Water and Justice Program
The Water and Justice Program promotes the wise and sustainable use of water resources locally, nationally, and globally through research, education and policy development. The program complements the law school's outstanding faculty and diverse course offerings in the field of water law and policy.
The program is administered by VLS's Environmental Law Center under the direction of Professors Jack Tuholske and John Echeverria. Program staff includes a research fellow and student research associates who contribute to reports, conference presentations, legal analyses, and law review articles to support the program's work. Faculty, staff and students meet regularly to discuss their research and learn about cutting-edge litigation and policy initiatives in the world of water law.
Based on a grant from the HKH Foundation, work will include a detailed examination of water governance for the Great Lakes region, including the public trust doctrine, water commons principles, statutory regimes that regulate water, international and Native American treaty rights that affect the Great Lakes, evolution of the common law, and other legal constraints on the use and governance of water. Additional work will focus on other areas of the public trust, Western water law, and government recognition and reservation of public rights in water.
The Water and Justice Program has appointed Chelsea Auerbach MELP'11, as a full time research fellow. She previously worked on water law and policy issues in Australia under a Fulbright Fellowship and with American Rivers, the nation's leading river conservation group. The Research Associates for 2012-2013 are Jacqueline Goodrun, Sarah Mooney, Sarah Wiedemann, Hannah Smith and Marie Kyle.
Research Fellow and Research Associates
Jacqueline Goodrum fell in love with water during childhood summers on the Chesapeake Bay. This love inspired her environmental interests, both personal and professional. Following the flow, she earned a BA from the University of Virginia in Environmental Thought & Practice, worked for the UNEP and the Environmental Law Foundation in London, and decided to go to law school where she is currently a second-year JD/MELP student and a Staff Editor on the Vermont Journal of Environmental Law.
Marie Kyle is a native of Washington State. She first became interested in water law when she interned in the Ecology Division of the Washington State Attorney General's Office after her first year, where she focused on issues concerning the Clean Water Act and water resources. She spent last summer in Alaska interning with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and plans to return to the west coast after graduation.
Sarah Mooney/JD Candidate 2013
Sarah graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy with a B.S. in Oceanography before serving for three years in the Air Force as a meteorologist. A NOLS sea kayaking expedition in Alaska convinced her to transition into an environmental profession. She earned her M.S. in Environmental Studies from the College of Charleston, where she conducted her research on ecosystem services and taught Physics and Astronomy. At VLS, Sarah has acted as the Ocean Chair for the Environmental Law Society, served as a Schweitzer Fellow, collaborated with the Energy Institute on Arctic issues, and looks forward to serving as a teaching assistant for the Environmental Dispute Resolution course. In addition to working as a Water and Justice research associate, Sarah co-authored an article in Polar Geography on sea ice and has been asked to co-author a chapter of Ocean and Coastal Law and Policy. Sarah spent her law school summers working on ocean issues: at the Center for Ocean Solutions and NOAA's Office of General Counsel. Sarah is currently a full time student clinician at the ENRLC. She recently accepted a 3 year post-doctoral fellowship at Stanford University, where she will focus on climate change adaptation and land-sea initiatives
Hannah Smith is a native of Ann Arbor, Michigan, and spent her childhood summers camping on the shores of Lake Huron (Canadian side). After graduating from the University of Michigan she worked for the Minnesota Conservation Corps, and as a policy associate with the Michigan League of Conservation Voters. This past summer Hannah worked as a law clerk with the Midwest Environmental Advocates, researching water quality issues in Wisconsin. She is particularly interested in freshwater rights and public land management. Hannah has swam in all five of the Great Lakes.
Sarah's move from the shores of Lake Erie to Colorado gave her a special appreciation for water, which developed into a passion that she has pursued ever since. She has written papers exploring the implications of climate change for regulatory takings law for the Vermont Law School's Land Use Clinic and Vermont Law Review. Her work at Earthjustice in Colorado last summer allowed her to contribute to litigation surrounding Glen Canyon Dam and other water projects. She plans to return to Colorado to practice water law after graduating in 2013.