EPA Administrator Pruitt at CPAC

Based on the new Administrator’s remarks at CPAC today, as reported by the Guardian, there seems to be no change in plans of tearing  up much of the Agency’s work and potentially the Agency itself.  Of course, just as President Trump is now executing on some of the campaign promises he made, this will be no different and should be no surprise.  Friday’s Executive Order requiring a government-wide review of regulations is already moving efforts to undo regulations forward, it looks with some far more care and coordination than prior Trump Executive Orders.  Press rumors indicate that we’ll see Executive Orders next week on the Clean Power Plan and Waters of the US rule.  That has also been expected by many for quite some time.  But it will be interesting to see how the White House and Pruitt will go about undoing these rules, which will determine the course of action of the environmental advocacy community.


Fellowship: Vermont Law School, US-Asian Partnership for Environmental Law, Fellowship (Deadline: May 1, 2017, together with LLM application, South Royalton, VT



The U.S.-Asia Partnerships for Environmental Law (“Asia Program”) at Vermont Law School invites applications for a two-year graduate fellowship starting in August 2015. The fellowship combines the opportunity to obtain an LLM in Environmental Law, an LLM in American Legal Studies or a Master’s degree from one of the leading environmental law programs in the nation with the opportunity to gain practical international environmental law experience on a variety of policy coordination, research, and educational outreach projects. The fellowship includes a full tuition waiver.  A salary stipend of up to $35,000 may be available for the selected fellow depending on available funding.


The Fellow will work closely with the faculty director, the program director and other team members of the Asia Program to help coordinate and implement the range of projects being carried out. In addition to pursuing an LLM or a Masters’ degree, the fellow will work closely with Asia Program faculty and will take the lead role in at least one major project.

The goal of the Asia Program is to strengthen the rule of law in environmental protection and to build capacity among individuals and academic, government, and private-sector institutions to solve pollution and energy problems. The program has three main objectives:

  • strengthen the capacity of the educational, governmental, nonprofit, and business sectors in China and Southeast Asia to become effective environmental and energy problem solvers;
  • improve the policies, systems, laws, and regulations in China and Southeast Asia to advance the development and enforcement of environmental and energy law and to help develop the rule of law;
  • enhance municipal, provincial, national, and international networks in China and Southeast Asia to advance best practices in environmental protection and energy regulation.

These objectives are being pursued through environmental and energy law workshops and conferences in China, Southeast Asia and the U.S., through efforts to build the institutional capacity of law schools, NGOs, courts, and government agencies, and through student and faculty-led research and policy development projects.

For more information about the U.S.-Asia Partnerships for Environmental Law, please visit the program’s homepage.


Qualifications for the Asia Program Fellowship include:

  • admission to the LLM in Environmental Law, LLM in American Legal Studies programs, or one of VLS Master’s Degrees
  • a demonstrated commitment to environmental or energy issues in China/Asia
  • prior practice or other experience in environmental or energy law
  • strong legal writing and communications skills

Language skills in Chinese or one of the Southeast Asian languages will greatly strengthen a prospective fellow’s application.


  • Tuition Waiver for the LLM in Environmental Law, LLM in American Legal Studies or one of the VLS Master’s Degrees
  • $35,000 stipend per year (subject to budget approval)


The deadline for completed LLM applications and submission of fellowship materials is May 1.


  • Admission to the LLM in Environmental  Law, LLM in American Legal Studies program or one of the VLS Master’s Degrees
  • Demonstrated commitment to energy and/or environmental law in Asia
  • Prior practice or other experience in energy law and policy
  • Strong legal writing and communication skills
  • Some Chinese language skills


  • Application for LLM in Environmental Law or American Legal Studies OR
  • Application for Masters degree program

In addition to the LLM or Master’s application requirements, please submit the following:

  • Statement of interest specific to the fellowship (not to exceed one page)
  • One Letter of Recommendation specific to the fellowship


All fellowship materials should be sent to admiss@vermontlaw.edu and must include a clear reference to the fellowship. Electronic submissions are preferred. If unable to send electronically, please send materials to:

Vermont Law School Admissions Office
U.S.-Asia Partnership LLM Fellowship
PO Box 96
South Royalton, VT 05068


Fellowship candidates will be forwarded to the U.S.-Asia Partnership by May 15. Fellowship offers will be made by June 1.


Contact Information:

U.S.-Asia Partnership

Office of Admissions



The LLM in Environmental Law degree is designed for a select group of post-JD candidates seeking to specialize in the practice of environmental law, or pursue careers in teaching, research, or public policy. Candidates include recent law school graduates and practicing lawyers who wish to develop an environmental law specialty. The cornerstone of the LLM program is the Graduate Seminar. A minimum of 30 academic credits are required to complete the program. For the Asia Program fellow, this thirty credit program is spread over two years. Vermont Law School’s environmental law curriculum includes more than fifty courses in environmental law, policy, science, and ethics. For more information about the LLM in Environmental Law degree program, please visit the LLM degree page.


The Master of Laws in American Legal Studies is specifically designed for students who hold a law degree from an institution outside of the United States. Our LLM students take all their courses together with the JD students, so they have immersion in the US law school experience. The required courses provide a solid foundation in US law and US legal method.  Again, for the Asia Program fellow, the LLM in American Legal Studies program is spread over two years. Some US states permit foreign lawyers who earn an LLM in US law to take the bar exam and be admitted to practice in their state, if certain other requirements are met.  For more information about the LLM in American Legal Studies program, please visit the LLM degree page.



Administered by Vermont Law School’s highly respected Environmental Law Center, the MELP program is focused on the political, scientific, and communications aspects of environmental law, with an added emphasis on economics and advocacy. The innovative curriculum is comprised of traditional law offerings and MELP-specific courses in writing and advocacy designed to benefit graduates in the public and private sectors. Experiential learning opportunities with state and federal agencies, nonprofit organizations, and advocacy groups ensure you’re ready to move ahead in your career or take on a new position.


Taught by faculty associated with Vermont Law School’s highly respected Institute for Energy and the Environment, the MERL program is focused on law and policy governing energy use, production, and transmission. You’ll develop a broad-based understanding of the intersection of energy and law, regulation, policy, and economic analysis. Practical training in public advocacy and writing for a legal and policy audience, opportunities for independent research with support from faculty, and externships at organizations around the country and the world prepare you for immediate challenges and opportunities.


Taught by faculty affiliated with the school’s Center for Agriculture and Food Systems , the MFALP program  is designed for students who want to create the legal tools needed to innovate and support sustainable food and agriculture systems. The curriculum is comprised of food and agriculture classes, a wide range of environmental electives, and courses in writing and advocacy. Experiential opportunities with state and federal agencies, nonprofit organizations, and advocacy groups prepare graduates for careers in food and agriculture policy and advocacy. 

Administrator Scott Pruitt’s EPA Welcome Address

Earlier today, I watched new EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s Welcome Address to EPA employees (mostly senior career civil servants), streamed live on EPA’s website.   After a cordial welcome by Catherine McCabe (Deputy Regional Administrator for Region 2 and long-time career civil servant) who served as Acting EPA Administrator for the transitional period until Pruitt’s Senate confirmation, Pruitt gave a surprisingly earnest set of remarks about the priorities for his leadership of EPA.  I say “surprisingly,” because the tone of his remarks stood in stark contrast to the combative and divisive speeches and comments of President Trump and because Pruitt’s words came across (at least to me) much more conciliatory than much of what we have heard from and about Pruitt’s views and positions of EPA in the past.  Of course, the substance of the agenda remains to be seen, and the speech did not appreciably step back from key criticisms by Republicans of EPA’s work.  A couple of examples included his admonishment against “regulation by litigation,” i.e. the (false, in my view) perception that EPA changes statutory requirements through the litigation process and consent decrees, and “regulation by guidance,” i.e. using guidance documents to promulgate substantive regulatory requirements — both standard but unfair criticisms of EPA’s work.

His substantive speech outlined three themes for his agenda at EPA:  1) process, 2) rule of law, and 3) federalism.  In regards to process, his view is that EPA must engage in more dialogue with other stake-holders (presumably industry) and compromise.  With respect to the rule of law theme, he emphasized his desire to stick more closely to statutory language.  Here is also where he gave his admonishment against “regulation by litigation,” and regulation by guidance.”  His last theme, federalism, focused on EPA being more respectful of the states’ role in environmental regulation.  (The immediate question that came to my mind is whether he will take this seriously with respect to states, such as California, that want to pursue more protective and progressive environmental policies, including on climate change.  If this is just rhetoric, that would be too bad.)

Interestingly enough, he mentioned the Assumption (of war debt) issue that arose during the founding of the United States, based on his reading of Chernow’s Hamilton book. (I just read Chernow’s book as well, so that part of the book is also fresh in my mind.)  He also quoted John Muir, though not a passage that I was familiar with.  If he is an engaged reader, I genuinely hope that his reading is not only backward-looking in time but also forward-looking, extending to works addressing the big environmental challenges of our times, such as climate change.

Overall, the conciliatory tone of the speech seemed quite appropriate given that he will need the help of all of the career staff in order to accomplish whatever he and the White House have in store.   For the sake of the career staff and the institution, that is a positive development.  At the same time, I did not get the impression that policy-wise, there will be any effort to step back substantively from the plans for rolling back regulations, especially on climate change regulation and the Waters of the United States regulation (i.e. defining the reach of the EPA’s Clean Water Act jurisdiction), or to fundamentally restructure or drastically cut back EPA.  (I have not yet seen the Executive Orders that the White House appears to be ready to release shortly regarding the EPA.)   And ultimately, that is what will matter most.

Here are links to a couple of articles on the speech already, Bloomberg and Forbes.


Fellowship: Vermont Law School, Environmental and Law Clinic, Toxics Fellowship (Deadline: March 15, 2017, South Royalton, VT)


The Environmental and Natural Resources Law Clinic (ENRLC) at Vermont Law School today announced a new two-year Toxics Fellowship to provide legal assistance to communities facing toxic pollution problems. The selected fellow will manage the ENRLC’s pollution-focused “Partnership for Justice” project while earning a Master of Laws (LLM) in Environmental Law from VLS.
The Partnership for Justice, designed to provide assistance to northern New England communities, is a joint effort between the ENRLC and Toxics Action Center, a nonprofit organization that assists community groups with organization, outreach, media, and strategy development. As part of the project, the ENRLC will provide legal analysis and advice, and may lay the groundwork for litigation.
The deadline for fellowship applications is March 15. To be considered for the fellowship, applicants must hold a juris doctor (JD) degree from an American Bar Association (ABA)-accredited law school. For more information about the Toxics Fellowship, including how to apply, visit the fellowship page online, email admiss@vermontlaw.edu, or call 802-831-1239.

Fellowships: Pace Law School,Various environmental/energy fellowships (Deadine: March 1, 2017, White Plains, NY)

This is a little dated.  (I got this in mid-January.) But deadlines are March 1, so still time to apply.

Pace University’s Elisabeth Haub School of Law is pleased to announce that it will hire several environmental law graduate fellows for the 2017-18 academic year. Fellows earn an LLM in Environmental Law while working part time within the Haub Environmental Law Program or one of its centers. Fellows receive a full tuition waiver as well as a modest stipend to help cover living costs.  Fellowships begin this summer and run a full calendar year. Applications are due by March 1, 2017.

Available Positions:

The Environmental Law Graduate Fellow works with environmental faculty and staff undertaking research, including the bench brief for the National Environmental Law Moot Court Competition, developing and implementing new projects, and other duties as assigned.

The Global Environmental Law Graduate Fellow works with faculty and staff of the Global Center for Environmental Legal Studies on various research, project development, and event planning in connection with our partnerships with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and other international organizations.

The Energy and Climate Law Graduate/EASE Fellow works with faculty and staff of the Pace Energy and Climate Center and Earthjustice on equitable access to renewable energy and other research.

The Land Use Law Graduate Fellow works with faculty and staff of the Land Use Law Center on a wide range of issues related to land use and sustainable development law.

The Food and Agriculture Law Graduate Fellow works with faculty and staff of the Food and Beverage Law Clinic and the Pace-NRDC Food Law Initiative on various research, program development and communication initiatives.

You can learn about current and former environmental law graduate fellows here.

How to apply:

Further details on each position, and information on how to apply for these fellowships can be found in the attached position descriptions and online at


Note that applicants must apply concurrently to the Environmental LLM program at the Elisabeth Haub School of Law, and be accepted into the program, before being considered for a fellowship.