• The Sustainable Development Law & Policy Brief

    American University Washington College of Law

    Washington, D.C.


    The Sustainable Development Law & Policy Brief was founded to provide a forum for those interested in promoting sustainable economic development, environmental conservation, environmental justice, and biodiversity throughout the world.


    The Sustainable Development Law & Policy Brief (SDLP) is a student-run initiative at AUWCL.


    Because our publication focuses on reconciling the tensions found within our ecosystem, it spans a broad range of environmental issues such as sustainable development; trade; renewable energy; human rights; air, water, and noise regulation; climate change; land use, conservation, and property rights; resource use and regulation; and animal protection.


    Contact Information:

    Email: sdlp.wcl@gmail.com
    Office: 4300 Nebraska Avenue, N.W.

    Washington, D.C. 20016

    Capital Building, Room CT-03


  • Upcoming Events

    Spring 2018 SYMPOSIUM


    ​Brought to you ​by​
    American University’s Sustainable Development Law & Policy Brief, and in association with Washington College of Law’s Environmental Law Society and Energy Law Society


    Moderated by Professor Amanda Leiter


    Lawrence Meinert, Former Deputy Associate Director of Energy & Mineral Resources at the U.S. Geological Survey


    Michael Walker,​ Former Director of EPA’s National Enforcement Training Institute in the ​Office of Enforcement and Compliance


    Michael Halpern, Deputy Director of the Center for Science and Democracy at the Union of Concerned Scientists.


    Eric Schaeffer, Executive Director of the Environmental Integrity Project; Former Director of EPA’s Office of Civil Enforcement (1997-2002).


    Tuesday, March 27

    9:30 AM to 12:00 PM​ in NT07

    American University Washington College of Law

    4300 Nebraska Avenue, Washington, D.C., 20016


    9:00-10:00am: Coffee & Pastries/Check-In/Greetings

    10:00am-12:00pm: Presentations & Panel Discussion

    12:00-12:30pm: Lunch



    The Symposium will feature a panel discussion on the importance of facts, transparency, and responsibility in environmental governance, specifically within federal environmental agencies. Potential discussion topics may include: the necessity of fairly-balanced advisory councils; the importance of government funding for science and research; the sensitivity of data disclosure within the government; the force of whistleblowers in achieving accountability; the responsibility of agencies to fully inform the public on issues such as climate change; and the use of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to promote transparency.

  • Volume XVIII

    In this issue, the Sustainable Development Law & Policy Brief seeks to highlight the commonality between animal welfare issues and human justice issues.

    Animal Welfare in the Context of Human Development


    2 | Editors' Note

    by Luke Trompeter & Ingrid Lesemann


    4 | CAFOs: Plaguing North Carolina Communities of Color

    by Christine Ball-Blakely


    17 | The “Fowl” Practice of Humane Labeling: Proposed Amendments to Federal Standards Governing Chicken Welfare and Poultry Labeling Practice
    by LaTravia Smith


    30 | Cruelty to Human and Nonhuman Animals in the Wild-Caught Fishing Industry

    by Kathy Hessler, Becky Jenkins & Kelly Levenda


    40 | Serving Pets in Poverty: A New Frontier for the Animal Welfare Movement

    by Amanda Arrington & Michael Markarian


    Read it here!

  • Volume 18 Editorial Board

    Summer 2017 to Spring 2018

    Luke Trompeter, 3L



    Luke is a graduate of the University at Buffalo where he received a B.A. in Political Science and a B.S. in Finance. Prior to law school, Luke worked for the American Sustainable Business Council representing sustainably focused companies across the country. He is particularly interested in the connection between sustainability and finance, and he hopes to specialize in the green finance field.


    Luke is also getting his M.B.A. as well as his J.D. He is the Senior Note and Comment Editor for the American University Business Law Review and a member of the Alternative Dispute Resolution Honor Society.


    Ingrid is a graduate of Wofford College, where she played Division I soccer and received a B.A. in Comparative Government. Upon graduation, she entered the non-profit sector and worked on various grassroots initiatives relating to Prisoner's Rights, LGBTQ Rights, Voting Rights, Safe Schools, Racial Justice, & Immigrant's Rights. After 5 years of social justice advocacy, Ingrid switched gears and decided to go to Law School. Having spent most of her childhood in Monteverde, Costa Rica, she naturally shifted her focus to environmental protection. She intends to practice environmental law.


    She is the President of the WCL Animal Law Society and the WCL Environmental Law Society, and she is a Publication Editor for the American University Journal of Gender, Social Policy & the Law. She has a small dog named Zoey. She a dual citizen of Costa Rica and the United States, and her favorite food is french fries.


    Email her directly!

    Nikki Waxman, 2L

    Managing Editor

    Nikki began law school soon after graduating from the University of Maryland College Park where she studied political science, sustainability, and the Spanish language.


    She knew from a very young age that she wanted to pursue a career in Environmental Law, and is particularly interested in issues regarding sustainable agriculture policy both domestically and abroad. She spent time in both the Andes and Rocky Mountain Ranges working on organic farms to promote environmentally-conscious agriculture practices.

    Mark Yurich, 3L

    Executive Editor

    Mark developed his interest in International Business, Finance, and Project Finance from his undergraduate studies at the University of Michigan where he majored in Economics, International Studies, and Spanish with a Chinese minor.


    He is also the Note and Comment Editor of the American University International Law Review. During his law school career, he has worked at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the Commercial Law Development Program at the Department of Commerce, and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation. He enjoys running, reading science fiction, and being out in nature.

    Cecilia Diedrich, 2L

    Associate Executive Editor

    Cecilia earned her B.A. from Marquette University, where she studied political science and international affairs. While an undergraduate, she interned for now Senator Tammy Baldwin and worked on the Deepwater Horizon oil spill crisis. She also studied abroad at King’s College in London.


    After graduating, she interned for a public relations firm in Chicago and worked on a grassroots campaign for the Social Security Administration. She then moved to the Bay Area and began working at a real estate and environmental land use law firm in San Francisco. After years of dancing around the idea of becoming a lawyer, she finally decided to apply to law school. She intends to pursue her passions and practice environmental and international law.


    She is also a junior staffer for the American University Law Review, an Integrated Curriculum Dean’s Fellow, and a member of the WCL Environmental Law Society.


    Brian Park, 3L

    Senior Features Editor

    Brian studied economics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and developed a strong enthusiasm and desire to work for international development when he pursued his Master’s degree at Cornell University.


    Brian has a diverse background in both the public and private sectors. He helped a school in Northern Uganda expand and has consulted companies on product exportation. In Law School, he continues to focus on international development, particularly trade, investment, and energy law. He enjoys playing soccer and going fishing.

    Carlos Lopez, 3L

    International Articles Editor

    Carlos graduated from Florida Gulf Coast University with a Bachelor's in Philosophy. His legal interests include the intersection of natural resource management and private property rights; specifically, how private property can aid in bolstering conservation efforts. Carlos is also interested in water and energy law.


    He currently works at Walker Law, LLC handling issues related to American Indian Law. He is also the Outreach Coordinator for the WCL Environmental Law Society.


    Elena Franco, 3L

    Co-Symposium Editor

    In College, Elena became an advocate for climate justice and co-founded a divestment campaign. She also biked 1,200 miles as an intern for the Better Future Project working with communities in Maine to increase community momentum in fighting tar sands.


    Prior to Law School, she continued her passion in fighting climate change as a Volunteer Organizer for DC Divest, where she campaigned to convince the DC City Council to divest its funds from the fossil fuel industry by passing the Fossil Fuel Divestment Act.


    In law school, she has worked at EPA Office of General Counsel in their Summer Honors Program as a Law Clerk. She has also worked as a law clerk for Earthjustice where she focuse on the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

    Alexi Nathan, 3L

    Co-Symposium Editor

    Alexi is a student attorney for the UNROW Human Rights Impact Litigation Clinic, as well as a staff member for the American University Journal of Gender, Social Policy and the Law. During her 2L year, Alexi served on the Executive Boards of the Environmental Law Society and the Energy Law Society. Alexi is a graduate of Salisbury University, where she received a Bachelor's in Interdisciplinary Studies, with focuses on Political Science, Mathematics, and English.


    Growing up on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, in Ocean City, MD, Alexi is naturally a life-long environmentalist. She spent every summer (and winter) at the beach and in the ocean volunteering for environmental organizations such as the Surfrider Foundation and the Maryland Coastal Bays Program. When she is not enjoying the beach, Alexi can be found exploring new hiking trails in D.C. with her boyfriend and their dog, Gutz.

    Sarah Pugh, 3L

    Senior Editor

    Sarah graduated from from Northeastern University where she recieved a B.A. in Political Science. She has experience in the energy intelligence and demand response industry, though her legal interests are primarily related to antitrust and government investigations. During her Law School career, she has clerked for The Honorable Reggie B. Walton and the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice. She has also worked for Simpson Thatcher & Bartlett, which she will join post-graduation.


    She served as the President of WCL’s Energy Law Society in her 1L and 2L year. She is also a Legal Rhetoric Dean’s Fellow and a Note & Comment Editor for the American Univeristy Law Review. She has two rescue cats named McCallan and Dunkle.

    Jessica Maloney, 2L

    Senior Editor

    Jessica received a B.S. in Environmental Science from Cornell University where she focused on Climate Change and Marine Biology. Upon graduation, she received a Master's of Professional Science in Coastal Zone Management from the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science. Throughout Graduate School, she worked with Miami Waterkeeper and assisted with their litigation against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers over damage to endangered coral species during the Port of Miami Deep Dredge Project.


    As a result of her fieldwork, Jessica decided to pursue a career in Environmental Law. She clerked for the D.C. Department of Energy & Environment during her 1L summer, which only expanded her passion for the environment.


    She is a Junior Staffer for the American University Administrative Law Review. She is also a Student Attorney for the WCL Community & Economic Development Law Clinic as well as a member of the WCL Environmental Law Society.

    Elizabeth Platt, 2L

    Senior Editor

    Elizabeth graduated from Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia, with a degree in Economics and Environmental Studies. In College, she worked for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation Oyster Gardening Program to increase the oyster population in the Bay and raise local awareness for environmental issues.


    She has spent her Law School career clerking for the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA). She is a Junior Staff member of the American University Law Review, a member of the Environmental Law Society, and the Women's Law Association.

    Alycia Kokos, 2L

    Senior Editor

    Alycia is a graduate of the University of North Carolina in Wilmington, where she received a Bachelor’s with honors in Environmental Studies as well as minors in Public Administration and Non-Profit Leadership & Management.


    Because Wilmington, NC is located along the coast, she spent a lot of time outdoors and felt a calling to help her environment. During her studies, she became interested in the sociological connection that people have with the environment and found that one of the best ways to ignite change was through the law. Therefore, her next logical step was law school. She hopes to practice environmental or animal protection law upon graduation.


    She is the Vice President of the WCL Environmental Law Society, the Treasurer of the WCL Animal Law Society, and the Secretary and Outreach Coordinator of the WCL Energy Law Society. She hopes to rescue a pup one day from a local animal shelter.

  • Masthead

  • Past Issues

    Volume XVII

    2 | Editors' Note

    by Ryan Schmidt and Kimberly Reynolds


    4 | Never For-GATT: What Recent TBT Decisions Reveal About the Appellate

    Body’s Analysis of Environmental Regulation Under the WTO Agreements

    by Ravi Soopramanien


    20 | The Paris Agreement and the International Trade Regime: Considerations for


    by Charles E. Di Leva and Xiaoxin Shi


    30 | Fighting the Wrong Fight: Why the MLP Parity Act is a Misguided Attempt at Achieving Renewable Energy Capital Raising Parity

    by David Powers, CPA


    36 | Regional Disputes: It Is Not Just Ground Beef

    by Nicholas Laneville

    2 | Editors' Note

    by Ryan Schmidt and Kimberly Reynolds


    4 | Green is Good: How Green Bonds Cultivated into Wall Street’s Environmental Paradox

    by Luke Trompeter


    12 | Appraising the Role of the IFC and its Independent Accountability Mechanism: Community Experiencesin Haiti’s MiningSector

    by Kate Nancy Taylor


    29 | Batteries Included: Incentivizing Energy Storage

    by Lindsay Breslau, Michael Croweak, & Alan Witt

  • Volume 18 Staff

    Summer 2017 to Spring 2018

    Teng-Teng Liu, 3L

    Jacob Peeples, 3L

    Tabitha Parker, 3L

    Joseph Briscar, 3L

    Lacey Mendrick, 3L

    Diedre Dixel, 3L

    Alison Shlom, 2L

    Brian Malat, 2L

    Ethan King, 2L

    Carolyn Larcom, 2L

    Israel Cook, 2L

    Sarah Wilson, 2L

    Victor Beltran, 2L

    Maria Moreno, 2L

    Cody Meixner, 2L

    Elliot Adler, 2L

    Kate Juon, 1L

    Molly Prindle, 1L

    Hannah Gardenswartz, 1L

    Alexandra Nolan, 1L

    Adam Gould, 1L
    Max Borger, 1L
    Connie Potter, 1L

    Savannah Pugh, 1L

    Brianna DelDuca, 1L

    Daniel Tillman, 1L

    Amanda Stoner, 1L

    Juan Moreno, 1L

    Francis Waliczek, 1L

    Sydney Shufelt, 1L

    Yangmin Zhang, Visiting Scholar

  • Apply for a Staff Position

    Interested in joining SDLP? Apply now!

    Click the button below to download the Staff Member Application, and email completed applications to sdlp.wcl@gmail.com.


    We accept applications on a rolling basis!

  • Submit an Article or Contact Us!

    Interested is getting published by SDLP? Send us a message about your piece!


  • Past SDLP Symposiums

    Check out the events that we have hosted in the past!

    Infrastructure Projects: Permitting, Implementation, and Impacts.

    On behalf of American University’s Sustainable Development Law & Policy Brief, and inassociation with Washington College of Law’s Environmental Law Society and Animal Law Society, we would like to formally invite you to our upcoming Symposium entitled,

    Infrastructure Projects: Permitting, Implementation, and Impacts.


    Tuesday, November 14, 2017


    American University Washington College of Law

    Room NT01 (Ceremonial Classroom), Terrace Level, Warren Building

    4300 Nebraska Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20016



    8:30 AM to 9:00 AM: Breakfast/Greetings

    9:00 AM to 10:30 AM: Panel One

    10:30 AM to 11:00 AM: Coffee Break

    11:00 AM to 12:30 PM: Panel Two

    12:30 PM-1:00 PM: Lunch/Closing Remarks



    PANEL 1: An Overview of Infrastructure Permitting and Implementation


    Moderated by Professor Jeffrey Lubbers


    Angie Colamaria—Office of Management and Budget (OMB), Permitting Lead

     Ted Boling—Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), Associate Director for the National Environmental Policy Act


    PANEL 2: The Environmental Implications of Infrastructure Projects on Water, People, Wildlife, and Public Lands


    Moderated by Professor Amanda Leiter


    Bob Irvin—American Rivers, President 

    Dr. Sacoby WilsonMaryland Institute Applied Environmental Health (MIAEH), Associate Professor 

    Gary FrazerU.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Ecological Services, Assistant Director 

    Gregory SmithUnited States Forest Service, Lands and Reality Management, Director



    Monday, April 3, 2017

    9:15 am – 4:45 pm


    Trade and investment regimes have proliferated throughout recent years, and many have been quick to criticize the effects of both trade and investment on sustainable development. This symposium will focus on how trade and investment frameworks can both facilitate and hinder sustainable development. Three panels will take place, one exploring the initiatives in developing countries and resource exploitation and investment with relation to CITES implementation; the second, discussing proliferation of regional and

    mega-regional free trade agreements in contrast with the World Trade Organization rules, and theireffect on sustainable development policies and initiatives in developing countries; and the third on howIFI’s and public and private investments support developing countries in meeting their Paris Climate Commitments.

    All Eyes on Paris: The Global Agreement on Climate Change

    Join SDLP on Wednesday, November 11, 2016 for our fall symposium focusing on the upcoming COP21 in Paris and what needs to be done in order to agree on a global climate treaty.


    The Symposium will take place in WCL 603 on Wednesday, November 11 from 9:00am until 5:00pm. Feel free to attend the entire event or just the panels that interest you. Panel topics include: the U.S.’s approach to climate change in preparation for the COP, finding ways to achieve the 2°C target and other mitigation efforts, and finally adaptation and compensation for climate impacts.


    Click here for more detailed information about the panels: SDLP Fall 2015 symposium panel descriptions.

    Biodiversity: Examining the Legal Implications of Population Loss of Species


    Join SDLP on Tuesday, February 10, 2015 for an informative panel on biodiversity. William Snape will moderate the discussion.

    Scheduled speakers incude:

    • Richard M. Huber, Organization of American States
    • Kirk Talbot, Environmental Law Institute
    • Neil Cox, International Union for Conservation of Nature
    • Kip Knudson, Washington Office of the Governor for Alaska.

    Biodiversity Event Flyer




    Sustainable Development Law & Policy Brief Presents: “A Quest for Clean Energy”

    Register today for the SDLP Fall 2014 Symposium! This year’s symposium will cover recent energy and environmental law legislative and regulatory updates and what that means for different entities ranging from industry to public organizations.


    The Sustainable Development Law and Policy Fall 2014 Symposium will take place in WCL 603 on Thursday, November 6 from 10:00am until 4:00pm.


    Feel free to attend the entire day of events or the parts that interest you. Food will be provided throughout the day.


    Panel topics include the EPA’s proposed rule on emissions guidelines and the challenges encountered domestically and internationally in pursuit of sustainable energy solutions. Joseph Goffman, Associate Assistant Administrator & Senior Counsel of the EPA will also be delivering a key note speech.


    To see the flyer for this event, please click the following hyperlink: SDLP Fall 2014 Symposium 

    Second Annual CIEL-WCL International Environmental Law Conference

    March 21, 2011 1:00 pm - 5:30 pm, followed by reception.

    Click here to download a PDF version of the event schedule.

    As Goes China, So Goes the World: Chinese Development and Environmental Challenges

    On March 26, 2009, SDLP organized a conference focusing on environmental issues in China. A variety of issues were discussed at this conference including: post-Kyoto decisions on climate change and establishment of a carbon constrained economy; technology transfer, green technologies, and legal dynamics of weak IP protection; increase in public participation and viability of citizen suit litigation; energy investment, carbon sequestration, and development of clean coal; environmental impact statements: requirements and enforcement; food safety and exports from China; the intersection of human rights and environmental/development issues; increasing Chinese influence in the international (and especially developing) world; what kind of example will they set; and evaluation of how China is complying with international environmental and development regimes.


    Podcast available at http://www.wcl.american.edu/podcast/podcast.cfm.

    Oxfam Hunger Banquet: Trade and Investment in Foodstuffs During a Global Food Crisis

    On September 18, 2008 SDLP co-sponsored the Oxfam Hunger Banquet for WCL's International Week. 12pm-1pm, 6th Floor Lounge.

    Climate Change and Claiming the Arctic Circle

    On March 20, 2008 SDLP, organized a conference focusing on climate change and environmental, territorial, and resource claims in the Arctic.


    To view the webcast of these discussions, please visit http://www.wcl.american.edu/secle/video.cfm.

    Global Impact of Developments in U.S. Climate Law

    Panel: On March 29, 2007, panel discussed the legal consequences as climate change becomes a scientific and political reality. They also gave an overview of recent developments in U.S. climate law and how that impacts the international climate community. Review of pending litigation intending to comply state, federal, and business responses discussed, along with other emerging policies.

    Future of International Chemicals Management

    Conference: On February 22, 2006, SDLP organized a conference focusing on (1) the future of the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management ("SAICM"); and (2) the reasons why the United States has hesitated to ratify Multilateral Environmental Agreements.


    To view the webcast of these discussions, please visit http://www.wcl.american.edu/secle/video.cfm (click on "The Future of International Chemicals Regulation).

  • The American University Office of Sustainability was founded in 2009 to help meet the university's goal of "acting on our values of social responsibility, service [and] an active pursuit of sustainability."

    The office develops and supports campus initiatives that promote sustainability within the campus community.

    Tenley Campus

    The Tenley Campus is LEED Gold certified.

    LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) is a green building certification program that is the recognized standard for measuring building sustainability. To achieve certification, building projects must meet prerequisites and earn points to achieve varying levels of certification ranging from certified to platinum.

    The design of the Tenley Campus places a high priority on environmentally sustainable development principles. Key components include water and energy efficient systems, sustainable material selection, and interior environments that promote occupant health.

    The Tenley Campus construction adheres to the University’s Green Building Policy, which supports the University’s goal of having a positive impact on the environment, as it relates to all university owned and operated facilities.

    “Ideally, the LEED certification process is most effective when sustainable approaches are incorporated very early on in the design process as was the case at Tenley,” said Jamie Lee, AIA LEED BD+C, Principal at Smith Group JJR, the D.C.-based architecture and engineering firm responsible for the design. “Both the law school and the university were committed to creating a sustainable LEED certified building and had aspirations and goals that were incorporated into the project.”

    Some of the green features in the Tenley Campus:

    • Buildings are located to maximize public transportation options & access
    • Bicycle use is promoted through amenities like locker rooms and showers, as well as over 200 bike rack spaces
    • Infrastructure is provided for Electric Vehicle charging stations
    • Open space on the site is maintained and maximized
    • Storm water is managed for quantity and quality using on-site features such as rain gardens
    • Light colored roof material is specified to minimize urban heat-island effect
    • Buildings will utilize nearly 50% less water than typical buildings of similar size through the use of high efficiency fixtures
    • A unique hydronic heating and cooling system will reduce energy consumption by more than 20%
    • Construction procedures will divert more than 90% of construction debris from landfills
    • Regionally-sourced material will make up at least 20% of the building
    • Certified sustainably-harvested wood will be used on more than 50% of all wood on the project

    Receptacles for items that you may need to recycle infrequently such as clothes, batteries, ink cartridges, cell phones, plastic bags, and computers, monitors, and other e-waste can be found in several locations on AU's campus. Do your part to keep these easily recycled and often toxic items out of the landfill.

    • In 2010, AU adopted a Zero Waste Policy mandating the creation of a team to develop a plan for reducing and diverting 100% of the university's waste stream.
    • AU collects paper towel waste from all restrooms around campus separately. Student sustainability educators audited the campus waste stream and discovered that paper towels represent 13 percent of AU's waste. 
    • The university is reducing solid waste by replacing bottled water with inline water filters.
    • In fall 2009, AU eliminated trays in the Terrace Dining Hall, reducing food waste by an estimated 32 percent.
    • The university reuses and recycles surplus furniture by partnering with several area surplus and reuse centers.
    • In 2009, the university recycled 43 percent of the solid waste generated on campus by presorting cans, glass, paper, cardboard, plastic bags, batteries, cell phone batteries, cell phones, and fluorescent lights.
    • We collect and recycle vehicle waste including lubricants, antifreeze, oil filters, tires, and batteries.
    • University-owned electronics equipment can be recycled bysimply e-mailing AUSurplus@american.edu.
    • Personal electronics waste can be recycled at our quarterly e-waste recycling drives.
    • We collect kitchen grease from TDR for recycling.
  • Campus Affiliations

    Here are some of the Law Societies that we collaborate with! Many of their members are also SDLP staff!

    We welcome all those who are interested in environmental law or those who love the outdoors and want to preserve the natural environment!

    The Environmental Law Society is a student organization dedicated to creating an awareness of current environmental matters and the legal issues surrounding them. Our mission is to encourage students and community members to support environmental initiatives. We accomplish this mission by keeping students and the community informed of important issues in environmental law and policy, promoting environmental scholarship, advocating for environmentally sound decision-making, and by providing opportunities to protect the natural environment and its irreplaceable creatures.

    Providing a forum for education, advocacy & scholarship aimed at protecting the lives & advancing the interests of animals through the legal system.

    Because issues relating to Animal Law also relate to a broad spectrum of issues surrounding other legal fields, we are a group of Law Students who seek to show how Animal Law intersects with nearly every other law field.

    The WCL Energy Law Society seeks to provide a forum for students, alumni, and professors to come together and promote discussion about developments in energy law and the global impact these developments have. The WCL Energy Law Society is both a professional and social network for friends and colleagues sharing an interest in energy.