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2013 Yale Center for Environmental Law & Policy Research Prize Fellowship Recipients

Amy Mount and Kevin Sherrill Receive 2013 Yale Center for Environmental Law & Policy Research Prize Fellowship

NEW HAVEN, Conn. -- The Yale Center for Environmental Law & Policy (YCELP) announced today that Amy Mount and Kevin Sherrill are the recipients of its 2013 student research prize competition. Mount and Sherrill, both students at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies (F&ES), will each receive a $7,500 Yale Center for Environmental Law & Policy Research Prize Fellowship.

YCELP launched the competition in 2011 to encourage innovative student research in the environmental law and policy arena. Recipients are chosen based on a number of criteria, including the originality, analytical soundness, and policy significance of their research proposals. Previous fellows have researched clean cookstoves in Cambodia, water quality near shale gas development sites in southwestern Pennsylvania, and the reliability of national greenhouse gas inventories.

Mount, a joint-degree master’s of environmental management and international relations student, is studying the politics of offshore drilling in Alaska. The receding sea ice in the Artic Ocean is opening up novel opportunities for hydrocarbon extraction while creating new risks for the region and beyond. But the political dynamics have not yet been fully analyzed – creating a governance gap in a region that has become a key frontier in environmental law and policy. Mount’s project, titled “Oil and Governance in the Arctic,” will assess the political power dynamics that exist for those involved in or affected by the oil industry, and what that means for policy and policymakers.

Sherrill, a master’s of environmental science student, is working to better understand the greenhouse gas balance in tidal marshes. Tidal marsh ecosystems are well suited for carbon sequestration for a number of reasons, including their continuing sediment deposition, which buries organic carbon. Policymakers, then, are considering wetland restoration projects as a carbon offset activity – but wetland ecosystems are also sources of methane, a potent greenhouse gas. Sherrill’s project, titled “The Role of Restored Wetlands in Climate Change Mitigation Policy,” will access the factors influencing greenhouse gas emission and carbon sequestration in tidal marsh ecosystems and how that ultimately affects carbon credit programs.

“This year’s fellows represent the cutting-edge of the science-policy interface,” said Josh Galperin, associate director at the Center for Environmental Law & Policy. “It is crucial to gather information about the causes and effects of climate change, but Amy and Kevin are not just gathering information, they are creating knowledge with tremendous policy implications. This is exactly the type of research the Center hopes to stimulate.”

The Yale Center for Environmental Law & Policy seeks to advance cutting edge environmental thinking and policy analysis so that decisionmaking in the public, business, community, and personal realms promotes sustainability. For more information on the Center, or this year’s research prize competition, visit http://envirocenter.yale.edu.

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