Previous Projects Through the Environmental Policy Clinic
Previously known as the Environmental Policy Clinic, students enrolled in this three-credit course were involved in real-world projects surrounding environmental advocacy and legislation.
Protecting Endangered Species
Governor Cuomo has signed into law a bill based on research conducted by student clinicians. The bill increases New York State’s powers to protect endangered species from the threat of federal policies that weaken protections.
Reducing Road Salt Pollution
Working with New York State lawmakers, student clinicians have successfully initiated new legislation to reduce pollution from road salt. The clinicians' proposal—to develop specialized training for anyone responsible for applying road salt—was introduced in both houses of the New York State Legislature.
Circus elephants are tortured to entertain. Student clinicians wrote and lobbied for the Elephant Protection Act to ban the use of elephants in entertainment in New York. Despite the opposition of the circus and motion picture industries, the Act was signed into law in October 2017 by Governor Andrew Cuomo, making New York the first state to implement an outright ban on elephants in entertainment.
Stopping the Importation of the Big Five
Student clinicians drafted and lobbied for the introduction of the Big Five African Trophies Act to ban the importation, transportation and possession of certain African wildlife species and products in New York. The bill was introduced in the NYS Senate by Senator Anthony Avella and in the Assembly by Assemblyman Luis Sepúlveda during the spring 2018 semester.
Restoring New York Harbor
Pollution ended New York Harbor’s reign as the world oyster capital. With the Billion Oyster Project, clinicians have proposed to Governor Andrew Cuomo an executive order to make oyster restoration an official state policy. With a grant from the National Science Foundation, they are working with city youth to educate the public about the new policy.
Writing Stricter Tobacco Laws
New York is one of only four states that allows underage youth to purchase, possess and use tobacco products, according to research by our student clinicians. They have proposed a new state law prohibiting underage tobacco possession, and testified at a hearing of the New York City Council Health Committee proposing the city do the same.
Stopping Road Kills
Highway traffic kills too many small animals. Clinicians are developing a state policy to make roads safer, in collaboration with state-funded Pace research interns who have studied dozens of highway culverts, and tagged and released more than 100 turtles. Field work will continue this spring, as will clinical research in a unique marriage of science and policy.
Protecting the Hudson River
The Coast Guard has proposed 43 locations to store oil barges on the Hudson River. Student clinicians uncovered Coast Guard documents that proved the agency violated its own rules. They joined dozens of environmental groups and local governments to submit official comments in response to the Coast Guard’s Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking. In June, the Coast Guard withdrew the proposal, pending completion of the very study the Clinic identified as required.