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Environmental and Natural Resources Law Clinic Receives Grant

2/24/2022

I am delighted to announce that the Delaware Law School’s Environmental and Natural Resources Law Clinic has been named as the recipient of grant funding from the GreenWatch Institute, which is dissolving and gifting all its existing funds to the Clinic, totaling over $350,000.  Please see the attached press release detailing this wonderful development.  The decision by GreenWatch to dedicate its funding to the Law School’s Environmental Clinic is a wonderful testament to all faculty and students who have participated in the Clinic’s fine work throughout the years, including Distinguished Professor James May, and his inaugural work creating the environmental clinic and related organizations at the Law School, and of course the superb present leadership of our colleague Professor and Clinic Director Kenneth Kristl.  Please join me in congratulating Ken and all our colleagues who have participated in the environmental programs of the Law School for this magnificent recognition and generous gift.

-Dean Rod Smolla

Press Release Follows:

GreenWatch Institute to Dissolve and Dedicate Funds to Legal Efforts to Protect the Delaware River Watershed

Funds to be Administered by the Delaware Community Foundation to Support Mid-Atlantic Environmental Law Center in Association with the Environmental and Natural Resources Law Clinic at Widener University Delaware Law School

 

Established in 1992, the GreenWatch Institute (GreenWatch) is a Delaware-based 501(c)(4) not-for-profit company that provides grants in support of other environmental non-profits in the Delaware River Watershed. GreenWatch announces today that it is dissolving and have transferred its financial resources to two charitable funds at the Delaware Community Foundation, for two primary purposes: (1) use for watershed-based advocacy by the Mid-Atlantic Law Center in association with the Environmental and Natural Resources Law Clinic at Widener University Delaware Law School; and, (2) continuation of student environmental advocacy awards at the law school.

Since 1998, GreenWatch has distributed nearly $400,000 to 27 organizations, including in support of legal action by the Mid-Atlantic Environmental Law Center and the Delaware RiverKeeper Network; education efforts by the Delaware Audubon, Brandywine Conservancy, Delaware Nature Society, Partnership for the Delaware Estuary and Clean Air Council; water quality protection projects by St. Andrew’s School and the Delaware RiverKeeper Network; and wildlife and habitat conservation efforts by Delaware Wildlands, The Nature Conservancy, and the Marine Education, Research & Rehabilitation Institute. Since 2000, GreenWatch has also granted more than $34,000 in scholarship awards to 49 students at Widener University Delaware School of Law in memory of past Directors Jerry Shields, Chuck Zencey and June MacArtor, all to support environmental advocacy.

"Greenwatch's generous and important decision to create a permanent source of funds for the Clinic will help protect the Delaware River watershed from those who flout environmental laws. In addition, the funds will help train the next generation of environmental lawyers," says Professor Kenneth T. Kristl, Director of the Environmental and Natural Resources Law Clinic at Widener University Delaware Law School in Wilmington, Delaware, and Executive Director of the Mid-Atlantic Environmental Law Center. The Clinic – the 4th longest-running in the world – supervises senior law students in pro bono legal actions on behalf of the environment. The Center – established in 1998 – is the region’s sole public interest environmental law firm. The funds will also support the clinic’s ongoing compliance monitoring at the Keystone Facility.

GreenWatch – consisting of Brenna Goggin (Chair), Kate Hutelmyer (Vice Chair), Michael McGrath (Secretary), Debbie Heaton (Treasurer), and Members ; Jay Cooperson, Regina Katz and Jim May (who founded and is the past President of the Mid-Atlantic Environmental Law Center and directed the Environmental and Natural Resources Law Clinic from 1992-2004) – recently decided to disband and dissolve the organization and dedicate residuals from its remaining trust fund of nearly $400,000.

The Greenwatch Institute was formed in Delaware as the result of a settlement in DE Superior Court with Keystone Cogeneration Systems, Inc. in 1991, Shields v. Keystone Cogeneration Systems, Inc., Del. Super., C.A. 91A-11-11. In that case, the Keystone company (now Logan Generating Plant) sought to build a pier in the Delaware Estuary to unload coal for its fossil-fuel fired powerplant in Salem County, New Jersey. This required a permit from the State of Delaware under its landmark 1971 Coastal Zone Act. Environmental organizations and landowners brought a lawsuit, concerned about adverse environmental effects to water quality and rare species. To settle that lawsuit, the company agreed to implement numerous environmental safeguards, allow compliance monitoring, and establish a trust fund for the benefit of the Delaware Watershed managed by GreenWatch. GreenWatch’s original board consisted of Jerry Shields (president), Jay Cooperson, Clem Bowen, Chuck Zency and June MacArtor.

“While this closes an important chapter in the life of the GreenWatch Institute, our work is not over. We hope individuals, corporations, and partners that value the beauty and services the Delaware River watershed provides, will offer their support to the Delaware Community Foundation, directing their donations to the GreenWatch Institute Delaware River Watershed Protection Fund established by the GreenWatch Institute,” says Brenna Goggin, Board Chair of GreenWatch.

About the Delaware Community Foundation

The mission of the Delaware Community Foundation is to improve the lives of the people of Delaware by empowering and growing philanthropy through knowledge and relationships, now and in the future. As a facilitator, information resource and manager of charitable funds, the DCF helps communities and philanthropists focus charitable resources for the greatest community benefit statewide. For more information, visit delcf.org or call 302.571.8004.