By Jonathon Lubrano, VCPC graduate research fellow
The William & Mary Environmental Law and Policy Review (ELPR) has received the Law Student Program of the Year Award from the American Bar Association Section of Environment, Energy and Resources (ABA SEER). This prestigious honor recognizes the best public service project or student-organized educational program in the field of environmental energy, or natural resources law.
ELPR earned this award for their symposium in February, which was cosponsored by the Virginia Coastal Policy Center. The symposium, entitled “And Justice for All: Current Developments in Environmental Justice,” brought together experts from the federal, state, and local levels to discuss the nature of environmental justice with students, faculty, staff, and the Hampton Roads community. This event, led by ELPR Symposium Editor Rosemary Hambright, combined issues of local significance with the broader environmental and social concerns of our nation.
“The Law School is enormously proud of the William & Mary Environmental Law and Policy Review for its award from the American Bar Association in recognition of the outstanding conference it hosted last February on environmental justice,” said Davison Douglas, dean of William & Mary law school. “The students who organized this gathering did a marvelous job attracting a strong roster of speakers to engage a very important issue.”
According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, environmental justice is the “fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies.”
The symposium served to remind attendees that this worthy goal is often unfulfilled even in our own backyard here in Virginia. At the event, Erica Holloman, project coordinator for the Southeast CARE Coalition, highlighted that the areas of Newport News most likely to be damaged by recurrent flooding are the areas where the median income of residents is less than half of other parts of the city. The Virginia Coastal Policy Center has an ongoing partnership working with Holloman and the Southeast CARE Coalition, an organization that addresses environmental issues in the southeast community of Newport News, Virginia.
“Environmental justice is an important issue that deserves continued attention, discussion, and action. Thank you to ABA SEER for honoring ELPR and VCPC’s hard-working students and for helping to shine a light on environmental justice. Thank you to the speakers who shared their talents and expertise. Congratulations to the numerous ELPR and VCPC students whose passion made the event possible. Let’s keep up the momentum,” says Hambright, who organized and moderated the symposium.
The award ceremony was held on Sunday, August 7, in San Francisco. Hambright and Mary Boothe, a fellow William & Mary law student, received the award on behalf of the ELPR.