Devorah Ancel '08


Devorah Ancel spent her final semester at the Vermont Law School working in the Environmental and Natural Resources Law Clinic where she learned the nuts and bolts of environmental litigation and procedure. She worked on the Clinic's Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) case against Omya Industries challenging its disposal of solid waste, including organic chemical pollutants, into open, unlined pits that posed the risk of adverse health and environmental impacts to the surrounding community and its groundwater resources. Devorah drafted pleadings, assisted in the preparation of oral argument, and met with client community members to convey the status of the litigation and facilitate expert testimony. Devorah also assisted in developing a Clean Air Act case in which the Clinic represented Sierra Club as a client. These experiences at the Clinic helped formulate her career goals.

Devorah now represents the Sierra Club on a range of issues relating to its work in combating climate change and is the lead Sierra Club attorney addressing crude-by-rail transport. In this role, she represents Sierra Club in its challenge to the U.S. Department of Transportation's crude-by-rail tank car safety standards and opposes proposed crude-by-rail infrastructure projects. Her legal work also encompasses halting the extraction of fossil fuels and challenging irresponsible development in and around our nation's treasured landscapes such as Grand Canyon National Park. Since joining Sierra Club’s litigation team, Devorah has successfully represented the Club as an intervening party to defend the City of Longmont, Colorado's ordinance regulating oil and gas activities within its borders; led litigation efforts in response to the 2010 BP oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico; and has been integrally involved in several federal rulemakings governing air toxic emissions from oil and gas production, oil spill response planning, and crude-by-rail tank car safety. Devorah earned her undergraduate degree from Washington University in St. Louis, her J.D. from Vermont Law School, and her Masters of Environmental Management from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.