Environmental Law Program


In 1995, the ELP launched the first project in its Community OutReach and Education (CORE) program. With a grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and in cooperation with the Native Hawaiian Advisory Council (NHAC), ELP faculty and students published two handbooks on selected Hawai‘i environmental and natural resource laws and administrative processes. In 1995 and 1997, the ELP and NHAC used these books as teaching tools in a series of community based workshops around the islands.

Environmental Law Clinic - Client Meets with Student George White

With support from the Hawai‘i Community Foundation, in 2002, ELP Professor Casey Jarman produced a contested case videotape and workbook on lawyering skills to assist community groups in preparing for adjudicatory hearings in front of Hawai‘i’s state and county land use, natural resource, and environmental agencies.  The materials were presented at workshops throughout the state and are available on the ELP website.  This project represents a collaborative effort of ELP faculty, students, and local attorneys.

Several years ago, ELP Director Professor Denise Antolini launched a web project called ‘OHELO, Our Hawai‘i Environmental Law On-Line. (The ‘ohelo is a small native plant whose berries are a favorite of Hawai‘i’s state bird, the endangered Nene.) An ongoing student-staffed project, ‘OHELO brings together for the first time in one easily accessible site Hawai‘i’s environmental laws, including state, federal, and agency decisions, as well as research links and recent developments.

As part of their 60-hour pro bono graduation requirement, ELP students have donated thousands of hours to community projects supervised by environmental attorneys.

Students also participate in the Environmental Law Clinic taught by Assistant Professor Kapua Sproat. This non-litigation clinic gives students “live” training in counseling clients that include, for example, environmental and natural resource agencies seeking advice on developing regulations, private entities seeking permits, and community groups needing assistance to participate in administrative agency hearings.  Recently, the clinic has undertaken projects for the Maui and Moloka’i communities.  For more information, please see the Environmental Law Clinic page. To inquire about whether the clinic may be able to assist with a potential project, contact Professor Sproat at 956-7489 or kapuas@hawaii.edu.

ELP’s Colloquia Series reported on the News &  Events page and archived in the ELP Colloquium link, also reaches out to the community by bringing to the School of Law attorneys and scholars to lecture on “hot topics” in environmental, land use, and ocean law.  This lecture series is well attended by students, faculty, staff, local attorneys, campus colleagues, and community members.