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Rising Issues: Earthrise Settles Major Case in California
Rising Issues: Earthrise Settles Major Case in California
At Earthrise, we are passionate about using the law to protect and
restore the environment and the planet's natural resources, and about
training law students to become skilled environmental advocates.
Santa Clara River
Image courtesy of Barbara Wampole

Major Settlement Reached to

Protect the Santa Clara River 

Earthrise clients Los Angeles Waterkeeper, Wishtoyo Foundation, and Friends of the Santa Clara River announced that they have reached an agreement with Six Flags Magic Mountain to address storm water pollution in the Santa Clara River. On behalf of its clients, Earthrise filed a Clean Water Act citizen lawsuit in June 2012 alleging the amusement park’s storm water discharges violated water quality standards and the facility’s permits. The Consent Decree entered by Federal District Judge Stephen V. Wilson in the United States Central District of California resolves those claims.
“The Santa Clara River is one of southern California’s last free-flowing, truly wild rivers, and in 2005 was listed by American Rivers as one of this country’s most endangered rivers,” said Earthrise Senior Staff Attorney Kevin Cassidy. “It’s a great feeling to achieve protections for and restoration of such an important natural resource.
The settlement will significantly reduce the amount of pollution entering the Santa Clara from the Magic Mountain park by requiring the facility to comply with its Clean Water Act permit, to develop and implement a Trash Management Plan, and to use best practices to minimize and eliminate pollution being carried off the site by storm events. In addition, Six Flags will pay $300,000 to a local foundation to be used for projects designed to analyze, reduce, prevent, or otherwise mitigate effects of polluted water discharges into the Santa Clara River.
For Earthrise Litigation Supervisor Allison LaPlante, this case was an excellent example of how Earthrise accomplishes its twin goals of protecting the environment and training the next generation of environmental advocates. “Over the course of three years, Earthrise students were involved in every aspect of this case, from its initiation to motions practice and discovery, and through settlement,” said Ms. LaPlante. And some of them got the opportunity to interact with former Earthrise (then PEAC) student Liz Crosson, who is now the Executive Director of our client Los Angeles Waterkeeper. Liz is a real inspiration for students to see what they can become after leaving law school.
For Earthrise Legal Fellow Lia Comerford, the case was a great learning experience. I helped write and respond to motions, participated in discovery, and had my first federal court argument. Not many lawyers get these opportunities in their first year of practice.”
Former Earthrise attorneys Dan Mensher and Aubrey Baldwin also contributed significantly to the litigation and resolution of this case.  The following Earthrise students worked on the case and deserve thanks: Tori Cole, Molly Bisulca, Anthony Brown, Jonah Sandford, Jacob Booher, Andrew Bogle, Matthew McDonald, Scott Hilgenberg, Peter Stein, Kevin Hayes, Chris Thomas, Michael Cowgill, and Sagar Patel. Recent graduate and Earthrise alum Richard Fitzgerald also provided invaluable assistance.
Emma Bruden in Peru

Student Spotlight on

Emma Bruden

Emma Bruden began working as a summer extern in 2014, just after we won an appeal of the district court's denial of our motion for a preliminary injunction in the Snow Basin Case. Over the summer, Emma helped Tom Buchele get a great opinion from the district court regarding the scope of our preliminary injunction. Then she drafted several sections of our summary judgment brief, and the district court granted us summary judgment on both of the claims Emma worked on--and several others as well--in December. It was a great win for us and for the environment, and Emma played a critical role in getting our client such a great result.
Why did you choose Lewis & Clark Law School?  I applied to all of the top environmental law schools, but I chose Lewis & Clark because I love the atmosphere of our school. I think the atmosphere is uniquely cooperative for a law school, and I find that more conducive to my learning.
Why were you interested in Earthrise?  First and foremost, I was interested in environmental litigation, and I wanted to gain some experience in it. Also, I was interested in seeing the long-term progression of a case, which I think is a rare experience for law students. That experience has been invaluable to me because I am now familiar with most stages of litigation which helps me understand the broader picture behind each discrete part of the litigation process.
What are you working on right now at Earthrise?  Right now I am in between projects. I just finished working on the remedy brief for Snow Basin, and I think I’ll start another logging case soon. Now that I have worked on a case from summary judgment to the end, I am excited to start a case from the beginning.
Favorite moment at Earthrise?  My favorite moment with Earthrise is definitely the first time I read the Court’s summary judgment opinion for the Snow Basin timber sale case and realized we won on both the claims I drafted. It was so incredible to know that all my late nights and weekends spent researching and writing positively affected the environment.
What are your post-graduate goals?  After law school, I aspire to work for an environmental nonprofit. My work with Earthrise made me especially interested in Forest Law, so I would love to have at least some work related to that.
How do you think your experience here will impact those goals?  My experience with Earthrise has already helped me work toward achieving my goals. This summer I will work for Center of Biological Diversity, and I’m sure that opportunity is only available because of my unique experience with Earthrise.  Additionally, in the fall of 2015, I will extern at the Federal Courthouse in Portland, again, which will give me an interesting perspective on how the judicial system applies to environmental law.
Favorite trip so far in the Pacific Northwest?  My favorite trip I’ve taken in Oregon so far has been to Tamolitch Pool in Oregon. The hike to Tamolitch Pool goes through an old growth forest, and ends at this turquoise pool, where people can cliff jump, swim, or just hang out. 

 In This Issue

  • Major Settlement reached with Magic Mountain
  • Student Spotlight
  • New Advisory Council Members
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Earthrise Welcomes Two New Members to its Advisory Council
This winter, Earthrise added two new members to its Advisory Council. They are just like--or in one case, literally are--family to us.
Alison Johnston Rue

Alison Johnston Rue

Alison Johnston Rue was the CEO and cofounder of InstaEDU, the largest marketplace for online tutoring, which was acquired by Chegg for $30 million in June 2014. Today, Alison is the Director of Marketing for Learning Services at Chegg. Prior to cofounding InstaEDU, she was an early team member at Box, Aardvark (acquired by Google), and Nextdoor. She also cofounded in-home tutoring company, Cardinal Scholars, which sold to CourseHero in 2012. In 2014, Alison was named one of Forbes' 30 Under 30 in Education. She is also the daughter of Earthrise Co-Founder, Craig Johnston. Alison is looking forward to helping Earthrise with business operations and marketing.
Dan Mensher

Dan Mensher

Daniel Mensher currently practices Complex and Environmental Litigation at Keller Rohrback in Seattle, Washington. Before joining the firm, Dan was a Clinical Professor and Staff Attorney at Earthrise Law Center. He has litigated water and waste cases across the country and is experienced in administrative rulemaking processes. He has also served as a law clerk to the Honorable Rick Haselton of the Oregon Court of Appeals. Dan is a graduate of Wesleyan University with a B.A. in History, as well as holding an M.S. in Geography from University of Wisconsin. He graduated cum laude from Lewis & Clark Law School, receiving his J.D., with an Environmental Law Certificate, in 2007. He is an Executive Board Member for the Oregon State Bar Environmental and Natural Resources Committee as well as a Board Member for Northwest Environmental Defense Center.

Issue No.

Earthrise Law Center at Lewis & Clark Law School 10015 S.W. Terwilliger Blvd. | Portland, OR 97219 US
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