Patrick A. Parenteau is Emeritus Professor of Law and Senior Fellow for Climate Policy in the Environmental Law Center at Vermont Law School. He previously served as Director of the Environmental Law Center and was the founding director of the EAC (formerly the Environmental and Natural Resources Law Clinic) in 2004.
Professor Parenteau has an extensive background in environmental and natural resources law. His previous positions include Vice President for Conservation with the National Wildlife Federation in Washington, DC (1976-1984); Regional Counsel to the New England Regional Office of the EPA in Boston (1984-1987); Commissioner of the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation (1987-1989); and Senior Counsel with the Perkins Coie law firm in Portland, Oregon (1989-1993).
Professor Parenteau has been involved in drafting, litigating, implementing, teaching, and writing about environmental law and policy for over three decades. His current focus is on confronting the profound challenges of climate change through his teaching, publishing, public speaking and litigation.
Professor Parenteau is a Fulbright US Scholar and a Fellow in the American College of Environmental Lawyers. In 2005 he received the National Wildlife Federation’s Conservation Achievement Award in recognition of his contributions to wildlife conservation and environmental education. In 2016 he received the Kerry Rydberg Award for excellence in public interest environmental law.
Professor Parenteau holds a B.S. from Regis University, a J.D. from Creighton University, and an LLM in Environmental Law from the George Washington U.
“Some Observations on How Courts in the United States and European Union View Their Role in Adjudicating Climate Litigation,” Environmental Liability: Law, Policy and Practice, Lawtext Publications, UK, Vol. 27, Issue 5/6 (2023).
Green Justice Revisited: Dick Brooks on the Laws of Nature and the Nature of Law, (forthcoming) Vermont J. of Env. Law, Fall 2018.
Co-author, Brief Amici Curiae of Environmental Law Professors in Weyerhaeuser v USFWS US S. Ct. 2018.
The Clean Water Rule: Not Dead Yet, 48 Environmental Law 377 (Summer 2018).
“Sackett Preview: Sound and Fury Signifying What Exactly?” American Association of Environmental Lawyers Blog (2022).
"Beyond the Fence-line: SCOTUS’ Grants Petitions Challenging EPA’s Authority to Regulate Coal-fired Emissions" (with Kevin McElfresh), Vermont Journal of Environmental Law (December 2021).
"Climate Science and Energy Policy Heading in Opposite Directions" (with Rachael Bruketta), Vermont Journal of Environmental Law (January 2021).
"A Bright Line Mistake: How EPA Bungled the Clean Water Rule,” 46 Environmental Law 379 (2016) .
Carbon Trading in China, (with Mingde Cao) 46 ELR 10194, March 2016.
"The Pebble Mine Veto: Saving the Last Wild Salmon Runs," National Wetland Newsletter, March/April 2015.
A Bum Rap for Vermont's Endangered Species Act, The Vermont Bar Journal and Law Digest (October, 1995)
“Climate Litigation: An Evolving Jurisprudence,” in Research Handbook on Climate Change Mitigation Law (2nd ed.), Edward Elgar Publishing (2022).
“The Atmosphere as a Public Good,” Journal of Law and Public Policy, St. Thomas U., Vol. 16, Issue 1 (2022).
ClimateChange in the Marine Environment (lead author), in Ocean and Coastal Law and Policy 2d Ed. (ABA 2015).
Go Back it's a Trap: On the Perils of Geologic Sequestration of Carbon Dioxide, in The Climate Reader Carolina Press 2010
“REV2022 Recap: Sensible Permit Reform is Urgently Needed” guest speaker at REV 2022, Renewable Energy Vermont Annual Meeting (November 2022).
“Now Comes the Hard Part: Environmental Advocacy in the 21st Century,” Lewis & Clark Law School, Distinguished Visitor Lecture, (September 13, 2022)
“Now Comes the Hard Part: Environmental Advocacy in the 21st Century.” speaker, Distinguished Visitor Lecture, Lewis & Clark Law School, (September 2022).
Panel Discussion: "Implications of County of Maui v. Hawaii Defense Fund," Federal Judicial Center (Dec 2, 2021).
"The Climate as a Public Good," Revitalizing Goods Symposium, St Thomas U School of Law (Nov 11, 2021).
"Baltimore vs. Big Oil: Cities Sue to Recover Damages for Climate Disruption," Hot Topics in Environmental Law Lecture Series, Vermont Law School (June 2021).
"Judicial Enforcement of Clean Water and Wetland Protection Goals," Webinar, Association of State Wetland Managers (April 13, 2021).
"The Constitutional Role of Courts in Crafting Remedies for Climate Disruption," Shapiro Symposium (Webinar), George Washington U Law School (April 9, 2021).
"Building a Successful Legislative Campaign," Environmental Defense Fund Climate Corps Advocacy (March 25, 2021).
"Rising from the Ashes: The Resurgence of Environmentalism," Widener University Commonwealth Law School (March 12, 2021).
"Whiplash: Environmental Policy from Trump to Biden," US District Court for Puerto Rico CLE for Judges and Practitioners (December 2020).
"Using the Courts to Save the Planet," Keynote Address, International Virtual Seminar on Climate Litigation as a Governance Tool, Duke-Kunshan University (November 2020).
"Global Climate Litigation: Successes and Setbacks," International Virtual Seminar, University of Milan, Italy (October 30, 2020).
"Clean Water Act Update: The Maui Decision; WOTUS Wars Part Two; the World’s Worst Copper Mine; and More," 2020 Hot Topics in Environmental Law Lecture Series, Vermont Law School, June 2020.
"Recent Developments in US Climate Law," University College, Cork, Ireland (April 2020).
"Judicial Remedies to Address the Climate Crisis," George Washington University (March 2020).
"Tort Liability for Climate Damages," Tulane Energy Law Conference (March 2020).
"Regulation of Forever Chemicals," Plymouth State University (March 2020).
"Water Policy in a Climate Altered World", 12th Annual Law & Society Symposium, co-sponsored by the Charleston Law Review and the Richard W. Riley Institute of Government, Politics and Public Leadership at Furman University, Charleston, South Carolina, February 7, 2020.
“Climate Change in the Courts,” in VLS’s Hot Topics in Environmental Law summer lecture series, July 16, 2019.
“Implications of Clean Water Act Rollbacks in New Mexico,” Los Alamos National Laboratories, May 9, 2019.
“WOTUS 2.0: The Implications of the Clean Water Rule Revisions for the West,” New Mexico Bar Association, April 2, 2019.
“Recovery after Trump,” Public Interest Environmental Law Conference, University of Oregon, February 28, 2019.
“The Great Debate: Is Global Warming a Public Nuisance?” Antonin Scalia School of Law at George Mason U sponsored by the Law and Economics Program, May 22, 2018.
"Climate Change Litigation Heating Up." University College Cork Ireland on April 25, 2018.
"Environmental Protection in the Trump Era," Lewis & Clark Law Review Symposium on April 9, 2018.
"Defending the ESA in the Era of Trump" and "Enforcing the Rule of Law in an Age of Deregulation," Tulane Environmental Summit, Mar 9-10, 2018.
Keynote address, "Just Say No: Reducing Nutrient Pollution to Chesapeake Bay," sponsored by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Annapolis, MD, April 22, 2016.
Webinar presentation, “Waters of the U.S. Rule," Environmental Law Symposium: Waters of the United States, Lewis and Clark Law School, April 8, 2016.
Presentation, Law and Governance in the Anthropocene, April 8, 2016.
Presentation, “Ending the War on Wildlife: Reforming the Wildlife Services Agency within the US Department of Agriculture," Massachusetts School of Liberal Arts, March 31, 2016.
Keynote Address, "The Post Scalia Era of Environmental Law," 17th Annual Northeast Florida Environmental Summit, Florida Coastal Law School, February 25, 2016.
Keynote address, “Climate Change in the Caribbean” Climate Change in the Caribbean 2015: Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, San Juan, Puerto Rico, November 18, 2015.
The Clean Power Plan: Legal and Moral Imperative for Action, 40th annual conference of the National Association of Environmental Professionals, Panelist, April 14, 2015.
What's in a Name? The Bush Administration's Environmental Record, The Society for Environmental Journalists 15th Annual Conference, Austin, TX (September 2005)
"Forestry Law," Presentation to the Duma of the Republic of Karelia, Russia, 1999.
Awards & Accomplishments
Awards, Honors or Grants
National Wildlife Federation, National Conservation Achievement Award (2006)
Connecticut River Conservation Council, River Champion (2009)
Commissioner, Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation, 1987–89.
Helped build strong advocacy program, National Wildlife Federation.
Administered environmental programs for state and federal agencies.
Developed legal theories to expand protection for wetlands and endangered species.
Drafted and helped enact many environmental laws at federal and state level.
Taught and mentored hundreds of students and young lawyers.
Vice-President for Conservation, National Wildlife Federation, Washington, DC, 1976–84.
Other Accomplishments or Activities
Director of Vermont Law School's Environmental Law Center 1993-1999.
Director of Vermont Law School's Environmental and Natural Resources Law Clinic (ENRLC) 2003–07.
Currently serves as senior counsel to the ENRLC.
Admitted to practice in Nebraska, Oregon, District of Columbia, Second Circuit and US Supreme Court.
Member, American Bar Association, Society of Conservation Biologists
Board Member, Climate Law Institute