Our Students’ Work

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

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 Coaskteeper v. State Water Board (Case II):

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Past work also includes:

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.