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Legal Environmentalism

April 24th, 2012|

Today, Loose Leaf welcomes its third regular guest blogger, Alison Share, who will be joining us on the fourth Tuesday of each month. Unlike the rest of current blogging team, Alison comes from outside the nonprofit world: She’s a law associate who works in torts and public policy, which often overlaps into the environmental world, so we’re excited by the new perspective she’ll be bringing to the blog each month. So without further ado, take it away Alison.~K&M

I always find introductions to be a little bit tricky. How to be memorable without being obnoxious; how to amuse your listener without being boorish? I’m not sure that I know how to balance that line. Inevitably, I find myself either cowering in the corner afraid to go near it or running headlong over it like a schoolchild hurling themselves at the arms of the opposing team in a rousing game of Red Rover.

Regardless, here I am. The newest member of the Loose Leaf team, and it’s an honor to be here. Unlike the rest of your faithful bloggers, I’m a bit of an interloper — I don’t work for American Forests. Instead, I am drawn to American Forests purely by love. In 2001, I spent five glorious months working on organic farms in New Zealand. I worked on the land of a registered arborist and on the land of a biologist looking to restore native trees to the land. I once helped plant 1,000 feijoa trees over a single weekend. Another time, I spent two full days in a box canyon planting kauri trees and ended up with blisters, along with feelings of “weary to the bone in a good way,” galore.

Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Credit: Steven Chase/USFWS

In 2004, I took a trip with the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) through Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) in Northern Alaska. There, I saw decades-old trees that were only one or two feet high. In the far north, where there is only sunlight for a few months of the year, the lush growth that we enjoy here on East Coast is unimaginable. That trip to ANWR changed my life. I left my job as a college lacrosse coach and launched myself headlong into the unknown world of law. After I graduated from Vermont Law School, I took another NOLS trip — this time with crampons and an ice ax up to the summit of Mt. Baker in the North Cascade Mountains.

So where does this leave me? Honestly? Someplace fairly unexpected. I am currently an associate at the Washington, D.C., law firm of Crowell & Moring. I practice in the torts group, as well as in the public policy group. My policy work focuses mostly on the remediation of sites that are contaminated. Most of this proceeds under either the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) or the unwieldy-named Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA or Superfund). RCRA controls, from “cradle to grave,” the handling and disposal of both hazardous and non-hazardous materials, while CERCLA provides the statutory framework to clean up sites contaminated by hazardous materials. My work also includes supporting companies with new technologies, either for remediation or for alternative sources of energy.

It is from a standpoint of legal environmentalism that I hope to offer you a different perspective every fourth Tuesday of the month. I will be highlighting a news article, a court decision or a legal topic that is worth exploring a little more in-depth. As a lawyer, I can offer a legal perspective on issues. But as a lawyer who loves the environment, I hope to provide you that perspective with an environmentally conscious twist. I aim to educate and entertain while limiting the bad puns (but no guarantees).

Thank you very much for taking part of your day to read this post. Please leave any questions or comments below, and I will do my best to answer them all. Until my return next month, a few words to ponder:

“A nation that destroys its soils destroys itself. Forests are the lungs of our land, purifying the air and giving fresh strength to our people. ”
–Franklin D. Roosevelt

April 24th, 2012|3 Comments


  1. Kenton W. April 24, 2012 at 11:04 am - Reply

    A ‘lawyer who loves the environment’ – I’m really looking forward to reading your contributions.

    • Scott H. April 24, 2012 at 10:58 pm - Reply

      Ditto Kenton. Keep on pluggin Alison.

  2. Mali Delaney April 24, 2012 at 2:47 pm - Reply

    Alison, we need more attorneys in Washington who love the forests and wildlands of our planet. I’ll be following your posts.

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