Environmental Alums in the Military
Lewis & Clark’s Environmental Law LLM program has welcomed many military lawyers as students through the years. We recently reached out to some of our alums and a soon-to-be graduate to find out how they are using their environmental training in their military careers:
Joan M. Malik (LLM 2009)
“It has been 5 years since I graduated from Lewis & Clark’s LLM program and my practice in the Navy’s JAG Corps has been predominately environmental law focused since graduation. I have had the opportunity to utilize my environmental law training as the Navy’s Regional Environmental Counsel in the Pacific Northwest (for Washington, Oregon, Alaska primarily) as well as counsel within higher commands in the Navy and Department of Defense in Washington D.C, to include my current position as Deputy Legal Counsel for Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Fleet Readiness and Logistics. The core principles of environmental law that I learned while in the Masters of Law program at Lewis & Clark, to include fundamentals of Ocean and Coastal law, Public Lands Law, Clean Water and other Natural Resource laws are a constant part of my daily practice as I help Navy environmental planners and biologists ensure Navy activities comply with the various environmental laws.
In a month, I will depart D.C. for Hawaii to assume the Fleet Environmental Counsel role in support of Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet. The U.S. Pacific Fleet protects and defends the maritime interests of the United States within the Indio-Asia-Pacific region. In conducting this mission, the Navy is committed to environmental stewardship which includes protecting marine life by using protective measures, working with regulatory agencies and furthering our understanding marine mammals through research. While at U.S. Pacific Fleet, I will have the opportunity to work with interdisciplinary teams of military operators, biologists and environmental planners, working to ensure Navy military readiness activities are conducted not only in a realistic environment but also in compliance with environmental laws. I enjoy the work because it is a team effort that includes preparing sound environmental planning documents, meeting with the public to share information and explaining technical, often cutting edge science at times. If I’m lucky, I’ll have some down time away from work to get outdoors and explore that same maritime environment while stationed there as well!”
Captain Dan Eldredge (LLM 2005)
After receiving my LLM (cum laude) from Lewis & Clark, I served as the Region Environmental Counsel for Navy Region Southwest and later as the Pacific Fleet Environmental Counsel where I earned the Navy Litigation Office Richard W. Eddy commendation for excellence in environmental litigation.
During my time as a Region and Fleet Environmental Counsel (2005 to 2009), I was the legal advisor for several at-sea Environmental Impact Statements and Environmental Assessments in the waters of southern California, Washington and Oregon, the Gulf of Alaska, and Hawaii. I appeared before the California Coastal Commission and met with Commission members concerning multiple federal consistency determinations. I co-authored an article with an archaeologist in Navy’s “Currents” magazine about the cultural sites on San Clemente Island off the coast of southern California. I was part of the legal team supporting the U.S. Navy’s successful U.S. Supreme Court case of NRDC v. Winter.
I was the legal advisor for an Environmental Assessment following the grounding of the USS Port Royal off of the island of Oahu and provided legal counsel to the then largest coral restoration project to date undertaken by the Navy. I worked on a daily basis with marine and terrestrial wildlife biologists, environmental planners, underwater acoustics experts, and the operational Navy in support of the Navy’s environmental readiness program.
Following that tour, I served as the Fleet Judge Advocate for Commander, U.S. Second Fleet until it was disestablished in 2011 followed by a tour as the operational Fleet Judge Advocate for Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command until the summer of 2012. I then served as the Commanding Officer of Region Legal Service Office, Naval District Washington until assuming my present position in May 2013 as the Force Judge Advocate for Commander, Navy Installations Command.
Elizabeth Rosso (LLM 2014)
Participating in the LLM program has been an amazing experience. In addition to building a broad foundation of environmental knowledge, I was able to write on a topic directly applicable to my next duty assignment - interpretation and application of the Submerged Lands Act to national defense activities. I have yet to see exactly how my new degree will play out in my military career, but now I have the education necessary to fill a variety of environmental law positions within the Navy.
I’ve loved every minute of this last year (okay, maybe not exams…) and am excited to put my new knowledge to work.