Students in the Environmental Law Clinic have the opportunity to work on many different kinds of cases. Our students have recently authored or co-authored briefs, letters, and other documents in cases aimed at:
- Protecting California counties from fracking and new oil and gas development
- Cleaning up agricultural runoff in central California
- Defending Endangered Species Act protections for the bi-state sage grouse
- Encouraging responsible renewable energy development on public lands
- Challenging environmentally harmful large-scale desalination
- Defending the California coast from unsustainable coastal development
- Saving the Medicine Lake Highlands
Protecting California counties from fracking and new oil and gas development
Our students are taking on major oil companies to defend a voter initiative that restricts oil and gas operations in Monterey County, CA.
Cleaning up agricultural pollution in central California
Our students represent Monterey Coastkeeper in its efforts to get state and regional agencies to more effectively regulate polluted agricultural runoff in central California.
- Monterey Coastkeeper v. Monterey County Water Resources Agency:
- Monterey Coaskteeper v. State Water Board (Case I):
- Monterey Coaskteeper v. State Water Board (Case II):
- Writ Petition (Aug. 3, 2017)
Defending Endangered Species Act protections for the bi-state sage grouse
Our students challenged the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s failure to list the Bi-State Sage-Grouse as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.
- Summary judgment reply brief (Dec. 15, 2017)
- Motion for summary judgment (Aug. 18, 2017)
- Complaint (March 9, 2016)
Encouraging responsible renewable energy development
Our students represent the National Parks Conservation Association in its efforts to promote responsible renewable energy development on federal public lands, including by authoring comments on large-scale solar and wind projects proposed for the Silurian Valley in California’s Mojave Desert and weighing in on the CEQA requirements for the Soda Mountain Solar Project.
- Memorandum on CEQA requirements for the Soda Mountain Solar Project (Aug. 1, 2016)
- Comments on Draft Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (Feb. 23, 2015)
- BLM denies approval for proposed Silurian Valley solar project (Nov. 20, 2014)
- NPCA comments on proposed Silurian Valley solar and wind projects (Sept. 9, 2014)
Challenging environmentally harmful large-scale desalination
ELC is currently fighting a large-scale commercial desalination project in Huntington Beach due to concerns about coastal resources and other environmental impacts.
- Writ Petition (Nov. 17, 2017)
Defending the California coast from unsustainable coastal development
Representing Surfrider Foundation, the Clinic joined the City of Solana Beach to defend City policies that encourage public access and restrict the use of seawalls and bluff retention devices due to the significant long-term impacts seawalls have on coastal infrastructure, property, sensitive ecosystems, and public trust resources.
- Ruling (Dec. 6, 2016)
- Superior Court Opposition Brief (Sep. 27, 2016)
Saving the Medicine Lake Highlands
Our students represent the Pit River Tribe and local environmental organizations in their efforts to challenge potential large-scale energy development of a sacred Native American site in northeastern California.
- District Court summary judgment reply brief (March 17, 2016)
- District Cout summary judgment opening brief (February 10, 2016)
- Ninth Circuit oral argument (March 12, 2015)
- Ninth Circuit reply brief (May 19, 2014)
- Ninth Circuit opening brief (Feb. 3, 2014)
Past work also includes:
- Shepherding coastal wetlands into state conservation from private ownership
- Preserving the historic Presidio in San Francisco
- Enforcing California’s Environmental Quality Act
- Defending and improving California’s climate change laws (AB 32)
- Protecting salmon habitat in Marin County, California
- Defeating a huge landfill on the flanks of Joshua Tree National Park
Shepherding coastal wetlands into state conservation from private ownership
Our students represent local environmental organizations and landowners seeking to shepherd private lands adjacent to the largest coastal lagoon in the lower 48 into permanent state conservation.
- Amicus brief in takings case (Mar. 17, 2014)
- District Court motion for judgment on the pleadings (Jan. 15, 2014)
- District court motion to intervene (Oct. 16, 2013)
- Letter to stop illegal grazing on state lands (May 16, 2011)
Preserving the historic Presidio in San Francisco
Our students represent the Presidio Historical Association, which is working to save the Presidio from a plan that would commercialize, and forever change, that historic park in the heart of San Francisco.
- Ninth Circuit decision (Jan. 26, 2016) and commentary on the decision
- Ninth Circuit oral argument (Oct. 20, 2015)
- Ninth Circuit reply brief (Nov. 21, 2014)
- Ninth Circuit opening brief (Dec. 20, 2013)
Enforcing California’s Environmental Quality Act
Our students represent Landwatch San Luis Obispo County in a case challenging the unpermitted construction of a desalination plant near Cambria, California. Despite the need for long-term and deliberative planning about how to best manage Cambria’s spare water resources, the project was hastily built without the environmental review required by CEQA.
- Reply in support of motion for preliminary injunction (Mar. 3, 2015)
- Motion for preliminary injunction (Feb. 13, 2015)
Defending and improving California’s climate change laws (AB 32)
Our students recently prepared and submitted comments on California’s proposed Mine Methane Capture Compliance Offset Protocol, a potential component of California’s cap-and-trade program for greenhouse gases. Our students have also authored amicus briefs aimed at defending California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard, another part of California’s effort to address climate change, against constitutional and statutory challenges. The students wrote the briefs on behalf of preeminent climate change and lifecycle analysis scientists.
- Comment Letter to California Air Resources Board (July 1, 2013)
- Ninth Circuit amicus brief (climate change scientists) (June 15, 2012)
- Ninth Circuit amicus brief (lifecycle scientists) (June 15, 2012)
Protecting salmon habitat in Marin County, California
Our students successfully represented the Salmon Protection and Watershed Network (SPAWN) in its efforts to preserve the last remaining habitat of the critically imperiled Central California Coast coho salmon in Marin County, California.
- Reply remedy brief (Nov. 21, 2014)
- Opening remedy brief (Oct. 24, 2014)
- Court of Appeal decision (Mar. 5, 2014)
- Court of Appeal opening brief (Apr. 29, 2013)
Defeating a huge landfill on the flanks of Joshua Tree National Park
Our students successfully represented the NPCA in its efforts to stop the Kaiser Eagle Mountain landfill from being built next to Joshua Tree National Park.
- U.S. Supreme Court opposition to petition for certiorari (Feb. 25, 2011)
- Ninth Circuit answering brief (Apr. 12, 2007)