The Turner Environmental Law Clinic's unique mission – combining legal education with pro bono environmental protection efforts – provides increased manpower to address the Southeast's most important environmental issues. Through its work and partnerships with other environmental organizations, the clinic has demonstrably expanded the effectiveness of our legal community.
The Clinic's work touches upon a broad range of environmental issues, including:
- Clean and sustainable energy
- Sustainable agriculture
- Transparency in government decision-making
- Water resources and conservation
- Defense of the National Environmental Policy Act.
Clean and Sustainable Energy
In an effort to promote clean and sustainable energy, on behalf of 25 environmental organizations, the Clinic has successfully fought nuclear power generation across the country. Among other things, we have challenged individual reactors (including Plant Vogtle and Turkey Point), Nuclear Regulatory Commission regulations concerning nuclear waste, and the Commission’s response to the catastrophic Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident. As a result of our work and the work of our co-counsel:
- The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has suspended all final licensing and relicensing decisions until it can fully consider the environmental impacts of nuclear waste storage and disposal.
- Southern Nuclear Operating Company has abandoned an ill-advised plan to dredge over 100 miles of the Savannah River to ship nuclear reactor component parts to the Plant Vogtle site in Waynesboro, Georgia.
- Florida Power & Light is investigating the environmental impacts of injecting wastewater into aquifers under the Turkey Point site in Homestead, Florida.
In an effort to promote sustainable agriculture, on behalf of Georgia Organics and the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, the Clinic has:
- Worked closely with the City of Atlanta in amending its zoning ordinances to permit urban agriculture.
- Published a comprehensive, sixteen-city survey of urban agriculture practices across the country.
- Prepared comments on the Food and Drug Administration’s proposed regulations governing the growing and harvesting of produce. As a result of our work and the work of our clients, the FDA has walked away from its initial refusal to conduct an environmental analysis of the regulations' impact and has agreed to issue an Environmental Impact Statement fully assessing the potential harm to water resources, wildlife, and land.
Transparency in Government Decision-Making
In an effort to encourage transparency in government decision-making, on behalf of Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, the Clinic has successfully challenged the Department of Energy’s decision to withhold information regarding its nuclear loan guarantee program. As a result of our work:
- The agency has released tens of thousands of pages of documents, giving Congress, the media, and members of the public the information needed to assess the terms and conditions of the proposed Plant Vogtle loan guarantees.
Water Resources and Conservation
In an effort to protect water resources and encourage conservation, the Clinic has:
- Partnered with local watershed protection organizations in monitoring new reservoir proposals in Georgia.
- Represented the Harris Neck Land Trust in an environmental justice-linked matter regarding a national wildlife refuge.
- Answered questions for environmental organizations regarding conservation easements.
National Environmental Policy Act
In an effort to defend the National Environmental Policy Act from Congressional attacks, the Clinic has partnered with the Natural Resources Defense Council to report the ways the Act has successfully protected human health and the environment.