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Environmental and Natural Resources Law

Bowerman and David Brower Fellowships

Bowerman and David Brower Fellowships

Thanks to generous donor and grant support, the ENR Program is able to offer up to ten $7,000 stipends to support law student work on ENR's interdisciplinary projects. These fellowships fund groundbreaking and innovative student research, furthering the student's knowledge, careers, and fields of practice while providing legal analysis for today's environmental conflicts.

Recent projects include evaluating legal issues surrounding state efforts to invalidate restrictive covenants that limit home energy-saving practices, producing a water conservation handbook for Oregon, and exploring potential legal claims and defenses associated with atmospheric trust litigation.

Eligibility: Must be a rising 2L or rising 3L.

Award amount: $7,000 ($3,500 awarded at the beginning of Fall semester, and $3,500 awarded at the beginning of Spring semester).

How to apply: Interested applicants must submit an application by Monday, April 7, 2014 at 5pm. that contains the following: (1) a cover letter which describes interests and experiences within the ENR program or project area for which the individual is applying; (2) the interdisciplinary project(s) for which you are applying; (3) resume; and (4) transcript. If you are also applying for a funded Bowerman or Brower Fellowship, please also indicate the research project for which you are applying and any other leadership roles you have accepted for the 2013-14 academic year. You may apply for more than one interdisciplinary or research project, but please indicate your order of preference. Please note: All applicants for Bowerman and Brower Fellowships will also be considered for unfunded Fellowships unless you indicate otherwise.

Project proposal: Applicants for the Bowerman and David Brower Fellowships should identify at least one project to complete during the term of their fellowship. Below is a list of suggested projects.

Conservation Trust Project:
Model Codes for Implementation of the Public Trust Doctrine:  This project will continue the work of the Conservation Trust Project evaluating potential policy initiatives for the incorporation of the public trust doctrine into environmental decision-making at various levels of government. This second phase of the project will explore the specific policy initiatives identified by previous CTP Fellows, and work on drafting model language for local, state and federal efforts to incorporate the doctrine.  Students will have the opportunity to work with environmental groups across the country, helping them to draft legislation and creating model language that can be used in the continuing effort to apply the public trust doctrine to contemporary environmental issues.  Faculty and practitioner resources:  Mary Wood and Jared Margolis

Natural Resource Damages and the Public Trust Doctrine: One of the tenants of the public trust doctrine is the government’s duty to protect and restore the trust corpus – those natural resources upon which we depend.  Several leading thinkers in the field of environmental law and policy have been looking to this principle to require the government to seek natural resource damages where there has been substantial impairment of natural resources, and to thereby force those responsible for environmental harm to pay to restore trust resources for the benefit of the public and future generations.  While there are legal regimes in which the government acts as trustee for the environment to recover natural resource damages, such actions are usually discretionary, allowing agencies the wide discretion that often makes them susceptible to political influence and renders them free from meaningful judicial intervention.  This project will explore the concept of natural resource dam!
 ages, and examine various policy initiatives to compel governmental entities to seek natural resource damages and to use those finds to restore vital resources.  There will be a particular focus on conceptualizing an approach to recover natural resource damages from fossil fuel corporations for pollution to the atmosphere.  Faculty and practitioner resources:  Mary Wood and Jared Margolis

Energy Law and Policy Project:
Energy Storage Initiatives:  Although energy storage, which allows power to be stored and used at a later time, provides a number of benefits for the electrical grid, such as flexibility, generation and distribution and increased reliability, most storage options are in the early phases of development.  Building off of a March 2014 workshop hosted by ENR, the Oregon Department of Energy, the U.S. Department of Energy, and the Oregon Public Utilities Commission, this research project will evaluate opportunities and obstacles to furthering our ability to store energy.  Faculty and practitioner resources:  Roberta Mann, Jennifer Gleason and Jason Eisdorfer (Oregon Public Utilities Commission)
 
Regulating Emission under Section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act:  This project will evaluate opportunities, limitations, and the latest trends regarding the Environmental Protection Agency and the states’ use of its authority under Section 111 of the Clean Air Act to regulate sources of greenhouse gas emissions.  Faculty and practitioner resources:  Jennifer Gleason and Jason Eisdorfer (Oregon Public Utilities Commission)
 
Food Resiliency Project:
Food as a Transnational Legal Concept: This project examines how different concepts, such as food sovereignty, food security, food justice and the right to food, are put into practice and defined through law. It studies both domestic and international institutions in order to appreciate how local institutions and practices can have global implications, and how global institutions and practices can have local implications.  Faculty and practitioner resources:  Michael Fakhri
 
Micro-Local Food Entrepreneurs:  More and more cottage and home-based industries are arising which seek to supply locally and sustainable grown food products to local consumers.  These growers face regulatory and financial obstacles that many local (and national) governmental entities are confronting in an effort to encourage resilient local food supplies.  This project will evaluate current opportunities, national and local policy initiatives, as well as identifying obstacles, to an increasing artisanal food movement.  Faculty and practitioner resources:  Mary Wood

Global Environmental Democracy Project:
Multi-Jurisdictional Plastic Waste and Pollution:  The North Pacific Ocean contains a tremendous amount of plastic debris and waste that threatens marine and coastal natural resources including marine fish, fowl and mammals.  This research project will evaluate the current state of plastic waste, technological tools to remediate the pollution, and legal opportunities and impediments to address the problem.  Faculty and practitioner resources:  Richard Hildreth
 
Native Environmental Sovereignty Project:
Trust Doctrine:  Including the recent 2013 Depart of the Interior Report of the Commission on Indian Trust Administration, this project will evaluate the latest legal parameters of the Federal government’s trust obligation to Indian tribes with a special focus on the threat that climate change poses to Indian resources.  Faculty and practitioner resources:  Mary Wood
 
Oceans, Coasts and Watersheds Project:
Willamette River Basin:  Researchers from Oregon State University, the University of Oregon, and Portland State University are examining how climate change, population growth and economic growth will alter the availability and the use of water in the Willamette Basin over the next one hundred years.  This project builds off of the Willamette Water 2100 project to explore legal and policy flexibilities that will impact instream flow in the Willamette River Basin.  This legal and policy information will be incorporated into a GIS-based modeling tool that will provide decision makers with a way to visualize the Willamette water system and evaluate the interaction of the management choices with changing environmental, socioeconomic and legal conditions and will include realistic legal and policy levers that could be integrated into the model to show the impact that changes to state and federal water law and policy could have on the Willamette Basin for the next hundred years.   !
 Faculty and practitioner resources:  Adell Amos
 
Environmental Education on the Law of the Basin:  As part of a multi-disciplinary team focused on environmental education in EWEB’s service area, law fellows will create informational materials describing water law and policy and providing instruction for high school students in the region.  Faculty and practitioner resources:  Adell Amos, Jared Margolis and Karl Morgenstern (EWEB)
 
Implementing Ecosystem-Based Management in Oregon:  Ecosystem-based management makes the health of coastal ecosystems the organizing principle for managing human activities in those ecosystems.  By providing legal and policy analysis related to integrating EBM with local and state resource decisions, this project will provide critical information to coastal communities about incorporating laws and policy to implement EBM.  EBM is of particular significance as Oregon coastal communities make a wide range of decisions on issues such as energy development, coastal land use planning, ocean acidification and fisheries management.  Faculty and practitioner resources:  Richard Hildreth, Holly Campbell (OSU) and Juna Hickner (Oregon Dept. of Land Cons. and Dev.)
 
Sustainable Land Use Project:
The Suburban Strip, Walkability, and Informal Connections:  This project presents an opportunity to provide invaluable legal tools to support the UO Sustainable Cities Initiative’s efforts to create livable communities by examining the connectivity between residential and commercial developments.  The typical suburban strip mall is a large parcel of development that is often disconnected from its surrounding context.  Although these developments are often surrounded by multifamily and single-family housing that are within walking distance, the overwhelming focus on the automobile has led to strip mall designs that create blank backs to its neighbors.  In spite of this nearly universal design approach, residents living around these strips have typically taken matters into their own hands and have created informal paths, cut through fences, knocked down walls, or even installed gates to have more direct access to the commercial strip.  These connections are widely used but a!
 re often uneven, poorly lit, and potentially hazardous.   Property owners fear that improving the informal paths would equate to admitting their existence and might risk larger liabilities and legal battles.  At the same time, cities often feel that these areas – although serving an important transportation infrastructure function – are beyond their reach.   
 
The ENR Fellow would be charged with investigating the legal ramifications of these connections and options for how these connections might be legitimized (by commercial strip owners, by housing entities, or by the city).  Creating a framework for these connections and informal easements could have a widespread effect on this type of development around the country and would be an important step in significantly improving the walkability and livability of suburban areas.  Faculty and practitioner resources:  Nico Larco (AAA)

Voluntary Incentives to Protect Riparian Buffers:  The Eugene Water and Electric Board (EWEB) has instituted a program to mitigate threats to water quality from various sources including development, agriculture and forestry within the McKenzie River watershed, and is in the process of developing several initiatives designed to incentivize landowners to help protect water quality.  This project will focus on helping EWEB explore and implement potential market mechanisms for voluntary incentives to protect riparian areas.  For example, the Oregon Forest Practices Act requires that logging operations establish stream buffers (usually 20 feet) to protect riparian corridors from damage.  EWEB is interested in providing an incentive for forestry projects to use even larger buffers, in order to protect our water resources and forest habitat.  The ENR Fellow would work with EWEB to design an incentive strategy for increasing these buffer areas, including efforts to utilize the buff!
 er areas as a carbon sink, creating credits that could be used in a carbon Market.  Faculty and practitioner resources:  Jared Margolis and Karl Morgenstern (EWEB)

Environmental Conflict Resolution:
ENR is also seeking a fellow to work jointly with ENR and the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Center on environmental conflict resolution.  Contact Professors Adell Amos and Jennifer Reynolds for potential research suggestions.

Propose Your Own Project:
If a student is interested in a research topic not covered by one of the projects listed above, he or she may propose their topic of interest as a new project to be added to the ENR Center’s interdisciplinary projects roster.

Performance requirements: In addition to the general requirements for all ENR Fellows, Bowerman and David Brower Fellows must complete the project selected during the application process.


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