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Environmental and Natural Resources Law Clinic

A regular question from applicants is “what do students do in the Environmental and Natural Resources Law Clinic?  The campus just received this message from David Mears, the director:

Dear VLS:  I am just back from a two-day trial before the Vermont Environmental Court and wanted to give a quick update and share some thanks.  The ENRLC is representing the Vermont Natural Resources Council as amicus-intervenors, and assisting the law firm of Primmer and Piper in their representation of a group called Save the Bay.  The trial was like a Vermont Law School reunion, though perhaps not as festive.  Steve Reynes and Jesse Moorman of Primmer and Piper are both alums as were the opposing counsel:  Cielo Mendoza, representing the Agency of Natural Resources; and Craig Weatherly representing the marina.  And to top things off, presiding over the proceeding was Judge Thomas Durkin, class of 1985.
The case involves the application of the public trust doctrine and Vermont’s law relating to encroachments on lakes and ponds to an application by a marina on Lake Champlain to expand the marina.  VNRC and Save the Bay argued that the marina offers few if any public benefits and will instead burden navigation, recreation and other public uses on an already congested bay on Lake Champlain.  The marina and the state’s attorneys argued that the marina provides substantial benefits and dismissed any impacts as de minimis.
ENRLC Student Clinicians Sofia Yazykova and Jason Loh, and ENRLC  LLM Fellow Ken Rumelt have been working long and late hours over the past weeks getting ready for trial.  And in the spring, Clare Cragan and Tyler Soleau helped us through discovery and motion practice.  I am not sure how the Judge will decide the case but feel good about our work.  The clinic earned the appreciation of the clients and our co-counsel.
Please give congratulations to Sofia, Jason and Ken for a job well done.
David K. Mears
Associate Professor and Director
Environmental & Natural Resources Law Clinic
Vermont Law School

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