News

Maine Law student earns prestigious environmental fellowship

Nov. 20, 2012

PORTLAND, Maine – A member of the University of Maine School of Law’s class of 2013 has been named as one of the top emerging environmental leaders in the United States.

Agnieszka “Aga” Pinette is a recipient of the Switzer Environmental Fellowship, a prestigious and nationally competitive academic award. The fellowship program, in its 26th year, awards $15,000 for recipients to complete their advanced degrees and develop their expertise to address critical environmental challenges. Pinette is among 20 recipients of the award for 2012.

“The Switzer Environmental Fellows are preparing to address the most complex environmental issues of our time through academic disciplines at the cutting edge of science and policy,” said Lissa Widoff, executive director of the Robert and Patricia Switzer Foundation. “These individuals share a determination to actively apply their problem-solving abilities and innovations in the environmental realm.”

Pinette, a third-year student at Maine Law, is Editor-in-Chief of the Maine Law Review for this academic year. She is a 1999 graduate of Dartmouth College, where she earned a degree, cum laude, in Environmental Earth Science. She spent most of the next decade working as a Senior Land Use Planner for the state of Maine. In that role, Pinette twice received recognition from the Governor’s Office, and in 2009 she was named State of Maine Employee of the Year for the Department of Conservation.

The Switzer Foundation summarized Pinette’s work:

“Just prior to attending law school, Aga led a contentious five-year regulatory review of the largest development project in Maine’s history – Plum Creek’s long-range planned growth and conservation scheme encompassing 400,000 acres in the Moosehead Lake region."

“While in law school, Aga has studied a broad spectrum of legal issues that offer insights into ways of thinking about local, regional, and global problems and solutions. For example, applying her tax law and land use background, she recently analyzed the feasibility of applying certain Maine-based tax incentives and programs related to working waterfront preservation to other coastal states. The analysis was part of a broader effort by the Maine Sea Grant and National Sea Grant Law Center to address the disappearance of water-dependent fisheries and marine trades caused by the conversion of working waterfront land to other uses such as vacation homes."

“Aga is currently researching the legal frameworks that facilitate the incremental privatization of some of Maine’s most cherished coastal beaches, rivers, and lake shores through the purchase of shorefront and the installation of expansive docking structures for private use. Her legal analysis on this issue will be published in the next volume of the Maine Law Review.”

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Media contact: Trevor Maxwell, communications director at Maine Law
Office: 207-228-8037/ Cell: 207-286-4431/ email: trevor.maxwell@maine.edu

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