Merhige Center for Environmental Studies

Merhige Center for Environmental Studies

The Robert R. Merhige Jr. Center for Environmental Studies at the University of Richmond School of Law engages in research, instruction, and public outreach on energy and environmental issues in the Mid-Atlantic region and beyond. The center hosts conferences, symposia, and speakers on pressing environmental issues, generating dialogue for policy solutions.

Award Winning Scholarship

Professor Danielle Stokes' 2022 article Renewable Energy Federalism, 106 MINNESOTA LAW REVIEW, 1757 (2022), was listed among the top 20 articles by the Environmental Law and Policy Annual Review. This is one of the highest honors in the field of environmental law.

Summer Public Interest Fellowships

Each Richmond Law student is guaranteed one summer of funding for a public service or government sector job. Here are just a few examples of recent student placements in the environmental law field. 

500-Year Forest Foundation Southern Environmental Law Center 
Appalachian Trail Conservancy Tennessee Department of Environment & Conservation 
Chesapeake Bay Foundation U.S. Department of Energy  
City of Richmond Office of Sustainability U.S. Environmental Protection Agency 
Environmental Council on the States U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, & Forestry 
Environmental Integrity Project Virginia Conservation Network 
Office of the Attorney General of Virginia, Environmental Section Virginia Department of Environmental Quality

Chiara Giorgetti
Giorgetti Presents "International Investment Arbitration Law and Policy"

Giorgetti, Chiara, Assessing the Past, Envisioning the Future, "Assessing the Past - Envisioning the Future: International Investment Arbitration Law and Policy," Bocconi University, RIchmond University & Others, Milan, Italy. (April 20, 2023).

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Chiara Giorgetti
Giorgetti Presents "International Law Responses to Russia's Aggression"

Giorgetti, Chiara, Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law & Human Rights / MIDS, "International Law Responses to Russia's Aggression - Building an International Reparation Mechanism for Ukraine," University of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland. (April 18, 2023).

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Carl W. Tobias
Tobias Publishes Biden, Bennet, and Bipartisan Federal Judicial Selection

Tobias, C. W. (2023). Biden, Bennet, and Bipartisan Federal Judicial Selection,. University of Colorado Law Review Forum, 94(11).

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Joel B. Eisen
Eisen Presents "Energy Law Academic Perspective"

Eisen, Joel B., Energy & Environmental Law Conference, "Energy Law Academic Perspective," ELSA Ireland - European Law Students Association, Dublin, Ireland. (April 12, 2023).

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Ashley R. Dobbs
Dobbs Featured on The Geek in Review Podcast

Dobbs, Ashley (Panelist), The Geek in Review Podcast, "From Pain to Creativity: How AI Helped Kristina Kashtanova Illustrate Her “Zarya of the Dawn” Story – featuring Richmond Law’s Ashley Dobbs and Roger Skalbeck," 3 Geeks and the Law Blog. (April 7, 2023).

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Joel B. Eisen
Eisen Presents "Utility Reform Laws in the 2023 Virginia General Assembly Session"

Eisen, Joel B., Symposium on General Assembly Updates, "Utility Reform Laws in the 2023 Virginia General Assembly Session," Virginia Bar Association Law School Council for Richmond Law, Richmond, VA, United States. (April 7, 2023).

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Recent Scholarship

Prof. Stokes, Renewable Energy Federalism, 106 Minnesota L. Rev. (July 2022)

Prof. Eisen, Advanced Introduction to Law and Renewable Energy, Edward Elgar Publishing (July 2021).

Prof. Stokes, On Greenlining: Renewing the Charge, Sabin Colloquium on Innovative Environmental Law Scholarship (May 2021).

Prof. Sachs, Argument analysis: The trail, the pipeline and a journey to the center of the earth, SCOTUSblog (2020).

Prof. Sachs, The Paris Agreement in the 2020s: Breakdown or Breakup, Ecology Law Quarterly (2019).

Prof. Sachs, Regulation of Toxic Substances and Hazardous Waste, Foundation Press (3d edition 2018) (w/Applegate, Laitos, Gabba).

Prof. Eisen, The New(Clear?) Electricity Federalism: Federal Preemption of States' "Zero Emissions Credit" Programs, Ecol. L. Q. Currents (2018).

Prof. Sachs, Environmental Law Practice, Carolina Academic Press (4th Ed., 2018) (w/Anderson, Hirsch, Tormey).

Prof. Eisen, Free Trade in Electric Power, Utah L. Rev. 49 (2018).

In the News

Prof. Sachs, The Regulatory Review, Nov. 2021: Toxic Floods Create Pressing Regulatory Needs

Prof. Sachs, Morning Wave, Nov. 2019: Paris Climate Agreement and US withdrawal

Prof. Sachs, Energywire, Oct. 2019: What to watch in the Appalachian Trail pipeline fight

Prof. Sachs, Bay Journal, Aug. 2019: Shoreline industry poses hazards as sea level, floods increase

Prof. Eisen, Law360, Feb. 2019: Pa. Nuke Bailout Bill Fuels Political Fight With Gas Sector

Prof. Sachs, Bay Journal, Mar. 2019: New Report on Climate-Driven 'Toxic Flood' Threats in Virginia

Prof. Eisen, Richmond Times-Dispatch, Feb. 2019: UR professor is energy law scholar


Prof. Eisen, "Climate Change in the Courts," Hot Topics Summer Lecture Series, Vermont Law School, South Royalton, Vermont (July 2019)

Prof. Eisen, "Community Solar Across the Nation: Preliminary Lessons from Ongoing Projects," Energy Law Clinic, Vermont Law School, South Royalton, Vermont (July 2019).

Prof. Eisen, "Clean Energy Justice: Charting An Emerging Agenda," Hot Topics Summer Lecture Series, Vermont Law School, South Royalton, Vermont (July 2019).

Prof. Sachs, "U.S. Climate Policy and Private Equity," Responsible Investment Forum (March 2018).

Prof. Sachs, "SJ295 and Regulatory Rollback," Virginia Conservation Network General Assembly Preview (Dec. 2017).

Courses Taught

Prof. Eisen

  • Energy Law
  • Law of Clean & Renewable Energy
  • Environmental Law
  • Law of Climate Change
  • Administrative Law

Prof. Sachs

  • Torts
  • Environmental Law
  • International Environmental Law
  • Regulatory Law Practicum
  • Legislation & Regulation

Prof. Stokes

  • Property
  • Environmental Law
  • Environmental Justice

Contact Merhige Center Director Professor Noah Sachs