William John Snape, III

Professor and Director, WCL Program on Environmental and Energy Law

Snape is a litigator and policy lawyer with over 30 years of experience in wildlife, natural resources, and climate change legal advocacy. He is author and editor of Biodiversity and the Law published by Island Press. Previously vice president and chief counsel at Defenders of Wildlife, Snape has been at AU since 2007. In 2016, Snape was named assistant dean for adjunct faculty at the law school. His current work and research focuses upon: litigation in federal court on global warming’s negative impact on water conservation; establishment of a private land conservation easement database; policy briefs on environmental justice, including a WCL project along the strained Patuxent River in MD; pursuit of Freedom of Information Act claims against recalcitrant federal and state agencies; and petitions to the U.S. Commerce Department on the national security implications of fossil fuel trade with hostile nation-states such as Russia and Saudi Arabia. In 2020, AU WCL PEEL created a summer environmental justice stipend for WCL students to do cutting-edge work at the intersection of environmental protection and civil rights. In 2022, Snape won the AU Faculty Award for Service. He lives on a nine acre farm in Carroll County, MD. Snape received his BA magna cum laude from UCLA and his JD from George Washington University.

Current Projects

  Climate litigation in federal court

  Trade petitions on the link between fossil fuel trade and U.S. national security

  Advocacy under the Freedom of Information Act

  Representation of San Carlos Apache Tribe in national clear air/climate case

  MIddle Atlantic States conservation advocacy including clean-up of the Patuxent River and additional protections for imperilled horseshoe crabs and associated migratory birds


Center for Biological Diversity and U.S Climate Action Network