Lecturer on Law and
Senior Clinical Instructor
Emmett Environmental Law and Policy Clinic
I have been working with the clinic since the summer of 2008. It’s hard to believe that it has already been close to six years.
In terms of substantive environmental issues, I am particularly interested in the regulation of shale gas and shale oil extraction as well as the promotion of renewable energy. From a procedural perspective, I am interested in citizen enforcement of environmental laws and the doctrines that govern access to the courts. I also have an interest in environmental history.
In the clinic, we have done a number of projects over the last few years in connection with shale gas and shale oil extraction. I mention an ongoing project below. Previous projects have included an investigation of the authority of municipalities to regulate, limit, or ban oil and gas extraction within their borders and the preparation of a guide for landowners who are negotiating with oil and gas company that wants a lease to drill on their land. As for renewable energy, we have been litigating for several years over the ability of renewable energy contractors to contract for, supervise, and perform the non-electrical portions of solar photovoltaic (PV) installations in Massachusetts. Last year, we also wrote a white paper suggesting ways to eliminate the current uncertainty over the scope of the property tax exemption for solar PV projects in the Commonwealth.
I have also worked with students on a number of amicus briefs over the last couple of years, including ones in cases involving the regulation water pollution from active logging roads under the Clean Water Act, the deregulation of Roundup-Ready Alfalfa by the Department of Agriculture, and the regulation of hazardous air pollution from power plants under the Clean Air Act. Most recently, we filed an amicus brief in the winter term on behalf of Calpine Corporation in the U.S. Supreme Court greenhouse gas permitting case, UARG v. EPA.
We are finishing up a paper with recommendations for ways that state agencies can improve their processes for responding to complaints about water contamination associated with oil and gas development. In another project, we are attempting to identify best practices for state and federal programs that promote conservation easements, either through providing tax breaks or through direct monetary grants. In a third project, we are examining the legal authority to create microgrids under Massachusetts public utility law.
Outside of work, I like to run, hike, read, go to movies and concerts, and hang out with my family.