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News Release

EPA, VLS Sign 5-Year Agreement to Promote Environmental Education, Equal Opportunity

Wednesday, January 11, 2017


United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy and Vermont Law School President and Dean Marc Mihaly today signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU), agreeing to work together to promote equal opportunity in higher education, build upon the law school's capacity to provide high-quality environmental education, and encourage the participation of VLS in EPA programs.

Per the five-year agreement, the EPA will collaborate with VLS to advance environmental education through the school's online learning programs and initiate environmental studies relationships with minority academic institutions.

"Today it is my privilege to stand in partnership with EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, and with many of our alumni based here in D.C., setting goals to increase access to environmental education in the United States," Mihaly said. "Since our founding Vermont Law School has been driven by a mission to make the world more sustainable and just through education. Our partnership with the EPA continues that tradition and positions us to better serve diverse 21st-century students, affording them flexible access to the nation's best environmental, energy and food systems law and policy curriculum."

Specifically, the MOU calls for VLS faculty and student participation in public policy forums, presentations, seminars, and other events at the EPA; EPA participation in lectures, conferences and other events at VLS; and EPA participation in career fairs and other outreach to VLS students, faculty and alumni regarding EPA employment opportunities. The EPA may provide assistance to VLS in advancing environmental education via the school's online programs. Finally, VLS may allow students at minority academic institutions who meet the degree requirements at both schools to receive a dual degree of juris doctor (JD) and Master of Environmental Law and Policy (MELP). The EPA and VLS may collaborate on additional activities that support the purpose of the agreement.

The EPA and VLS reached a similar agreement in 2009, and the law school has a long history of sending alumni to work at the EPA. During her 2016 VLS Commencement address, McCarthy told graduates, "Unless you think business as usual is just fine, then start embracing the opportunities that are open to you, that this school has provided to you, and you must go out and make the world more just. You must go out and make our children healthier. You have to give us more sustainable options moving forward and you have to work hard to make the world a safer place. You came here to do that. You have to exit the same way. You want to exit the world the same way. Continue to drive that forward. And I'm so confident that you can do this. We have seen it in graduating classes from this college time and again."

VLS, which established the top-ranked Environmental Law Center (ELC) in 1978, offers more than 64 courses related to the environment and environmental law, more than any other law school in the U.S. The school's environmental clinics include the Environmental and Natural Resources Law Clinic, Energy Clinic, and Food and Agriculture Clinic. The ELC Summer Session attracts scholars, lawyers, journalists, and environmental advocates from around the world. For more information about environmental programs at Vermont Law School, including degrees and clinical training, visit the ELC online at


Vermont Law School, a private, independent institution, is home to the nation's largest and deepest environmental law program. VLS offers a Juris Doctor curriculum that emphasizes public service; three Master's Degrees—Master of Environmental Law and Policy, Master of Energy Regulation and Law, and Master of Food and Agriculture Law and Policy; and four post-JD degrees —LLM in American Legal Studies (for foreign-trained lawyers), LLM in Energy Law, LLM in Environmental Law, and LLM in Food and Agriculture Law. The school features innovative experiential programs and is home to the Environmental Law Center, South Royalton Legal Clinic, Environmental and Natural Resources Law Clinic, Energy Clinic, Food and Agriculture Clinic, and Center for Applied Human Rights. For more information, visit, find us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter.