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In one of the most important “green” cases in the nation to date, students in the HLS Environmental Law and Policy Clinic have won yet another victory in their ongoing defense of the State of Kansas for its decision to deny a permit for a coal-fired plant because it failed to account for its greenhouse gas emissions.
The students are litigating the case in every forum in the state, including in a federal district court challenge by Sunflower Electric claiming that the governor and others denied its constitutional rights by denying the permit application. After extensive briefing this fall by the HLS clinical students, the administrative hearing officer recently issued a decision in favor of its clients.
“To date, we've won each proceeding,” says Wendy Jacobs, director of the clinic and Assistant Clinical Professor of Law, who predicts the clinical students will be back in the Kansas Supreme Court during the spring as litigation continues.
The Kansas project was initiated last year by Jacobs, who reached out to the state’s Secretary of the Department of Health and Environment to help defend his position after his highly controversial decision to deny the permit. The permit denial was the first of its kind in the country. Under Jacobs’ direction, the clinic officially serves as co-counsel with the General Counsel of the Department in defense of several lawsuits, and a team of HLS students has been working on the case since December 2007, participating in every aspect of the litigation and the administrative hearings, including filing two briefs in the Kansas Supreme Court. The clinic also assisted the Secretary in preparation of his testimony on the matter before the U.S. Congress, and three clinic students traveled last spring to Washington D.C. to observe the hearings.
Clinical students are involved in a number of other projects. “We are very busy and doing great, cutting edge work,” says Jacobs. Among their efforts this fall:
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