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Vanderbilt Law School Student Wins Constitutional Environmental Law Writing Competition

April 28, 2016

Megan McLean, a third-year student at Vanderbilt Law School, has been named the winner of the Environmental Law Institute’s 2015–2016 Beveridge & Diamond Constitutional Environmental Law Writing Competition. Ms. McLean will receive a $2000 award, a one-year membership to ELI, and publication of her article in the Environmental Law Reporter (ELR®), ELI’s flagship journal and the most often-cited law review covering environmental and natural resource issues. 

Ms. McLean’s winning entry, “Throwing Shade: The Case Against Judicial Interference With Solar Net Metering Policies,” argues that programs to encourage distributed electricity generation do not trigger the Takings Clause, which sometimes requires governments to pay compensation for their decisions. “Megan’s paper examines the history of takings law as applied to utility regulation, and concludes that it creates no barrier to net metering and other innovative policies,” said Jay Austin, Senior Attorney at ELI. “Her sophisticated approach stood out even among a field of very strong student work.”

Each year, this national competition invites law students to explore issues at the intersection of constitutional and environmental law. Entries received were judged by a panel of experienced attorneys. The competition was organized by ELI’s Program on the Constitution, Courts, and Legislation, and made possible through the generous support of Beveridge & Diamond, P.C., one of the nation’s premier environmental law firms.