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Environmental Law Clinic 2022 Highlights

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Sturm College of Law

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ELC students and Faculty

ELC Student Attorneys at Bear Creek Lake Park evaluating a proposed reservoir expansion project.

The Environmental Law Clinic at the Sturm College of Law began the 2022-23 academic year with its annual camping trip in August, this year to Chatfield State Park. Student attorneys also toured Bear Creek Lake Park (pictured above), where the clinic is working with advocates who are opposing a proposed reservoir expansion project.

The clinic is representing the Center for Biological Diversity and the Center for Environmental Health in a lawsuit challenging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s delay in reviewing Colorado’s smog plan under the Clean Air Act. After seven months of litigation over the delay in federal court, the EPA finally took the challenged action in October 2022. In another case, the clinic is representing the Center for Biological Diversity and WildEarth Guardians in a lawsuit challenging Colorado’s delay in reviewing Title V operating permit renewals for large air pollution sources—some of these permits have been expired since our student attorneys were in elementary or middle school.

Student attorneys are also representing the Center for Biological Diversity and Food & Water Watch in an administrative appeal of Colorado’s permit for concentrated animal feeding operations.  This general permit does not require monitoring to ensure that giant lagoons of feces and other waste are not leaking into groundwater. Although the factory farming industry is upset at being challenged on these issues, the clinic is proud to be enforcing the Clean Water Act to ensure a more healthy and sustainable future for agriculture in Colorado and beyond.  Importantly, the clinic already convinced the state to translate its permit document and fact sheet into Spanish, to better enable communities affected by this action to engage on this issue and advocate for greater protections.  We believe Colorado to be among the first states to draft such translations and we hope this precedent will spread to other states.

ELC Faculty Highlights

Associate Professor Kevin Lynch
Ronald V. Yegge Clinical Director


  • Preliminary Injunctions in Public Law: The Merits, 60 HOUS. L. REV. ___ (forthcoming 2023).
  • Western Water Rights in a 4°C Future, 52 ENVTL. L. REP. 10211 (2022) (with Shi-Ling Hsu and Karrigan Bork).
  • Preemption: Opportunities and Obstacles for Climate Adaptation, book chapter (forthcoming 2023).
  • Adapting to a 4°C World, (with Karrigan Bork et al.), 52 ENVTL. L. REV. 10211 (2022).


  • Interview: Colorado River drought crisis, DU’s RadioEd Podcast.

Assistant Professor Wyatt Sassman



  • “Law and the Political Economy of Petrosuburbs,” ClassCrits XIII Conference: Unlocking Race & Class For Just Transitions, Thurgood Marshall School of Law (Oct. 21, 2022).
  • “Phasing-in Phase-outs: Priorities for a Just Transition in the Petrosuburbs,” Symposium on Climate and Environmental Justice in the 21st Century: A Just Transition, University of Connecticut Law School (Oct. 21, 2022).
  • “The Role of Communities in Renewable Energy Development,” ABA Section of Real Property, Trust & Estate Law (Oct. 13, 2022).
  • “Banning Extraction,” Colloquium on Environmental Scholarship, Vermont Law & Graduate School (Sept. 24, 2022).
  • “The Supreme Court’s Term and Social Justice,” Denver Law Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Program, University of Denver (Aug. 25, 2022).