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Public Interest Law Project

Courtney Watts

October 10, 2011

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Oregon Department of Environmental Quality

My PILP stipend took me to faraway Portland, Oregon for the summer. I worked in the Office of Compliance and Enforcement at the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). I was an Environmental Law Specialist Intern, taking in open burning case referrals from all over the State, reviewing the facts of the referral, and drafting the Notice of Violation and Civil Penalty Assessment. This allowed me to utilize both my environmental and administrative law knowledge (thanks to Professors Johnston and Funk!) The people I worked with at DEQ were wonderful; they really made me feel welcome and helped me immensely in adapting to my role there.

In addition to casework, I also had an opportunity to review the Department’s Supplemental Environmental Project (SEP) policy. SEPs allow enforcement actions to redirect violator resources to environmental projects in the area where the violations occurred. The current DEQ enforcement administration is interested in increasing the number of SEPs resulting from enforcement actions. I spent part of my time at DEQ researching the SEP policies and implementation frameworks of several states, and creating a memo of recommendations for amendments to DEQ’s policy. Hopefully, some of these recommendations will be put into play, and DEQ will be able to see SEPs completed in a more accessible and streamlined way. 


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