conflict.  The extension of the EU emissions trading system to foreign airlines sparked an international dispute. In the U.S., the reauthorization of the Ex-Im Bank witnessed a split between the aviation and manufacturing industries—but ultimately led to bipartisan cooperation.  These issues affect the international aviation industry and intersect with other important interests outside the field.  Using the EU ETS and the Ex-Im Bank cases as points of departure, this conference will examine whether the future of international aviation leads to conflict or cooperation.

The program will start with a career panel for WCL students. At 1:30pm, there will be opening remarks. Then the first panel will focus on the EU Emissions Trading System and the role of aviation. Then it will be followed by a panel on Ex-Im Bank loan guarantees.

See the Program Flyer and Register Here!

The Hot Air Show Podcast Recording

Friday, September 14, 2012

The tenth episode to date will discuss and debate the state of U.S. energy and greenhouse gas politics heading into the 2012 Elections. There have been several significant Clean Air Act judicial decisions over the past few months, and both major candidates have mentioned clean energy and climate change as part of their overall approach to government. What U.S. energy and climate policies are most at stake in the elections? Join our Hot Air experts in blowing some steam on these important subjects! The podcast will feature Chris Berendt as host and panelists Kevin Book, Toby Short, Tyson Slocum, and Bill Snape.

The podcast is available to download. Click hear to listen to Episode 10.

The Road to Rio+20 and Beyond

Tuesday, April 10, 2012 from 1:30 to 5:30 p.m. (reception to follow)
Room 603

WCL along with the Center for International Environmental Law, the International Environmental Law Committee of the ABA’s Section on International Law, the International Environmental Law Committee of the ABA’s Section on Energy, Environment, and Resources, and the ASIL International Environmental Law Interest Group are hosting a conference entitled the “Road to Rio+20 and Beyond” on Tuesday, April 10 from 1:30 until 5:30, followed by a reception. In anticipation of the "Rio+20" UN Conference on Sustainable Development which will be held in Rio De Janeiro in June 2012, this conference reviews progress in international law on the environment and sustainable development since the 1992 Earth Summit, and prospects for the future.

The conference will consist of two panels. The first panel will focus on taking stock of where we have come since 1992, and the second panel will focus on what’s next. Both panels will have expert speakers addressing various topics to give a broad view of the issues related to Rio+20 and international environmental law. The panels will also have plenty of time for question and answer.

Confirmed speakers include senior experts from the United Nations Environment Programme, the World Bank, the Organization of American States, the Center for International Environmental Law, and Natural Resources Defense Council.

Admission is free but registration is required. CLE credit and materials will be available for a fee. Email Erika Lennon if you have any questions.


Missed the event? Watch the webcast!

On the Brink: Environmental Conflicts Along the Path Toward Sustainable Development
SDLP Symposium

Monday, March 19, 2012 from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Room 603

The Sustainable Development Law & Policy publication's annual symposium this year will focus on the conflicts surrounding the use and development of various natural resources around the world. The panels will examine challenges and opportunities in the development of alternative energy resources; development of public lands and natural resources; and international resources conflicts. Panelists representing perspectives from the private, non-profit, and government sectors will discuss how the use of legal and policy mechanisms can be used to mitigate and prevent these impacts.

Watch the Webcast!

Celebration of Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum
February 28, 2012

On Tuesday, February 28, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum(Shell), a case which will decide whether corporations can be sued in US courts for human rights abuses (and potentially, in the future, environmental ones) under the Alien Tort Statute (ATS). This is a very important decision. The vast majority of corporate accountability for human rights cases in the US have been brought under the ATS, and the Court’s decision could reshape the future or corporate accountability forever.

WCL is joining Earthrights International and Harvard Law School’s Human Rights Clinic to host a celebration to honor the successful oral arguments of Supreme Court lead counsel Paul Hoffman and everyone involved in Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum (Shell)! The celebration will take place on Tuesday, February 28 from 6-8pm. Space is limited. If you have questions about attending, please email.

Fertile Ground: Exploring the Intersection Between the Reproductive and Environmental Justice Movements

Thursday, February 23, 2012 from 12:00-2:00pm
JD Student Lounge

Women and communities living in economically disadvantaged areas, disproportionately suffer exposure to harmful chemicals from environmental hazards which pose serious consequences for their reproductive health. Both the reproductive justice and environmental justice movements focus on improving socioeconomic and environmental conditions for communities living in poverty. Despite their similarities, these movements have historically operated on parallel tracks, often working in isolation. Join us for a discussion with environmental experts and reproductive health practitioners who will explore the intersection of these two movements and consider strategies for future collaboration. Panelists include: Kimberly Inez McGuire (Policy Analyst, National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health); Jill C. Morrison (Senior Counsel, National Women's Law Center); Michele Roberts (Campaign & Policy Coordinator, Advocates for Environmental Human Rights); and Vernice Miller-Travis (Vice-Chair, Maryland State Commission on Environmental Justice and Sustainable Communities). Daniela Kraiem, Associate Director of the Women and the Law Program, will moderate the panel. See the agenda. Click to Register for the Conference!

Watch the Podcast!

Atlantic Regional Stetson International Environmental Law Moot Court Competition

February 4-5, 2012

Nine teams representing law schools from the United States, the Bahamas, and Trinidad & Tobago. will come to WCL to compete for a chance to go to the International Finals in March 2012. Judges who are experts in environmental law and/or alumni of WCL and its environmental law program will evaluate the teams. More information is available here.

Welcome Reception for Atlantic Regional

February 3, 2012
5:30-7:00 pm
6th Floor Student Lounges

The Program on International and Comparative Environmental Law and the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) are co-hosting a Welcome Reception for participants in the Atlantic Regional of the Stetson International Environmental Moot Court Competition, WCL environmental law alumni, and environmental lawyers and advocates.

See invitation.

The Hot Air Show: Clean Air Act and Climate Change at EPA

August 25, 2011
4:30-5:30 pm
Room 524

Episode 7 of The Hot Air Show, a podcast co-produced by WCL's Program on International and Comparative Environmental Law and the ABA's Energy and Environmental Markets and Finance Committee is being taped before a live audience on Thursday, August 25, 2011. Episode 7 will focus on the Clean Air Act and the regulatory actions the EPA is taking to address climate change and will feature Gina McCarthy, the Assistant Administrator of the Office of Air and Radiation at the US Environmental Protection Agency. Other panelists include Christopher Berendt, the host of the show (Of Counsel, Drinker, Biddle & Reath), Bill Snape (Practitioner in Residence at WCL and Senior Counsel at the Center for Biological Diversity), and Peter Glaser (Partner, Troutman Sanders LL.P). For more information about this episode and the topics being discussed, click here. If you have questions about attending the taping of The Hot Air Show with Gina McCarthy, please contact Erika Lennon.

To see information about The Hot Air Show and to subscribe to the podcast, please visit our website.

Challenges of International Accountability: Lessons from Independent Accountability Mechanisms

June 24, 2011
8:30am-4:30pm (reception to follow)

Organized in conjunction with the World Bank Inspection Panel, this exciting full-day conference features discussions of the effectiveness and credibility of Independent Accountability Mechanisms, Sovereignty and Accountability, and Accountability and the Private Sector. The conference opens with an IAM Marketplace that allows participants to pick up literature about the mechanisms and allows the mechanisms to display information about what they do. The Conference is followed by a reception with the Environmental Law Summer Session Trade and Environment Seminar. See the agenda.

A webcast of the Conference is available by panel discussion. Click on the links below to watch the video.
Welcome Remarks and Comparative Presentation
IAM's Effectiveness and Credibility
Soverignty and Accountability
Accountability and the Private Sector

The Second Annual CIEL-WCL International Environmental Law Conference
March 21, 2011
1:00-5:30 pm (Reception to follow) - this event was rescheduled from January

This half-day conference will feature discussions on international environmental governance, in addition to analyzing recent developments in international environmental law.  The discussion of developments in international environmental will focus on multilateral environmental agreements including the Convention on Biological Diversity, UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, International Whaling Commission, CITES, the Montreal Protocol, and the ongoing mercury negotiations.  This event is co-sponsored by the Center for International Environmental Law, AU WCL Program on International and Comparative Environmental Law, and the Sustainable Development Law and Policy Publication.

The updated Conference Agenda is available. To register for the event, please click here.

Save the Date!

Center for Progressive Reform - Annual Meeting of Member Scholars
Thursday, May 13, 2010
Room 603

The Program on International and Comparative Environmental Law (PICEL) hosted the Annual Meeting of Member Scholars of the Center for Progressive Reform (CPR), a non-profit organization comprised primarily of law professors working to protect health, safety, and the environment.  WCL Professor David Hunter is one of approximately 40 CPR Member Scholars who attended the meeting to strategize about responding to today’s most pressing environmental and regulatory issues.  The meeting included discussion with David Michaels, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health, and David Vladeck, the Director of the Bureau of Consumer Protection at the Federal Trade Commission.  After the meeting, PICEL hosted a reception with informal remarks from two other top officials from the Obama Administration: Lisa Heinzerling (Associate Administrator, EPA Office of Policy, Economics, and Innovation) and Chris Schroeder (Assistant Attorney General, Department of Justice, Office of Legal Policy).

Inaugural Annual CIEL-WCL Conference on Developments in International Environmental Law
Monday, November 16
1pm-6:30 pm (reception included)
Room 603

The Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) and the WCL Program on International Environmental Law (PICEL) are hosting the First Annual CIEL-WCL Conference on Developments in International Environmental Law in conjunction with the IUCN Commission on Environmental Law. This exciting conference will discuss a variety of topics in the international environmental field. The conference, which is part of the joint research partnership between CIEL and WCL, will have opening remarks by David Hunter, Fred Anderson, and Durwood Zaelke, followed by two panels: "Current Issues in International Environmental Law" and "Prospects for Copenhagen: A Roundtable Discussion." The first panel will touch on issues related to oceans, human rights, soils and desertification, biosphere ethics, the Arctic, and chemicals. The second panel will be a discussion among international environmental law experts about the prospects for a new climate change agreement at the upcoming negotiations in Copenhagen and post-Copenhagen. The panels are comprised of experts in international environmental law, including those serving as Chairs of the Specialist Groups of the IUCN Commission on Environmental Law. A reception will immediately follow the panel discussions. Please see the agenda for the CIEL-WCL Conference on Developments in International Environmental Law by clicking here.

For more information about the conference, please email Erika Lennon.

If you cannot attend the conference in person, you can watch the webcast of it here. The video will be posted a few days after the event.

Meeting of the Chairs of the Specialist Groups of the IUCN Commission on Environmental Law
November 17-18

WCL is hosting a two-day meeting of the Chairpersons of the Specialist Groups of the IUCN Commission on Environmental Law. The IUCN Commission on Environmental law is the largest and oldest global network of environmental law experts. The Commission works to advance the progressive development environmental law and to build the capacity to use environmental law to promote conservation and sustainable development. The Specialist Groups are committees devoted to certain aspects of environmental law including Armed Conflict and the Environment; Energy Law and Climate Change; Enforcement and Compliance; Ethics; Human Rights; Indigenous Peoples; Judiciary; Oceans, Coastal and Coral Reefs; Sustainable Use of Soil; Trade and Environment; and Water and Wetlands; and there are two task forces on the Arctic Regime and Protected Areas. The Specialist Group chairpersons are coming to WCL from around the world to participate in their planning meeting as well as the CIEL-WCL Conference on Developments in International Environmental Law held Monday, November 16. WCL Professor David Hunter is on the Steering Committee of the Commission.

For more information about the IUCN Commission on Environmental Law please visit its website here.

The Law of the Sea: the Role of the International Tribunal in Solving Problems Related to Piracy and Terrorism at Sea
Judge Helmut Türk
Monday, October 26 from 12-1:30pm
Room 402

Piracy and Terrorism are huge threats that cannot be dealt with by one country alone. Want to learn about the role of the International Tribunal in addressing these problems? Come hear Judge Dr. Helmet Türk, who was also the Austrian Ambassador to the United States, speak about these issues and the law of the sea.

Judge Helmut Türk is the Vice President of the International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea, which is the independent judicial body established by the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea to adjudicate disputes arising out of application and interpretation.  Dr. Türk, who also was the Austrian Ambassador to the United States, will be discussing the Law of the Sea and the role of the International Tribunal in addressing problems related to Piracy and Terrorism at Sea.  Piracy and Terrorism are two of the major international threats facing countries today.  The Law of the Sea Convention governs activity on the world's oceans, and thus is a mechanism by which to combat piracy and terrorism that occurs outside of a single country's jurisdiction. The International Tribunal could provide a forum in which to adjudicate these cases and ensure justice.  As a judge on the International Tribunal, Dr. Türk will be able to offer an interesting and informed view of these problems.  Marcos Orellana, adjunct professor and Senior Attorney at the Center for International Environmental Law, will moderate. The event will take place at Noon in room 402 and lunch will be provided.  If you have any questions, please email Erika Lennon,  

About Judge Dr. Helmut Türk
He is currently Vice President of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea. A member of the Tribunal since 2005, Judge Türk was elected Vice President in 2008 for a three-year term. Prior to becoming a judge with the Tribunal, Dr. Türk held a variety of positions including being a member of the Austrian National Security Council, an Ambassador, Deputy Secretary-General for Foreign Affairs, Director-General in the Office of the Austrian Federal President, and as a legal advisor, amongst other things. From 1993 to 1999 Dr. Türk was the Austrian Ambassador to the United States. Dr. Türk was educated at the University of Vienna and the College of Europe in Bruges. For more information about the work of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, visit its website here.

For more information about the event, click here.

"Discovering Buried Treasure: International Law for Transboundary Ground Water Resources"
Professor Gabriel Eckstein
Tuesday, October 20 at Noon
Room 503

Today, nearly one half of humanity relies on ground water for their daily freshwater needs. Until recently, though, transboundary ground water resources were the neglected stepchild of international water law. In 2008, after years of debate and formulation, the UN International Law Commission submitted to the UN General Assembly 19 draft articles on the law of the transboundary aquifers. While the draft articles are now undergoing scrutiny by the UN Member States, they mark a significant milestone in the development of international law. Professor Eckstein will discuss the development of the draft articles as well as his experience in this singular process.

About Professor Eckstein
Professor Gabriel Eckstein, WCL JD '95 and LL.M. '97, serves as an advisor to UNESCO and the UNILC in the development of the draft articles. He currently holds the George W. McCleskey Chair in Water Law at Texas Tech University and is director of the International Water Law Project (