Environmental Law Clinic Clinical Programs: Environmental Law Clinic

Featuring Director & Assistant Professor Mike Harris

Clinic Information

Since 1984, the Environmental Law Clinic at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law has provided real world experience for students interested in both developing practical legal skills and exploring the practice of environmental law. Under the supervision of Professor Michael Harris, Director of the Environmental Law Clinic, Professor Kevin Lynch, and Kelly Davis, Environmental Law Clinic Fellow, students represent environmental advocacy organizations before courts and administrative agencies in a broad range of environmental matters.

The Environmental Law Clinic offers students three practice areas to work in: The Colorado Urban Project (CUP), The Federal Wildlife Project (FWP), and the Animal Rights Project (ARP). CUP work seeks to address the emerging public health issues along Colorado’s urban Front Range. Students working on CUP matters will utilize both federal and state laws to tackle these urban environmental issues, including the Federal Clean Water Act, Federal Clean Air Act, local land use planning and environmental justice policies. More information on CUP can be found in this article published by the Sturm College of Law Alumni Office: Can The Law Protect Our Environmental Future?

The FWP focuses on the preservation of endangered species and their habitats throughout Colorado and the western United States. FWP students will utilize a variety of federal environmental statutes to promote the goals of their clients, including the Endangered Species Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, the Administrative Procedure Act, and the National Forest Management Act.

ARP is the newest substantive focus in the Environmental Law Clinic. The project grew out of our work with the national animal rights groups, Friends of Animals, to protect endangered exotic spices that often find themselves captive in the hands of private U.S. collectors. Students working on ARP matters utilize various environmental laws to protect these animals. The Environmental Law Clinic is committed to expanding the ARP.

The clinic has an exciting and challenging case docket. Clinic students are working hard to protect Northern African antelope and tropical birds from around the world; protect forest lands and fresh water supplies in the Rio Grande National Forest in Colorado; address impacts to native salmon fisheries from largely unregulated salmon farms in British Columbia; ensure that new coal-fired power plants in Colorado meet federal regulatory requirements to reduce mercury and other hazardous air pollutants; protect public lands from unlawful development activities; and help ensure that underrepresented neighborhoods in Denver are not overlooked by environmental and public health regulators. Specific information on the clinic’s docket is available here.

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