Pace Environmental Law Review (PELR) hosts annual Environmental Law Symposium

November 3, 2022
Lunch symposium

The Pace Environmental Law Review (PELR) held its annual symposium titled “Environmental Constitutionalism” on Friday, October 28, 2022. Hosted by the Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University, the virtual symposium attracted over 100 attendees, bringing together scholars, advocates, regulators, policymakers, and students worldwide to discuss constitutional environmental rights.

How can people assert constitutional environmental rights? Can these rights help fill the legal gaps for action on climate change or environmental justice? What can we learn from the experience adopting and implementing environmental rights to date? After an opening note by Haub Law alumna Maya van Rossum ‘92, Founder of the Green Amendment For The Generations Movement & Author of The Green Amendment, Securing Our Right to a Healthy Environment, the 17 participants addressed these questions and more.

The panelists, and their topics, included: 

Prof. James May of Widener University Delaware Law School - Are environmental rights, thus far, altering environmental outcomes?;

Prof. John Dernbach of Widener University Commonwealth Law School - Why Environmental Rights Matter;

Prof. Suryapratim Roy & Alexandru Gociu of Trinity College Dublin - Climate Litigation and the Norwegian Constitutional Principle of Sustainability in Human Rights Context;

Prof. Quinn Yeargain of Widener University Commonwealth Law School - State Constitutions in the Woods;

Timothy Cox of Catskill Watershed Corporation - New York Forever Wild;

Prof. Heidi Gorovitz Roberston of University of Maine School of Law - Considerations for the crafting of subnational constitutional rights to a clean environment;

Prof. Michael Lewyn of Touro Law - Environmental Rights Amendments: What Could Go Wrong;

Prof. Heather Tanana & Elisabeth Parker of the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law - Indigenous People’s & Healthy Environment;

Prof. Rebecca Bratspies of the City University of New York School of Law - Administering Environmental Rights: Using New York’s New Green Constitutional Amendment to Build a Statewide Culture of Environmental Justice;

Prof. Steven Ferrey of Suffolk Law School - State ‘Federalism’ Blocking the Biden Sustainable Infrastructure Improvements in the U.S.;

Prof. Sonya Ziaja of University of Baltimore School of Law - Secret Lives of Environmental Rights; and

Prof. Sean Lyness of New England Law School - The Constitutional Public Trust in a Warming World.

“It is encouraging to see how many thoughtful scholars around the world are working to understand the potential role of environmental rights in building a sustainable future,” said Haub Distinguished Professor of Environmental Law and PELR Advisor, Professor Katrina Fischer Kuh. “I applaud the PELR for providing a forum to share learning and ideas about the adoption, implementation, and assessment of environmental rights approaches and anticipate that the symposium articles will make important contributions.”

The panelists’ articles will be published by PELR in the next year. PELR has a robust history of environmental publications dating back decades, which can be found on the PELR website. Haub Law launched its Environmental Law Program in 1978, and it has long been ranked among the world’s leading university programs, with a current #1 ranking by U.S. News and World Report.

About Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University

Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University offers JD and Masters of Law degrees in both Environmental and International Law, as well as a Doctor of Juridical Science (SJD) in Environmental Law. The school, housed on the University’s campus in White Plains, N.Y., opened its doors in 1976 and has more than 9,000 alumni around the world. The school maintains a unique philosophy and approach to legal education that strikes an important balance between practice and theory. Haub Law launched its Environmental Law Program in 1978, and it has long been ranked among the world’s leading university programs, with a current #1 ranking by U.S. News and World Report. Pace’s doctoral graduates teach environmental law at universities around the world. Pace’s JD alumni are prominent in environmental law firms, agencies and non-profit organizations across the U.S. and abroad. In 2016, the Law School received a transformational gift from the family of Elisabeth Haub, in recognition of its outstanding environmental law programs. For more information about Haub Law, visit

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