Tulane Center for Environmental Director Mark Davis said it best, "At a time when uncertainty was a constant, Tulane Law’s environmental program was steadfast: Teaching, serving, and mentoring in ways that matter in times that matter." Tulane, despite the COVID-19 crisis, was front and center on environmental law issues. Training the next generation of lawyers is important work as the world comes to terms with the need for environmental protections of our planet.
In the legal profession, there is no better training than doing. This summer, despite the paralyzing pandemic and dwindling in-person internship opportunities, law students tapped into Tulane Law's contacts across the world and landed summer internships.
The environmental law program in past years has placed for ‘green summers’ students as far away as the Arctic, and as near as Louisiana coastal restoration projects. The goal is for them to learn the practice of law, policy, and advocacy in a wide range of settings. Although this summer was different, here is a look at our students' work this summer:
Rosa Acheson, 3L
Last summer I worked as a legal intern for the Surfrider Foundation, a nonprofit environmental organization that focuses on protecting and preserving our oceans, beaches, and ensuring equitable beach access for all. I had the opportunity to work on a number of legal projects and policy initiatives, spanning from California, to New York and Hawaii. One of the highlights of my summer was testifying before the California Coastal Commission, to advocate for stricter inspection and maintenance requirements in a proposed plan for the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station. I hope to practice environmental law and am particularly interested in public access, water conservation and water-related issues, so this internship was a wonderful opportunity to gain experience in that field. My only regret is that because the internship was over Zoom, I did not get to learn how to surf!
Haley Gentry, 2L
This past summer I worked as a legal research assistant here at Tulane's Institute for Water Resources Law and Policy. I attended daily meetings with the staff as a whole and then continued collaboration through my day on various research projects related to water use issues and controversies within the state of Louisiana and other related effects on our water resources. In particular, I worked heavily in legal policy research regarding nutrient pollution in the Mississippi River related to the EPA's Hypoxia Task Force and a comparative project on New Orleans Hurricane Storm Damage Risk Reduction System. The Institute lends itself to work opportunities with attorneys, advocates, engineers, and other variety of professionals. The constant collaboration and feedback helped grow my research and writing skills. It gave me great insight into environmental public interest law which is where I want to ultimately work.
Anouk Nouet, 3L
This past summer, I was a Summer Honors Law Clerk for the EPA, Office of General Counsel in the Cross-Cutting Issues Law Office (CCILO). CCILO provides legal advice under numerous federal statutes, Executive Orders, and policies that affect all of EPA’s programs, including environmental justice, the National Environmental Policy Act, Indian Law, and Children’s Health Issues. The highlight of my summer was working on a diversity of issues accross national and international boundaries. I briefed recent court decisions regarding Indian Law issues to aid in the preparation of EPA response actions. I also compared environmentally-related provisions in the United States-Mexico-Canada trade agreement to similar provisions in European Union trade agreements to provide background for future international negotiations.
Bryn Sarner, 2L
This summer I split my time between working at the Office of the Louisiana Attorney General in their Lands & Natural Resources Section, Civil Division and the Animal Legal Defense Fund. At the Louisiana Attorney General's Office, I researched the history of local lands and waters while working on cases regarding proper standing and property rights. At the Animal Legal Defense Fund, I worked in their pro bono program on animal rights issues and reached out to attorneys across the nation to encourage them to fulfill their pro bono hours with the ALDF. As animal agriculture is the leading cause of climate change, a large part of my research focused on current lawsuits that seek to silence the research around environmental impacts of animal agriculture. The highlight of my summer was starting an Anti-Racist working group that explored the intersections of racism, the environment, animal rights, and the criminal justice system while at ALDF.