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Environmental Law Center

Institutes and Initiatives

Vermont Law School is home to a number of environmental institutes and clinical programs that offer our students the opportunity for hands-on experience with current environmental issues. During their time at VLS, students may work closely with world-renowned scholars on issues such as land use policy, energy concerns, environmental law in China, and more. Recent work has taken students as far as the United States Supreme Court to witness cases unfold, and kept them as close as farmer’s fields in South Royalton to assess land-use options. With six separate institutes and initiatives housed under the umbrella of the Environmental Law Center, your opportunities for exploring issues and shaping change are nearly endless.

Institute for Energy and the Environment   New window icon

The Institute for Energy and the Environment serves as a resource on energy law and policy. The Institute develops scholarly, technical and practical publications; provides forums and conferences for professional education and issue development; and serves as a center for graduate research on energy issues, with an environmental awareness.

Thumbnial of Chinese lion sculpture.

U.S.-China Partnership for Environmental Law   New window icon

With financial support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Vermont Law School (VLS) and Sun Yat-sen University (SYSU) have embarked on a collaborative program to advance environmental and energy law and policy in China. The goal of the U.S.-China Partnership for Environmental Law is to strengthen the rule of law in environmental protection and to build capacity among individuals and academic, government, and private-sector institutions to solve pollution and energy problems.

Environmental Tax Policy Institute   New window icon

Vermont Law School’s Environmental Tax Policy Institute analyzes the ways in which taxation can be used to address environmental problems. By serving as a resource for the public and private sectors, non-governmental organizations, the press and academia, the Institute seeks to better inform the public policy debate about the role of environmental taxes at the local, state and federal levels.

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Land Use Institute   New window icon

The Land Use Institute (LUI) addresses land use law and policy issues that are intensifying at the local, national, and international levels and are critical to the development of a sustainable society. These issues include application of smart growth principles, ecological planning, affordable housing, flood hazard mitigation, improving the confluence of energy and land use regulatory decision-making and other permitting processes, and land conservation strategies.

Center for Agriculture and Food Systems

Center for Agriculture and Food Systems   New window icon

Building on Vermont's reputation for small-scale agricultural innovation and ethos of environmental and social sustainability, the Center for Agriculture and Food Systems provides support, research, and leadership for community-based agricultural systems, sustainable agriculture advocates, agencies, food hubs, incubators, and farmers.

Water and Justice program

Water and Justice Program   New window icon

The Water and Justice Program promotes the wise and sustainable use of water resources locally, nationally, and globally through research, education and policy development. The program complements the law school's outstanding faculty and diverse course offerings in the field of water law and policy.
Middle East Environmental Law

Middle East Environmental Law   New window icon

Middle East Environmental Law serves as an education resource for persons around the world interested in the environmental laws and regulations in the Middle East, and as a forum for discussion of environmental law and policy challenges facing the region.
Photo of people walking through field.

Climate Legacy Initiative   New window icon

The Climate Legacy Initiative (CLI) is a collaborative project of Vermont Law School and The University of Iowa. Its overall purpose is to research and promote legal doctrines, principles, and rules appropriate for recognition by courts, legislatures, administrative agencies, and private sector institutions to safeguard present and future generations from harms resulting from global climate change.