Climate and Sustainability

AU Site Tour at the Environmental Protection Agency  

On Friday February 9th, students from the Washington College of Law (WCL) and the School of International Service (SIS) had the opportunity to visit the Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance (OECA) at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), to talk with SIS/WCL alumni, learn about a career in federal service, and to discuss the NETI Law Clerk Honors Program in OECA. The site visit was organized by the WCL and alumna, Cari S., who has supported a strong partnership between EPA and WCL to provide students with a unique opportunity to interact with alumni working in various capacities at the agency.  

Alumni spoke about their work on a diverse spectrum of topics ranging from high-profile criminal environmental cases to working on legal compliance with local governments and municipalities.  This represents the engaging and multifaceted opportunities available through EPA that motivates people to spend their careers within the agency and cultivates a community of fierce environmental advocates.  

The alumni offered some tips for students who are interested in pathways to federal work, and referenced the following programs as examples:  

Alumni also emphasized that the NETI law clerk program (while not a pathways program) is a way to get your foot in the door and understand EPA work while contributing to its mission.  

There was a surprise appearance by Assistant Administrator of OECA, David Uhlmann, whose presence provided an inspiring vision of the importance of the agency’s work. The urgency of the climate crisis means that policy decisions we make at this moment are critical and will determine environmental and human health for decades or even centuries. But amid political tensions and divisions that create indecision and slow down critical efforts, we are losing time. The protection of the environment and all who inhabit it “is existential,” said Uhlmann, “but it doesn’t have to be political.” Despite partisanship, “we share a common humanity that unites us to protect an environment that sustains all life.”    

The EPA has been a powerful force in this nation’s history in steering policy and law that protects human and environmental health since 1970. The AU alumni presence at the EPA in OECA and beyond demonstrates the passion and excellence of our community which continues to strengthen as it grows.