On Oct. 17, 2011, Environmental Law & Policy Clinic student Rachel Heron ’12 presented a 3-hour oral argument on a motion for summary judgment in an important, precedent-setting administrative proceeding concerning the right of renewable energy companies to conduct business and install solar energy systems in Massachusetts.

The companies are being challenged by the Board of State Examiners of Electricians, which takes the position that only licensed electricians may advertise and orchestrate work that entails electrical components. Heron is the third clinic student to argue a motion in this important set of three related cases.

Previously, Nicholas McDaniel ’11 and Thomas Brugato ’11 argued motions in the Superior Court case Carroll v. Board of State Examiners of Electricians, in which the Clinic filed suit on behalf of six plaintiffs to challenge the Board’s action as being inconsistent with the electrical licensing statute as well as a de facto regulation improperly adopted without notice and comment. In July 2011, Superior Court Justice Janet Sanders denied the attorney general’s motion to dismiss. Next month, Devin O’Connor ’12 will argue the clinic’s pending motion for summary judgment in Suffolk Superior Court.

The clinic represents small renewable energy companies in litigation related to a new interpretation of the electrical licensing laws adopted by the Massachusetts Board of State Examiners of Electricians. The Board claims that all aspects of a solar photovoltaic installation must be performed only by licensed electricians. The clinic is defending the ability of small businesses to continue performing the financial, planning, and other non-electrical parts of PV projects.

Under the leadership of Director and Clinical Professor Wendy B. Jacobs ’81, the Emmett Environmental Law and Policy Clinic offers students an opportunity to do hands-on, meaningful, real-life, and real-time environmental legal and policy work. Clinic offerings include local, national and international projects covering the spectrum of environmental issues. See full listing of this fall’s projects.