Environmental Law Essay

Columbia Law School student Channing Jones ’17 recently claimed first place in the New York State Bar Association’s annual environmental law writing competition, with second place being awarded to Esmeralda Colombo ’16 LL.M.  

His paper, “Energy Efficiency as Best Available Control Technology: Practices and Possibilities,” was chosen as winner of the 2016 New York State Bar Association Environmental Law Section’s Professor William R. Ginsberg Memorial Essay Contest. The competition is open to all J.D. and LL.M. students from across New York state, and judging criteria include organization, practicality, originality, quality of research, and clarity of style.

Jones’ essay examines how the Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) provisions of the Clean Air Act—which apply to most greenhouse gas emissions in the United States— might be deployed as an energy efficient means to control these emissions, and what impacts, if any, Best Available Control Technology (BACT) protocols have on air pollution.

“It’s a big honor to be selected as winner of this essay contest, and it definitely encourages me to continue researching and writing about environmental law,” said Jones, a native of the Seattle suburbs, who considered himself an environmentalist from a young age.

Jones wrote the winning paper while he was a student in Professor Michael B. Gerrard’s Advanced Climate Change Law seminar, which examines cutting-edge U.S. and international issues in the regulation of climate change. Last year’s award went to another student of Gerrard’s, Gregg Badichek ’16, for his essay, “Resolving Conflicts Between Endangered Species Conservation & Renewable Energy Siting: Wiggle Room for Renewables?” 

“It's quite gratifying that two years in a row, our students won first prize in this important and competitive contest. It's a sign of the strength of our environmental program and the quality of the students who come here,” said Gerrard, director of the Law School’s Sabin Center for Climate Change. “Tackling the world’s serious legal problems will require a great deal of serious legal analysis, and Channing and Gregg are already contributing.” [Badichek currently serves as a judicial law clerk with the U.S. Court of International Trade.]

Jones credits Gerrard with encouraging him to examine greenhouse gas regulation for this essay, and for providing guidance on coursework, research, and career. “Professor Gerrard is an invaluable resource for students interested in environmental law at Columbia and in the New York community,” Jones said, noting the professor also advised him on his Columbia Journal of Environmental Law note titled “Intersection of the Natural Gas Act with State Environmental Regulation.”

Colombo, a lawyer from Italy, took second place in the competition for her essay titled “Enforcing International Law in U.S. Courts: The Law of the Sea Convention at Play in Kivalina.” Her piece focused on potential avenues of legal recourse for members of an Iñupiat community in Alaska affected by water pollution from a nearby zinc mine.  

Now a research fellow at the University of Bergen in Norway, Colombo intends to use her case study on Kivalina as part of her dissertation and as the mold for prospective case studies on instances of environmental pollution unfolding in Europe.

The annual competition is named for the late environmental law pioneer William R. Ginsberg, and is meant to challenge law students to analyze the environmental issues confronting the world today. The 2016 awards will be presented during the New York State Bar Associations’ fall meeting, Oct. 14–16, in Cooperstown, New York. 

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Posted October 11, 2016

Writing Contests

Columbia Law School students with an interest in environmental law can participate in several writing competitions each year. This page includes a selection of recent opportunities.

 

Current Contests:

 

White River Environmental Law Writing Competition

The Vermont Journal of Environmental Law has just announced the launch of the third annual White River Environmental Law Writing Competition.  The winning essay will receive a $1000 cash prize and an offer of publication with the Vermont Journal of Environmental Law. All students at accredited United States law schools are invited to submit original articles that address a relevant topic in environmental law. Last year's winner was Luis Inaraja Vera of New York University School of Law. You can find Luis's article, Compelled Costs Under CERCLA: Incompatible Remedies, Joint and Several Liability, and Tort Law, in VEJL Volume 17. Additional submission requirements and deadlines can be found on the VEJL website. The winning entry will be announced in January 2017.

 

Environmental Law Institute Henry L. Diamond Constitutional Environmental Law Writing Competition

The Environmental Law Institute (ELI) is pleased to announce the 2016-17 Henry L. Diamond Constitutional Environmental Law Writing Competition. This annual competition invites law students from across the country to submit papers exploring current issues of constitutional environmental law. Our goal is to recognize students who have advanced the state of scholarship through original analysis of cutting-edge topics in this area. The winner receives a $2000 cash prize, public recognition, an offer of publication in ELI’s flagship journal, the Environmental Law Reporter (ELR), and a one-year individual membership to ELI. 

Last year’s competition produced winner Megan McLean of Vanderbilt Law School. Her article, “Throwing Shade: The Case Against Judicial Interference With Solar Net Metering Policies," appears in the October 2016 issue of ELR. 

A copy of the 2016-17 competition notice is attached. We would greatly appreciate your circulating it among your students. Submissions are due on April 10, 2017. For more about the competition and past winners, please visit the ELI website for more information.

If you have any questions, please contact Jessye Waxman at waxman@eli.org or (202) 939-3860.


 

Past Contests:

 

Professor Willam R. Ginsberg Memorial Essay Contest

This annual competition is designed to challenge law students to analyze the environmental issues confronting us today.

Presented by: Environmental Law Section 

Contact: Lisa Bataille

Nomination Deadline: June 1, 2016 

Date Presented: Section's Fall Meeting 

Award Criteria: Contest is open to all students enrolled in a New York State law school. Essays may have been submitted for course credit or for law reviews, but not as part of paid employment. Criteria for judging entries will be organization, practicality, originality, quality of research, clarity of style.

Length: Maximum length, 35 double-spaced pages (including footnotes, which may be single-spaced).

Format: Each entrant MUST submit a hard copy AND an electronic copy in either Microsoft Word or Wordperfect 5.0. Essays may be emailed to kplog@nysba.org

Prize Awarded: 1st place: $1,000 and publication by the NYSBA. 2nd and 3rd place: $500 and $250 respectively - consideration of publication by the NYSBA. Certificates. 

Click to view the informational flyer.

2015 Essay Contest Winner - Gregg Badichek (Columbia)

Previous Award Recipients

 

2015-2016 Beveridge & Diamond Constitutional Environmental Law Writing Competition

The deadline for the 2015-2016 Constitutional Environmental Law Writing Competition is fast approaching! Entries must be received no later than 11:59 pm ET on Monday, April 4, 2016. 

Students should email entries (and any questions) to Talia Fox at fox@eli.org. 

Organized by the Environmental Law Institute (ELI) and the National Association of Environmental Law Societies (NAELS), this annual competition invites law students from across the country to submit papers exploring current issues of constitutional environmental law. The winner will receive a $2000 cash prize, an offer of publication in ELI’s flagship journal, the Environmental Law Reporter (ELR), and a one-year individual membership to ELI.

For more information about the competition and past winners, please visit our website. We look forward to receiving submissions from your law school!

ABA SEER Public Land and Resources Writing Competition

The ABA SEER’s Public Land and Resources Writing Competition is now open for entries. Papers must demonstrate original thought on a question of legal and/or policy significance relating to the topic of the role of public lands and policy. The topic is not confined to any particular type of public lands issue. Submissions may advocate a position, educate the reader, or analyze one or more cases. 

Seminar papers, notes, and comments are fine, so long as the work hasn't been previously published.  Applause, cash prizes, and publication opportunities await successful contestants!

More information is available here: http://www.americanbar.org/groups/environment_energy_resources/membership/law_student_resources/writing_competitions.html.

The deadline to submit entries is May 20, 2016.

ABA SEER Writing Competitions

Length Limit: 2500 words (~10 pages).
Deadline: May 31, 2016.
Awards: Cash awards of $1000, $750, $500; posting of paper on website; various announcements; etc.

Submissions may advocate a position, educate the reader, or analyze one or more cases. Seminar papers, notes, and comments are fine, so long as the work hasn't been previously published.  Applause, cash prizes, and publication opportunities await successful contestants! The rules are attached.

Natural Resources Writing Competition: Papers must demonstrate original thought on a question of legal and/or policy significance relating to the topic of the role of public lands and policy. http://apps.americanbar.org/dch/committee.cfm?com=NR251100.

Endangered Species Writing Competition: Must be on a question of legal and/or policy significance on any issue related to species conservation law, including endangered and threatened species, biodiversity, habitat conservation, and similar themes. http://apps.americanbar.org/dch/committee.cfm?com=NR350200.

Beveridge & Diamond Constitutional Environmental Law Writing Competition

The Environmental Law Institute (ELI) is pleased to announce the 2015-16 Beveridge & Diamond Constitutional Environmental Law Writing Competition.

Organized by ELI and the National Association of Environmental Law Societies (NAELS), this annual competition invites law students from across the country to submit papers exploring current issues of constitutional environmental law. Our goal is to inform the ongoing debate about the constitutional legitimacy of environmental laws and to recognize students who have advanced the state of scholarship through original analysis of cutting-edge topics. The winner receives a $2000 cash prize, public recognition, an offer of publication in ELI's flagship journal, the Environmental Law Reporter (ELR), and a one-year individual membership to ELI.

Last year's competition produced winner Joel Reschly of Lewis & Clark Law School. His article, 'Pesticides, Water Quality, and the Public Trust Doctrine," will appear in the October 2015 issue of ELR.

For more about the competition and past winners, please visit http://www.eli.org/program_areas/writing_competition_index.cfm. Submissions are due on April 4, 2016.

If you have any questions, please contact ELI Research Associate Talia Fox at fox@eli.org or (202) 939-3241.

ABA Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources (SEER) Writing Competition: Endangered Species

The American Bar Association is looking for the best essays discussing "any aspect of dispute resolution practice, theory or research related to environmental, energy, or natural resource conflicts" or analyzing "the dispute resolution process used in a particular case." Submissions may advocate a position, educate the reader, or analyze one or more cases.

First prize is $1,000, second prize is $750, and third prize is $500.  Winners’ essays will be publicized and published on our website and in our newsletter.

The submission deadline is April 13, 2015. For more information about the 2015 competition, click here or contact Cristina Vautier at (312) 988-5625 or Cristina.Vautier@americanbar.org.

Beveridge & Diamond Constitutional Environmental Law Writing Competition

Organized by the Environmental Law Institute (ELI) and the National Association of Environmental Law Societies (NAELS), this annual competition invites law students from across the country to submit papers exploring current issues of constitutional environmental law. Our goal is to inform the ongoing debate about the constitutional legitimacy of environmental laws and to recognize students who have advanced the state of scholarship through original analysis of cutting-edge topics. The winner receives a $2000 cash prize, public recognition, an offer of publication in ELI’s flagship journal, the Environmental Law Reporter (ELR), and a one-year individual membership to ELI.

Last year’s competition produced winner Paul Stewart of Wayne State University. His article, “The Overlooked Vulnerabilities of State-Level Greenhouse Gas Regulations Under Pike Balancing and Possibilities for Addressing Those Vulnerabilities,” will appear in the December 2014 issue of ELR.

For more about the competition and past winners, please see the competition flyer or visit http://www.eli.org/program_areas/writing_competition_index.cfm. If you have any questions, please contact ELI Research Associate Talia Fox at fox@eli.org or (202) 939-3241.

Constance Baker Motley National Student Writing Competition

ACS's National Student Writing Competition bears Constance Baker Motley's name in honor of her legacy as a civil rights leader, elected official, and the first African-American woman appointed to the federal bench. Papers will be judged on their effective use, analysis and/or expansion of legal scholarship. The judging committee will include federal judges and leading academics.
The student authors of the top three papers will receive special recognition at the ACS National Convention in the summer of 2015 and a cash prize for their work. The winner will be awarded $3,000 and each of the two runners-up will receive $1,000. The top paper will also receive an offer of publication in the University of Pennsylvania Journal of Constitutional Law.

Examples of topics include but are not limited to: Civil legal aid, civil liberties, education, freedom of speech, LGBT rights, human rights, immigration, labor law, money in politics, privacy, racial equality, religion, the second amendment and voting.

The deadline to apply is February 13, 2015.

Click here for more details about the 2015 competition.

Richard D. Cudahy Writing Competition on Regulatory and Administrative Law

The Richard D. Cudahy Writing Competition on Regulatory and Administrative Law is open to a wide array of participants. Practicing lawyers, policymakers, academics, and law students all are encouraged to take part. The judging committee will include federal judges and leading academics. A winner will be selected in both the lawyer and student categories. The author of the winning paper in each category will receive a cash prize of $1,500. The winning papers will receive special recognition at the ACS National Convention, on the ACS website, and potentially through other means agreed upon by the authors and ACS.

We encourage participants to view this topic broadly and welcome submissions on a variety of substantive areas.

Submissions must be emailed by Friday, February 6, 2015, 11:59pm EST. Papers emailed after this date will not be considered. Papers must be emailed to cudahy@acslaw.org in Word format.

Click here for more details about the 2015 competition.

CISDL Legal Essay Competition

Climate Change, Sustainable Development and the Law: Governance Challenges and Innovations

What are the most pressing governance challenges for the world in responding to the threats and opportunities of climate change in 2015 and beyond? Which innovative legal instruments and practices hold potential to help address them? How can they be implemented across diverse sectors?

The Centre for International Sustainable Development Law (CISDL), in cooperation with the Lauterpacht Centre for International Law (LCIL) at the University of Cambridge, the Centre for Research on Climate Resilience (CR2) at the University of Chile, and the Centre for Advanced Studies in Environmental Law and Policy (CASELAP) of the University of Nairobi, is pleased to announce a legal essay competition on "Climate Change, Sustainable Development and the Law: Governance Challenges and Innovations."

The competition is open to law students at the undergraduate and graduate level, from all regions of the world. Students from least developed countries are especially encouraged to apply. Papers should be 10 pages in length single-spaced, and address a current pressing international, regional or local legal research or governance challenge relating to climate change and sustainable development, identifying or proposing innovative legal instruments which might provide solutions to the challenge.

The international gold, two silver and three bronze award winning entries will be announced in a special legal awards ceremony at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of the Parties (CoP20) in Lima, Peru, and will be published internationally by the CISDL. 

Please send entries, along with a 300 word bio, to 'Climate Essay International Jury' at climate-essay@cisdl.org by 5pm EST, November 22, 2014.

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