June 28, 2011 15:39 Age: 3 yrs

Chinese Environmental Lawyers Visit Turner Clinic

A delegation of Chinese environmental lawyers, scholars, judges and journalists met with Emory Law’s Turner Environmental Law Clinic and Professor William W. Buzbee on June 6-7. The visit was part of an environmental law program from the National Committee on United States-China Relations, in partnership with the Center for Legal Assistance to Pollution Victims at China University of Political Science and Law.

Supported by a grant from the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, the program addresses the successes and challenges of environmental law in the United States, providing useful examples to China as it develops its environmental protection laws. The group was visiting three U.S. cities—Atlanta, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.

While in Atlanta, the delegation met with the Turner Clinic to discuss its representation of environmental nonprofit organizations. The meeting was co-sponsored by Emory’s Claus M. Halle Institute for Global Learning.

“First and foremost, we wanted to exchange ideas,” says Mindy Goldstein, acting director of the Turner Clinic. “Public interest environmental law is just emerging in China, and there are still a lot of unanswered questions.”

Buzbee and Goldstein explained how public interest environmental law was practiced in the United States, focusing specifically on citizen enforcement. They also discussed the structure of the Turner Clinic, the clinic’s collaboration with NGOs and citizen groups, and the clinic’s previous and current cases.

Prior to the Emory meeting, the delegation delivered a luncheon lecture on Chinese environmental law to more than 50 environmental attorneys and activists at the State Bar of Georgia. The luncheon was sponsored by the Turner Clinic and GreenLaw, a local nonprofit dedicated to preventing air and water pollution and protecting Georgia’s natural resources.

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