Susan Vermillion Bio

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Susan Vermillion became interested in environmental law while working as a legal intern for the Food Integrity Campaign. She researched agricultural permitting, the Clean Water Act, and wrote a brief about laws prohibiting photography or film in agricultural operations and their relationship to the First Amendment. As a VCPC student this semester, Susan will collaborate with two other students to research the limits on local government’s authority to address sea level rise and recurrent flooding.

“In terms of sea level rise, we’re going to be looking at what specific grants of authority should be given to local governments,” says Susan.

Under the Dillon Rule, Virginia’s local governments only have the authority that the General Assembly grants them. There are specific statutes that address recurrent flooding, yet localities often believe that they do not have the authority to be proactive in dealing with the issue.

The VCPC has already examined the issue of local government authority under the Dillon Rule in Norfolk and Poquoson. This spring, Susan will help to separate the perception of limits of authority from the reality of the law so that Virginia localities can effectively adapt to sea level rise.

Susan is from Northern Virginia and completed her undergraduate education at Brigham Young University with a degree in Conservation Biology. She is in her third year at William & Mary Law School, where she is the Editor-in-Chief of the Environmental Law and Policy Review.

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