Environmental Law Program


The Environmental Law Program offers students an extensive network of opportunities.  Prospective students can visit ELP courses and attend program events throughout the year.  Current students can receive a variety of awards and grants, participate in the Environmental Law Society, plug into community outreach activities, join the program’s two moot court teams, and travel with ELP’s support to local and national conferences.

ELP Students in the Field:

Summer 2014

Nica Nordyke ’16 interned this summer at NOAA Office of General Counsel Pacific Islands Section.







Joanna Zeigler ’15 spent the summer as an intern with the non-profit public interest law organization Earthjustice.







Rhiannon Tereariʻi Chandler ’15 worked on property and land use issues with the Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation.







John Foster ’15 interned with the Department of Land and Natural Resources, Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation.







‘Olu Campbell ’15 interned with the Department of Land and Natural Resources, Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement and the Division of Aquatic Resources.

Land Patrol 8 - Version 3







Fall and Summer 2013

Joanna Zeigler ’15, the Summer 2013 Jarman Fellow and Rodney Withall ‘15 both interned at NOAA for the summer. Joanna is also a National Environmental Law Moot Court 2012-2013 teammember. Read about Joanna’s experience at NOAA here (http://blog.hawaii.edu/elp/news-events/uncategorized/summer-2013-jarman-fellow-joanna-zeigler/).Fall and Summer 2013

Rosie Brady ’15 interned at Surfrider as the ELS Summer 2013 fellow and externed at NOAA with Jacqueline Baker15 at NOAA for the Fall 2013 semester.

John Foster ’15 interned at the Department of Land and Natural Resources, Department of Aquatic Resources as the Summer 2013 DAR Marine Law Fellow.

Mahina Tuteur ’14 and Kylie Wager13 interned at Earthjustice as law clerks during summer 2013. Mahina conducted legal research on the Hawai’i Environmental Policy Act and the Hawai’i Water Code. Mahina’s work consisted primarily of case investigation. She had the great opportunity to travel to Kauaʻi to interview clients and gather evidence for a developing case.


Summer 2012

Melissa Kolonie ‘14, the Summer 2013 Jarman and ELS Fellowship recipient, interned at the Department of Land and Natural Resources, Legacy Land Conservation Program.

Kevin Richardson ‘14, ELP RA, interned at the Department of Land and Natural Resources, Department of Aquatic Resources as the Summer 2012 DAR Marine Law Fellow.

Summer 2011

Picured L-R: Bianca Isaki ’13, Lora Reeve ’12, Joanne Sheng ’12, Adam Roversi ’12, Mele Coleman ’13, Lena Mobin ’12

Our ELP students have been extremely busy. Keep reading to see some of the amazing experiences that ELP students have participated in and even some that they have created for themselves.

ELP encourages students not only to participate in the opportunities that the program has long been involved with, but also encourages students to think outside of the box: if there is an opportunity that is not listed here, do not feel that it is not available to you. You can go after it, and ELP will do everything that we can to help you.

ELP alumnus Doug Codiga ’94 traveled to Japan to teach a course entitled “Climate Change and Clean Energy Law and Policy in Hawaii and the Asia Pacific Region” at Shinshu University. In his travels, Doug also gave presentations in Singapore and Shanghai and reports on the growing interest in climate change and clean energy law. Click here to learn more about Doug’s travels.

This summer, Andrew Porter ’12 interned at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in the Office of External Affairs. Most of his work revolved around the development of the National Ocean Policy. He also worked on projects for NOAA’s General Council on administrative law topics and National Monument designations under the Antiquities Act.

Adam Roversi ’12

Environmental Law Society grant recipient, Adam Roversi ’12, worked at Earthjustice. Adam worked with staff attorneys to further the office’s goals of protecting “the island’s native species from the threats of habitat destruction, overfishing, and harmful sonar use,” and “[partnering] with local Hawaiian organizations to restore the islands’ waterways.” Adam did legal research on the Clean Water Act, Endangered Species Act, Public Utility Commission and federal permitting regulations. Adam also drafted motions and expert declarations, conducted preliminary investigations and prospective client interviews, sat in on a federal court trial, and traveled to the neighbor islands for case investigation. Click here to learn more about Adam’s experience.

Sasha Hamada ’13

Sasha Hamada ’13, this summer’s Department of Land and Natural Resources Marine Law Intern, assisted ELP Alumnus Wayne Tanaka ’09 on drafting administrative rules and working with the Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement on enforcement issues. She was fortunate to hike the Ahihi-Kinau Natural Area Reserve on Maui, which is closed to the public with the Army Corps of Engineers for a site assessment.
The DLNR Marine Law Fellowship and Internship arise from a partnership started in 2006 among ELP, DLNR, and the Attorney General’s office through funding provided by the Harold K.L. Castle Foundation and the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration’s Local Action Strategies program administered by DLNR. Click here to find out more!

Bianca Isaki ’13

Environmental Law Society Co-Director and the 2011 Jarman Environmental Law Fellow Bianca Isaki ’13 interned with KAHEA: The Hawaiian Environmental Alliance. Bianca assisted WSRSL Alumna Marti Townsend with a contested case hearing. At issue is the University of Hawai`i’s CDUP for the Thirty-Meter Telescope on (un)ceded lands on Mauna Kea. Click here to find out more about Bianca’s summer.
Click here to see the 2011 ELP Colloquium: Jarman Lecture–Contesting the Case for a Thirty-Meter Telescope on Mauna Kea.

ELP alumni created the Jarman Fellowship in 2005 to allow first-year students to gain summer job experience in the government and public interest sectors of environmental law. Donations to sustain the Jarman Fellowship are most welcome – just click on the “Donate” button on ELP’s home page or here.

Tina Aiu ’13

Environmental Law Society Co-Director Christina Aiu ’13 interned at the The Trust for Public Land Hawaiian Islands Program and worked for the Student Initiative at the William S. Richardson School of Law Environmental Law Program. She, along with Matt Yoshida ’13 helped to restore the Hawea Heiau.

This summer, Lena Mobin ’12, worked at the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)’s Environmental Law Center (ELC) in Bonn, Germany. Lena spent the summer drafting and researching a policy paper on the governance of marine protected areas beyond national jurisdiction, which is currently being addressed at the international level. Lena also attended several United Nations climate change conferences and had the opportunity to work with many international environmental law attorneys and legal interns from around the world. Click here to learn more about Lena’s summer experience.

Joanne Sheng ’12 and Kaleo Nacapoy ’12

The Elizabeth Sharpe Fellowship recipient Kaleo Nacapoy ’12, worked at the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, Ecological Services of Honolulu Branch. The objective of his fellowship was to develop a strategy to implement a functional and descriptive lighting ordinance system for the State of Hawai‘i.

Kaleo, along with undergraduate UH Hilo PIPES intern Isaiah Sato, created a PowerPoint presentation to promote educational and community outreach entitled “Kalamakūokeauhou.” Kalamakūokeauhou means “the light that marks the dawn of new era” symbolizing how a new lighting ordinance and program in Hawai’i could signify a positive change for Hawai’i and its protected species.
Ultimately, this fellowship along with future summer fellowships will culminate with drafting new Hawai‘i lighting ordinances to be used to propose a new lighting bill in upcoming Legislative sessions and garner enough support to enact the proposed bill into law. To find out more, click here.

Mele Coleman ’13

Mele Coleman ‘13 was awarded one of the William S. Richardson School of Law Environmental Law Program’s travel grants this summer. The travel grant helped to pay for the airfare to Arlington, Virginia, where Mele worked for ten weeks as a summer law-intern at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (USFWS) National Office of Endangered Species Act Litigation (OEL).

Mele learned about ESA litigation, wrote memorandums, responding to Freedom of Information Act requests, and worked on several other projects relating to Endangered and Threatened Species (E&T). Mele worked for Gina Shultz, the Chief of OEL and former Deputy Field Supervisor at the Pacific Islands Fish and Wildlife Office (PIFWO), where Mele has also worked.

At PIFWO, Mele worked with biologists to write documents relating to compliance with the Endangered Species Act and the National Environmental Policy Act. Mele was also involved in several other projects relating to E&T. Click here to find out more.

Lora Reeve ’12

Lora Reeve ’12 received an Environmental Law Program travel grant for her externship with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) High Seas Task Force this summer. For several weeks, Lora was based in Warsaw, Poland and worked under the guidance of Kristina Gjerde, the Policy Advisor for the Task Force.
Lora traveled from Warsaw to Canada and New York. Lora worked on two research papers, one of which will be published in Ocean Yearbook and is entitled “The Future of High Seas Marine Protected Areas.” Lora also attended the Global Ocean Biodiversity Initiative Pelagic working Group meting, the International Marine Conservation Congress, and a meeting of the UN Ad hoc working group on biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction at the United Nations Headquarters as a member of the IUCN delegation. To find out more, click here.

Virginia Tice ’09 has been promoted to General Counsel of Nature Iraq, the first and only environmental organization in Iraq. Congratulations Virginia!

Virginia also spoke at a conference in Iraq on environmental law. The Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) sponsored the conference, titled First Iraqi-German Universities’ Network Conference Symposium on Resource Management in the Development of Iraq, which took place at Salahaddin University, Erbil’s Cultural Centre from November 29 – December 1, 2010.

At the conference, Tice addressed the management of Geo Resources. Specifically, Tice focused on The Environmental Laws of Iraq: International Obligations and Domestic Legislation.

Everett Ohta, Class of 2009 and Ashley Obrey, Class of 2009

Everett and Ashley“Earthjustice provides an unparalleled summer experience for students interested in protecting Hawai‘i’s natural resources and environment. As a law office devoted exclusively to public interest environmental litigation, summer law clerks are exposed to a wide range of state and federal laws that relate to environmental issues at the forefront of local concern. Summer work also covers a wide range of tasks, from drafting court documents for established cases to assisting in case investigations for cases that have yet to be developed. Although work takes place in a casual office environment, Earthjustice litigates cases that improve the way that individuals, entities, and even laws, function in our islands.”

After students graduate and become alumni, they stay connected to ELP by mentoring students, volunteering to judge moot court teams, donating to ELP, providing students externship, pro bono, and internship experiences, and by providing post-graduation employment opportunities.