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October 08, 2017

Bakhtawar Khan

WildEarth Guardians
Portland, Oregon

This past summer I had the honor of working at WildEarth Guardians on their Rewilding Campaign. WildEarth Guardians advocates for the protection and restoration of the wildlife, wild places, wild rivers, and health of the American West and their Rewilding Campaign involves restoration of national forest land by making sure that state and federal agencies are in compliance with environmental regulations.

As a Rewilding Intern, I had the opportunity to work on a variety of very exciting projects. I worked closely with national forest management regulations and federal and state administrative agency procedure issues. Additionally, I developed arguments for standing in the national monument litigation concerning the recent executive orders on designation of national monument lands. One of my projects involved scientific fact gathering and analyzation which, at first, I found outside my comfort zone, but later on, it provided me with important insight into the significance of analyzing and presenting complex information in environmental cases.

My final project involved developing an Administrative Procedure Act Petition. This allowed me the opportunity to develop legal theories to argue for a rule-making action and understand the intricacies of the decision-making processes of administrative agencies. Our Portland office had the opportunity to visit a national forest in Washington, where the Guardians have made a significant impact in the past by advocating for restoration of the scars left by the national forest system roads. This was a great experience because it was a demonstration of the impact I would be making on the environment because of my work with the Guardians.

My summer with WildEarth Guardians enabled me to gain experience with environmental law and make meaningful contributions to the environment. I walked out of my summer with a better understanding of how complex the process of ensuring compliance of environmental laws can be and broadly how to develop legal strategies to ensure compliance with federal laws and regulations. I am extremely grateful to the Public Interest Law Project (PILP) for funding my experience. I would have missed out on such a valuable and insightful experience had I not received the PILP award. The award gave me a chance to pursue my passions, gain hands-on experience, and realize the kind of legal advocate I want to become.