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Vermont Law School Selects U.S., Chinese Environmental Justice Young Fellows

February 27, 2010

SOUTH ROYALTON, VT --  Vermont Law School's U.S.-China Partnership for Environmental Law has selected 18 young American and Chinese professionals for an exchange program focused on environmental justice issues.

The Environmental Justice Young Fellows Exchange program is funded by a $350,000 grant to VLS from the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. The bureau's goal is to promote mutual understanding between the people of the United States and other nations.

Vermont Law School's partners in the exchange program include the China Environment Forum at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C., Sun-Yat Sen University in Guangzhou, China, and the Center for Legal Assistance to Pollution Victims in Beijing.

Nine participants from each country will receive education and leadership training this summer to work on environmental justice and climate change issues. They will spend six weeks together - three weeks in China and three in the United States.

Participants will jointly examine the environmental burdens on minority communities and low-income populations in the United States and China and will design projects to advance environmental justice for those communities.

Minority groups and low-income populations in China and the United States bear a disproportionate amount of harmful health and environmental impacts from pollution, and climate change is further affecting these marginalized groups. Environmental injustice in China has not attracted the same level of attention as in the United States, but many Chinese citizens are starting to speak out and seek solutions through laws, regulations and community projects.

The U.S.-China exchange program will aim to cultivate leadership among young environmental professionals and give them insights into legal tools, policies and activism to help vulnerable communities solve environmental challenges. The program's participants will attend a series of roundtables, study tours and hands-on internships in both the United States and China.

The U.S. fellows are: Erick Boustead, online coordinator for Fresh Energy; Jonathan Ostar, adjunct professor at Lewis and Clark Law School; Chandra Taylor, senior attorney at the Southern Environmental Law Center; Elizabeth Kronk, assistant professor at the University of Montana School of Law; Courtney Smith, research analyst at the Pacific Institute; Debbie Lowe Liang, environmental scientist at the Environmental Protection Agency; Emily Enderle, legislative associate at Earthjustice; Arelys Rosado-González, legal aid clinic specialist at the University of Puerto Rico; and Cindy Chang, program associate at William Shutkin Consulting.

The Chinese fellows, who will be notified this weekend of their selection, include non-governmental organization activists, a judge, a government official, an academic scholar and an environmental researcher.

CONTACT: John Cramer, Associate Director of Media Relations


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