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Natural Resources and Environmental Law Clinic

The newest University of New Mexico School of Law Clinic program is the Natural Resources and Environmental Law Clinic (NREL). It provides a wide variety of legal services to underrepresented individuals, community-based groups, nonprofit organizations, and Indian tribes to protect, preserve, and use lands and natural resources, and improve public health and the environment. Students are participants in various venues including administrative, legislative and judicial proceedings.

For example, clinical students may work on the following types of matters:

  • provide advice to neighborhood/community groups on permits, comments, etc.
  • file citizen suits challenging agency actions or violations of environmental laws
  • advocate for regulatory and policy changes in various venues
  • submit comments on proposed agency actions
  • draft proposed legislation and ordinances
  • participate in administrative appeals
  • research and write amicus curiae briefs on natural resources and environmental matters
  • draft or comment on proposed regulations and guidance documents
  • protect endangered species and ecosystems under existing laws
  • draft comments on incidental take permits under the Endangered Species Act
  • draft comments on rulemaking proceedings
  • assist tribal governments in preparing Treatment as a State applications under the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, FIFRA
  • assist on Environmental Justice matters regarding siting, illegal dumping, standard setting, cleanup of contaminants; protect tribal sacred sites, cultural resources
  • or assist in declaration of water rights or the leasing of mineral rights by underrepresented landowners

As part of the clinic experience students will participate in screening new matters and potential clients; meeting with clients; field trips to affected sites; creating solutions; researching and developing factual and legal issue; administrative proceedings and litigation; meetings with opposing counsel and agency representatives; reviewing administrative records; developing expert testimony; and drafting comments, petitions, codes, regulations, pleadings, and briefs.