Georgetown Environmental Law and Policy Program (GELPP)

Faculty Profiles

J. Peter Byrne, Associate Dean for the J.D. program, engages students during class.

As scholars and practitioners, the Georgetown Environmental Law and Policy Program's expert faculty bring critical legal knowledge and real-world experience to the Law Center to best prepare our students for success. Their influence extends well beyond campus to enrich the broader legal and policy community. Through litigation, policy making, scholarly research, and other activities, our acclaimed professors are actively engaged in tackling today's most challenging national and global environmental and energy issues.

Faculty profiles

Notable faculty news:

Lisa Heinzerling was named the Justice William J. Brennan, Jr. Professor of Law on Feb. 19, 2014. Heinzerling's inaugural address as Brennan Professor, A Phone, a Pen, and the U.S. Code, focused on the President's control over agencies' decision making and legal issues raised by that control. Watch the video here.

William W. Buzbee joined Georgetown Law's full-time faculty beginning fall semester 2014. Buzbee served as a visiting professor at Georgetown Law during fall semester 2012, and joins from Emory University School of Law, where he has taught environmental law, administrative law, legislation and regulation, and seminars on environmental, regulatory and constitutional law.

Vicki Arroyo, as Director of Georgetown Law's Environmental Law and Policy Program, administers the new LL.M. degree in environmental law. The program welcomes its first class of students for fall semester 2014. Arroyo continues to lead engaging legal and policy discussions as part of a speaker series focused on climate change that is sponsored by the Georgetown Climate Center and the Georgetown Environment Initiative. Arroyo is Executive Director of the Georgetown Climate Center.

J. Peter Byrne, Associate Dean for the J.D. program, also serves as Faculty Director of the Georgetown Climate Center. In addition, he is the District of Columbia Mayor's Agent for Historic Preservation, a position in which he adjudicates local preservation disputes. Byrne recently co-authored the casebook "Historic Preservation Law," and his recent essay, "The Rebirth of the Neighborhood," appeared in the Fordham Urban Law Journal.

Francis Cabell Brown Professor of International Law Edith Brown Weiss instructs students at Georgetown Law.Edith Brown Weiss saw her book, International Law for a Water Scarce World, published in late 2013. This volume, a fully revised and expanded version of her lectures given at the prestigious Hague Academy of International Law in 2007, focuses on the evolution of international water law in the context of this changing world. Brown Weiss was also invited to teach the General Course at The Hague Academy this year.

Hope Babcock and students at the Institute for Public Representation's (IPR) environmental law clinic, in March 2014, settled its clients' long-running dispute with the Office of Surface Mining (OSM) and Peabody Western Coal Company over renewal of a permit for a large coal mine complex in Arizona. The settlement requires OSM to conduct more thorough historic preservation and environmental impact reviews and to share their findings with IPR's clients, a coalition of environmental groups, including several tribal organizations, and the public before proceeding.

In fall 2013, an IPR student successfully fended off a motion to dismiss Scenic America's lawsuit challenging the Federal Highway Administration's authorization of digital billboards across the country. The motion to dismiss was based on the organization's lack of standing and the lack of finality of the guidance document on which the agency's action was based. The D.C. District Court agreed with IPR on both counts. An IPR student is now writing the merits brief.

Adjunct professors

The Environmental Law and Policy Program features an exceptional collection of adjunct professors who are among the nation's leading practitioners of environmental and energy law and policy. From these experts, our students gain practical skills and first-hand insights into some of the most compelling issues in the field today. Among our many talented adjunct professors are:

Nancy Firestone, a judge of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims. Previously, she served as Deputy Assistant Attorney General at the Department of Justice Environment and Natural Resources Division and was an administrative appeals judge for the Environmental Protection Agency.

William Massey, who recently served as Commissioner at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for more than ten years. He also has extensive experience with energy legislative matters before Congress and state general assemblies.

Lois Schiffer, who was the Assistant Attorney General for the Environmental and Natural Resources Division at the U.S. Department of Justice from 1993-2001. She has argued cases before a number of Courts of Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court.

Robert Sussman, a former Deputy Administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency who teaches a course on the timely topic of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

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