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Public Interest Law Project

Jake Brooks

June 01, 2013

Columbia Riverkeeper

My PILP stipend allowed me to work with Columbia River keeper to help protect and restore the water of the Columbia River. During my time at Columbia Riverkeeper, I was exposed to a wide range of legal issues and environmental challenges facing the Columbia River, from coal export terminals to land development in sensitive riparian habitats. The most striking example of how Columbia Riverkeeper’s work made a difference to the Columbia River was during a Clean Water Act enforcement site visit. The site I visited was a habitual violator of their Clean Water Act storm-water permit. Our notice of intent to file suit brought immediate and drastic changes to the site’s storm-water management system that would drastically improve the quality of the water that entered the Columbia River.  It was amazing how our work could bring a habitual polluter into compliance with their permit and help improve the water quality of the Columbia River. Without the PILP stipend, it would have been impossible for me to help Columbia Riverkeeper in their mission to protect the Columbia River.

Columbia Riverkeeper is a donor-driven nonprofit organization that operates with a small staff in Hood River, Oregon, and does not have the budget to pay for a summer law clerk. PILP allowed me to live in Hood River for the summer and gain valuable legal experience that I hope to use in the future to protect vital natural resources like the Columbia River.