Jim Redick, Norfolk Director of Emergency Preparedness and Response

Fall 2014 VCPC students examining flooding outside a neighborhood in Norfolk.

If your home is on fire, all you want is to put the fire out. Luckily, 911 has a plan in place to efficiently respond to the emergency. It’s this kind of successful “incident command system” already used to address public safety hazards such as fires that Jim Redick encourages localities to apply when preparing for sea level rise. Redick, the Director of Emergency Preparedness and Response for the City of Norfolk, Virginia, came to speak to the Virginia Coastal Policy Clinic on March 17 about emergency planning in the face of sea level rise. Organizations that contribute to emergency response need to have a unified approach with each having a particular role and system of communication. In Norfolk, representatives from the government, public, and private sectors, with trusted agencies like the Virginia Institute of Marine … [Read more...]

Trace Hall Bio

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            Trace Hall jokes that he “was born with muddy water flowing through his veins.” Growing up near Yorktown, VA, Trace spent much of his childhood out on the marshes fishing and kayaking. Now these same coastal marshes are threatened by salinity changes due to rising sea level. As a VCPC student this semester, Trace will be collaborating with two other students to research limits on local government’s authority to address sea level rise and recurrent flooding. “By the nature of where we live, this is a big issue,” says Trace. “I believe that progressive and well-informed management of our coasts and wetlands is essential to preserving coastal ecosystems and still allowing for people to enjoy the water and all this area has to offer.” While working for the Hampton … [Read more...]

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 … [Read more...]

Nate Flanders Bio

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              Nate Flanders believes that having work experience prior to starting law school was a critical part of preparing him for a legal career. He has worked for two federal organizations, the United States Postal Service and the claims section of the Coast Guard while a student at William & Mary Law School. Nate hopes that he can experience a hands-on and practical side on the law on a local level as a student in the Virginia Coastal Policy Clinic (VCPC) this semester. Nate will be working with another VCPC student to examine the complexities facing the ownership of drainage in Mathews County, VA. A system of drainage ditches across the county are not functioning as intended and periodic flooding of nearby roads and properties is common. Nate will be working to … [Read more...]

Matthew Hubbard Bio

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              Matthew Hubbard has had a lifelong interest in environmental conservation. As a child, he volunteered with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF). As a BaySaver, he grew seagrass in black tubs underneath heat lamps in his basement to help restore local aquatic vegetation. This passion for the nature as a child developed into an interest in environmental law in adulthood. Last semester, Matthew returned to CBF as a Virginia Legal Intern. He conducted research and policy analysis of wetlands regulations. Matthew learned more about the Virginia Coastal Policy Clinic (VCPC) through connections with CBF, since VCPC Director Roy Hoagland was once the CBF vice president of environmental protection and restoration. This semester as a VCPC student, Matthew will be working … [Read more...]

Lauren Coleman Bio

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              Lauren Coleman, an alumna of William & Mary, returned to her alma mater to pursue her law degree. She hopes to explore environmental law and gain hands-on experience as a student in the Virginia Coastal Policy Clinic (VCPC) this semester. During her undergraduate summers, Lauren worked with the National Institute of American History and Democracy, a William & Mary program that provides mentoring for high school students while touring Virginian historical sites. Lauren says this program sparked her interest in environmental law, since both environmental conservation and historical preservation aim to “maintain history and the Chesapeake region.” The natural resources of the Chesapeake Bay watershed played a crucial role in early American society and … [Read more...]

Howl Bean II Bio

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              After graduating from college, Howl Bean II sought a graduate program that would unite “academics working together to improve the lives of other people.” Unable to find this collaborative community-based environment in mathematics programs, Howl turned to his roots. Originally from a rural town in Tennessee, he was drawn to William & Mary for the opportunity to study in an academically driven and socially conscious community. Howl hopes to use the law as a tool to preserve the environment for future generations. As a Virginia Coastal Policy Clinic student this semester, Howl will be working with the James River Association, a non-profit advocacy group, to assess the storage of unregulated chemical substances, including coal ash, along the James River. He will … [Read more...]

Hannah Needleman Bio

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            Hannah Needleman credits her passion for environmental issues to an undergraduate study abroad program in Kenya, where she independently researched the ecology of East African savannas. During her study, which involved looking at interactions between humans and wildlife in the area, Hannah became interested in looking at these issues holistically and “not just under the microscope.” This semester as a student in the Virginia Coastal Policy Clinic, she will study the intersection between science and law a little closer to home. Hannah will be working on behalf of the Chesapeake Bay Commission, a tri-state legislative consortium that brings together policymakers from Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania to combine efforts to conserve the Bay. She will be researching the … [Read more...]

Eric Jabs Bio

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                Eric Jabs will bring over three decades of extensive experience in the Navy to his work with the Virginia Coastal Policy Clinic (VCPC) this spring. A retired U.S. Navy captain, he spent his career as a submarine officer and Navy SCUBA diver. Eric describes his involvement with the VCPC as “going back to [his] roots in the ocean…continuing to serve in the public policy field.” Eric is currently pursuing a PhD through Old Dominion University in Oceanography, Maritime Management, and Public Policy. His dissertation will be strongly based in the science behind sea level rise and how the Hampton Roads area is addressing coastal policy issues. His interdisciplinary studies have given him the opportunity to take a variety of coursework at different Virginia … [Read more...]

VCPC Trip to the General Assembly Highlights the Importance of Making Connections

VCPC students pictured at the offices of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation with CBF attorney Peggy Sanner: (from left to right) Howl Bean, Trace Hall, Nate Flanders, Eric Jabs, Hannah Needleman, Susan Vermillion, Lauren Coleman, Matthew Hubbard, Rosemary Hambright; and former student Ben Willis, now externing at CBF.

When Eric Jabs spent a weekend at his home in Virginia Beach, he was reminded that state legislators not only work on behalf of our communities, but also have lives in the communities they represent. As Eric walked out of the locker room of his local rec center after a swim workout, he met Senator Frank Wagner. “State legislature is a much smaller world than people realize…that’s why relationships are so important in this field,” says Virginia Coastal Policy Clinic (VCPC) Director Roy A. Hoagland, who has over twenty years of experience practicing environmental law. Just a week prior, Eric, a VCPC student, met with a former Virginia state delegate and representatives of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Virginia League of Conservation Voters, and Chesapeake Bay Commission while visiting the General Assembly. The students then … [Read more...]

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