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Environmental Law Clinic Fall 2018 Updates

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The Environmental Law Clinic (ELC) welcomed two new faculty members this fall. Wyatt Sassman joined the clinic as an assistant professor. Sassman previously clerked for Judge Gilbert S. Merritt on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, worked for the Southern Environmental Law Center in Charleston, South Carolina, and taught in the Appellate Courts Immersion Clinic at Georgetown.


Sarah Matsumoto is the new clinical teaching fellow, having previously worked at a public interest environmental law firm in Eugene, Oregon. Matsumoto has extensive expertise in suits under the Clean Water Act and other environmental statutes.

The Environmental Law Clinic began its year with the annual camping trip and tour at Chatfield State Park.

More recently, the clinic presented arguments on behalf of the Audubon Society of Greater Denver to the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, in a case fighting to protect Chatfield State Park under the Clean Water Act. Listen to a recording of the argument here.

Students in the Environmental Law Clinic are representing a coalition of groups (Save the Colorado, Save the Poudre, WildEarth Guardians, Living Rivers, and Waterkeeper Alliance) in a challenge to the proposed Windy Gap Firming Project. The project would further drain the Colorado River by transferring water across the Continental Divide for use on the Front Range. The project also would further impact water quality in Grand Lake as more water would be pumped upstream through the lake. The case is currently pending in federal court in Denver. As a result of this work, clinic students are immersing themselves in environmental law and water policy in the West, particularly how to meet the water needs of a growing population in the face of dwindling water availability due to climate change.

ELC faculty and students visiting Grand Lake, October 19, 2018.

The ELC is also representing clients on issues related to fracking, air quality, water diversions from the Colorado River, renewable energy policy and wildlife and plant protection.