“The false reporting epidemic we uncovered in Kentucky can be considered the most far-reaching and egregious noncompliance with the Clean Water Act in the law’s entire 40-year history,” said Peter Harrison, 2011 Pace Law alum who is now the staff attorney for Waterkeeper Alliance.
Harrison was referring to the recent settlement in a case against International Coal Group that uncovered more than 20,000 violations of the Clean Water Act at dozens of coal mines in eastern Kentucky. The landmark case rose through Pace Law’s Environmental Litigation Clinic under the supervision of Prof. Dan Estrin. Harrison first worked on the case as a law student beginning in 2010 and continued after he graduated and became the staff attorney for the Waterkeeper Alliance, one of three organizations who brought the suit.
The Pace Environmental Litigation Clinic allows students to practice law under the supervision of experienced attorneys, representing public interest environmental groups bringing citizen enforcement actions in state and federal courts on a variety of environmental and land use issues. Though it is unusual for the clinic to accept a case so far from New York, Harrison said this case was unique.
“It was such an egregious violation of the Clean Water Act,” Harrison said. “It was such a shocking case.”
News coverage of the settlement has been extensive including a story by the Associated Press that was published in 53 news outlets. “The Environment New Service” published this report. “The Lexington Herald-Leader” published this editorial.