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Environmental, Natural Resources, & Energy Law

Natural Resources Law Institute

The Natural Resources Law Institute (NRLI) provides a focus for legal scholarship at Lewis & Clark’s law school. The NRLI supports work by an annual research fellow, distinguished faculty visitor, and visiting scholars from around the globe, as well as faculty research. The institute has coordinated more than 20 educational programs dealing with natural resources law, several of which have been conducted nationwide. NRLI also conducts intensive, specialized environmental law trainings for federal judges, government agencies, and judges and lawyers in other countries.

NRLI cosponsors, with various student groups, a series of Environmental Colloquia at the law school, attracting local, regional, and national speakers on a range of topics. These colloquia are free and open to the public.

NRLI provides nearly all of the law clerks under contract to the Bonneville Power Administration’s Office of General Counsel. Students placed at BPA work on issues of fish and wildlife restoration, regional power management, environmental impacts, endangered species, and rate setting.

NRLI News provides updates and our annual report on the institute.


NRLI Distinguished Visitors

On October 18, 2016, Lewis & Clark’s Environmental Law program welcomed Professor Dan Esty as the 29th annual Natural Resources Law Institute Distinguished Visitor. During his visit at Lewis & Clark Law School, Professor Esty sat in on classes, led our LLM seminar, met with students, and delivered a lecture on October 19th at 5:30 pm at the law school. The lecture was titled “From 20th Century Environmental Protection to 21st Century Sustainability: Evolving Law and Policy.”  

Dan Esty is the Hillhouse Professor at Yale University with primary appointments in Yale’s Environment and Law Schools and a secondary appointment at the Yale School of Management. He serves as Director of the Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy ( He is the author or editor of ten books and dozens of articles on environmental protection, energy, and sustainability – and their connections to corporate strategy, competitiveness, trade, performance measurement, and economic development. 

From 2011 to 2014, Prof. Esty served as Commissioner of Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection where he earned a reputation for bringing innovative thinking to both energy and environmental policy making. Prior to taking up his Yale Professorship in 1994, he served in a variety of senior positions at the US Environmental Protection Agency (where he helped negotiate the 1992 Framework Convention on Climate Change) and was a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington, DC.

Prior to the start of the lecture on October 19th, the law school honored several alumni as Distinguished Graduates: Jeff Litwak (’97), Gloria Smith (’97), and Eric Fjelstad (’94). The alumni also honored Emma Bruden (’16) as the Williamson Award winner.

Lewis & Clark’s Environmental Law program will announce the 30th annual Natural Resources Law Institute Distinguished Visitor soon.

 Prior Distinguished Visitors include:


Professor Rena Steinzor 

University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law

“How White Collar Criminal Enforcement Can Save the Environment” 


Professor Richard L. Revesz New York University School of Law

“Three Stages in the Evolution of Environmental Policy”

Professor Jim Salzman  Duke University

“Turning the World Upside Down: How Frames of Reference Shape Environmental Law”

Professor Hope Babcock  Georgetown Law

“Putting a Price on Whales to Save Them”      

Professor Jody Freeman   Harvard Law

  “The President’s Role in Environmental Law”


Professor Douglas A. Kysar
Yale Law School

“What Climate Change Can Do About Tort Law”


Professor J.B. Ruhl
Florida State University College of Law

“After Cap-and-Trade: The Climate-Forced Path of Environmental Law”

2008 Professor Christopher Schroeder
Duke University School of Law
“Moving the 21st Century Environmental Agenda: Lessons from the Environmental Decade of the 1970s”
2007 Professor Lisa Heinzerling
Georgetown University Law Center
“Climate Change in the Supreme Court”
2006 Professor Robert Glennon
University of Arizona Rogers College of Law
“The Environmental Consequences of
Groundwater Pumping:
Herein Tales of Bottled Water
and French Fries”
2005 Professor Eric Freyfogle
University of Illinois School of Law
“Goodbye to the Public/Private Divide”
2004 Professor Nicholas Robinson
Pace University School of Law
“Conceiving Laws for the Biosphere”
2003 Dean David H. Getches
University of Colorado
School of Law
“Water Wrongs: Why Can’t We Do It Right the First Time?”
2002 Professor Robert Percival
University of Maryland
School of Law
“Greening the Constitution”
2001 Professor Zygmunt Plater
Boston College School of Law
“Law and the Fourth Estate: Endangered Nature, the Press, and the Dicey Game of Democratic Governance”
2000 John Leshy, Solicitor
U.S. Department of Interior (1993-2001)
“The Babbit Legacy at the Department of Interior: A Preliminary View”
1999 Professor Barton Thompson, Jr.
Stanford University
Law School
“Tragically Difficult: The Problems of Regulating the Commons”
1998 Professor Suedeen G. Kelly
University of New Mexico
School of Law
“The New Electric Power Houses in America: Will They Transform Your Life?”
1997 Professor Oliver Houck
Tulane University
School of Law
“Are Humans Part of Ecosystems?”
1996 Professor Richard Lazarus
Georgetown University
Law Center
“Fairness in Environmental Law”
1995 Professor Gerald Torres
University of Texas
School of Law
“Taking & Giving: Police Power, Public Value, and Private Right”
1994 Professor Robert Fowler
Director, Australian Centre
for Environmental Law
“Applying Environmental Disclosure Requirements Extraterritorially to Transnational Corporations”
1993 Professor Carol Rose
Yale Law School
“Environmental Lessons”
1992 Professor Harrison Dunning
University of California
at Davis School of Law
“Current Issues”
1991 Professor William Rodgers
University of Washington
Law School
“Working with Scientists, Public Lands Acquisition, Other Recent Lessons from Washington, D.C.”
1990 Professor Daniel Farber
University of Minnesota
School of Law
“Reserve Mining and Judicial Review”
1989 Professor James Krier
University of Michigan
Law School
“The Critical Roles of Politics and Economics in Resolving Environmental Issues”
1988 Professor Frederick Anderson
American University
Washington College of Law
“Environmental Aspects of Recombinant DNA Research and Products”