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Melissa Powers

Jeffrey Bain Faculty Scholar and Professor of Law

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Melissa Powers is a Jeffrey Bain Faculty Scholar and Professor of Law at Lewis & Clark Law School in Portland, Oregon. In 2014-2015, Melissa was a Fulbright-Schuman Scholar researching Denmark and Spain’s renewable energy laws. Melissa is also the founder and faculty director of the Green Energy Institute at Lewis & Clark Law School, an organization that designs policies to a transition to a zero-carbon energy system.

Melissa teaches climate change law, electricity regulation, renewable energy law, the Clean Air Act, administrative law, and torts. She received the Leo Levenson Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2012. Melissa has taught several times as a visiting professor at the University of Trento, Italy. She has also visited at the University of Bologna, Italy; Kangwon National University, Republic of Korea; University of Navarra, Spain; and the University of Maine. She conducted her Fulbright-Schuman research at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, and the Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Tarragona, Catalonia.

Melissa’s research focuses on energy reform, climate change mitigation, and pollution control. She is a co-author of the books Climate Change and the Law and Principles of Environmental Law, and several articles and book chapters focused on climate and energy law.

Melissa serves on the boards of the Northwest Environmental Defense Center and the Environmental Law Collaborative, and she is a member scholar of the Center for Progressive Reform. She also previously served as a co-chair of the Research Committee and as a Governing Board member of the IUCN Academy of Environmental Law.

Melissa received her J.D., magna cum laude, from Lewis & Clark Law School in 2001, and her B.A. in environmental sciences from the University of California at Berkeley in 1992. From 2003-2008, Melissa was a Clinical Professor at the Pacific Environmental Advocacy Center, now Earthrise Law Center, the domestic environmental law clinic at Lewis & Clark.

Specialty Areas & Course Descriptions

Academic Credentials

  • J.D., magna cum laude, 2001, Lewis & Clark Law School
  • B.A., 1992, University of California, Berkeley



  • Johnston & Powers, Concise Hornbook Series: Principles of Environmental Law (2015).
  • Wold, Hunter & Powers, Climate Change and the Law (2d ed. 2013).

Book Chapters

  • United States Municipal Climate Plans: What Role Will Cities Play in Climate Change Mitigation?, in Local Climate Change Law: Environmental Regulation in Cities and other Localities (The IUCN Academy of Environmental Law series) (ed. Richardson)(2012).
  • Land Use Regulation versus Property Rights: What Oregon = s Recent Battles Could Mean for Sustainable Governance, in Governance for Sustainability: Issues, Challenges and Successes (eds. Bosselman, Engel, & Taylor) (2008).
  • Crimes Against the Environment, 2004 Update (authored Chapters 4 and 5; Susan Mandiberg authored the remaining chapters) (2004).


  • Quick Fixes or Real Remedies? The Benefits and Limitations of Climate and Energy Fast Policy, 8 San Diego Journal of Climate & Energy Law 67 (2017)
  • Facilitating The U.S. Renewable Transition: From Ad Hoc Integration to Comprehensive Reform, 6 IUCN Academy of Environmental Law e-Journal 22 (2015)
  • Sustainable Energy Subsidies, 43 Envtl. L. 211 (2013)
  • Small is (Still) Beautiful: Designing U.S. Energy Policies to Increase Localized Renewable Energy Generation, 30 Wis. Int’l L. J (forthcoming 2012).
  • Country Report: USA, Climate Change in the Supreme Court, 1 IUCN Academy of Environmental Law e-Journal 245 (2012).
  • King Corn: Will the Renewable Fuel Standard Eventually End Corn Ethanol = s Reign?, 11 Vt. J. Envtl. L. 667 (2010).
  • The Cost of Coal: Climate Change and the End of Coal as a Source of “Cheap” Electricity, U. Pa. J. Bus. L. 407 (2010).
  • Integrating the Clean Air Act with Cap-and-Trade, 37 Rutgers L. Rec. 150 (2010).
  • The New U.S. Renewable Fuel Standard: Slow Movements Towards Sustainability, IUCN Academy of Environmental Law E-Journal (2010).
  • United States Country Report: Developments in Climate Change Law, IUCN Academy of Environmental Law E-Journal (2010).
  • Avoiding Dam Breaching Through Offsite Mitigation: NMFS = s 2000 Biological Opinion on the Columbia Basin Hydroelectric Operations, 32 Envtl. L. 241 (2002) (with Michael C. Blumm).
  • The Spirit of the Salmon: How the Tribal Restoration Plan Could Restore Columbia Basin Salmon, 30 Envtl. L. 867 (2000).
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Melissa Powers’s office is located in room 342 of Legal Research Center.


voice 503-768-6727

Melissa Powers Jeffrey Bain Faculty Scholar and Professor of Law

Lewis & Clark Law School 10015 S.W. Terwilliger Boulevard MSC 51 Portland OR 97219 USA

45.45177; -122.677216